Early history of fantasy

"The Alchemist" by Joseph Wright of Derby: many historical beliefs and stories have been sources for the genre of fantasy.

Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were an element of literature from its beginning, though the idea of a distinct genre, in the modern sense, is less than two centuries old.

The parallel article History of fantasy deals mainly with fantasy literature in the English language. The history of French fantasy is covered in greater detail under Fantastique.

Ancient Near East

The Epic of Gilgamesh was written over generations following the supposed reign of King Gilgamesh, and is seen as a mythologized version of his life. This figure is sometimes an influence and, more rarely, a figure in modern fantasy.[1] Some scholars believe The Epic of Gilgamesh is a source used by the authors of the Bible, specifically the story of Noah and the flood. The magic part of fantasy is partly due to the Mesopotamian world: the use of "magical words" that have the power to command the spirits; to resort to a magical circle to defend the wizard against the spirits invoked; the use of mysterious symbols or seals to invoke spirits; the use of amulets that represent the image of the demon to exorcise it.

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