Hist(or)ic(al) Traditions

“…they pulled from their stock of stories tales about the old folk…Testimonies to endurance, wit, skill and strength…of luck and outrage….About their own lives they shut up….As though past heroism was enough of a future…”-Toni Morrison

Not A Single Story

Reminder: Africa is a continent, not a country. It’s all too common of a misconception about the region. Cultural narratives, such as myths concerning creation and origin, often overlap. Considering the continental complications of such a vast region, muddied by the European carving of the world, it remains simplest to explore the myths geographically. Each of these cultures has its own origin epics, heroes, and deities which may or may not overlap in ability, power, and patronage.

The First Spider-Man

Before I ever heard of Peter Parker, I met a much trickier man. I remember how real he seemed. His cunning and wit, his selfishness and helpfulness, his comeuppances, his curses, and his gifts. He gave as often as he took, reminding me a few real people I knew. He went by a few names, but the one I best recall is Anansi.

Muthos

Understanding myth means exploring those individuals who first used them. These would be classic, in the ancient sense, such as Plato, Socrates, and so on. The ancient Greek for myth is muthos which translates to “true story.” This is somewhat different from the modern context of myths as things needing debunking. Now, myths seem to indicate a level of falsehood.