Myth Truth or Mythconception

Myth Truth or Mythconception

My second release this year belonged to the Eternity’s Empire saga, a series based heavily in mythology. At the end of my first promo stream, I joked that we should play a game called “Myth Truths” where contestants would have to try to guess whether or not a mythological tale was made up.

People were so excited, I decided it would be a great way to promote the book and started working on a lineup.

Like my Make Your OTP stream, it required a lot of set up. Originally, I wanted to do 10 questions from each of the mythologies found in the series – of which there are at least 6. But when I sat down to prepare, I quickly realized it would take three times the amount of time I had to prepare that many scenarios. So I settled for the 3 I was most familiar with – Greek, Norse and Egyptian Mythology. I also added a fun trivia round that I could use for non-true or false questions.

It isn’t entirely a bad thing, however, since this means I can create a second round of “Myth Truths” based on the unused mythologies when the final book comes out in August.

My notes for the stream can be found below. As you can see, I had to get a little tricky with some of the ‘mythconceptions.’ (It’s hard to create false myths when the true myths are so crazy to begin with. So I went the route my teachers used for true and false questions on tests in high school – if the story isn’t entirely accurate, it should be considered false.

You can watch the vod and all the crazy antics this game led to on Youtube.

Greek Round

1. Cronus, oldest of the first generation of titans, severed his father Uranus’s genitals and threw them into the sea. The genitals were carried over the sea long time and white foam arose from the immortal flesh, within which a girl grew. This girl was Aphrodite, goddess of love, whose name means ‘foam-arisen.’

Answer: Myth Truth!

2. Zeus (who could never keep it in his pants) slept with a moral princess named Semele and impregnated her. (Not a rare occurrence.) Hera grew understandably pissed about this and planted seeds of doubt in the young princess’s mind as to the identity of her lover. As a result, she eventually demanded to see Zeus in all his glory. Zeus, having pledged to do anything for her was forced to comply. Unfortunately, the sight of Zeus in all his glory caused poor Semele to burst into flames. Determined to save her unborn baby, Zeus sewed the baby into his thigh and gestated him until he was big enough to emerge.

Answer: Myth Truth! This is the story of how Dionysus was born.

Bonus: What other god sprang fully formed from Zeus’s body? (The answer is Athena, who sprang from Zeus’s head.)

3. Sisyphus’s eternal punishment involved standing in a pool of water beneath a group of fruit trees while suffering both eternal hunger and eternal thirst. He was, however, unable to reach the fruit trees and the water would recede every time he stooped to drink from the pool. This is the origin of the phrase ‘Sisyphean task.’

Answer: Mythconception – this was the punishment of Tantalus. Sisyphus was punished by having to push a rock eternally up a hill. As soon as it reached the top, it would roll back down, forcing him to start over.

Sisyphus was thus punished for evading Death not once but twice. First by tricking Death into being ensnared by his own chains and second by telling his wife not to bury him properly so that he wouldn’t be able to pay the boatman, disturbing Hades so much he actually sent Sisyphus back to life.

4. Minos was once gifted a bull by Poseidon that he was meant to sacrifice to the god. Minos liked the bull so much, however, that he refused. Outraged, Poseidon caused Minos’s wife to fall in love with the bull. She asked Daedalus to fashion a hollow wooden cow which she climbed into in order to mate with the bull and from this union, the monstrous minotaur was born.

Answer: Myth Truth! (Don’t tick off the gods friends!)

5. During his epic journey after the fall of Troy, Odysseus decided he wanted to hear the song of the sirens despite warnings that their songs would drive him mad. The sirens in question were mermaid-like women inhabiting islands scattered throughout the sea. They used the power of their voices to lure sailors to their deaths on the rocks of their islands. To hear the song without destroying his ship, Odysseus asked his crew to lash him to the mast while the rest of them blocked their hearing with wax shoved in their ears.

Answer: Mythconception – This is a bit of a trick question. The story is true, but sirens were originally depicted not as half-fish, half-woman as we tend to think of them now. Originally they were bird women. Usually they were considered to be birds with the heads of women, or else they were seen as women from the waist up and bird from the waist down, with wings of course.

6. It was one of the 12 Labors of Hercules to slay the many headed guardian of Hades, Cerberus

Answer: Mythconception – Hercules’s task was actually to capture and bring back three-headed Cerberus.

Bonus: How many of Hercules’s labors can you name?
Answer: They are: to slay the Nemean Lion, to slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra, to capture the Golden Hind of Artemis, to capture the Erymanthian Boar, to clean the Augean stables in a single day, to slay the Stymphalian Birds, to capture the Cretan Bull, to steal the Mares of Diomedes, to obtain the girdle of Hippolyta – queen of the Amazons, to obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon, to steal the golden apples of the Hesperides, and to capture and return Cerberus.

7. Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, was beset by suitors while her husband was on his epic journey, all of whom believed him dead. In order to put off having to choose a new husband, Penelope promised she would remarry as soon as she finished weaving a shroud for the funeral of her father-in-law, Laertes. By day, she wove the shroud in her great hall, and by night she unwove her work so that the shroud would never be finished. Thus did she weave the shroud for three years.

Answer: Myth Truth!

8. The name Cerberus means “spot.”

Answer: Mythconception – this seems to have become a popular internet theory that, based on the entomology of the Greek word, “kerberos” (from which Cerberus is derived) might actually have meant ‘spotted.’ It seems to have become particularly popular to depict Hades as a sweet, geeky god. And while not entirely a misread of some of his myths, linguists have debunked the idea that “kerberos” may have meant ‘spotted.’

9. Daphne was a Naiad Nymph, famous for her beauty, which eventually caught the eye of Apollo. Daphne did not wish to marry however, and so she rejected Apollo’s advances. Struck by an arrow from Eros, Apollo was relentless in his pursuits. Eventually, Daphne appealed to Peneus – a river god – who responded by turning her into a laurel tree. Apollo responded by making the laurel tree’s leaves evergreen and wove them into a circlet which he wore always, so that Daphne would be with him forever.

Answer: Myth Truth! (And one of the more disturbing stories in my opinion.)

Norse Round

1. Thor’s legendary hammer, Mjolnir, was once stolen by a Jotunn named Thrymr. In order to get it back, he sought the help of Loki and Freyja. Loki flew to the realm of Jotunheim to confront Thrymr who admitted he would be willing to return the hammer if he could marry the beautiful Freyja. When asked to don the wedding dress, however, Freyja was outraged. Instead, Thor was forced to dress as Freyja by donning the wedding dress and a wig.

Answer: Myth Truth! During the wedding feast, Thor ate so voraciously that Loki, disguised as his maid, had to explain that Freyja had not eaten for 3 days in her eagerness to marry. When Thrymr looked into Thor’s burning eyes, he was so spooked that Loki had to explain Freyja had not slept for eight days in her eagerness to marry. When Thor was presented with Mjolnir, the wedding gift, he instantly slew Thyrmr with it.

2. The Norse gods needed to build a wall around Asgard but none of them wanted to pay for it. They told the stonesman he would be paid only if he finished the wall before the end of winter. The stonesman, however, had a magic horse who could build walls extraordinarily quickly. To delay the finishing of the wall, Loki took the shape of a magnificent mare in order to seduce the horse. This resulted in Loki getting pregnant and eventually giving birth to Odin’s famous 8-legged horse Sleipnir.

Answer: Myth Truth! (But it’s Loki, so are you really surprised?)

3. Baldur was the greatest of all Norse gods and beloved by all his kin. It was said that his death would bring about Ragnarok, the end of the world. Wishing to protect him, his mother – Frigg – visited every living and non-living thing in the universe and made them promise they would never hurt her boy. Everything she spoke to agreed. However, she missed something. When Loki discovered this, he devised a game that involved throwing things at Baldur – including a spear made of the forgotten substance. It pierced Baldur’s chest and killed him instantly.

Answer: Myth Truth!

Bonus: What did Frigg forget to speak to?
Answer: Mistletoe!

4. Skadi once came to Asgard seeking revenge for the death of her father, Thaizi. In order to calm her, Loki was tasked with making her laugh. He did this by taking the form of a goat and tying his beard to his tentacles. Once Skadi was calm, Odin offered to compensate her by granting her a husband from among the eligible suitors in Asgard. The catch was that she could only choose her husband based on their hands.

Answer: Mythconception – Skadi was allowed to choose her husband based only on his feet. She hoped for Baldur but, alas, chose Njord, the god of the sea.

5. Ragnarok is said to be the end of days in Norse mythology. Prophecy suggests that the gods will join together in great battle against the great mythological beasts attempting to destroy the world and ultimately, after a long and grueling battle, be led to victory by Thor.

Answer: Mythconception – Ragnarok is a grim tale of the world collapsing in natural disasters. The two sons of Fenris the wolf cause winter to last three years by swallowing the sun and the moon. In the third year of the great winter, the gods battle each other to the death. The grand climax of this battle involves Thor fighting Jormungandr, the world serpent. It is said that Thor will cleave the serpent’s head from its body but survive only nine steps following the battle before succumbing to its venom.

6. It is said that Thor possessed a chariot pulled by a pair of goats. Whenever the god of thunder was hungry and there was no food, he could consume these goats and magically resurrect them the next day with his hammer, Mjolnir.

Answer: Myth Truth!

7. Eventually, Loki angered his peers enough that they strung him up beneath the world serpent so that its venom would drip on his forehead as punishment. The straw that broke the camel’s back? Insulting Freyja by saying that she farted.

Answer: Mythconception – he did claim that Freyja farted, but first he claimed that she slept with basically everyone but her father. Apparently being rude at a party was far worse than everything else he ever did.

8. Baldur’s funeral ship was the largest – and heaviest – ever created. Thus, none of the gods could launch the boat to sea. Eventually they appealed to the Jotun Hyrrokkin. With her seismic strength, she rolled the boat into the water, an action which caused the very earth to quake.

Answer: Myth Truth!

9. Death in battle ensures a warrior will spend their afterlife in Valhalla.

Answer: Mythconception – half of the honorable dead went instead to Volkvangr, Freyja’s hall.

Egyptian Round

1. Nuit (or Nut), goddess of the sky fell in love with and married Geb, the god of the earth. Ra feared that any child of this union might one day overthrow him so he decreed that Nuit should not give birth on any day of the year. After speaking to Thoth, god of wisdom, Nuit wagered against Khonsu, the god of the moon, winning with each of her successful bets pieces of his light. Eventually she had enough light to create 5 extra days on which she gave birth to her children – Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys and Horus.

Answer: Myth Truth! As punishment for her betrayal, Ra separated Nuit and Geb for all eternity. Shu, god of the wind, was given the task of keeping them apart. Thus Nuit and Geb are often depicted with Geb laying across the ground to form the Earth and Nuit arching over the space between forming the dome of the sky.

2. In order to gain access to the afterlife, Egyptians must buy their passage through the final gateway with the offerings placed in their tombs, which is why Egyptian tombs were filled to brimming with treasures.

Answer: Mythconception – Anyone could gain access to the Egyptian afterlife, provided they met the requirements. The final step was for their soul to be measured. Ma’at, the goddess of justice, would take the form of a feather against which the hopeful’s soul would be measured. If their heart was lighter than the feather, they would be permitted access to the afterlife. If the heart was heavier than the feather, however, the soul would be devoured by another god in the form of a demon or crocodile, at which point they would die the true death.

3. Ra was the first god to come into existence. He created the rest of the world by spitting upon the surface of Nun, the celestial sea. From this act rose a great egg which, when it split open, released the rest of the primordial Egyptian gods and goddesses.

Answer: Myth Truth!

4. Jealous of Osiris and his rule over Egypt, his brother Set conspired to murder him and chop his body into many pieces which were scattered about the Nile valley. His devastated queen, Isis, traveled all the Nile until she managed to gather all the pieces of her dead husband’s body. She bound them back together with linen and took them to the god Anubis who performed a powerful ritual to restore his life, thus creating the practice of mummification.

Answer: Myth Truth! After his revival, Osiris impregnates Isis with Horus, their son. He then becomes the ruler of the afterlife and takes the position of God of the Dead.

5. Sekhmet is a lion-headed goddess known as the vengeful Eye of Ra. It was said that she could breathe fire and cause plagues. Whenever Ra was angry, he would summon Sekhmet to punish mankind. Her rampage was impossible to halt once it began and often threatened to wipe out mankind.

Answer: Mythconception – Sekhmet was not a violent or vengeful god in her natural form – that of Hathor. In order to halt Sekhmet’s rampage and return her to her peaceful form, Ra poured beer dyed red with ochre or hematite so that it resembled blood. When Sekhmet became drunk enough, she would revert to the form of Hathor.

Trivia Round

1. We all know the common names of the planets in the solar system – but what are their Greek equivalents? (And yes, I still count Pluto as a planet. Have you learned nothing about ticking off the gods?)

Mercury – Hermes
Venus – Aphrodite
Earth – Gaia
Mars – Ares
Jupiter – Zeus
Saturn – Cronus
Uranus – Already Greek; his Roman counterpart is Caelus
Neptune – Poseidon
Pluto – Hades

2. How did Odin lose his eye?

He wished to drink from the Well of Urd – Mimir’s Well – which was believed to impart cosmic knowledge. Mimir agreed that he could drink only if he offered an eye in exchange. So Odin gouged out his eye with his spear.

3. 9 worlds lay along the branches of the world tree in Norse Mythology – what are they?

Asgard (home of the Aesir)
Alfheim (elfheim) (home of the Alfs or Elves)
Svartalfheim (home of the svartalfs or Dark Elves)(Which are atually Dwarves led by Ivaldi)
Midgard (Earth)
Jotunheim (home of the Jotun or giants)
Vanaheim (home of the Vanir)
Muspelheim (home of the fire giants)
Nidavellir (home of the dwarves led by Sindri)
Niflehiem (home of Hel)

4. Name all of Loki’s children.

Jormungandr (the world serpent)
Fenrir (the dread wolf)
Sleipnir (the 8 legged horse)

5. What are the requirements for successfully entering the Egyptian afterlife?

The body must be preserved via mummification
The soul must be able to identify its name – so the name must be preserved in writing somewhere near the body

Only if the body and name are preserved can the Ba and Ka join together and make the journey to the afterlife, the final gateway to which is having their heart measured by Ma’at.

6. Ra, the sun god, had four forms – what were they and what were their names?

Khepri – the aspect of the rising sun
Ra – the aspect of the midday sun
Atum – the aspect of the evening sun
Khnum – the aspect of the setting sun

7. In Greek Mythology, what was the weirdest thing someone had sex with?

According to my research at least, a cloud.

Ixion was completely obsessed with Hera, which upset Zeus greatly (even though he cheats on her all the time). To test Ixion’s loyalty, he created a cloud version of Hera. Not only did Ixion fail the test, he somehow managed to impregnate the cloud.

That’s all I have for you today. What’s your favorite wild mythological tale?

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