What role do myths play in cultures? Stories were often told to help explain the mysteries of life—how the world began, how evil and goodness came to be, what happens after death, how nature works. These stories were filled with gods and goddesses, heroes, fantastical creatures, monsters, and more. Ancient peoples built temples and shrines to worship and pay homage to the gods and goddesses in these stories.Come and explore the myths and legends of ancient civilizations and see how these stories helped them make sense of the world.
Travel to the Dreamtime of the original Australians. The aboriginal people of Australia believed that the world was created by mythical, supernatural creatures of the Dreamtime.
Mythology was important to ancient civilizations. It helped them make sense of their world. Travel to ancient Egypt and explore their rich mythology. They had wonderful myths describing their complex view of the afterlife, myths to explain the annual flooding of the Nile, myths to explain how the world was created, myths to explain how good and evil came into the world, and much more.
Visit Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs. The Aztecs believed this city was formed from the place where the god Copil lost his heart in a battle, and it is the site of the modern-day Mexico City.
Travel to ancient Greece and steer clear of the Furies. The Furies translate in Greek as “the angry ones”. The Furies were usually portrayed as three hags that had snakes entwined about their bodies. They carried torches and whips, and their job was to pursue the guilty and punish them. When they weren’t tormenting guilty people on earth, they were in the underworld, punishing the wrongdoers there. In conjunction with the Furies were three entities called the Fates. They were usually portrayed as three old women with spindles who spun people’s fate like thread. Their job was to determine the fate of each person at birth.
Explore ancient Ireland and its Celtic and Gaelic myths and legends.
Travel to southeast Utah and northern New Mexico and Arizona and explore the world of Kokopelli. He is part of the mythology of Pueblo and Hopi people. He is often depicted playing a flute. His bent-over figure looks as though he has a hunchback, but his bent back carries a bag full of gifts that he bestows upon humans.
Visit the Labyrinth in ancient Greece and try and avoid the Minotaur. The Labyrinth was created by Daedalus for the king of Crete. The Minotaur, which had the head of a bull and the body of a man, was installed in the Labyrinth to prevent anyone from exploring it.
Visit the Black Hills of South Dakota. They are considered to be the center of the universe by the Lakota Sioux.
There’s no better place to go to commune with the gods of ancient Greece than Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, and it is the home of Zeus and his wife, Hera.
The ancient Greeks believed that their gods spoke to them through oracles. Travel to Delphi which was the home of one of the most powerful and popular oracles. Delphi is located on Mount Parnassus. At the Oracle of Delphi, Apollo, who was the god of sun, truth, and music, spoke to petitioners through a woman called the Pythia.
Travel to the Parthenon, the incredible Greek temple built to honor Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. The Acropolis (which means high city) is a tall and holy hill in the center of Athens. The Parthenon is one of the many buildings atop the Acropolis.
Travel to the American Pacific northwest to learn about totem poles. Totem poles were considered heraldic columns and were created and raised to honor a family member. They marked the territory of tribe members and also warded off evil spirits. The carvings on the poles told stories about the person they represented and were “read” from bottom to top. The carvings also represented the animal heralds of individuals.
Explore this clickable map and experience myths and legends of worldwide cultures.
Visit the Zulu tribe of South Africa. Umvelinqangi, the father of the gods, formed Unkulunkulu who created man, animals, mountains, rivers and taught the Zulu how to grow food, hunt, and make fire.
Spend time with Quetzalcoatl, one of the major Aztec gods. He was known as the feathered serpent god. Quetzalcoatl helped create the world, discovered maize, domesticated animals, and created fire.
Meet over 2,100 African, Australian, Aztec, Celtic, Egyptian, Finnish, Greek, Incan, Mayan, Mesopotamian, Native American, Norse, and Oceanic gods and goddesses.
Meet Minerva, goddess of "wisdom and learning, meditation, inventiveness, accomplishments, the arts, spinning and weaving, and commerce" and many of her friends.
Get to know Helen of Troy. Her renowned beauty ended up causing war, destruction, betrayal, family feuds, and more. Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. She married Menelaus, the King of Sparta. Then she ran off with Paris who was the prince of Troy. The Trojan War ensued.
Spend time with 12 god and 13 goddesses who, along with Odin and Frigg (the chief god and goddess), comprise the Norse family of mythological entities.
Get to know Indra who was the king of the gods in ancient India. Like Zeus, Indra used thunderbolts to frighten and punish. He is often depicted riding Airavta, a huge elephant with four tusks.
Get to know the Mayan god, Huracán. He was the god of wind, fire, and lightning—the storm god. He helped with the creation of the world and later destroyed mankind with water by making it rain until the whole world was flooded. At some point, the Spanish explorers adopted the word huracan meaning storm, and this word has evolved into the word hurricane.
Get to know Achelous and Hercules, Acis and Galatea, Admetus and Alcestis, Agamemnon, Amphion, Amphitrite, Antigone, Apollo and Daphne, Hyacinthus, Ariadne, Arion, Aristaeus, Aurora and Tithonus, and dozens of other Greek and Roman characters.
Basilisks, centaurs, cerberus, chimeras, cyclops, dragons, giants, griffins, harpies, hydras, krakens, mandrakes, and manticores, are of a few of the monsters and creatures in the spotlight at this informative site.
Get to know the cast of characters in Homer's Odyssey.
Meet Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Their mother was Rhea Silvia, a vestal virgin, and their father was the god, Mars. Romulus and Remus were set adrift in a basket on the Tigris River and rescued and reared by a she-wolf.
Meet the Maori people of New Zealand and read some of their stories that have been passed down through their oral traditions for generations.
Meet Thor, one of the main gods of the Norse peoples. Thor was the god of farmers and sailors. He lived in a palace with 540 doors, used a big hammer for a weapon, and rode in a beautiful chariot pulled by goats. He had great power to control the weather—to send good winds to help sailors and to send fair weather to aid farmers in growing their crops. Thunder and lightning in all the world was a result of Thor hitting things with his enormous hammer.
Meet the Trojan Horse. It played a huge role in the capture of the ancient city of Troy. The Greeks had laid siege to the Trojan city of Troy for many years, but were unsuccessful in ever breaking through the thick walls of the city. So right in front of the eyes of the inhabitants of Troy, the Greeks built a gigantic horse right out on the battlefield. One morning, the people of Troy woke up and saw that the Greeks had deserted the battlefield and left the enormous horse. So the Trojans unwittingly pulled the horse inside the gates of their city with disastrous results.
Meet Nymphs, Human, Amazons, and Monstresses who played large or small parts in Greek mythological times.
Visit with the original ancient Chinese gods who were born of Yin and Yang. The principle of Yin and Yang represents two things that are opposite or contradict each other such as male and female, fire and water, sun and moon, light and dark, etc. The original Chinese gods were born of this duel principle, and their 3 children Fuxi, Nuwa, and Shennong were important and vital gods.
These resources detail a variety of myths from several sources. Find variants for Ethiopia, the Ekoi, the Yoruba, and the Zulus.
This website is a companion to a hard copy book of classical mythology. Its chapter resources contain extensive and detailed information.
A Large and Diverse Collection of Links to Creation Myths from Around the World.
Mythweb's illustrated encyclopedia of Greek Mythology. Find out about the Greek gods and goddesses.
The mythology resources in this website are organized by geographic region: Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Oceania.
Learn about the origins of Greek mythology and take a quiz to test your knowledge.
If who was married to whom and who had a dalliance with whom and begat whom is confusing in Greek mythology, this site has a family tree to help sort it all out.
Every year the people of Athens had to send fourteen young people to be eaten by the Minotaur who lived in a labyrinth on the island of Crete. Find out how Theseus saved the day.
Browse through this extensive listing of major and minor Greek gods and heroes.
Learn some of the distinctions between myths and legends.
This site lists classical clichés, proverbial expressions, and conversational phrases that all have their origins in classical mythology.
Find out about the gods and heroes and monsters of ancient Greece.
This content resource connects students with many activities on myths, folktales and fairy tales. Students read myths, publish their work online and practice story telling. Links and teacher's notes are included.
The Theoi Project is a site exploring Greek mythology and the gods in classical literature and art. The aim of the project is to provide a comprehensive, free reference guide to the gods (theoi), spirits (daimones), fabulous creatures (theres) and heroes of ancient Greek mythology and religion.
Access a virtual Who's Who of Greek mythological creatures.