Mythology

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JudsonChristopher
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Mythology

Post by JudsonChristopher » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:19 pm

I know at times it can be a somewhat insignificant subject for tossups, but nevertheless all points that can be earned should be earned. For the better part of the last 4 months I have watched Dr Jackson Crawford (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXCxNF ... h4uIjYvufg) to gain knowledge that I lacked in Norse myth. I also decided to buy his translation of the Prose Edda to further my abilities in the area. For the greek side of things i decided to purchase Ovid's Metamorphosis.For any Eastern Mythologies like Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Chinese, Japanese I have no clue what to do. If anyone has any good reading lists to be able to gain power level knowledge depth
or just any other forms of strategy on the subject that would be great.
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Re: Mythology

Post by Jangar » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:02 pm

If you're going straight to primary source material (as I'm assuming you are, based on the Prose Edda and Metamorphoses), there are plenty of resources available for all of the mythologies you mentioned. It's worth noting that the Poetic Edda, a counterpart to the Prose Edda, also contains many notable Norse myths and may even be more relevant to quizbowl based on the stories it contains. Hesiod's Theogony (although very dense with names and seemingly useless information) is also a great way to learn the basics/background of Greek mythology.

As for Chinese mythology, much of the source material is highly historical and syncretic. I've found that researching myths individually (such as Hou Yi, Chang'e, etc) online is more efficient than trying to find a published compilation of these scattered stories, both in terms of knowledge acquired and cost. Works such as Journey to the West and Romance of the Three Kingdoms are also quite useful, not only because characters like Sun Wukong form such an integral part of the Chinese mythological canon, but also because they provide a general feel for the types of things that will come up in such questions.

For Japanese mythology, the Kojiki is probably your best bet in terms of source material, as the first section (the Kamitsumaki) is all about kami and the mythical origins of Japan. Like Chinese mythology, though, individually researching notable myths can be more effective than trying to find a singular all-inclusive study resource.

The Enuma Elish and Epic of Gilgamesh are the most useful sources I know of for Mesopotamian/Babylonian mythology, although I admit that this isn't my strongest subject. I also have no better ideas for studying Egyptian myth other than (as previously stated) finding individual myths online.

I've also found OverlySarcasticProductions (https://www.youtube.com/user/RedEyesTakeWarning) to be an excellent source for basic descriptions of myths from all sorts of backgrounds, with the humor and some Shakespeare summaries being a nice bonus.
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Re: Mythology

Post by theclassicsguy » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:19 am

Just in terms of Greco-Roman myth, buying copies of Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" and Morford and Lenardon's "Classical Mythology" would probably be a good idea, as well as reading the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid (obviously other sources like the Theogony and Metamorphoses have already been mentioned). If you feel comfortable with those and want to learn more, Edward Tripp's "The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology" is a great resource.
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Re: Mythology

Post by vinteuil » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:21 am

Jangar wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:02 pm
As for Chinese mythology, much of the source material is highly historical and syncretic. I've found that researching myths individually (such as Hou Yi, Chang'e, etc) online is more efficient than trying to find a published compilation of these scattered stories, both in terms of knowledge acquired and cost. Works such as Journey to the West and Romance of the Three Kingdoms are also quite useful, not only because characters like Sun Wukong form such an integral part of the Chinese mythological canon, but also because they provide a general feel for the types of things that will come up in such questions.
I dunno if anybody's reading 3,500 page novels to get "mythology" knowledge. In any case, I'd recommend Anne Birrell's book on Chinese mythology.
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Re: Mythology

Post by kappa » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:58 pm

So, I'm really interested in learning more about myths as well (as might be indicated by my username). However, I'm a bit concerned that some of these books recommended might be a bit tedious. Looking at an Amazon review of the book which Jacob recommended:
Amazon Review wrote:I purchased this book on the strength of the reviews I saw here, and was seriously misled by the title, the self description, and the reviews. This is by no means a survey of the extant Chinese mythology, nor even a readable book.

...

This is in fine just the sort of useful, dilligent, careful and intellectually mediocre volume that wins the praise of captious academics. To recommend it to the intelligent general reader is an act of malice or stupidity.
I've spent some time on Wikipedia and learned about a few figures, but I really want to learn more. What should I do?
1
Thanks so much
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Re: Mythology

Post by vinteuil » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:22 pm

kappa wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:58 pm
Looking at an Amazon review
https://www.amazon.com/review/R39K4MB0BIA19G/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00847TGNI&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag= wrote:Shakespeare was a real cool person for his time. Unfortunately, his plays are not a real cool thing to read for my time. It is English and I speak English. I just don't happen to speak Old English. Which is really ironic because I am old and speaking English. If you read slowly and put your thinking cap on, you will get the gist of what the story is about. Or! You can just purchase Cliff notes, etc. This story is exciting and full of action...........I Think?
http://www.amazon.com/review/R2GIZWXV98H53V/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00CF59RXY&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag= wrote:Parts of the book were discussing political views nothing to do with Anna. It appeared their were many main characters not only Anna.
https://www.amazon.com/review/R2795UGBG6WAXP/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0812504321&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag= wrote:Don't ever read this. Okay, a dog could really go from being spoiled in California to the best dog in the Yukon. Huh, believable, right? Take my advice, don't read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
EDIT: In all seriousness, if you don't want to read about sources or textual differences or whatever...skip those parts; all the material is there. (Especially if you're just reading individual stories.)
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Re: Mythology

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:34 am

This book seems like a good scholarly introduction to Chinese mythology but, uh, maybe a bit overambitious for a high schooler looking to pick up the stuff that gets asked about in quizbowl (not that anyone should feel a need to limit their learning, of course--if something interests you, go nuts!). It's also a little unfair to assume that someone new to the subject will have any idea to distill the information germane to quizbowl at their level from a 300-page scholarly text!
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Re: Mythology

Post by RexSueciae » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:34 am

Jangar wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:02 pm
I've also found OverlySarcasticProductions (https://www.youtube.com/user/RedEyesTakeWarning) to be an excellent source for basic descriptions of myths from all sorts of backgrounds, with the humor and some Shakespeare summaries being a nice bonus.
I second the recommendation of OverlySarcasticProductions as an intro source to most myth, some lit, and some history (although I honestly prefer Red's videos to Blue's -- she does the myth and lit, he does the history, and it's not bad history but it's not as interesting as the other stuff on the channel). As a way of sparking interest in the discipline, OSB is second to none.

I wish I could remember the titles of the books that I read years ago that got me most of my myth knowledge. There was a book of Greco-Roman myth that I distinctly recall on the shelf of my 5th grade classroom that did a very good job of translating and adapting some very important stories. Additionally, there was a book on Egyptian myth that is probably still on the shelf back home, which I do not currently have access to, but it covered most of the basic episodes plus stories like the Tale of the Two Brothers, Rhodopis, that whole thing where Helen stayed in Egypt while a fake was sent to Troy in her place, and so forth. The title eludes me but I remember the cover featured art of a young man looking up at the Sphinx (Thutmose IV, whose story also appeared in that book).

What I've found in writing myth is that, after pulling the standard heroes and gods and locations, it became helpful to start pulling semi-random nouns and writing a question on "[X] in myth." For example, any number of animals appear in multiple mythic traditions, or body parts, or other characteristics. It doesn't translate to studying myth, but it's a good idea to do something like that 1) to increase the chances of stumbling across something interesting which will result in more knowledge being gained, 2) keeping your hand in for when you need to write something for quizbowl, and 3) possibly getting lucky if a quizbowl writer happens to have the same idea.
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Re: Mythology

Post by bdavery » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:24 pm

The link below is targeted for middle schoolers and is only for Greek myth, but if you skip the lesson plan/activity stuff and just read the material there, it's a good start. At the bottom of the page, there's a link to Encyclopedia Mythica, which should help in learning some of the other myths out there.

https://www.mensaforkids.org/teach/less ... mythology/

Reading the Iliad and Odyssey are also very helpful, as someone above noted.
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Re: Mythology

Post by theclassicsguy » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:41 pm

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Re: Mythology

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:33 am

I found the Kojiki very dense and unreadable. For everything that was quizbowl-relevant, there were 10 things that will never come up in quizbowl. I recommend finding summations of the most popular and famous stories from Japanese myth in secondary sources. Japanese culture is very popular and there are surely many of these out there. On the other hand, I found all the Eddas highly readable and basically every sentence of them is worth points.

Remember to also think laterally about mythology. Mythology has a lot of common link tossups that contain clues from multiple different cultures. In part, this is because there is a relatively small amount of stuff to ask about in myth, so writers have to be creative with their answerlines. In part, this is because there are a lot of themes that repeat over and over again in mythology in many different cultures. So I would also take some time to study things like "who are all the gods of war" or "who are all the gods who came back from the dead" or "who are all the dragons or serpents slain by a god".
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