Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

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Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#1  Postby lpetrich » Mar 09, 2010 2:25 am

Back in 1936, Major [wiki]FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan[/wiki], a.k.a. Lord Raglan, published a book on legendary heroes, The Hero, in which he worked out a sort of average hero biography:

1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin;
2. His father is a king, and
3. Often a near relative of his mother, but
4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and
5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god.
6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but
7. He is spirited away, and
8. Reared by foster parents in a far country.
9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but
10. On reaching manhood he returns to goes to his future kingdom.
11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,
12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and
13. Becomes king.
14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and
15. Prescribes laws, but
16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and
17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which
18. He meets a mysterious death,
19. Often at the top of a hill.
20. His children, if any, do not succeed him.
21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless
22. He has one or more holy sepulchres

He scored several heroes according to his profile, and he found:

Oedipus 21, Theseus 20, Romulus 18, Heracles 17, Perseus 18, Jason 15, Bellerophon 16, Pelops 13, Asclepius 12, Dionysus 19, Apollo 11, Zeus 15, Joseph 12, Moses 20, Elijah 9, Watu Gunung 18, Nyikang 14, Sigurd or Siegfried 11, Llew Llawgyffes 17, King Arthur 19, and Robin Hood 13.

To use Lord Raglan's profile, one must interpret it rather loosely, like make "king" be a general sort of great leader, rather than only a hereditary political leader. Also, Lord Raglan tended to use the most mythical variants of incidents in some hero's life, so he'll have something to study, if nothing else.

Lord Raglan had carefully omitted Jesus Christ, not wanting to stir up additional controversy, but Alan Dundes took him on, finding a score of 19 for him. I myself have scored him at 18.5. In fact, he scores so high that some people have called the profile an effort to discredit Jesus Christ's (supposed) historicity.

I've also considered Krishna (16.5), the Buddha (12.5), Harry Potter (12/15), Anakin Skywalker (11), and Luke Skywaker and Leia Organa (movies: 7/11, novels: 10/15).

By comparison, well-documented heroes usually score very low, seldom above 6 or 7, especially in modern times. The main exceptions I've been able to find are Alexander the Great and Augustus Caesar, at about 10.

There are various problems with this profile, and I myself have thought of improvements:
  • Splitting royal and virgin into separate criteria.
  • Adding childhood-prodigy stories, like Augustus Caesar hushing up some frogs or Jesus Christ showing great learning in the Jerusalem Temple.
  • Zeus, Oedipus, Perseus, Romulus, King Arthur, Krishna, the Buddha, Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, Harry Potter, Anakin Skywalker, and Jesus Christ had all reportedly fulfilled prophecies.

This leads to the question of why mythic-hero biographies should converge onto a profile that does not match well-documented heroes very well. Could there be something psychologically attractive about it?

Such Lord Raglan convergence may also explain the numerous conspiracy theories about the assassination of President JFK. Many people seem to find it hard to believe that a lone lunatic could have brought him down. Instead, they prefer to believe something that fits into Lord Raglan criterion 18 about the hero dying a mysterious death.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#2  Postby Moonwatcher » Mar 09, 2010 8:11 pm

Interesting. I scored Heracles as 10.5. There were a couple of things I wasn't sure about and a couple of things that seemed way too general such as some period in a life where nothing too exciting happened. I also think being the son of a god is sort of getting 'unusual birth circumstances' for free.

I'm an atheist but I cannot see where Jesus scores more than a maximum of 9 on this scale and even that is playing fast and loose with the story.

1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin (a virgin and technically royal by geneology so that's one)
2. His father is a king, and (his father is not a king)
3. Often a near relative of his mother, but (is not a near relative of his mom)
4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and (definite yes to that one = 2)
5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god. (definite yes = 3)
6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but (wasn't made by a relative but that still makes 4)
7. He is spirited away, and (5)
8. Reared by foster parents in a far country. (no raised by Mom and step-dad. Its getting real tricky now because the implication is that the foster parents are different than the ones he started with so no points here)
9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but (we are told a little bit about his childhood. He went into the synagogue and impressed the priests with his knowledge and he grew up a carpenter's son)
10. On reaching manhood he returns to goes to his future kingdom. (since the rest of the examples make it clear we are talking about conquering a kingdom in his lifetime, that's a no)
11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast, (never happened)
12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and (never happened)
13. Becomes king. (not in any earthly sense)
14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and (he never reigns)
15. Prescribes laws, but (tricky one but I'll give it a .5 so 5.5 now)
16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and (other people, not his subjects, and they always opposed him and he doesn't rule as king anyway)
17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which (again doesn't happen)
18. He meets a mysterious death, (nothing mysterious about it)
19. Often at the top of a hill. (that one is true so now 6.5 even though its not mysterious)
20. His children, if any, do not succeed him. (well, since he didn't have any and it says 'if any', I guess that's inevitably up to 7.5 now)
21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless (was buried)
22. He has one or more holy sepulchres (okay 8.5)

Now you could say that some of those .5s should have been ones but I also gave points on stuff that was highly iffy and that compensates.

Also, Raglan had a clear tendency to take things and divide them into unneccessary sections. Attempt made on life as child; spirited away; raised by foster parents. You get three for one right there. Or son of a god AND unusual birth.

In other words, his criteria are too general, so poorly divided and its so hard to solidly say someone doesn't or does fit some criteria (or if they meet one, they almost automatically meet 5) that it doesn't really prove much of anything.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#3  Postby lpetrich » Mar 09, 2010 8:48 pm

Google Books has some excerpts from Lord Raglan's book The Hero, and those excerpts include his profile and how he assigned his scores. I will concede that it could be improved on; I would not dismiss the concept out of hand.

As for Jesus Christ, here's my scoring of him. I'll evaluate LR's profile step by step and address various criticisms as I go. I'll be sticking to the four canonical Gospels as far as possible.

1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin;

She's not called the Virgin Mary for nothing; Jesus Christ was her oldest child.

As to royalty, that could happen out of a common explanation for the discrepancy between Joseph's Matthew and Luke genealogies. It is that one of them is for Mary instead of for Joseph, making her also a descendant of King David. But I don't find that very convincing.

Score: 1/2

2. His father is a king, and

Although Joseph lived as a commoner, both Matthew and Luke took the trouble to trace his ancestry back to King David. Since a Messiah must be descended from that king, we can count Joseph as an uncrowned king.

Score: 1

3. Often a near relative of his mother, but

Score: 0

4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and

Being impregnated by the Holy Spirit doesn't happen every day. Score: 1

5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god.

He's the Son of God. Score: 1

6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but

King Herod orders the killing of the Bethlehem baby boys because he had learned that one of them will be the king of the Jews. Score: 1

7. He is spirited away, and

His parents flee to Egypt, taking him with them. Score: 1

8. Reared by foster parents in a far country.

They raise him in Egypt, but Mary is his mother and Joseph his (step)father, meaning that they are not true foster parents. Score: 1/2

9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but

Luke tells us about the great learning he displayed in the Jerusalem Temple one time. Score: 1/2

Some noncanonical gospels, like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, go further, making Jesus Christ a childhood miracle worker.

10. On reaching manhood he returns or goes to his future kingdom.

Yes. Score: 1

11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,

The Devil challenged Jesus Christ to work some miracles, and also offered JC the rule of all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for JC worshipping him, but JC turned him down, and the Devil slinked away. I think that this counts as a defeat of a big enemy. Score: 1

12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and

No. Score: 0

Although a relationship between him and Mary Magdalene is widely speculated on, neither the canonical Gospels nor most of the noncanonical ones contain much hint of such a relationship. The noncanonical Gospel of Philip describes Jesus Christ as lovingly kissing her on the mouth, but that's as far as it gets. In any case, Mary Magdalene is a commoner with nothing special about her.

13. Becomes king.

He becomes a great religious leader, and he even calls himself King of the Jews. Score: 1

14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and

He preaches, he gets into arguments with Pharisees, and he works various miracles, but most of his career is not very dramatic. Score: 1

15. Prescribes laws, but

His teachings qualify as laws in an informal sort of sense; one must not be too literal-minded about Lord Raglan's profile. Score: 1

16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and

After his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, both the people of that city and the Jewish leaders there turn against him, charging him with blasphemy for calling himself the Messiah and the King of the Jews. Score: 1

17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which

He is put on trial, Peter disowns him, and he and JC's other disciples flee. Score: 1

18. He meets a mysterious death,

He dies after only three hours of crucifixion, which is unusually fast for a young man in good enough health to do a lot of walking. There were also earthquakes, a mysterious darkening, and corpses taking walks from their tombs. Score: 1

19. Often at the top of a hill.

He is crucified on a hill named Golgotha. Score: 1

20. His children, if any, do not succeed him.

Despite certain extracanonical speculations, he is childless. Score: 1

21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless

Like several other mythic heroes, his body is absent from his tomb. This is because he rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. Score: 1

22. He has one or more holy sepulchres.

He has one in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Score: 1

His total score: 18 1/2.

I've seen someone claim that Lord Raglan had invented his profile to discredit the historicity of Jesus Christ, but Lord Raglan had carefully avoided that subject and let others handle it. I suspect that that certain someone had noticed how well Jesus Christ fits it and was unwilling to accept the most straightforward conclusion, that the Jesus Christ of the Gospels is largely mythical, if not entirely mythical.

This does not rule out some historical prototype; completely historical people can end up with a lot of mythology attached to them. However, it suggests that the Gospels are very uninformative about the historical Jesus Christ, if there was one.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#4  Postby Moonwatcher » Mar 09, 2010 10:07 pm

Just for fun, I did one of my favorite biblical characters, Samson, he who is Heracles without as much of the cool mythical stuff. :)

1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin- No
2. His father is a king, and- no although I think he was probably descended from Moses or something, .5
3. Often a near relative of his mother, but- no
4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and- yes, she was barren and couldn'tr conceive but she did thanks to the angels 1 = 1.5
5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god.- er well in Israelite terms that meant anointed of God which is how Jesus with the whole Israelite to Roman culture thing went from anointed one to literally son of god but still, no
6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but no
7. He is spirited away, and no
8. Reared by foster parents in a far country. no
9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but true
10. On reaching manhood he returns to goes to his future kingdom. well he doesn't return but he 'judges' Israel even though that never seems to come into the story other than we are told he did 2.5
11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,- well, he bested the Pharisee ruler in the riddle contest so 1 = 3.5
12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and- I believe he married a girl of importance .5 = 4
13. Becomes king. He da Judge :) 5
14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and 6
15. Prescribes laws, but no
16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and loses hair, loses favor 7
17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which imprisoned and blinded counts I think 8
18. He meets a mysterious death-, since mysterious seems to mean by the loosest possible definition of mysterious, he regains his strength and collapses the pillars counts 9
19. Often at the top of a hill. no
20. His children, if any, do not succeed him. correct
21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless as far as we know, it was buried
22. He has one or more holy sepulchres no

Score 9

TimONeill if he is interested in this thread will likely rip apart the Raglan logic as very much in the contrived New Age style. The "Did Jesus Exist?" thread has gotten into these issues in a somewhat volatile manner. But that's a somewhat different topic. There is no question that the Jesus of the Gospels is mythical. One can see a lot of OT influence in the NT myths and there are arguments that the Jesus story sidesteps into too many uncomfortable things that wouldn't be there if there were not some historical basis that they couldn't completely ignore in terms of how the story went.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#5  Postby angelo » Mar 10, 2010 11:44 am

I read Lord Raglan ''On Mythic Heroes'' some years ago while browsing through a large library in my city of Perth. It was this very statement that convinced me that Jesus was a myth. Since that time I've have read many other books, some who still take this Jesus as having existed. Take John Shelby Spong. He has stripped bare this myth of all it's magic, explains the midrashic way that the N/T came about mainly through Isiah, yet he still thinks Jesus was historical. His statement that ''God is the ground of all being'' not a daddy in the sky who looks out for us makes him an atheist. yet approaching his twilight years he hangs on to a myth that was never there. Tradition is very hard to overcome, even by very intelligent people.

The Jesus Seminar came up with a Jesus who did not do or say more than 75% of the gospels claims. I have just removed the other 25%
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#6  Postby lpetrich » Mar 10, 2010 7:41 pm

I don't know of any book called "On Mythic Heroes" -- Lord Raglan's book was called The Hero, and parts of it are reprinted in In Quest of the Hero. You can find Alan Dundes's scoring of Jesus Christ in the latter book.

I've scored some well-documented heroes and sort-of-heroes, like Napoleon, Abe Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Adolf Hitler, and JFK, and I find it very striking how some mythic-hero incidents rarely or never happen to them. Like some villain trying to kill the baby hero:
  • King Herod vs. Jesus Christ
  • Pharaoh vs. Moses
  • King Kamsa vs. Krishna
  • King Amulius vs. Romulus
  • King Laius vs. Oedipus
  • King Acrisius vs. Perseus
  • Pelias vs. Jason
  • Tantalus vs. Pelops
  • Hera vs. Hercules
  • Hera vs. Dionysus
  • Hera vs. Apollo
  • Kronos vs. Zeus
  • Lord Voldemort vs. Harry Potter
The Buddha's story has rather curious twist. His father did not try to kill him, but instead tried to keep him from becoming a great religious leader, instead becoming his heir. So his father kept the young Buddha from seeing scenes of pain and suffering. But the Buddha saw some anyway, and he ran away to try to solve the mystery of pain and suffering, eventually becoming a great religious leader.

Not only that, their parents are often commoners, and undistinguished commoners at that.

At the other end of their lives, besieged ones like Napoleon and Hitler continue to be surrounded by loyalists; no Peter-like disowning there. They also don't die very mysterious deaths, with the possible exception of JFK.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#7  Postby Moonwatcher » Mar 11, 2010 12:17 am

Okay I admit personally I'd like to see this done as the battle of the mythical characters. Everybody gets whatever powers are attributed to them in their respective myths and they fight it out. :crazy:

Jesus vs. Hera
Herod vs. Pharoah
Krishna vs. Zeus
Moses vs. Voldemort
Tantalus vs. Harry Potter
Hercules vs. Samson
(and that one really happened and here's the proof)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn8rrE7N1I0

:shock:
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#8  Postby angelo » Mar 11, 2010 10:30 am

I don't know of any book called "On Mythic Heroes" -- Lord Raglan's book was called The Hero, and parts of it are reprinted in In Quest of the Hero. You can find Alan Dundes's scoring of Jesus Christ in the latter book


Yes that's the one. It was quite a while ago that I saw that book. The title is a little hazy. But I remember that part quite clearly.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#9  Postby rcscwc » Dec 10, 2010 10:57 am

Krishna


1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin;

Yes

2. His father is a king, and
A prince, yes. A king, no

3. Often a near relative of his mother, but

Not at all remotely related


4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and

Not at all. Conceoeved like you and me.


5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god.

He is God, not son thereof.

6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but
7. He is spirited away, and

Yes to both. His uncle tried to kill him. Spirited away by His father.

8. Reared by foster parents in a far country.

Yes, if just across the river is a FAR country.

9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but

But He childhood and boyhood are amply chronicled.



10. On reaching manhood he returns to goes to his future kingdom.

Never ascended a throne

11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,
12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and

He killed His uncle when was 16 years. Afterwards He went to a teacher for education.


13. Becomes king.
Never.

14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and

Never was a king



15. Prescribes laws, but
No new laws were needed to be prescribed Him. He expounded Gita.


16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and
NO



17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which

NO

18. He meets a mysterious death,

No mysterious death. We know he was accidently shot in a foot by a hunter.

19. Often at the top of a hill.

Hmmm. Hill is nowhere mentioned.

20. His children, if any, do not succeed him.

No kingdom to succeed.

21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless

NO. It just vanished.

22. He has one or more holy sepulchres

No question at all



Now score Krishna. Not more than 5-6 I think.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#10  Postby lpetrich » Dec 15, 2010 9:13 am

I'll now give my scoring of Krishna. rcscwc seems a bit too literal-minded about some of the criteria.

(1) His mother Devaki is a sister of the wicked King Kamsa; her father Devaka was rich enough to afford a dowry of 400 elephants fully decorated with golden garlands, 15,000 decorated horses, 1800 chariots, and the hiring of 200 pretty young ladies to follow her. However, she had seven sons before having Krishna. Score: 1/2

(2) His father Vasudeva was the son of sort-of-king Surasena. Score: 1

(3) Score: 0

(4) Devaki learned that she was pregnant with someone special when she became pregnant with Krishna. Score: 1

(5) Krishna is considered an avatar of the great Hindu god Vishnu. Score: 1

(6) King Kamsa had imprisoned Vasudeva and Devaki, and had killed their previous offspring. Score: 1

(7) When he was born, he was switched with Yogamaya, daughter of Yasoda and Nanda (mother and father), thus frustrating Kamsa. Score: 1

(8) Yasoda and Nanda return to their home and raise Krishna there. Score: 1

(9) There are some childhood details, such as his learning to dance, his destroying some wicked demons, and his cavortings with some gopis. Score: 0

(10) King Kamsa invites Krishna and a friend to a wrestling match, hoping that Krishna will be defeated. Score: 1

(11) But Krishna wins, prompting Kamsa to order Krishna's foster father and several others murdered. Whereupon Krishna kills Kamsa. Score: 1

(12) Krishna marries some beautiful princesses. Score: 1

(13) He becomes a king. Score: 1

(14) The Kurukshetra War counts against this; Krishna also fights more demons and plays his flute; Krishna's fun loving is a rarity among religious prophets; only Jesus Christ comes anywhere close with his turning of water into wine for a wedding party. Score: 0

(15) Krishna delivers the Bhagavad-Gita to Arjuna at the beginning of that war. Score: 1

(16) His family misbehaves, leading to their destruction. Score: 1

(17) With his family destroyed and his kingdom torn apart by civil war, Krishna leaves the place to wander about by himself. He saw the destruction of his clan and kingdom. Score: 1

(18) He was shot in the foot by an archer named "Jara" ("Old Age"). Score: 1/2

(19) In a forest by the seashore. Score: 0

(20) He has no successors. Score: 1

(21) He rose up into heaven. Score: 1

(22) Several places are supposedly his last resting place. Score: 1

Total score: 17
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#11  Postby tnjrp » Dec 15, 2010 9:49 am

Well, for fun, I'll score the mythic wise man Väinämöinen, arguably the central character of the Finnish national epic Kalevala. He is somewhat less so in the mythic songs and tales Elias Lönnrot's based his book on and in any case details differ in them so the scoring is based on the book:

1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin
0/1. His mother Ilmatar is a supernatural creature and a virgin but not described as royal per se.

2. His father is a king, and
0+0/2. He is begot by winds of the primal sea before the creation of the world proper.

3. Often a near relative of his mother, but
0+0/3. N/A

4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and
0+1/4. As per #2 above.

5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god
1+0/5. The wind appears not to be a personified deity in this case.

6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but
1+0/6. N/A

7. He is spirited away, and
1+0/7. N/A

8. Reared by foster parents in a far country
1+0/8. He pretty much rears himself after finally being born as an already old and grizzled man.

9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but
1+0/9. Has no childhood to speak of as per #8.

10. On reaching manhood he returns to go to his future kingdom
1+0/10. He gets around, so leaves and returns several times but not upon reaching manhood specifically.

11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast
1+1/11. Has several exploits, most notably defeats the nasty wise woman Louhi of the rival nation/tribe of Pohjola.

12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and
2+0/12. Woos several women, arguably even a princess, but never marries.

13. Becomes king
2+1/13. Not really a king but since he was apparently a kind of a leader anyway let's say it's as close as it gets.

14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and
3+1/14. This is at the very least implied.

15. Prescribes laws, but
4+1/15. He lays down some rules of conduct and also teaches some magic which is related.

16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and
5+1/16. A more obvious Virgin Mary equivalent Marjatta gives a virgin birth to a son, which Väinämöinen tries to have killed; the baby however accostes him of far worse crimes than being a bastard child (in some of the original stories the baby in fact names Väinämöinen as his father) and Väinämöinen looses face, deciding to leave.

17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which
6+1/17. See #16 above. "Driven" is a bit problematic term in this case but he lost his status as the leader anyway so I'll give it a 1.

18. He meets a mysterious death
7+0/18. Doesn't die but ascends live to the otherworld, promising to return. In some versions he is suspected dead "in the fiery vortex of Rutja" but not so in Kalevala.

19. Often at the top of a hill
7+0/19. N/A

20. His children, if any, do not succeed him
7+0/20. In Kalevala he has no children. Marjatta's boy child is implied to do this in some versions of the myth tho.

21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless
7+0/21. Kinda ambivalent if this should be a 1 since he's not buried, but since he doesn't die either a 0 is better I think.

22. He has one or more holy sepulchres
7+0/22. N/A

The total score: 7/22.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#12  Postby Wiðercora » Dec 15, 2010 10:02 am

Interesting. I'll have to plug some heroes into this when I have time.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#13  Postby rcscwc » Dec 26, 2010 10:32 am

lpetrich

I have only quoted from Bhagvad Purana.

Krishna's mother Devaki was a pricess. But she was no virgin when she conceived Krishna. So a virgin birth is ruled out, a corner stone of Raglan;s criterion.


Krishna is a avatar of Vishnu, not his son. A big difference here.

Six of His elder siblings were summarily killed by Kamsa, seventh was reported to have been olanted into the womb of Rohini, Vasudeva's first wife. She bore Balarama. So one of His brothers did live.


After birth He was switched with Yogamaya, and Nanda at that time was in Mathura, but Yashoda was at home. Nanda was a minor royality and a vassal of Kamsa, and so had to attend the court periodically on various businesses. He had gone to pay the tributes levied on his fief. Moreover, the foster parents did not flee anywhere. They continued to live in their home seperated from Mathura by R. Yamuna. Later Kamsa did know about Krishna as the eigth son of Devaki and tried to kill Him, but failed, thwarted by Krishna Himself.


As for marriage, who does not marry a beautiful woman. I did too. But He never ascended a throne. His father Vasudeva became the king of Dwarka, founded by Krishna.

You say I am too literal. But fact is that in the Krukshetra battle, He did not take up any arms at all, but drove the chariot of Arjuna. Decond, Gita does not any new laws or covenants. It is only an explanation of Dharma. Dharma maybe a concept not easily bound by any definition.


His family and clan perished in mutual fights, he was not driven off by hounding or persecution. In fact He did knew it was to happen. In fact it was His aim too. He left the clan to its own fatal end and entered a forest and sat there under a tree. There was shot by a hunter Jara [old age]. He should have been about 125 years old at that time. His body VANISHED.

There is no question of any sepulchres on two counts. First, cremation not burial was in vogue then as today. Second, there was NO BODY at all to be cremated or buried. How can there be even a single LAST resting place? No tomb, sepulchre, mausoleum or samadhi exists for Him.


He did not rise upto heaven, but returned to His abode, Vaikuntha, which is so high that heaven is not even a poor patch on it. Since Hindus do not recognise that He died, so His death anniversary is not celebrated at all.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#14  Postby lpetrich » Jan 04, 2011 4:12 pm

tnjrp wrote:Well, for fun, I'll score the mythic wise man Väinämöinen, arguably the central character of the Finnish national epic Kalevala. He is somewhat less so in the mythic songs and tales Elias Lönnrot's based his book on and in any case details differ in them so the scoring is based on the book:

Here's my assessment:

1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin
0/1. His mother Ilmatar is a supernatural creature and a virgin but not described as royal per se.
Me: 1

2. His father is a king, and
0+0/2. He is begot by winds of the primal sea before the creation of the world proper.
Me: 1

3. Often a near relative of his mother, but
0+0/3. N/A
Me: 0

4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and
0+1/4. As per #2 above.
Me: 1

5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god
1+0/5. The wind appears not to be a personified deity in this case.
Me: 1

6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but
1+0/6. N/A
Me: 0

7. He is spirited away, and
1+0/7. N/A
Me: 0

8. Reared by foster parents in a far country
1+0/8. He pretty much rears himself after finally being born as an already old and grizzled man.
Me: 0

9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but
1+0/9. Has no childhood to speak of as per #8.
Me: 1

10. On reaching manhood he returns to go to his future kingdom
1+0/10. He gets around, so leaves and returns several times but not upon reaching manhood specifically.
Me: 1

11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast
1+1/11. Has several exploits, most notably defeats the nasty wise woman Louhi of the rival nation/tribe of Pohjola.
Me: 1

12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and
2+0/12. Woos several women, arguably even a princess, but never marries.
Me: 1

13. Becomes king
2+1/13. Not really a king but since he was apparently a kind of a leader anyway let's say it's as close as it gets.
Me: 1

14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and
3+1/14. This is at the very least implied.
Me: 1

15. Prescribes laws, but
4+1/15. He lays down some rules of conduct and also teaches some magic which is related.
Me: 1

16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and
5+1/16. A more obvious Virgin Mary equivalent Marjatta gives a virgin birth to a son, which Väinämöinen tries to have killed; the baby however accostes him of far worse crimes than being a bastard child (in some of the original stories the baby in fact names Väinämöinen as his father) and Väinämöinen looses face, deciding to leave.
Me: 1

17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which
6+1/17. See #16 above. "Driven" is a bit problematic term in this case but he lost his status as the leader anyway so I'll give it a 1
Me: 1.

18. He meets a mysterious death
7+0/18. Doesn't die but ascends live to the otherworld, promising to return. In some versions he is suspected dead "in the fiery vortex of Rutja" but not so in Kalevala.
Me: 1

19. Often at the top of a hill
7+0/19. N/A
Me: 0

20. His children, if any, do not succeed him
7+0/20. In Kalevala he has no children. Marjatta's boy child is implied to do this in some versions of the myth tho.
Me: 1

21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless
7+0/21. Kinda ambivalent if this should be a 1 since he's not buried, but since he doesn't die either a 0 is better I think.
Me: 1

22. He has one or more holy sepulchres
7+0/22. N/A
Me: 0

The total score: 7/22.

I find: 16/22, though I interpret some of the criteria more loosely.

I recommend checking out the assessments in Lord' Raglan's Hero Pattern to get an idea of how loosely to interpret these criteria.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#15  Postby lordshipmayhem » Jan 04, 2011 5:46 pm

So, let's try me:

1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin;
No on both counts - I have older siblings

2. His father is a king, and
Blue collar worker. As "royal" as a Royal baker or tailor

3. Often a near relative of his mother, but
Not even close

4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and
As far as I'm aware, bog-standard.

5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god.
Mom might have described Dad that way, but it's unlikely anyone else would. A nice guy, definitely, but not a god.

6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but
No matter how bad I was - no.

7. He is spirited away, and
Another no. A perfect score so far.

8. Reared by foster parents in a far country.
Never moved from home until I became an adult.

9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but
Not much to tell...

10. On reaching manhood he returns to goes to his future kingdom.
See point #8

11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,
Does my kitty-cat count as a giant or wild beast? She's 7 kilos and has a temper...

12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and
Single, ladies.

13. Becomes king.
In his dreams...

14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and
See point 13

15. Prescribes laws, but
Only to visitors to apartment - ya want to smoke, take it to the balcony.

16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and
Kitty annoyed at me, but that's different from usual - how, exactly?

17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which
Nope

18. He meets a mysterious death,
Rumour has it, I'm still alive (cue closing theme song to Portal)

19. Often at the top of a hill.
I'm doing science and I'm
Still alive...

20. His children, if any, do not succeed him.
No kids - if I do have any out there somewhere, there's a mother I'm going to be very displeased with for keeping it a secret from me. I guess that's 1.

21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless
Hey! There's a 1! I'm not buried!! That makes two!

22. He has one or more holy sepulchres
I call mine, my "bathroom". There's three.


Total for a typical human being: three.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#16  Postby Clive Durdle » Jan 04, 2011 6:01 pm

Isn't krishna a god? What difference does it make if we are discussing gods, chimera or humans?
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#17  Postby lpetrich » Jan 05, 2011 11:41 am

lordshipmayhem's analysis of himself yields a result that's very typical of people in recent centuries, even great leaders and heroes. JFK is one of the best-fitting ones that I know of, and even he doesn't fit very well. Nobody has any idea about who they eventually would become, and nobody tries to kill them in their infancy. No plantation owners tried to kill the baby Abe Lincoln, no fundies tried to kill the baby Charles Darwin, no Jews tried to kill the baby Adolf Hitler, etc.

Clive Durdle wrote:Isn't krishna a god? What difference does it make if we are discussing gods, chimera or humans?

That's right. Lord Raglan himself had discussed some deities in his mythic-hero analysis. Zeus fits rather well, it must be said. He had very noble birth, his father tried to kill him when he was a baby, he was rescued, he was raised by foster parents in a distant place, and he returned and defeated his father.
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#18  Postby angelo » Jan 05, 2011 12:09 pm

Sounds familiar doesn't it?
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#19  Postby rcscwc » Dec 30, 2013 5:05 am

#10

Let me clarify a few points.

4. At the time of marriage of Devaki, there was a prophecy that her 8th son would kill Kamsa, her tyrant brother. So, in efgfect she was anticipating.


9. Not some, but lot of details. Like how He showed to His mother Yashoda the universe in His mouth, how he killed evil entities sent to kill Him, how Yashoda was unable to bind Him with a rope, Come on, there are thousands of art works relating to His childhood.

11. Kamsa did not or could not order murder of Vasudeva, because events moved too fast for that.


12. Lols. Even my Lady is very beautiful, in fact the most beatiful woman in the world!!

13. He NEVER became a king, never ascended a throne. Period.

22. Care to name or identify one such resting place?
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Re: Lord Raglan on Mythic Heroes

#20  Postby Blood » Dec 30, 2013 12:43 pm

Jesus only ranks high if you combine everything in the four gospels and even then interpret some of the criteria loosely. Jesus is not a king on the criteria of the Raglan scale: he does not actually "rule" over anyone like Oedipus does. Just being called "King of the Jews" does not qualify him as king.

Note that the Raglan scale does not include miracles.

But yes: unusual birth, someone trying to murder the figure as a baby, the figure raising the dead to life, and unusual, ambiguous death all combine to spell mythic hero archetype for Yeshua ho Christos.
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