Most of us heard lots of English legends even in the childhood. As for me, I remember my English lesson in the second form, when the teacher was telling us a story of Robin Hood for about two hours and it was so interesting and exciting for me, that I stayed in the class at a break to listen to it up to the end...
It seems to me, that the interest to unknown, secret and mysterious things has become much stronger in me exactly since then. I have always wanted to take part in some trips to legendary places, to find proofs, that myths are true. It’s so amazing to me and it looks like a miracle, when I imagine human life in the past, when I forget about everything and touch upon the old history, mentally travel in a time machine...And all these mythological creations are breathtaking and I try to guess, what exactly do they personify.
This might be the only thing that made me choose this topic and now I’m really into it! If you ask me, why I’ve decided to look through exactly English mythology, I’ll answer, that I’m really interested in everything, connected to England: in the history of all English speaking countries (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, America, New Zealand and of course England), traditions, geography, differences and resemblances of language in English countries.
I think, it’s extremely important today to study mythology of the English speaking world more seriously, as there are a lot of answers to many questions about the history and the present of the country in the legends. For example, the legend of Beowulf reflects tribal relationships before Angles and Sacks moving to Britain.
So, the aim of my research is to study the history and the contents of English – speaking countries mythology and it’s influence on the modern life of the countries. In order to reach this aim, I had to accomplish the following objectives:
to study a lot of myths and legends and compare them
to define the concepts of “myth” and “legend”, their similarities and differences
to study the “soul” of English mythology (fears, dreams, ideal, national hero, etc)
to find out how national mythology is formed
to find out the way it influences modern life
get to know about the former explorers of English mythology
Mentioning different explorers of the issue, I can’t forget about one of the greatest scientists, the famous explorer and translator of the ancient English mythology (and literature), - J. R.R. Tolkien.
Everybody knows Tolkien as a writer, but only a few people know him as a scientist and explorer. J. Tolkien (1892 – 1973) was the Oxford professor. It’s rather strange, but he didn’t write a lot of articles, only about 30. It’s a pity that most of his articles and stories weren’t published, and nobody can explain, why.
Although his first work was “The Hobbit”, the main idea of English myths is put within his translation of “Beowulf”. He tried to express the link of ancient people with the nature, their different feelings about it, as the environment sometimes was a friend for them and sometimes - an enemy.
If to talk about Russian scientists, I can name the famous Russian writer, M. Gorkiy. Of course, he was interested in literature more, than in mythology, but he tried to answer some questions he asked himself about English mythology, like the
question about the sense of a fantasy in legends. And the answer was: “The main idea of fantasy was to show ancient working people wanted to make their work
easier, more productive; to protect themselves from different foes, and also to influence the weather with a help of the magic power.”[1, p.48]
V. A. Jukovskiy was the first who made the Russian reader know about the existence of foreign myths and ballades. It was not an uncommon thing for him to name himself an uncle of all English witches.
As well as M. Gorkiy and V. A. Jukovskiy, there were also many famous Russian writers and poets, who translated and made popular most of well - known myths, such as V. S. Rojdestvenskiy, S. Marshak, I. Ivanovskiy and N.Gymilev.
CHAPTER 1. THE MAIN CONCEPTS OF THE RESEARCH Although the concepts of “myth”, “legend” and “ballad” have almost the same meaning, they also have some differences, which I can’t forget to mention, as it is very important.
First of all, I would like to explain the meaning of each word:
“Myth” is the ancient national story, which seems to be like a fairy – tail, about famous gods, heroes, about the origin of natural events. In other words, it is a product of primitive thinking, connected to collective creative work.(the term of Durkhgeim).Myths concentrate on a place of a human being in nature and culture, his social position. That’s why they are still alive and famous with its high intellectual level.
”Legend” means a poetic story about a historical event, connected more with the description of reality than with fiction.
“Ballad” is a poem or a song, made in a special way, telling about true facts or different heroes, victories or bravery. So, they seem to be very close to each other, but if to look carefully, there are some important differences. We can say, that myth isn’t very true or important to history or facts, as it looks like a fiction, but it reflects the way people used to live, their national identity, their level of life, which has rather serious influence on “the soul of language”(specific words and quotes, which are not used in the nearby country, for example).
All of you know, that English language is spoken in a lot of countries all over the world, such as Ireland, Scotland, Wales, America, New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain. Each of these countries has its own history, religion, lifestyle and that’s why their mythology is unique, their national heroes were the “soul” of the country. Of course, it is a common thing, that the names of heroes or the plot of a legend are used in two or three myths of different countries at the same time, as the biggest part of English – speaking counties are situated near each other, like Scotland and Wales, and have a mixed culture, national identity. But if to look carefully on mythology of these countries, we’ll find out a plenty of ideas and shades, typical to the specific period of time, to dreams, fears and thoughts of people. All of these aspects are given in a history, climate, lifestyle, geographical position of a country.
CHAPTER 2. The origin of national mythology. At the turn of our era British Isles were inhabited by Celts, whose tribal relationships were family – oriented. In the I century Celts were subdued by Romans, who made Britain into a Roman colony. After that it was inhabited by Anglo – Saxons. But as well as Romans, Anglo – Saxons couldn’t make Celts into slaves. Later Britain was attacked by Denmarks, who dominated for a while. At last came Normans, and during all that time Anglo – Saxons and Celts tried to fight and banish them.
Today the official name of Great Britain is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. England is situated in the South part of the British Isles, in the West there is Wales, and Scotland is situated in the North. The British Isles are separated from the continent by the North Sea and the English Channel. The western coast of Great Britain is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
Despite that the name starts with a word “Great”, the country is not actually great in size: the isles are less than 1000 km long and not more than 480 km wide. The total area is over 244046 square kilometers. The capitals of these four countries are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.
Shakespeare called Britain a “precious stone set in the silver sea” because of its natural beauty. It has a variety of landscapes. You can find mountains, plains, valleys and sandy beaches here.
The climate in Great Britain is mild and temperate due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. The British often say: “Other countries have a climate; in England we have weather.” The weather in Britain is very changeable. A fine morning can change into a wet afternoon. That’s why it is natural for the British to use the comparison “as changeable as the weather” of a person who often changes his mood or opinion about something.
The British also say that they have three variants of the weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the afternoon and when it rains all day long.
The weather is the favourite conversational topic in England. When they go abroad, the British often surprise people of other nationalities by this tendency to talk about the weather, a topic of conversation that other people do not find so interesting. The best time of the year in Britain is spring (of course, it rains in spring too).The two worst months in Britain are January and February. They are cold, damp and unpleasant. The best place in the world then is at home by a big fire. Summer months are rather cold and there can be a lot of rainy days. That`s why most people who look forward to summer holidays, plan to go abroad for the summer – to France, Spain or some other place on the continent. The most unpleasant aspect of British weather is fog. The fog spreads everywhere, it is in the streets and it creeps into the houses. Cars move along slowly, but still street accidents are frequent in the fog. People cannot see each other. They creep along the houses touching them with their hands not to lose their way or not to be run over by a car. There is also a lot of smog (which is definitely not the nature’s fault) in big cities and especially in London.
Of course, all those factors influenced on different aspects of English lifestyle, national mentality: it’s often and well – known, that English tend to be quite irresponible ( they always blame the weather: “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m late because of
the heavy rain, it’s terrible, you know...), English people don’t usually plan correct or carefull their busyness, that’s why they often have loads of problems with their work.
It’s very often for English man to believe in a destiny, signs of a fait. All these habits with old English traditions are based on the ancient polyteism, which make this country beautiful and mysterious.
Social life and culture of Anglo – Saxons.
Anglo – Saxons belonged to German tribes. After subduing the country, they named it “England”. They were pagans and they believed into a lot of different gods, ghosts and mythological creatures.
To explain different weather conditions, luck and problems, people used to believe into plenty of gods: the main god was Oden, who was the god of war. Thor was the god of heaven, clouds and thunder. Threya ruled the love and fertility. The god of the darkness was Tiu.
So, because of the historical movements and wars during the first 11 centuries, Britain has now a mixed culture, population and, of course, national identity. Some of the myths are based on historical events, usually connected to wars, like “The battle nearby Otterbern”, “Chevy – Cheys or hunting on Cheviates hills”, “The battle nearby Harlau”, “The battle near Phioddene”. Border areas between England and Scotland used to be the main source of ballades, describing Scots and English fight for their independence.
As for modern English language, it contents some marks of the ancient beliefs. It’s clear, that names of the days of the week come from God’s names: Tuesday = Tiu’s day, Wednesday = Oden’s day, Thursday = Thor’s day, Friday = Threya’s day. Even a name of the holiday of Easter has appeared from the spring god – Estra.
Anglo – Saxon poetry.
The origin of Anglo – Saxon poetry was the creative work of simple people. In those times people were close to nature, they felt that everything they had - food, drink, home, luck and even life - depended on nature and environment.
Anglo – Saxon poetry began to develop in the period, when Britain was attacked by Angles, Sax, Jutes and Fraises. Since 1066, after the Norman conquest, French language and culture entered the Anglo – Saxon society as well as Danish, German and many others.
There were many facts, which influenced on the development of British literature and poetry. One of the most important facts was the early process of adoption the Christianity. (when mythological literature started existing in a written form, it included the Bible’s motives and legends about other nations).
The other factor was the way mythology and poetry spread amoung people. There were two types of executors and singers:
The gleokuds(national musicians of ballads)
The tyles( wisdom keepers)
The scops(singers of heroic songs)
Culture and literature were born in the North – East of England, but then in VIII and IX centuries West – Saxon literature started to develop with a Saxon dialect, that’s why we can see a lot of memorials written in the language today.
The oldest works were poems. The way of making them was the same as in German, based on a rhyme, called “stabreim” and on alliteration. One type of poems, written before the adaptation of Christianity, was different spells There were also national ballads, like “Valter” and “Beowulf”. There are many mythological and unrealistic features in Beowulf: the name “Beowulf” means “a wolf of bees” or simply a bear, the enemies of him are fearful creatures, dragons and other monsters; but there are also some real events: historical and geographical facts, descriptions of a lifestyle.
But after the adaptation of Christianity, there were also loads of myths and legends, such as “Kaedmon” and “Kinewolf”, which contented plots and some characters from the Bible
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained pagan mythology and religion. The mythology of Celtic people, who closely contacted Rome, such as the Gauls and Celtiberians, did not survive in the Roman empire, their subsequent conversion to Christianity, and the loss of their Celtic languages. Ironically, it is through contemporary Roman and Christian sources that what we do know of their beliefs. However, those Celtic people who maintained either their political or linguistic identities (such as the Gaels and Brythonic tribes of the British Isles) did transmit at least vestigial remnants of the mythologies of their Iron Age ancestors, which were often recorded in written form during the Middle Ages.
Though the Celtic world at its apex covered much of western and central Europe, it was not politically unified nor was there any substantial central source of cultural influence or homogeneity; as a result, there was a great deal of variation in local practices of Celtic religion (although certain points—for example, the god Lugh—appear to have diffused throughout the Celtic world). Inscriptions to more than three hundred deities, often equated with their Roman counterparts, have survived, but most of these appear to have been genii locorum, local or tribal gods, and few were widely worshipped. However, from what has survived of Celtic mythology, it is possible to discern commonalities which hint at a more unified pantheon than is often given credit.The nature and functions of these ancient gods can be deduced from their names, the location of their inscriptions, their iconography, the Roman gods they are equated with, and similar figures from later Celtic mythology.Celtic mythology is found in a number of distinct, if related, subgroups, largely corresponding to the branches of the Celtic languages:
Ancient Celtic religion (known primarily through archaeological sources rather than through written mythology; cf. Ancient Gaulish and British deities)
Mythology in Goidelic languages, represented chiefly by Gaelic mythology (cf. also Scottish mythology and Irish mythology)
Historical Cycle mythology in Brythonic languages, represented chiefly by Welsh mythology (cf. also Breton mythology and folklore)
Because of the scarcity of surviving materials bearing written Gaulish, it is surmised that literate was not widely spread within the pagan Celts — although a written form of Gaulish using the Greek, Latin and North Italic alphabets was used (as evidenced by votive items bearing inscriptions in Gaulish and the Coligny Calendar). Caesar attests to the literacy of the Gauls, but also wrote that their priests, the druids, were forbidden to use writing to record certain verses of
religious significance (Caesar, De Bello Gallico 6.14). Rome introduced a more widespread habit of public inscriptions, and broke the power of druids in the areas it conquered; in fact, most inscriptions to deities discovered in Gaul (modern
France), Britain and other formerly (or presently) Celtic-speaking areas post-date the Roman conquest. And although early Gaels in Ireland and parts of modern Wales used the Ogham script to record short inscriptions (mostly personal names), more sophisticated literacy was not introduced to Celtic areas that had not been conquered by Rome until the advent of Christianity; indeed, many Gaelic myths were first recorded by Christian monks, albeit without most of their original religious meanings.
CHAPTER 3. Scotland: the land of lochs and legends. Geographically Scotland consists of three main parts: Lowlands, Uplands and Highlands with their Grampian Mountains, where the tallest mountain peak, Ben Nevis (1,342 meters high), is located. It is a vast territory of about 79000 square kilometers, but the population of Scotland is only five million people.
You are sure to enjoy the beauty of the Scottish varied landscape: the hills, covered with purple heather, its beautiful lakes (the Scotts call them lochs), its green and broad valleys. The unique combination of mountains, lochs and glens continues to inspire the hearts of all who come here. The biggest and the most beautiful lake in Scotland is Loch Lomond, but the most famous one is Loch Ness with its mysterious monster Nessie. Nessie sometimes appears to scare the tourists but only in fine weather, which is a very rare thing for Scotland.
But what can be more peculiar and attractive for tourists than a man in the kilt, playing the bagpipes? The Celts of Scotland made the chequered pattern of tartan the national dress of the country. The earliest Scots formed themselves into clans (family groups) and the tartan became a symbol of the sense of kinship. Sometimes there were fierce battles between different clans but nowadays the McDonalds and the McKenzies (Mc means “son of”), the Campbells and the Camerons live in peacefully with each other. There are about 300 different clans in Scotland, and each has its own colour and pattern of tartan together with the motto.
Scotland is a land of many famous people: writers and poets, scientists and philosophers. Just imagine: phone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, a raincoat was patented by the chemist Charles Macintosh from Glasgow, penicillin was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland.
The plenty of secret and unusual places, beautiful and healthy nature made Scotish mythology unique in its happy and peacefull plot, miracle and amasing world outlook.
CHAPTER 4. THE MYTHOLOGY OF IRELAND
Nothern Ireland is situated on the North – East of the “Ireland” island, which is sometimes called the “Emerald” island due to it’s nature and climat. But
however there are very often fogs in Ireland, which is not a problem or a disaster for its residenters.
The geography is just perfect – the country is famous with it’s beautiful lakes and mountains, rocks. There is a majourity of plents, which is very reach and different.
The first people inhabited here about 5500 years ago. The history is full of interesting but violent events, which was the interest in Ireland of vickings, the appereance of the Christianity and of course the arrival of Kelts. Ireland was the first country, which became the English colony, it was the only country, where you can find the oldest buildings of ancient people, like Newgrange, which was much older than even Stonehange.
The oldest body of myths is found in early medieval manuscripts from Ireland. They were written by Christians, so the formerly divine nature of the characters is obscured. The basic myth appears to be a war between two apparently divine races, the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians, which forms the basis for the text Cath Maige Tuireadh (the Battle of Mag Tuireadh), as well as portions of the history-focused Lebor Gabála Érenn (the Book of Invasions). The Tuatha Dé represent the functions of human society such as kingship, crafts and war, while the Fomorians represent chaos and wild nature.
The Irish pantheon. The superior god of the Irish pantheon was Dagda. The name means the 'Good God', not good in a moral sense, but good at everything, or absolutely powerful. Dagda is a protector of the tribe and the basic Celtic god. Other male Celtic deities were variants of the god. Celtic gods were largely unspecialised entities, and perhaps more like a clan than like a formal pantheon. In a sense, all the Celtic gods and goddesses were like the Greek Apollo, who could never be described as the god of any one thing.
Because the particular character of Dagda is a figure of burlesque lampoonery in Irish mythology, some authors conclude that he was trusted to be benevolent (or ineffectual) enough to tolerate a joke at his expense. Irish tales depict Dagda as a figure of power, armed with a spear and associated with a cauldron. In Dorset there is a famous outline of an ithyphallic giant known as the Cerne Abbas Giant with a club cut into the chalky soil. While this was probably produced in relatively modern times (English Civil War era), it was long thought to be a representation of Dagda. This has been called into question by recent studies which show that there may have been a representation of what looks like a large drapery hanging from the horizontal arm of the figure, leading to suspicion that this figure actually represents Hercules(Heracles), with the skin of the Nemean Lion over his arm and carrying the club he used to kill it. In Gaul, it is speculated that the Dagda is associated with Sucellos, the striker, equipped with a hammer and cup. Morrígan was a tripartite battle goddess of the ancient Irish Celts. Collectively she was known as Morrígan, but her divisions were also referred to as Nemhain, Macha, and Badb (among other, less common names), with each representing different aspects of combat. She is most commonly known for her involvement in the Táin Bó Cúailnge, where she is at various times a helper and a hindrance to the hero Cúchulainn, and in the Cath Maige Tuireadh (the Battle of Mag Tuired)
where she also plays the role of a poet, magician and sovereignty figure, and gives the victory to the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was most often represented as a crow or raven but could take many different forms, including a cow, wolf or eel. The Morrígan can be compared to other Indo-European goddesses of death such as Kali in the Hindu pantheon and the Valkyries in Norse Mythology. The widespread diffusion of the god Lugus (seemingly related to the mythological figure Lugh in Irish) in Celtic religion is apparent from the number of place names in which his name appears, occurring across the Celtic world from Ireland to Gaul. The most famous of these are the cities of Lugdunum (the modern French city of Lyon) and Lugdunum Batavorum (the modern city of Leiden). Lug is described in the Celtic myths as a latecomer to the list of deities, and is usually described as having the appearance of a young man. He is often associated with light, the sun, and summer. His weapons were the throwing-spear and sling, and in Ireland a festival called the Lughnasa (Modern Irish lúnasa) was held in his honour. Among other gods there are the goddess Brigid (or Brigit), the Dagda's daughter; nature goddesses like
Tailtiu and Macha; Epona, the horse goddess; and Ériu. Male gods included Goibniu, the smith god and immortal brewer of beer.
CHAPTER 5. Wales.
The first inhabitants appeared on the territory of Wales not earlier than 50 thousands years ago. They were native hunters, who came from Europe. They lived in families and submitted to their musters – druids.
Celts lived in Wales until the Romans arrival. Having finished the physical and moral destruction of native inhabitants, Romans made a chain of fortresses, like Segontey, which was a start of a Carnarvon castle.
Wales is a land of the red dragon, it was sung by poets and singers. There are beautiful rocks on the East and mountains with their castles on the West.
Like other Celts, Welsh lost in a war with Sax and Normans. In the VIII century, the king Offa made an enclosing mound along all the territory. After the Norman’s victory different barons and mark – lords lived and ruled in their border castles, like real kings.
England and Wales united at the time of Henry the VIII, in 1536 – 1543. The description of the gods of Britain, also obscured by centuries of Christianity, have come down to us in Welsh manuscripts. The two main groups are the children of Dôn and the Children of Llŷr. They opposed each other, as portrayed in the Mabinogion, and each found allies in outside deities such as Rhiannon and Arawn. The famous celtic myth of Gelert is based in Wales.
CHAPTER 6. Australia.
Lifestyle of the Australian aborigines, their history and culture attract not only ethnographers’ attention, but the simple readers’ too. It’s very interesting for many people to study the soul of aborigines, their myths and legends, which show us a lot of aspects of their dispositions and customs. With a help of their mythology we can understand the personality, the identity of the nation, which is developing more and more today, which is solving problems of self – determination, which fight ethnic separation. It’s hard to imagine, but native aborigines’ life today is one of the most difficult parts of their history. Their population is too little to compare it with modern Australians. Aborigines lived in the center of the island, surrounded by loads of semi – deserts.
Aborigines come from South – East Asia. They arrived in Australia about 40 thousands years ago. They used to hunt and collect food. They always had to fight for their life and of course, it has influenced their lifestyle. They couldn’t reach the technologically advanced nations and they still have tribal or family relationships. But despite all these factors, aborigines live in peace with nature, they don’t destroy it, and that’s why they have a beautiful and original paintings, brilliant legends and stories, which make us forget about everything but nature.
But everything went well until Europeans came on 26 January 1788. It was a big tragedy for native people, as they were going to disappear as a nation.
The British government wanted to make Australia a colony of New South Wales and sent a captain, Artur Phillip with the “first navy” to Australia.
This decision made the aborigines’ life looking like a death. They immediately began being a main problem of using the natural wealth. It was the terror. The aborigines were followed with dogs, the whole families were being killed and only the luckiest people could escape or hide somewhere. It looked like a social killing of Northern Indians.
As an example, I would like to translate an Australian legend, because you must have heard English, Irish or Scottish legends, but I don’t think, that Australian myths are so popular...
The transformation into a kangaroo and a dolphin.
It was a time of dreams, when animals were still yet humans. Once upon a time there was a dolphin – woman, whose name was Membell. She loved the sea very much and used to spend a lot of time sitting on a seaside. She made a fire and sat near it alone. People, who saw her, used to say:
- Membell, come with us. We will sing and dance and tomorrow we will go hunting together. Come with us!
- No, I like my lifestyle here. In some time I’ll have lots of children, and I’ll teach them to swim. I’ll teach them so well, that some day they will cross the sea. And when my children grow up, they’ll know all the sea as well as you know your city.
Membell has never loved communicating with people. She ate on the seaside and no one has never come to her any more. She didn’t have a husband, but somehow she got many children soon. However, all of them were awful and lazy, but the dolphin – woman hoped to have good, beautiful and cheerful children. “My children are lazy and awful. I shall better go to the city and find clever and beautiful children.” – she finally said to herself.
And after these words she went in search of someone. Not far from the beach, she saw some footprints on the sand. “Here were Manark, the kangaroo – woman, and
her child, Chormong. I will follow them. Chormong is t he most beautiful child in the world.”
All day long she tried to find them, but only in the sunset she saw Manark and Chormong near a lake. Manark was sleeping and her child was playing near his mother. Membell came closer and closer. “If I take the child suddenly, Chormong
will scream and his mother will wake up.” - thought Membell and decided to dance. She has never been a good dancer and in that moment her dancing was ugly. But Chormong was interested and soon he began to laugh.
Then Membell started to move back, further and further, until Manark couldn’t hear them. When Chormong followed her, she hid under the tree and some moments later took Chormong and ran to the sea.
Manark woke up and noticed the disappearance. She began to look for her child, but couldn’t find him. “Someone was here and stole my child.” – she realized and followed Membells’ footprints. Only near the seaside, she found Membell, taking Chormong to the water.
- Give me my child! – shouted Manark and ran to the sea.
- I want to let him stay with me. He is already mine. Go away, you will bear another child.
- He is mine, he is mine! – shouted Manark again and began to fight.
She hurt Membell’s head and broke it. But, having become angry, Membell took a stick and hurt Manark’s arms and broke them. But despite that she protected her child and took him back home.
“I will better become a kangaroo, - thought Manark. – I will have a big bag, where I will carry my baby, and no one will be able to steal my child.”
Therefore, she became a kangaroo. That’s why the kangaroo’s arms are so short – they’re the broken arms of Manark.
Membell with her broken head became a dolphin and started to live in the sea, and every time she comes to the air, you can see a “fountain” in her head.
CHAPTER 7. New Zealand.
New Zealand now is a democratic country with its own parliament. However it is a part of the British Commonwealth, and therefore the official head of state is Elizabeth II. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give the vote to women in 1893, to have old age pensions and the eight – hour working day.
New Zealand, in the South Pacific, consists of two large islands plus other smaller islands with an area of 270,000 sq km. North Island has a warm climate and there is quite a lot of volcanic activity. South Island is cooler and has a higher rainfall. In the South Island there are the Southern Alps with Mount Cook
(3754 m) the highest mountain in New Zealand.
The largest city in New Zealand is Auckland, which has a population of under a million people and is located on North Island. It’s also the most dynamic and multicultural city in New Zealand.
The history of the city goes back 650 years when the Maoris settled in the area. European settlements began in 1840 when the British arrived . New Zealand’s first governor, Captain William Hobson, made Auckland the capital. Later, the capital moved to Wellington, because it was central. Since 1945, the city of Auckland has grown and it now has large modern suburbs.
New Zealand was cut off from the rest of the land on the Earth for 80 million years and has some unique animals and plants. The tuatara is a reptile that has survived from the era of the dinosaurs. The weta is the largest and heaviest insect in the world and the kiwi (the symbol of the New Zealand) is a large birst which cannot fly.
As for people, over 80% of the 3.6 million are of European (mainly British) origin. Around 9% of the population are Maoris – who came to New Zealand from Poloynesia in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The two official languages in the country are English and Maori.
New Zealanders, who are also known as “Kiwis”, are relaxed people who love the outdoor life. It is not surprising that New Zealand is successful at many sports. Its national sport is rugby and its team, “The All Blacks”, are often the best in the world. Before every game, the All Blacks perform a “haka”, a Maori was dance, to frighten the opposing team!
New Zealand has beautiful landscapes. In North Island, the Bay of Islands has lovely old forests and beautiful beaches and the Coromadandel is perfect for sailing and watersports. Rotorua is the centre of Maori culture and has wonderful hot springs. In South Island, the Southern Alps, the West Coast region and the national park of Fiordland all have beautiful scenery.
With all these perfect geographical conditions and exciting history, New Zealand became one of the most interesting and exciting countries to visit, mainly because of the beautiful old traditions and unordinary, not European mythology, which was based on nature, art and tribal relationships.
CHAPTER 8. Simularities and differences in myths.
Of course, all myths are almost similar to each other: the plot is based on historical events, geographical and weather conditions, lifestyle and identity, and as English – speaking countries are very close to each other not only with their territories, but in everything, connected to the life of every country, their mythology has a lot of similar details and even main heroes can be the same in two or three legends! The problem, which must be solved by a hero of a myth is always connected with a dangerous fight against some monsters, or with an appearance of any natural events or something else, like an Australian myth about appearance of a kangaroo and a dolphin. We can also see a reflection of people’s fears and dreams, their problems and happiness. But despite this, every country has its own unique ballads and legends, due to loads of spectacular places, which every country has and which keep a lot of secrets and unordinary stories, calls legends, due to it’s rich culture, national traditions and songs. We can also see differences in myths of English speaking countries because of their weather conditions, the dependence or independence of people, the government and the religion, which is definitly very important.
England is a country of quite reserved people, and because of this English legends are often very serious and sort of mysterious, contents many ghosts and witches. Sometimes myths tell us about bad governors, wealthy and violent people, about poor people and their sadness and, of course, about powerful men, who save the goodness and banishes villain.
For Scotland mass holidays and competitions are habitual and happy mood is characteristic for Scotts. Because of this a lot of legends are based on peoples’ relationships, on love, friendship, traditions and native old stories.
If to talk about Australia, which has absolutely different climate and just everything, its’ mythology has always been very wise and has an edifying meaning, an explanation of something, which was difficult to go through with a help of science or proofs.
CHAPTER 9. Influence of national myths and legends on the life of modern people.
It’s hard to imagine a country having no mythology, fairy – tails, legends or traditions. Every time we travel to a foreign country, first of all we ask native people about their myths, which are often the explanation of some strange behavior or traditions, their history, which helps us to go through with many political and cultural events, which we might have misunderstood.
Myths show the variety of feelings, human soul, values and memories, wishes and anger, just everything, which we won’t be able to find out from anywhere else. Because of this, mythology has always been the main wealth of every country and even of every city and town. I mean not only spiritual wealth, but the money too, as you know that some little countries earn money only with a help of their legends and ancient traditions, which everybody wants to see and feel.
Starting to talk about the influence of national myths and legends on people’s modern the life, I would like to mention the following point: the majority of myths of English - speaking countries include money. Yes, exactly material wealth, everything connected to gold and richness. If to compare British mythology with Russian mythology, we can see that Russian hero will never fight for himself, for money, but he will do it for a princess or for other people. Of course, there is something like this in English mythology, especially in Robin Hood, who fought against the rich to give everything to the poor, but it is an exception rather than a usual thing. The most famous legends tell us about the exploit for a reward or something valuable. Just think about dwarves or lepricons – they are all the personification of miners and treasure searchers. And as for dragons – they always keep gold in a cave and fight to death to protect it.
The second thing is that the evil always is been killed as a hindrance to reach something. But in Russion fairy – tails it’s often that the hero doesn’t kill the enemy, but makes it be good, which means that you should see good sides even in bad things and not use your power for violence. Russian fairy-tales also provide us believe every “bad”, violent or wicked person can improve and change completely – the only necessary tool is his will.
So, the truth about the identity of English – speaking countries is absolutely clear if you know their mythology. And as well as history, myths play a big part of the soul of these countries and influence on people’s lives very much, as every person has been told a lot of legends in a childhood, which learn us how to live, how to work, how to communicate, which rule our emotions, actions and speech. We can see reflection of myths everywhere: in politics, quotes, games, food, and even architecture!
It seems to me that people will always be interested in mythology, as it is the only thing which can`t be proved, in which you may believe and may not believe, which you have not to read or listen but feel, understand on intuition level and which will always be in your heart...
Having done this uneasy, but interesting and exciting research work, I understood the importence of knowing the history, culture and identity of the country, which language I study and study seriously. It seems to me that it’s impossible to learn language and not to learn the past of this language, this country, different aspects, rules and exceptions, which is rather difficult to remember and not to confuse, as all of the parts of language: punctuation, pronunciation, quotes, humor and many others are based on the culture, historical events and the way people live. And, for example, you won’t be able to understand the joke about “the Guy Fox” if you don’t know the historical fact, that Guy Fox tried to burn the English Parlament, but was cought and hung by people. The same is with language: it contents the reflexion of everything: the lifestyle, the religion, the war and all I have already mentioned.
The second thing I really liked is the fact I understood the origin of myths, the origin of words and explanation of the national identity, why British are so reserved and why do all English speaking countries have so many simularities and relation linking.
Because of my love to such uncommon things, I plan to get beyond the English mythology and the mythology of the USA, Australia and New Zeland, which I particulary haven’t mentioned in my research. And of course it will be great if all the mythology would be restore and make into a big part of national pride, as I think that a plenty of modern problems will be sollved with a help of myths and legends, which wasn’t only a fantasy...
The following literature was used:
“From the myth to the literature” (E. M. Metelinskiy)
“The history of foreign literature” (T. N. Solomonova)
“The history of England” (George Makoley Trevelian)
“The national geographic traveler. Great Britain” (Christofer Sommervill)