The ancient Roman poet Ovid, in his "The Metamorphoses," told the story of the nymph Io who was seduced by Jupiter, the king of the gods. When his wife Juno became jealous, Jupiter transformed Io into a heifer to protect her. This panel relates the second half of the story. In the upper left, Jupiter emerges from clouds to order Mercury to rescue Io. In the lower left, Mercury guides his herd to the spot where Io is guarded by the hundred-eyed Argus. In the upper center, Mercury, disguised as a shepherd, lulls Argus to sleep and beheads him. Juno then takes Argus's eyes to ornament the tail feathers of her peacock and sends the Furies to pursue Io, who flees to the Nile River. At last, Jupiter prevails on his wife to cease tormenting the nymph, who, upon resuming her natural form, escapes to the forest and ultimately becomes the Egyptian goddess Isis
This panel by Bartolomeo di Giovanni relates the second half of the Metamorphoses. In the upper left, Jupiter emerges from clouds to order Mercury to rescue Io[1][2]

Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in society, such as foundational tales. Myths often consist of sacred narratives about gods. The term mythology refers to bodies of myth and the study thereof alike. The study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus, Plato and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and later revived by Renaissance mythographers. Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies, philology, and psychology. The academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology.


Odysseus Overcome by Demodocus' Song, by Francesco Hayez, 1813–15

The Greek μυθολογία [mythología] ("story," "lore," "legends," "the telling of stories") combines the word μῦθος [mythos] ("story") and the suffix -λογία [-logia] ("study").[3] Plato uses [μυθολογία] as a general term for "fiction" or "story-telling" of any kind. The Late Latin mythologia, which occurs in the title of Latin author Fulgentius' fifth-century Mythologiæ, denoted the explication of Greek and Roman stories about their gods, which we now call classical mythology. Although Fulgentius' conflation with the contemporary African Saint Fulgentius is now questioned,[4] the Mythologiæ explicitly treated its subject matter as allegories requiring interpretation and not as true events.[5]

Borrowed from the Middle French mythologie, the English word "mythology" first appeared in the fifteenth century.[7] [8][9] From Lydgate until the seventeenth or eighteenth-century, mythology was used to mean a moral, fable, allegory or a parable, or collection of traditional stories,[9][11] understood to be false. It came eventually to be applied to similar bodies of traditional stories among other polytheistic cultures around the world.[9]

The word mythology entered the English language before the word "myth"; Johnson's Dictionary, for example, has an entry for mythology, but not for myth. [14] Indeed, the Greek loanword mythos[16] (pl. mythoi) and Latinate mythus[18] (pl. mythi) both appeared in English before the first example of myth in 1830.[21]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mite
asturianu: Mitu
Avañe'ẽ: Mombe'ugua'u
azərbaycanca: Mif
Bân-lâm-gú: Sîn-oē
беларуская: Міф
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Міт
български: Мит
català: Mite
čeština: Mýtus
dansk: Myte
Deutsch: Mythos
eesti: Müüt
Ελληνικά: Μύθος
español: Mito
Esperanto: Mito
euskara: Mito
فارسی: اسطوره
føroyskt: Mýta
français: Mythe
Frysk: Myte
Gàidhlig: Ùr-sgeulachd
galego: Mito
한국어: 신화
Հայերեն: Առասպել
hrvatski: Mit
Bahasa Indonesia: Mitos
interlingua: Mytho
italiano: Mito
עברית: מיתוס
Basa Jawa: Mitos
ქართული: მითი
қазақша: Миф
Kiswahili: Kisasili
latviešu: Mīts
Lëtzebuergesch: Mythos
lietuvių: Mitas
magyar: Mítosz
македонски: Мит
Bahasa Melayu: Mitos
Nederlands: Mythe
日本語: 神話
norsk: Myte
norsk nynorsk: Myte
occitan: Mite
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਮਿਥ
polski: Mit
português: Mito
română: Mit
русский: Миф
shqip: Miti
slovenčina: Mýtus
slovenščina: Mit
کوردی: ئوستوورە
српски / srpski: Мит
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Mit
suomi: Myytti
svenska: Myt
татарча/tatarça: Миф
тоҷикӣ: Асотир
українська: Міф
West-Vlams: Mythe
中文: 迷思