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Encyclopedia > Mythological kings
King Arthur from The Book of Knowledge, The Grolier Society, 1911
King Arthur from The Book of Knowledge, The Grolier Society, 1911

A mythological king is an archetype in mythology. A king is considered a "mythological king" if they are included and described in the culture's mythology. Unlike a fictional king, aspects of their lives may have been real and legendary, or that the culture (through legend and story telling) believed to be real. In the myth, the legends that surround any historical truth might have evolved into symbols of "kinship" and leadership, and expanded with descriptions of spiritual, supernatural or magical chain of events. For example, in legend the king may have magical weapons and fight dragons or other mythological beasts. Their archetypical role is usually to protect the people and serve the people. King Arthur from The Book of Knowledge, The Grolier Society, 1911 This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... King Arthur from The Book of Knowledge, The Grolier Society, 1911 This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... For other senses of this word, see archetype (disambiguation). ... // For the Derek Sherinian album, see Mythology (Derek Sherinian album). ... // For the Derek Sherinian album, see Mythology (Derek Sherinian album). ... Fiction (from the Latin fingere, to form, create) is storytelling of imagined events and stands in contrast to non-fiction, which makes factual claims about reality. ... Look up Supernatural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other senses of this word, see archetype (disambiguation). ...


One mythological archetype is the "good king." The "good king" is often the culture hero who made their world safe for civilization. Two examples that scholars have identified as filling the roles and earning the reputation of "good kings" were King Arthur and Beowulf, above and beyond their legendary and historic lives. For other senses of this word, see archetype (disambiguation). ... A culture hero is a historical or mythological hero who changes the world through invention or discovery. ... A bronze Arthur in plate armour with visor raised and with jousting shield wearing Kastenbrust armour (early 15c) by Peter Vischer, typical of later anachronistic depictions of Arthur. ... The first page of Beowulf This article is about the epic poem. ...


Beowulf for example is a mythological king in training in the epic tradition, because he fights "a strenuous battle against the disorganization of the universe." (McConnel 1979:59) The epic is a broadly defined genre of poetry, and one of the major forms of narrative literature. ...


Some mythemes and cultural belief systems that are explored through myths about kings include: what is the source of the king's power, what is the training he must go through, what tests of courage does he pass, what are the battles he must fight, and what are the effects of taking power. In the study of mythology, a mytheme is an irreducible nugget of myth, an unchanging element, similar to a cultural meme, one that is always found shared with other, related mythemes and reassembled in various ways—bundled was Claude Lévi-Strausss image— or linked in more complicated relationships...


In epics of war, source of power is often having physical skills above ordinary men, owning "magical" weapons and political alliances.


In spiritual mythologies the king's power may come from a spiritual source and also spiritual weapons. In romantic and contemplative myths his power and success may from internal personality traits, such as from courage, wisdom and self-restraint.


Another common theme is the king's wounds, sacrifice and (sometimes) death for the betterment of the people. The Fisher King is an example of theme of the "wounded king." This article is about the Fisher King from Arthurian legend. ...


One other theme to be aware of in storytelling and mythology is that the king's health is often symbolic of the health of the kingdom or society: For example a sick king means a weakened and vulnerable society, a healthy king means a healthy society, an emotionally or physically distant king means the society is in danger. Also, the installation of kings at the New Year was believed to renew the cosmos: "The king becomes in a manner responsible for the stability, the fecundity and the prosperity of the entire Cosmos." (Eliade 1963:41) This article or section seems not to be written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia entry. ... The Ancient and Medieval cosmos as depicted in Peter Apians Cosmographia (Antwerp, 1539). ...


See also

A sacred king, according to the systematic interpretation of mythology developed by Sir James George Frazer in his influential book The Golden Bough, was a king who represented a solar deity in a periodically re-enacted fertility rite. ... The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging comparative study of mythology and religion by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). ...

References

  • Eliade, Mircea (translated). Myths and Reality. Translated from French by Trask, William, edited by Anshen, Ruth Nanda. New York: Harper and Row, 1963. (esp. Section III "Myths and Rites of Renewal"; Section IX "Survivals and Camaflages of Myths - Echatological Myths of the Middle Ages")
  • McConnell, Frank. Storytelling and Mythmaking. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979 ISBN 0-19-503210-1 . (Discusses the different types of mythological kings)

 
 

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