how ancient people were able to come up with such complex and detailed myths and lore?


It baffles me how ancient people were able to come up with such detailed stories, characters, myths, rituals, etc. It’s one thing to look at lighting and assumes a god is controlling it, it’s another thing to come up with that god’s entire life story and an entire pantheon with hundreds of gods interacting with one another. How were the ancient people able to come up with such claims without any shred of evidence? Even modern day writers struggle to come up with such detailed and complex stories. Can someone explain to me how myths, religions came to be and how the ancient people were able to come up with all of that and how it became popular and why the people at the time believe such insane claims without questioning them?

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It’s not all made up at once. All these stories get told and retold, and people add to them over time, interpret figures in different ways. It’s like a big game of telephone where details get added and changed over time. We end up with multiple versions of the same stories, characters being fused together or split in two. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was their mythology.

Oral traditions were extremely important to ancient peoples.

With no written word key knowledge had to be passed from generation to generation and myths were key tools for this.

Not only did most include a creation myth, but most also had moral stories to teach children the rules of society, and various myths often related to the stars.

Constellations for example used to be far more important. They were a way of mapping the sky and identifying time like when the herds of animals would return or when to plant crops. Having myths associated with those constellations was a good way to remember and pass that knowledge down.

Such stories weren’t created in a single generation either. Simple stories were expanded upon and retold generation over generation each tweaking them slightly. The best orators in the tribe likely being given the task to pass on such stories and were encouraged to embellish them along the way, if anything just to make story time more interesting for those listening.

What started off probably as stories to appease children’s questions and pass down key knowledge would become folklore and the basis for religions. Some of it was useful and key information to pass on, and others just became stories.

I remember reading that one of the possible reasons that people saw fairies, trolls and such, was because their food was often mouldy, which could have caused hallucinations. From that perspective I can imagine that they often experienced their gods/demons and tried to rationalise it by developing a background story over time, i.e. myths, religion and so forth.

If you have an hour, [check out this talk about the history of Yahweh]( A lot happens to a god over the centuries, ya know?

> Even modern day writers struggle to come up with such detailed and complex stories.

I don’t understand this part. Which ancient mythologies are so complex that a modern writer couldn’t imagine it? Why would it be difficult to construct a detailed backstory for a god? Regarding Greek mythology in particular, I frankly don’t find anything especially imaginative about any of those stories; I mean they’re *fine*, but the creativity and depth aren’t any more remarkable than any fantasy or sci-fi literature I’ve ever read or watched.