Odysseus

Ancient Myths Based on Real Events

You can read about all kinds of fantastical stories in ancient mythology but among them there are also ones based on real events, no matter how strange this may seem.

The Guest Star

In the year 1006, Persian astronomer and scientist Avicenna described his observations of a very strange phenomenon, which was considered inexplicable for centuries on end. Researchers today call it the "guest star".

In his work, The Book of Healing, Avicenna described a bright object that appeared in the sky and gradually vanished over time, changing its color. Initial scientific hypotheses that this was a comet appearing were quickly dismissed.

Later it became clear that a supernova's rays are visible from Earth and even if they were to dissipate, the high-energy particles would still be visible from inhabitants on our planet. This was proven thanks to NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

According to modern theories, Avicenna was in fact looking at a supernova burst, caused by the collision of 2 white dwarfs.

The Thunderbirds

One of the most popular Indian myths is that of the Thunderbirds, which would save members of the tribes from monstrous whales. One of the legends even states how during an intense storm, when the ocean's waves towered high above, the Thunderbirds lifted a whale from the water and dropped it on land.

Bird

In 1980, geological research revealed that a powerful earthquake shook the coastline of the Pacific Ocean in the 18th century, causing a tsunami.

The Thunderbirds which the Indians spoke of most likely referred to the prehistoric bird Aiolornis, whose wingspan reached up to 16 ft (5 m). They scavenged on the corpses of whales but it is unlikely they actually lifted them in the air.

The Battle Between the Gods Llao and Skell

Native Americans believe that the crater in Oregon was once a mountain called Mazama. It was inhabited by the god of the underworld, Llao, who declared war on the sky god Skell.

A thick smoke rose from the mountain during the battle between the 2 gods. Llao ultimately lost and returned back to the underworld, while Skell brought the mountain crashing down and sealed off his realm forever with a beautiful lake.

This myth actually describes the violent volcanic eruptions from 7700 years ago, which ripped apart the Earth's crust to open up a massive crater that filled with rainwater.

The Bridge Built by Monkey-Men

The Hindu epic Ramayana tells of the kidnapping of the god Rama's wife. To rescue her and return her back to her husband, a race of monkey men called Vanaras built a bridge between India and Sri Lanka, just several yards above the water.

This bridge does in fact exist but is now underwater because a powerful storm sunk it in the 15th century.

Flood

The Flood from the Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest known literary works still surviving today. Part of it speaks of the great floods that destroyed part of human civilization.

During the 30s of the last century this myth was confirmed true. Field work around the Sumerian city of Ur revealed evidence of human presence 65.5 ft (20 m) beneath the silt, swept away by a great flood.

It is theorized that this was the result of a long period of rainfall, which led to a catastrophic overflow of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

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