Dīs Pater was a Roman god of the underworld. Dis was associated with fertile agricultural land and mineral wealth, since those minerals came from underground, he was equated with the chthonic deities Pluto and Orcus. Dīs Pater was shortened to Dīs and this name has since become an alternative name for the underworld or a part of the underworld, such as the City of Dis of Dante's The Divine Comedy, which comprises Lower Hell, it is thought that Dīs Pater was a Celtic god. This confusion arises from the second-hand citation of one of Julius Caesar's comments in his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, where he says that the Gauls all claimed descent from Dīs Pater. However, Caesar's remark is a clear example of interpretatio Romana: what Caesar meant was that the Gauls all claimed descent from a Gaulish god that reminded him of the Roman Dīs Pater, a scholia on the Pharsalia equates Dis Pater with Taranis, the chief sky deity in the Gaulish religion. Different possible candidates exist for this role in Celtic religion, such as Gaulish Sucellus, Irish Donn and Welsh Beli Mawr, among others.
In De Natura Deorum, Cicero derives the name of Dīs Pater from the Latin dives, suggesting a meaning of "father of riches", directly corresponding to the name Pluto, Pluto being how Plouton is spelled is Latin.. According to some 19th century authors, many of Cicero's etymological derivations are not to be taken and may indeed have been intended ironically. Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter. Dīs Pater became associated with death and the underworld because mineral wealth such as gems and precious metals came from underground, wherein lies the realm of the dead, i.e. Hades' domain. In being conflated with Pluto, Dīs Pater took on some of the latter's mythological attributes, being one of the three sons of Saturn and Ops, along with Jupiter and Neptune, he ruled the dead beside his wife, Proserpina. In literature, Dīs Pater's name was used as a symbolic and poetic way of referring to death itself. In 249 BC and 207 BC, the Roman Senate under senator Lucius Catellius ordained special festivals to appease Dīs Pater and Proserpina.
Every hundred years, a festival was celebrated in his name. According to legend, a round marble altar, Altar of Dīs Pater and Proserpina, was miraculously discovered by the servants of a Sabine called Valesius, the ancestor of the first consul; the servants were digging in the Tarentum on the edge of the Campus Martius to lay foundations following instructions given to Valesius's children in dreams, when they found the altar 20 feet underground. Valesius reburied the altar after three days of games. Sacrifices were offered to this altar during the Ludi Saeculares or Ludi Tarentini, it may have been uncovered for each occasion of the games, to be reburied afterwards, a chthonic tradition of worship. It was rediscovered in 1886–87 beneath the Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Rome. In addition to being considered the ancestor of the Gauls, Dīs Pater was sometimes identified with the Sabine god Soranus. In southern Germany and the Balkans, Dīs Pater had Aericura, as a consort. Dīs Pater was associated with foreign deities in the shortened form of his name, Dis.
Demeter Dievas Dyaus Pita Hades Tiwaz Zeus Crom Media related to Dīs Pater at Wikimedia Commons
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It comprises 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter; the first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas's wanderings from Troy to Italy, the poem's second half tells of the Trojans' victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The hero Aeneas was known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad. Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas's wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and his description as a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous pietas, fashioned the Aeneid into a compelling founding myth or national epic that tied Rome to the legends of Troy, explained the Punic Wars, glorified traditional Roman virtues, legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders and gods of Rome and Troy.
The Aeneid is regarded as Virgil's masterpiece and one of the greatest works of Latin literature. The Aeneid can be divided into two halves based on the disparate subject matter of Books 1–6 and Books 7–12; these two halves are regarded as reflecting Virgil's ambition to rival Homer by treating both the Odyssey's wandering theme and the Iliad's warfare themes. This is, however, a rough correspondence, the limitations of which should be borne in mind. Virgil begins his poem with a statement of his theme and an invocation to the Muse, falling some seven lines after the poem's inception, he explains the reason for the principal conflict in the story: the resentment held by the goddess Juno against the Trojan people. This is consistent with her role throughout the Homeric epics. In the manner of Homer, the story proper begins in medias res, with the Trojan fleet in the eastern Mediterranean, heading in the direction of Italy; the fleet, led by Aeneas, is on a voyage to find a second home. It has been foretold that in Italy he will give rise to a race both noble and courageous, a race which will become known to all nations.
Juno is wrathful, because she had not been chosen in the judgment of Paris, because her favorite city, will be destroyed by Aeneas's descendants. Ganymede, a Trojan prince, was chosen to be the cupbearer to her husband, Jupiter—replacing Juno's daughter, Hebe. Juno proceeds to Aeolus, King of the Winds, asks that he release the winds to stir up a storm in exchange for a bribe. Aeolus agrees to carry out Juno's orders. Neptune takes notice: although he himself is no friend of the Trojans, he is infuriated by Juno's intrusion into his domain, stills the winds and calms the waters, after making sure that the winds would not bother the Trojans again, lest they be punished more harshly than they were this time; the fleet takes shelter on the coast of Africa, where Aeneas rouses the spirits of his men, reassuring them that they have been through worse situations before. There, Aeneas's mother, Venus, in the form of a huntress similar to the goddess Diana, encourages him and recounts to him the history of Carthage.
Aeneas ventures into the city, in the temple of Juno he seeks and gains the favor of Dido, queen of the city. The city has only been founded by refugees from Tyre and will become a great imperial rival and enemy to Rome. Meanwhile, Venus has her own plans, she goes to her son, Aeneas's half-brother Cupid, tells him to imitate Ascanius. Disguised as such, Cupid offers the gifts expected from a guest. With Dido's motherly love revived as she cradles the boy during a banquet given in honour of the Trojans, Cupid secretly weakens her sworn fidelity to the soul of her late husband, murdered by her brother, Pygmalion. In books 2 and 3, Aeneas recounts the events, he begins the tale shortly after the war described in the Iliad. Cunning Ulysses devised a way for Greek warriors to gain entry into the walled city of Troy by hiding in a large wooden horse; the Greeks pretended to sail away, leaving a warrior, Sinon, to mislead the Trojans into believing that the horse was an offering and that if it were taken into the city, the Trojans would be able to conquer Greece.
The Trojan priest Laocoön saw through the Greek plot and urged the horse's destruction, but his protests fell on deaf ears, so he hurled his spear at the horse. In what would be seen by the Trojans as punishment from the gods, two serpents emerged from the sea and devoured Laocoön, along with his two sons; the Trojans took the horse inside the fortified walls, after nightfall the armed Greeks emerged from it, opening the city's gates to allow the returned Greek army to slaughter the Trojans. In a dream, the fallen Trojan prince, advised Aeneas to flee with his family. Aeneas saw with horror what was happening to his beloved city. At first he tried to fight the enemy, but soon he lost his comrades and was left alone to fend off the Greeks, he witnessed the murder of Priam by Achilles' son Pyrrhus. His mother, appeared to him and led him back to his house. Aeneas tells of his escape with his son, his wife Creusa, his father, after the occurrence
In ancient Roman religion, Feronia was a goddess associated with wildlife, fertility and abundance. As the goddess who granted freedom to slaves or civil rights to the most humble part of society, she was honored among plebeians and freedmen, her festival, the Feroniae, was November 13 during the Ludi Plebeii, in conjunction with Fortuna Primigenia. Note that the similar-sounding Feralia on February 21 is a festival of Jupiter Feretrius, not Feronia. Feronia's name is derived from a Sabine adjective corresponding to Latin fĕrus. Feronia comes with a long vowel, i.e. Fērōnǐa; the root fer has cognate words in every Indo-European language and is the root of the Vedic god Rudrá’s name. Latin fĕrus means "not cultivated, untamed", "of the field, wood", "untamed", "not mitigated by any cultivation" which fits the environment of the sanctuaries of Feronia and is close to rudis. Feronia is one of the Roman and Italic goddesses whose name is formed by a root ending with the suffix -ona or -onia; this form of a noun denotes a difficult or dangerous state or condition: The deity is a sovereign of that danger, only to help man to best avoid damage or get the greatest advantage, such as Angerona for the angusti dies near the winter solstice.
Many versions of Feronia’s cult have been supposed, it is not quite clear that she was only one goddess or had only one function in ancient times. Some Latins believed Feronia to be a harvest goddess, honoured her with the harvest firstfruits in order to secure a good harvest the following year. Festus's entry on the picus Feronius of Trebula Mutuesca testifies the goddess had prophetic qualities among the Sabines, as did the picus martius of Tiora Matiena ascribed to the Aborigines. Feronia served as a goddess of travellers and waters. Varro identified Feronia with the goddess who personified Liberty. According to Servius, Feronia was a tutelary goddess of freedmen. A stone at the Terracina shrine was inscribed "let deserving slaves sit down so that they may stand up free." Livy notes that in 217 BCE freed women collected money as a gift for Feronia. Some sources state, she was among the deities. She may have been introduced into Roman religious practice when Manius Curius Dentatus conquered Sabinum in the early 3rd century BCE.
Two stories about her sanctuary of Terracina highlight the character of Feronia as goddess of the wilderness: Servius writes that when a fire destroyed her wood and the locals were about moving the statues to another location, the burnt wood turned green. Pliny states that all attempts at building towers in times of war between Terracina and the sanctuary of Feronia have been abandoned because all are without exception destroyed by lightning bolts; the goddess thus refused any linkage with the nearby town. In Vergil's Aeneid, troops from Feronia's grove fight on the side of Turnus against Aeneas; the Arcadian king Evander recalls how in his youth he killed a son of Feronia, who like Geryon had a triple body and a triple soul. Vergil identifies Erulus as the king of Praeneste. Georges Dumézil considers Feronia to be a goddess of wilderness, of untamed nature, nature's vital forces – but honoured because she offers man the opportunity to put those forces to good use in acquiring nurture and fertility.
She fecundates and heals, therefore despite her being worshipped only in the wild she receive the first-fruits of the harvest, because she permits men to domesticate the wild forces of vegetation, favouring the transformation of that, uncouth into that, cultivated. Dumézil compares her to Vedic god Rudra: He is similar to Feronia in that he represents that which has not yet been transformed by civilization – he is the god of the rude, of the jungle, at one time dangerous and uniquely useful, healer thanks to the herbs within his domain, protector of the freed slaves and of the outcast. Feronia, has only the positive or useful function of putting the forces of wild nature at the service of man. Inscriptions to Feronia are found in central Italy. Ferona's shrines were all located in the wild, far from human settlements. Varro, places Feronia in his list of Sabine gods who had altars in Rome. Feronia's cults at Aquileia and Terracina were near springs; the Augustan poet Horace speaks of the water of Feronia, in which "we bathe our face and hands."
Her lucus at Capena was a place where everybody was allowed to come for worship and trade, attracting people from different nations, Latins and others from farther away. The grove provided everybody with a neutral territory. Feronia’s temple at the base of Mt. Soracte, near Capena; the Lucus Feroniae, or "grove of Feronia" was the site of an annual festival in her honour, in the nature of a trade fair. The place, in the territory of Capena in southwestern Etruria, was plundered of its gold and silver by Hannibal's retreating troops in 211 BCE, when he turned aside from the Via Salaria to visit the sanctuary, its status as a colony is recorded in a single inscription, copied in a manuscript of the rule of the Farfa Abbey as colonia Iulia Felix Lucoferonensis. Another important site was near Anxur, in a wood three Roman miles from the town, where Servius re
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The national divinity of the Greeks, Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music and prophecy, the sun and light, plague and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Seen as the most beautiful god and the ideal of the kouros, Apollo is considered to be the most Greek of all gods. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu; as the patron of Delphi, Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. Apollo is the god of archery and the invention of archery is credited to him and his sister Artemis, he had a quiver of golden arrows. He is said to have never missed his aim, his arrows could inflict harm by causing sudden deaths or deadly plague.
As the leader of the Muses and director of their choir, Apollo functions as the patron god of music and poetry. He is the inventor of string-music; the Cithara and the lyre are said to be his inventions. The lyre is a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans. Apollo delights in the foundation of towns and the establishment of civil constitution. Hence is associated with dominion over colonists. Additionally, he is the god of the protector of fugitives and refugees. Apollo is the interpreter of laws, he presides over the divine law and custom along with Zeus and Themis. As the protector of young, Apollo is concerned with the health of children, he brings them out of their adolescence. Boys in Ancient Greece, upon reaching their adulthood, dedicated it to Apollo. Apollo is the patron of protector of herds and flocks, he is causes abundance in the milk produced by cattle, is connected with their fertility. As an agricultural deity, Apollo protects the crops from diseases the rust in corns and grains.
He is the controller and destroyer of pests that infect plants and plant harvests. Apollo is the god who wards off evil, he delivered men from the epidemics. Various epithets call him the "averter of evil". In Hellenistic times during the 5th century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun. In Latin texts, there was no conflation of Apollo with Sol among the classical Latin poets until 1st century AD. Apollo and Helios/Sol remained separate beings in literary and mythological texts until the 5th century CE. Apollo The name Apollo—unlike the related older name Paean—is not found in the Linear B texts, although there is a possible attestation in the lacunose form ]pe-rjo--[) on the KN E 842 tablet; the etymology of the name is uncertain. The spelling Ἀπόλλων had superseded all other forms by the beginning of the common era, but the Doric form, Apellon, is more archaic, as it is derived from an earlier *Ἀπέλjων, it is a cognate to the Doric month Apellaios, the offerings apellaia at the initiation of the young men during the family-festival apellai.
According to some scholars, the words are derived from the Doric word apella, which meant "wall," "fence for animals" and "assembly within the limits of the square." Apella is the name of the popular assembly in corresponding to the ecclesia. R. S. P. Beekes rejected the connection of the theonym with the noun apellai and suggested a Pre-Greek proto-form *Apalyun. Several instances of popular etymology are attested from ancient authors. Thus, the Greeks most associated Apollo's name with the Greek verb ἀπόλλυμι, "to destroy". Plato in Cratylus connects the name with ἀπόλυσις, "redemption", with ἀπόλουσις, "purification", with ἁπλοῦν, "simple", in particular in reference to the Thessalian form of the name, Ἄπλουν, with Ἀειβάλλων, "ever-shooting". Hesychius connects the name Apollo with the Doric ἀπέλλα, which means "assembly", so that Apollo would be the god of political life, he gives the explanation σηκός, "fold", in which case Apollo would be the god of flocks and herds. In the ancient Macedonian language πέλλα means "stone," and some toponyms may be derived from this word: Πέλλα and Πελλήνη.
A number of non-Greek etymologies have been suggested for the name, The Hittite form Apaliunas is attested in the Manapa-Tarhunta letter related to Hurrian Aplu, a god of plague, in turn from Akkadian Aplu Enlil meaning "the son of Enlil", a title, given to the god Nergal, linked to Shamash, Babylonian god of the sun. The role of Apollo as god of plague is evident in the invocation of Apollo Smintheus by Chryses, the Trojan priest of Apollo, with the purpose of sending a plague against the Greeks (the reasoning behind a god of the plague becoming a god of healing is
Falisci is the ancient Roman exonym for an Italic people who lived in what is now northern Lazio, on the Etruscan side of the Tiber River. They spoke an Italic language, Faliscan akin to Latin. A sovereign state and they supported the Etruscans, joining the Etruscan League; this conviction and affiliation led to their ultimate near destruction and total subjugation by Rome. Only one instance of their own endonym has been found to date: an inscription from Falerii Novi from the late 2nd century AD refers to the falesce quei in Sardinia sunt, "the Faliscans who are in Sardinia", where falesce is the nominative plural case. An Etruscan inscription calls them the feluskeś; the Latin cannot be far different from the original name. The -sc- suffix is "distinctive of the Italic ethnonyms"; the Falisci resided in a region called by the Romans the Ager Faliscus, "Faliscan Country", located on the right bank of the Tiber River between and including Grotta Porciosa in the north and Capena in the south. To the west, the corners of the square area were on the slopes of the Monti Sabatini in the south and the Monti Cimini in the north.
Pollen samples from Lake Bracciano, Lake Monterosi and Lake Vico reveal that the montane forests, formed by oaks, were dense until the 2nd century BC. The arable land was contained within an enclosure of the Tiber River; the northern border of the enclosure went along the ridge of the Monti Cimini, the southern along the ridge connecting the Monti Sabatini and Monte Soratte, the western along the highlands connecting the two large volcanic lakes. The inner slopes are drained by streams pointing at the Tiber, which collect into converging canyons and into the canyon of the Treia River, which empties into the Tiber; these streams required an extensive network of bridges. The Falisci lived in a natural stronghold surrounded by Etruscan cities, notably Veii to the south; this circumstance suggests that eastern Etruria was held by Latins, who were displaced by or incorporated into Etruscan civilization, but the Falisci were able to remain lodged in their highlands. Most of the through traffic went along the Via Tiburtina on the west bank of the river, which could only be crossed south of Capena or at Grotta Porciosa in the north.
There the Via Flaminia, earlier the Via Amerina, led inland into the country of the Sabines via the valley of the Nar River. On the western side, the Via Cassia or its predecessor led to the coast over Sutri gap; the Falisci therefore prospered by being on a protected crossroad. Their most important centre was Falerii, which became known as Falerii Veteres after the Romans moved them to a less defensible position, Falerii Novi. Both locations are near the modern Civita Castellana, they had Fescennium. Archaeologists have discovered other major municipalities, unmentioned by the ancient sources, at Corchiano, Vignanello and Grotta Porciosa. In spite of the Etruscan domination, the Faliscans preserved many traces of their Italic origin, such as the worship of the deities Juno Quiritis, the cult of the god Soranus by the Hirpi or fire-leaping priests on Mount Soracte, above all their language; the Falisci allied with the Etruscans, resisted Rome for a long time. They were allied with Veii when it was defeated in 396 BC.
In the aftermath, Falerii was occupied by the victorious Romans. When, in 358, Tarquinia rebelled, the Falisci again took arms against Rome, but were again crushed c. 351 BC. This time an alliance was signed between the contenders, a Roman garrison was settled in Falerii; the Falisci took advantage of the First Punic War to declare their independence, but their revolt ended in 241 BC with the death of 15,000 Falisci and the destruction of Falerii. Faliscan language Pelasgians Carlucci, Claudia. Villa Giulia Museum: The Antiquities of the Faliscans. Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider, 1998. De Lucia Brolli, Maria Anna and Jacopo Tabolli. “The Faliscans and the Etruscans.” In The Etruscan World, edited by Jean MacIntosh Turfa, 259-280. London: Routledge, 2013. Holland, Louise Adams; the Faliscans in Prehistoric Times. Rome: American Academy in Rome, 1925. Potter, T. W. A Faliscan Town in South Etruria: Excavations at Narce 1966-71. London: British School at Rome, 1976. Bakkum, Gabriël CLM; the Latin Dialect of the Ager Faliscus: 150 Years of Scholarship.
Thesis, University of Amsterdam. Part I. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Robert Seymour. "Falisci". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 10. Cambridge University Press. P. 148
Maurus Servius Honoratus
Maurus Servius Honoratus was a late fourth-century and early fifth-century grammarian, with the contemporary reputation of being the most learned man of his generation in Italy. These works, In tria Virgilii Opera Expositio, constituted the first incunable to be printed at Florence, by Bernardo Cennini, 1471. In the Saturnalia of Macrobius, Servius appears as one of the interlocutors; the commentary on Virgil has survived in two distinct manuscript traditions. The first is a comparatively short commentary, attributed to Servius in the superscription in the manuscripts and by other internal evidence. A second class of manuscripts, all deriving from the 10th and 11th centuries, embed the same text in a much expanded commentary; the copious additions are in contrast to the style of the original. "The added matter is undoubtedly ancient, dating from a time but little removed from that of Servius, is founded to a large extent on historical and antiquarian literature, now lost. The writer is anonymous and a Christian", although not if, as is suggested, he is Aelius Donatus.
A third class of manuscripts, written for the most part in Italy, gives the core text with interpolated scholia, which demonstrate the continued usefulness of the Virgilii Opera Expositio. The authentic commentary of Maurus Servius Honoratus is in effect the only complete extant edition of a classic author written before the collapse of the Empire in the West, it is constructed much on the principle of a modern edition, is founded on an extensive Virgilian critical literature, much of, known only from the fragments and facts preserved in this commentary. The notices of Virgil's text, though or never authoritative in face of the existing manuscripts, which go back to, or beyond, the time of Servius, yet supply valuable information concerning the ancient recensions and textual criticism of Virgil. In the grammatical interpretation of his author's language, Servius does not rise above the stiff and overwrought subtleties of his time. Servius set his face against the prevalent allegorical methods of exposition of text.
For the antiquarian and the historian, the abiding value of his work lies in his preservation of facts in Roman history, religion and language, which but for him might have perished. Not a little of the laborious erudition of Varro and other ancient scholars has survived in his pages. Besides the Virgilian commentary, other works of Servius are extant: a collection of notes on the grammar of Aelius Donatus; the edition of Georg Thilo and Hermann Hagen, remains the only edition of the whole of Servius' work. In development is the Harvard Servius. Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article: Maurus Servius Honoratus Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil at the Perseus Project in Latin. Commentary on the Eclogues of Vergil at the Perseus Project in Latin. De Centum Metris at Intratext.com De Centum Metris at Forum Romanorum Servii grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii, Georius Thilo, Hermannus Hagen, 3 voll. Lipsiae in aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1881-1902: vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3 part 1, vol. 3 part 2
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.