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Mythological Allusions

Greek Mythology

Gholsbane fleshes out a possible connection between the Trow, the great Trow city of Rhi'anon, and foundational Greek mythology.

I believe the name Rhi'anon comes from the name Rhea, a greek Titan. Gaea, mother earth, gave life to the Titans and other earth gods, who were borne out of Chaos. You might say this is the same sort of thing that happenend with the Trow, who emerged from Wyrd's shattered one dream.

Alternatively, there is a Welsh goddess called Rhiannon (no apostrophe) whose name derives from the word Rigantona meaning 'Great/Divine Queen. Only the name bears any resemblance to Myth.

Cronus, or Kronos, husband to Rhea, was told one of his sons would kill him, so he ate his children as soon as they were born -- similar to the Trow wiping out any race as soon as they came into conflict with them.

One of Cronus's children was special. Zeus managed to defeat his father Cronus and imprison his Titans on Tartarus, a part of the underworld where you suffered for atrocities committed on Earth against your own relatives. This is extremely similar to the Trow being imprisoned by Connacht under Rhi'anon for the atrocities they perpetrated against their other brother races. Later, Zeus freed the Titans like Balor freed the Trow.

Cronus is also associated with volcanoes. Now look at Tharsis which is called the forge of the Trow. Tharsis is also the name of a very high volcano on Mars and is the connecting link between East and West like it is in Mythworld. It takes its name from the ancient Spanish town 'Tartessus' or 'Tharsus' of Cilicia. Last, in the Old Testament it says: "And Jonas rose up to flee into Tharsis from the face of the Lord, and he went down to Joppe, and found a ship going to Tharsis: and he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tharsis from the face of the Lord." This is similar to Soulblighter fleeing into the Eye of Tharsis to hide from the face of Alric.

Celtic and Welsh Mythology

Gholsbane found a whole freaking lot of stuff connecting Myth to Celtic mytholology, and sent it all to us. There's too much stuff to put on this page, so we've given it its own page, here!

Hinduism and Asia

There are a number of interesting parallels between Myth and Hindu mythology.

The parallels begin with the definition of an avatar, which is:

The incarnation of a Hindu deity, especially Vishnu, in human or animal form.

And Vishnu is described as:

One of the principal Hindu deities, worshiped as the protector and preserver of worlds. Vishnu is often conceived as a member of the triad including also Brahma and Shiva.

Not much interesting yet, though the legendary Heroes could be seen as avatars of Myth's Vishnu-equivilant, some sort of preserver spirit. In fact the Avatara are described in GURPS Myth as archmages seeking to rebuild the One Dream and become avatara of Wyrd. On the other side of the coin:

Shiva: One of the principal Hindu deities, worshiped as the destroyer and restorer of worlds and in numerous other complementary forms. Shiva is often conceived as a member of the triad also including Brahma and Vishnu.

Clearly a parallel to The Leveller, who is "seeking not to conquer but to Destroy".

We may assume these parallels to be factual based on this evidence. There is also more on Avatara:

Avatar, in Hinduism, descent of a god into the world of human beings for the duration of a human life span. Avatar differs from the Christian concept of incarnation in two significant ways: A Hindu god can become incarnate in many places at the same time through "partial" avatars (amshas), and the avatars neither fully participate in human suffering nor lose their divine knowledge and power.

So perhaps all Great Heros are incarnations of Wyrd/Vishnu.

Then there is Brahma, the third in the triad.

Brahma: 1. Hinduism. a. The creator god, conceived chiefly as a member of the triad including also Vishnu and Shiva.

Brahman: 1. Also Brahma (-me) Hinduism. a. A religious formula or prayer and the holy or sacred power in it and in the officiating priest. b. The holy or sacred power that is the source and sustainer of the universe. c. The single absolute being pervading the universe and found within the individual; atman.

Brahma would seem to correlate to Wyrd as well, who created the world. Perhaps Great Heroes are not avatars of Wyrd but instead of some third Savior spirit, opposite to The Leveller.

hinduism: Incorporated in this rich literature is a complex cosmology. Hindus believe that time is both degenerative and cyclic, with the world progressing through periods of decreasing goodness until it is destroyed and born again. Human life, too, is cyclic: After death, the soul leaves the body and is reborn in another body. This condition of endless entanglement in activity and rebirth is called samsara (see Transmigration). The circumstances of the new birth are determined by karma, the accumulated merit and demerit of past actions. Hindus believe that karma can be counteracted by atonement and rituals, by "working out" through punishment or reward, and by achieving release (moksha) from samsara through the renunciation of worldly desires.

There are lots of obvious parallels between Myth and Hinduism here. Cycles, obviously. Reincarnation as well, with the ressurrected Thrall, continually returning heroes and villains, the "reborn" Heron Guards, and of course then there's the Skrael:

Every Skrael believes that he who dies in battle is reborn seven times to revenge himself upon his destroyers, and that each of these seven incarnations may itself give rise to seven more ...

Dan Hyman provides some useful information:

ok, i think that you are wrong about the hinduism thing. I dont know too much about it, i have been mistaken before. However, i do know that there is no "fight" between any of the hindu gods. They are a balance. Eastern philosophy is quite into balance, ya know that whole ying/yang thing?

Perhaps, but it is important to note that conflict can maintain balance. Shiva / the Leveller's destruction would certainly seem to be in conflict with the forces of the living, who Vishnu / the Savior would of course like to preverve; but their conflict keeps the world in balance between the two extremes.

Chris Stelnick believes Shiva is actually an allusion to Shiver.

...I believe Shiva is more like the Fallen Lord Shiver for several reasons.

  • Shiva is a female, as Shiver is
  • Shiva used strong magical powers as we have seen in very old RPGs as Shiver uses her Dream spells to fight and ultimately loses with the spells
  • Shiver and Shiva...a very similar spelling
  • Balor uses Lightning as his main magic which would not match up with Shiva's Ice spells from the RPGs

Several Final Fantasy nintendo and playstation games come to mind here. Shiva was an Esper in FF3 I believe and could summon ice magic.

It's worth noting that Shiva was actually a male deity, but we're leaving this speculation here for posterity.

Mark Diller offers this tantalizing information.

I'm not a specialist in Hinduism, but I have studied the history of religions, and I'm working on an encyclopedia of religions right now, so I probably know as much about Hinduism as the boys at Bungie do (which is, of course, the corrective to all this speculation: they may be drawing on Hinduism for their story, but they won't let theological accuracy get in the way of a rippin' good yarn). So here's my quick impressions:

  • the earlier response was correct -- there's no battle between Shiva and Vishnu or Brahma. Shiva, remember, is both the destroyer and the creator; the Hindu system envisions a cyclical pattern of time, so creation and destruction are part of the natural order of things. This, I think, actually fits better with what we know of Balor -- he is both hero and adversary. We'll probably have to wait for Myth II to guess where Bungie wants to take this aspect of the story.
  • An avatar is, indeed, an incarnation of a deity. Some Hindus, by the way, think of Jesus as an avatar of God, while there's a debate within the Vaishnavite Hindu community over whether Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu or whether all the gods are avatars of Krishna (sort of a theological version of the chicken-or-the-egg debate). Hindu mythology speaks of Vishnu sending various avatars down to meet certain needs. Often, this is to fight against demons.
  • It is really the demons who are the adversaries of the gods in Hindu mythology. Demons in this system are nearly at the level of the gods, sort of like the Giants in Germanic mythology or the Titans of Greek mythology.
  • If they're following the Hindu system of rebirth in figuring the character of Soulblighter, then they would have to figure in karma --the collective weight of one's past deeds which determine the position into which one is born. At this point, I don't see anything to indicate that karma plays a role in the Myth-ology.

Great information. Myth seems have been heavily inspired by Hindu mythology.

Liam Doughty writes:

Today I discovered something very interesting about Hinduism. There are *9* major gods. Coincidence? Also there was mention of a balance of Hinduism. In the manual, a Journeyman is telling us about how the world is like a flipping coin with light and dark ruling in turn. A balanceI think so.

Also, remember back to Marathon 2 and Thoth. Thoth was a computer created to alternate the cycle between war and peace. Much like a world ruled in turn by dead and living.

Ah-ha. I forgot about our buddy Thoth who sided with the underdog trying to keep the balance. Great stuff.

Ramses II sends us some great info on Hinuism's connections to Myth.

I like to think of Hinduism as the way a scientist would build the universe if it were just some vast experiment. Shiva creates the experiment, Vishnu works to keep it stable, and Brahma is the control factor within the experiment. Once the experiment has served it's purpose Vishnu steps aside allowing instability and entropy to begin taking affect, then Shiva clears the data so another experiment can be run.

Hmmm, some basic ideas about Hinduism in Myth:

Shiva is both the creator and the destroyer, he could be looked at as the guy who moderates the experiment (The Exp. being existence in this case). Balor as Shiva is an interesting idea, after all the Fallen Lords come 'Seeking not to conquer, but to destroy.' Balor as Connacht as Shiva is also workable, as Connacht created a new world out of the destruction of the Moagim/Myrkridia and founded Muirthemne, regarded as the greatest city in history. This creative act is, in balance with the Shiva idea, negated by his destructive act much later on. We are told that upon raising Muirthemne to it's greatest height, and creating/collecting many items of great power, Connacht vanishes for a time, allowing the experiment to run on it's on perhaps. This ties in with how, once the experiment is going Shiva's role ends and Vishnu's begins.

Ramses II adds:

Vishnu, as the anti-entropy force in Hinduism, could be represented by any number of avatars, though I'm actually thinking Mazzarin here. He was the most powerful of the avatara, and when the time came he stepped aside (Or was killed and converted) to allow Shiva/Balor to reset the experiment. Vishnu could have worked through many different avatars through the centuries, likely even Alric in the Southern Kingdoms. However, it should be noted that these Hindu gods _never_ enter into direct conflict with one another, they each have a role to play and stick to it. Once one part of the role is done the next begins without a hitch, thus perhaps Myth is an expansion on the western perversion of Hinduism into good/evil reflections. In Hinduism none of these three is strictly 'evil' or 'good' they merely serve to maintain, and create/destroy, the universe.

The concept of Brahma is quite difficult to convey in Western ideas and words, indeed I doubt I have a full understanding of the concept. You could consider Brahma to be omnipresence, that is the everywhere at once idea... I just don't know how to say it, some Hinduist believe that when one achieves perfection one is elevated to become a part of Brahma again, as Shiva created part of the universe (Or to be realistically true to Hinduist ideas, Multiverse) out of it, so the universe returns to it. Who could this be in Myth? The Narrator comes to mind, after all it is suggested that he isn't really one guy, just a series of people writing in similar styles about events as they occur, however he doesn't have the omniprescent view point in his writing thus perhaps (Though this isn't really very Hinduist) an avatar of Brahma?

Then of course there is always the idea that the Fallen Lords are some kind of demons. Really quite a bit simpler than the above ideas, after all demons in Hinduism can take many forms, and are vastly powerful. Soulblighter is a very demonish name too, but then again 'The Leveler' works quite well for Shiva also.

Last, Gholsbane writes:

With regard to Rhi'anon, Rhea is connected to the Asiatic goddess Cybele who was worshipped as a block of stone (much like damaged Trow).

Recompiled and edited by Forrest and David Bricker.