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Indo-European Mythology 1, Requirement 3

Summarize a creation tale of any Indo-European culture and discuss parallels to a creation tale of any two other Indo-European cultures. (minimum 300 words)

The creation, as described by Snorri's Edda and the Voluspa, begins with the synthesis of two extremes: the ice of the north and the fire of the south. Where these two things collide in a void, a venom forms, creating a giant, Ymir. The first man and woman were born from under his arms, and the frost giants were created by his feet rubbing together. Ymir suckled from a cosmic cow, who nourished from a block of ice-salt. From this block of ice and the action of her licking, a man named Buri was released. His son had three sons, who killed Ymir and created the cosmos from his body parts. This initial creation set the order of the world (and killed off much of the chaos, symbolized by the frost giants who drowned in Ymir's blood, though one survives), and day and night were also created by setting the sun and moon in motion.

In Greece, creation follows a similar pattern. In the beginning, there is a void, which could be compared to the void of Norse mythology, though Chaos is not Chaos until it comes into being, and so would be better equated to the venom formed. He establishes the earth, love, and night by birthing them (among others). The sky and the earth generally start the race of the Gods (the sky, Uranos, not being begotten of Chaos, just as Buri is not of Ymir). This leads to the creation of the Titans, the chief among them castrating Uranos (similar to the killing of Ymir), from which love (Aphrodite) arises. Again, we have the removal of chaos and a retention of that chaotic energy.

While we have no Celtic creation myth, we can look at Irish myth and see some of the key elements above. The division of Ireland into fifths speaks to an early creation myth that sets the world, much like Ymir's eyebrows forming the boundary between the humans and the frost giants; and we also see the old deities of chaos being defeated by the new deities of order (the Tuatha and the Fomorians).


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