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Whence Cometh the Belief...

Ash
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Post by Ash » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 10:14 am

[quote=""annis""]Posted by Katherine Ashe
Unfortunately it spawned the hard-to-dispel myth that people of the past actually believed the world was flat :) [/quote]

I am embarrassed to say that I didn't know it was a myth until just a few years ago. Had trouble convincing my DH about it until we were in the Hudson Valley and visited Irving's house where some guide mentioned it. It does say something about myths, how people latch on to them. I wonder what comes first - the world view of superiority to a time period or people, or the myths that support it?

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 2:01 pm

I'd like to nominate a few others for American king-under-the-mountain:

George Washington (who was offered a crown)
Thomas Jefferson
Robert E. Lee (after all the South will rise again)
Benjamin Franklin (because that would just be fun)
Abraham Lincoln

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 2:20 pm

Please don't take this the wrong way, and in no way do I want to start a political debate, but within some segments of American society I am sure that Martin Luther King is viewed this way.

American identity didn't really become unified until after the Civil War (the argument could be made that the gradual process of a unified identity began with The War of 1812 and slowly evolved from there). I think any American figure that would serve as a king under the mountain would come from mid 19thC or later.

The jokester in me wants to suggest (as a cultural icon, not as a national political figure) Elvis Presley, who is sighted everywhere! (hee hee)
Last edited by Ludmilla on Thu December 2nd, 2010, 2:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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wendy
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Post by wendy » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 2:48 pm

The legend of Arthur is so closely connected with Christianity I suspect the myth about the returning messiah is to align the earthly king with the heavenly king (Christ's Second Coming).

This might also explain why similar legends are to be found in other Christian cultures (slightly adapted for each individual nation).

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 4:30 pm

[quote=""Ash""]Hee, funny, I was thinking the same thing. We are such a young nation in the grand scheme of things that Superman from the 40s is probably going to be the closest. Tho I suspect there is a Native American legend of a chief or warrior who is our once and future king, we just don't know it yet. (Rip Van Winkle just doesn't have the gravitas needed - but then I watched the old cartoon of it as a child and its hard to get rid of the image of a very thin, worn and weak Dumbledore)[/quote]

I'm with you on Rip Van Winkle! Although I've never actually read the story, wasn't he just someone who fell asleep for 20 years and awoke as an old man? Nobody's saviour, or anything....

It wouldn't surprise me, either, if there is a Native American legend such as you describe above. Although if there is, I highly suspect it would be someone who would drive out the "white man" and restore the land to the native peoples. Which means most modern-day Americans would be in trouble! (even including people like me who have some Native American blood).

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 4:50 pm

Michy said: It wouldn't surprise me, either, if there is a Native American legend ...
Hiawatha perhaps?
Wendy said: The legend of Arthur is so closely connected with Christianity I suspect the myth about the returning messiah is to align the earthly king with the heavenly king (Christ's Second Coming).
Granted, this and many legends now have close connections to Christianity, but the returning messiah is a fundamental archetype in myth & legend all over the world. I don't think it's limited to Christianity. Many have older connections to belief systems that pre-dated Christianity.

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Post by annis » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 6:12 pm

Posted by Ludmilla
The returning messiah is a fundamental archetype in myth & legend all over the world. I don't think it's limited to Christianity. Many have older connections to belief systems that pre-dated Christianity.
Yes, the sacrifice and return of the god/king/hero is a common element in ancient mythic cycles of many cultures. The legend of the resurrected Egyptian god, Osiris, for example, was influential throughout the Mediterranean world. Interestingly a wicked/jealous figure is also often associated with these stories - Osiris was murdered by his wicked brother, Set. In Norse myth the Aesir god, Baldur is killed through the agency of the mean-spirited Loki. In the Christian story we have Judas, and in Arthurian legend this figure is represented by Arthur's son, Mordred.
Last edited by annis on Fri December 3rd, 2010, 3:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 6:40 pm

[quote=""Katherine Ashe""]Not hard at all for us Americans to have a "king under the mountain" (I love that phrase) only ours is Rip van Winkle. Gives one pause -- how we conceive our national character -- at least how it was viewed during the 19th century's deliberate creations of our myths.

By the way, Kveto, is that Roderigo you mentioned up above, Roderigo de Bivar, el Cid Campeador? I knew that his dead body was sent out against the besieging Moors, according to tradition. I didn't know he was expected to come back. It would seem he was alive a bit late for such beliefs?[/quote]

Yes, I should have clarified. thhe Roderigo i was thinking of was king roderigo one of the last "gothic" kings of spain (ill guess about 711 AD) just before the Moorish invasions. Youre right the el Cid was probably a bit late for that. and also that the Cids death plays that important part in his legend.

I think most of these kings were very old, legendary or semi-legendary, so far back that their deaths could be cast in doubt. (althought the fredrick barbossa one had him hiding in a mountain in asia minor near where he drowned)

I think there were several native american legends about old heroes returning to save their particular peoples. so these could serve as american "kings under the mountain"

I think the grimm brothers included a lot of the german kings in their legends.

actually, there is a modern american counterpart to this legend. in comic books. Captain America was a WWII comic book hero who was frozen in ice after the war. Decades later he was unthawed, returning to the present young and fresh.

the legends just must tap into some kind of national conciousness. I guess the hope that there are old heroes willing to cheat death to save their paticular peoples.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Thu December 2nd, 2010, 6:45 pm

i saw an interesting twist on the legend. the last byzantine emperor constantine, rather than sleeping under a mountain, turned himself into a stone statue (which apparently exists), and will one day return to kick the turks out of constantinople.

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Post by Ash » Fri December 3rd, 2010, 12:41 am

[quote=""Ludmilla""]Please don't take this the wrong way, and in no way do I want to start a political debate, but within some segments of American society I am sure that Martin Luther King is viewed this way. [/quote]

Not sure how that would be taken the wrong way. I totally agree with you. And on some level, think within some segments of American society, JFK fits that bill too.
The jokester in me wants to suggest (as a cultural icon, not as a national political figure) Elvis Presley, who is sighted everywhere! (hee hee)
LOL!

Hiawatha? Well, I might not be the best person to ask, because we had to memorize that poem in JR hi and I absolutely hated it. Just don't see that character as being the awaited king. . Im thinking maybe of the Ghost Dance cult from the 1800s; one of the leaders from that would fit the bill -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Dance
Last edited by Ash on Fri December 3rd, 2010, 12:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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