polutrope: (moar academia)
Over the last couple of days I read Hamlet's Mill, which Wikipedia says has "tenuous arguments based on incorrect or outdated linguistic information." This is an understatement. The entire thing is an exercise in jumping to conclusions. I'm not even going to go into the argument, which is something along the lines of "myth was primitive science" or the fact that most of the books had nothing to do with the argument, but rather with finding equivalents throughout world mythology. No, I'm just going to reprint my new favorite paragraph in anything ever¹ ²:

...where he meets Siduri, the divine barmaid, "who dwells by the edge of the sea".
Under the eyes of severe philologists, slaves to exact "truth," one dare not make light of this supposedly "geographical" item with its faint surrealistic tang. Here is a perfectly divine barmaid by the edge of the sea, called by many names in many languages. Her bar should be as long as the famed one in Shanghai, for she has along her shelves not only beer and wine but more outlandish and antiquated drinks from many cultures, drinks such as honeymead, soma, sura (a kind of brandy), kawa, pulque, peyote-cocktail, decoctions of ginseng. In short, from everywhere she has the ritual intoxicating beverages which comfort the dreary souls who are denied the drink of immortality. One might call these drinks Lethe, after all.

So the whole book is like that. The whole book. In writing style and in ridiculous arguments. There is something on literally every page to make to make me stop and look at the authors funny.

Although I am kind of worried. There seems to be a disease infecting everyone who knows lots of different folklores - because these people know their stuff, clearly, it's just their conclusions that are lacking - that makes them want to connect everything, or just leap to really odd conclusions. Like, Atlantis was in Finland! All of Indo-European society was divided in three parts! Absolutely everyone really has the same mythology! Hamlet is Väinämöinen! And I mean, I know a lot of folklore. Am I next?

--
¹ And mention the fact that he manages to associate the death of Pan with the king of the cats
²Admittedly I have a new favorite X all the time.
polutrope: (moar academia)
This is pretty much my new favorite sentence: "The name is Väinämöinen, due to vowel harmonization, but we had pity on the type-setter."

(it's from a book that argue, among other things, that Hamlet is equivalent to Lucius Junius Brutus, who killed Tarquinius; that Hamlet had a mill, like the Sampo, that ground out salt and is now on the bottom of the ocean; and that Samson is also a parallel figure. Among other things, including, as far as I can tell, that ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING is related to their thesis. On the bright side, it's led me to wikipedia Väinämöinen, giving me this picture and has a black-and-white version of this 16th century map. Check out the monsters! they're adorable!)
polutrope: (Default)
Oh wow, this site is sheer brilliance. It's like someone read von Daniken and then was too chicken to go all the way for the aliens.

"It is quite possible that dragons were comets."
"If there had been an advanced civilization at that time (Atlantis perhaps), it would have fallen apart as its people were reduced to a hand to mouth existence."
"There are literally thousands of animal fossil species that have been found but there has not been a single dragon fossil ever found!"

It's seriously adorable. I mean, I just want to pinch his little cheeks and pat him on the head.
polutrope: (moar academia)
The traces of the ancient doctrine of Homer's infallibility linger on in contemporary criticism. If something in Homer is not absolutely correct, it must be justified, and cannot by any means be ascribed to poetic license or a slip of the poet's tongue. Felice Vinci takes this idea to its farthest ends in The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales.

A Long Review )

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