La evolución de las Leyendas

The Legend of Zelda video games have been criticized for seeming to contradict each other: in «A link to the past» we are told that the world has been created by three goddesses, but in «Twilight Princess» the creator goddesses have been reduced to spirits and now there are four! And in yet another

Game it is said that they are three dragons that serve a main deity. Could it be that the creators of this game are careless, or do they know more about myths and legends than we think? Why are myths and legends transformed?

For example: we know that, according to Greek mythology, Athena, one of the 12 goddesses of Olympus and ruler of war and wisdom, was born as an adult directly from the head of Zeus. But that ‘s just the best-known story: another version says that Athena was the daughter of Poseidon and the nymph

Tritonis and Zeus later adopted her. And one more tradition says that she was the daughter of the winged giant Pallas, whom she later killed. Which one is the real one? The same goes for most of the myths and legends around the world: they have many versions and not a single narrative.

But what are these narratives? Myths and legends narrate prodigious events with fantastic, divine or supernatural characters and events but, unlike fiction, whoever narrates them assumes that they really happened even if others do not believe them. A religion, for example, may call the beliefs of other religions «mythology», but not its own. Now,

A myth is not the same as a legend: while a legend narrates events that can occur with people, places or real events or that could have been real (such as the legends of King Arthur, El Cid Campeador or why that mountain has that curious shape),

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Myths occur outside of historical time, in an undetermined past and usually involve gods and events as important as the origin of the world or essential aspects of life and nature. That is why myths play such an important role in our psyche,

Our values ​​and our way of life. What myths and legends have in common is that they both began as oral narratives, told from grandparents to parents and from parents to children, and that is the first reason why stories change so much. Since today we have books and

Other media that give us a «fixed» version of novels, short stories, and other narratives, we might think that this was the case in the past, and we tend to think of them as static stories, but in the days when mythologies were generated by oral tradition giving them a fluid characteristic:

Each narrator could add or subtract details and thus, the stories were modified little by little , like in a broken telephone game and, since they were not written down, people did not notice it until they compared two versions of the same story. Another phenomenon by which these narratives change

Is the so-called «legend contamination», which is when one of these stories presents elements taken from other legends. For example, there is a medieval legend about Judas Iscariot in which it is told how he was abandoned as a baby to later kill his

Father and marry his mother, just like the myth of Oedipus, before betraying Jesus. Thus, there is also syncretism, which occurs when two or more cultural traditions that have nothing to do with each other hybridize or amalgamate. For example, when one group conquers another,

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It is easier for the conquered people to think that the conquerors’ gods are forms of their own gods or even relatives than to abandon the beliefs. Or even newcomers adopt local myths perhaps by changing names. Catholic evangelization often replaced local deities with saints who had similar attributes to facilitate their adoption.

In Cuba, for example, African Yoruba deities syncretized with Catholicism, and many orishas, ​​nature deities, merged with Christian saints. For example, Changó, orisha of justice, lightning and thunder, was integrated with Santa Bárbara who also wears red. Thus, over time, mythologies merge and create something

New. Something similar is happening more recently in the world of comics: Fawcett Comics created Captain Marvel as their version of Superman and then DC ended up buying him, now going by the name of Shazam and living in the same universe as Superman. We can

Imagine mythology as a puzzle, made up of many pieces from different origins that are sometimes forced to fit together. The opposite can also occur: cultural divergence. A group with a homogeneous mythology splits into two, and over time the stories that are passed down mutate into very different stories, as probably

Happened with Indo-European mythology: the mythologies of various parts of Europe seem to come from an original myth. For all this it is not correct to say things like «In the past people believed such a thing»: the past is very big and the world too. In any

Case, we can say “at such a time and in such a place, the most widespread belief was this”. If even the true narrations about real characters change from one author to another and from one era to another, all the more so the myths and legends! Imagine how all this happens over the decades,

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Centuries and millennia and you will get an idea of ​​this perpetual transformation. If you’re interested in this topic, you’ve probably already seen how this works in two videos we’ve made about the evolution of two prominent figures in current mythologies: God and the Devil. Well, any mythological figure has undergone equivalent transformations: from

Odin of Norse mythology, who was possibly a late addition to the Norse pantheon, to Quetzalcóatl of the Mexicas, who was such an ancient myth that it was often not explained. Precisely because myths and legends change so much, written records like

The Popol Vuh, the Rig Veda, the Poetic Edda or the Epic of Gilgamesh are so valuable: they present us with a photograph, a fixed glance, of how beliefs were conceived at one time. and a specific place. And yet they are subject to change: it is enough to see all the different translations,

Revisions and interpretations that, for example, the Bible has had, to adjust to the needs of each era. That’s why it’s not possible to set up a single version and pinpoint with absolute certainty what people believed in the past, or say this is the

Correct version! Myths and legends are living stories that have changed throughout history and will continue to change in the future, and perhaps the Zelda games have so many inconsistencies because that’s what their creators wanted to achieve: build a true legend. Curiously!

Do not go yet! Today we want to thank you for watching and also remind you that you can help keep CuriosaMente alive through a small monthly donation at or through the YouTube member system. You can also help us with a one-time donation through PayPal or the «Super Thank You» button on YouTube.

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Written by d2jma

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