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Greek and Inuit Mythology

Oct 08, 1999 529 Words
Parallelism in Greek and Inuit Mythology
The very early creation legends are difficult to trace to their original sources, since they were passed along by word of mouth from one generation to the next. There are many different legends about the origin of the earth, some similar to those told in other cultures. It is interesting that most of these legends can be tied together in one or more ways. The Greek and Inuit tribe versions of early existence are related in many ways. In both interpretations there is one creator. The Greek version explains that Eurynome, the goddess of all things, rises naked from chaos and finds nothing for her feet to stand on. She then separates the sea from the sky and dances upon the waves to the south, where later her hands would turn into a serpent (Switzer 10). Similarly, in the Inuit interpretation, a raven is born out of darkness and chaos. He searches around the dark trying to find his position; he finds water, grass and trees. After contemplating about who he is and what makes the grass grow, he eventually realizes that he is the Raven Father, the creator of all life (Ingpen 67). Secondly, both interpretations use the bird as the principal creator of all things. It is thought that Eurynome is the author of the universe. She becomes pregnant when her serpent hands coil around her. Next, she assumes the form of a dove and lays a huge egg which the serpent keeps warm until it hatches. The egg brings forth all the things that now exist: the sun, moon, planets, stars, and the earth with its mountains, valleys, stream, lakes, all living creatures, including the first humans (Switzer 11). In like manner, Raven flies through the darkness and finds a new land, for which he calls Earth. One day, he notices a giant pea pod and watches it as it splits open and produces a man. He creates the ox and caribou for the man to eat but tells him not to harm them (Ingpen 68). He continues to create animals, but then creates a woman to be the man's companion. Soon the man and woman reproduce and there are many children. Although similar in some ways, the two creation myths also contrast in several ways. The Greek version illustrates that Eurynome asexually becomes pregnant and lays an egg. This giant egg holds all things that now exist. In complete contrast, Raven witnesses man being brought to life through a giant pea pod. It is then when he creates a woman so that they can reproduce and have many children. In conclusion, the Inuit and Greek creation myths compare and contrast in different ways. Although told in two different eras by two completely different cultures, the two legends are still comparable in several ways. There is a variety of legends about the origin of the earth, but similarities can be traced through practically all of them.

Works Cited
Ingpen, Robert, and Molly Perhan. Gods and Goddesses. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996.
Switzer, Ellen, and Costas. Greek Myths: Gods, Heroes, and Monsters. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1988.

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