By Joseph Campbell
An image-rich reference work that uses charts and maps as well as text by the renowned scholar of world mythology to explore the development of myths across time and place.
Quotations from this Title
Throughout the ranges, not only of the early planting cultures, but also of all those high archaic civilizations . . . two complementary themes are outstanding. One is of death as the generator of life; the other, of self-offering as the way to self-validation. In the symbolism of the sacrifice, both are comprehended. [share]
Myth, like dream, is an expression of the human imagination thus grounded in the realities of the psyche and, like dream, reflecting equally the influences of a specific social environment (nomadic hunting-and-gathering tribe; settled agricultural sib, city state, or nation; vagrant desert horde; or militaristic empire), which, in turn, is linked to a landscape. The common ground, or element, of all mythology is consequently the biology of Homo sapiens sapiens, whereas the differentiating factors are (1) geography and (2) the cultural stage horizon. For it is a fact that every mythological system has taken shape within a given geographical horizon, conditioned not only by the landscape from which its imagery is derived, but also by the limits of the body of information according to which all appearances in that only known world are interpreted. [share]