One of the quite literally foundational tasks of our mythology is also a simple one – to tell us who we are, and where we’re from. I say ‘simple’, and yet it’s also unutterably complex. Particularly when it comes to distinguishing ourselves from other people(s) who might happen to exist around us, and potentially have quite similar tales of their own. This can also mean that our ‘origin myths’ come to change and shift down the ages – in response to political or cultural stimuli which demand yet further differentiation. And, of course, alterations in the surrounding theology, the surrounding mythology that would otherwise ground them.
Still, it is my contention that not only can we utilize a comparative approach to the Indo-European myths of the Origin of Man to adduce a common understanding, a shared origin to these myths (and their accompanying world-views) – but also to help fill in some blanks, and better understand some of the less well attested or seemingly curious aspects to various Indo-European peoples’ accounts of their own origins.
Now it is important to note that, as with any mythology – the various Indo-European canons tend to include multiple renditions of what would, in a sidereal sense, be the same event. This is partially the nature of dealing with scriptural corpuses which may have taken centuries or even millennia to be compiled; but it is also due to the way in which Indo-European mythology actually works. That is to say – not so much as a strict-literalist accounting of the history or characteristics of a thing … but rather, as an explanatory/expository framework which is capable of considering things from multiple angles. And emphasizing what is important for the purposes of a given explanation at the time.
There are fascinating typologies to be addeuced from some of these, as well – and in future pieces we most definitely intend to take a more thorough look at these. But in order to avoid this article growing well beyond its initial, intended scope – we shall instead restrict ourselves to the more limited and multiply attestable mono-myth of our race’s birth.
[Coming in Part II – Yama & Manu – Firstborn of the Indo-Aryans; Coming in Part III – Zoroastrian Yima – The Death of Manu; Part IV on Romulus & Remus yet to be titled]