Legend

During the Middle Ages, dragons more often figured in accounts about the lives of saints and religious figures than stories of heists and adventures.

Why Dragons Dominated the Landscape of Medieval Monsters

The mythical beasts were often cast as agents of the devil or demons in disguise

A plaster cast of a "ghost turnip" carving from Donegal, Ireland

When People Carved Turnips Instead of Pumpkins for Halloween

Revelers in Ireland transformed the root vegetables into lanterns designed to ward off dark spirits

Nestor's Cup, named for its ties to a legendary king referenced in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, bears one of the earliest known Greek inscriptions.

Cool Finds

Researchers Are Unraveling the Mystery of the Ancient Greek Tomb of 'Nestor's Cup'

New analysis suggests the 2,800-year-old burial held the remains of at least three adults, not a child as previously believed

The pages were disposed of as scrap and pasted into an unrelated book.

 

Cool Finds

Rediscovered Medieval Manuscript Offers New Twist on Arthurian Legend

The 13th-century pages, found by chance at a British library, show a different side of Merlin, the magician who advised Camelot's king

Excavations revealed two distinct phases in Arthur's Stone's construction.

Neolithic Monument Linked to King Arthur Is Older Than Stonehenge

New research suggests Arthur's Stone was built around 3700 B.C.E. as part of an intricate ceremonial landscape

The limestone slab's inscription states that Claudius “extended and redefined the pomerium because he had increased the boundaries of the Roman people.”

Cool Finds

Rare Boundary Stone Dated to Emperor Claudius' Reign Unearthed in Rome

The 2,000-year-old travertine slab marked the sacred outer limits of the ancient city

Some of the details between the film and its source material are, of course, different, but the themes at their respective hearts remain consistent.

'The Green Knight' Adopts a Medieval Approach to 'Modern' Problems

A new film starring Dev Patel as Gawain feels more like a psychological thriller than a period drama

The 2,200-square-foot venue is located about ten miles inland from Ocean City, in the town of Berlin, Maryland.

New Maryland Museum Dives Into the Mythology of Mermaids

Blending history, pop culture and folklore, the attraction features a Feejee mermaid, original artworks and more

Complicated adventures await Loki, the "god of mischief," played by Tom Hiddleston in the new Disney+ series produced by Marvel Studios.

A Folklorist Explains Loki's Place in Mythology's Pantheon of Trickster Heroes

Smithsonian's James Deutsch says that behind the character in the new Marvel Studios series lies the oft-told story of "guile" outsmarting authority

Explore the true history and myths behind six “terrible” women, from the all-knowing Sphinx to the fire-breathing Chimera and the lesser-known shapeshifter Lamia.

Men Have Feared Women for Millennia. Just Look at the Monsters of Greek Mythology

A new collection of essays considers how the villainous women of classical antiquity, from Medusa to the Sphinx, resonate in contemporary Western society

Illustration of Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, the likely inspiration for Molly Pitcher, stoking a cannon for the U.S. Pennsylvania artillery during the Battle of Monmouth

Women Who Shaped History

Molly Pitcher, the Most Famous American Hero Who Never Existed

Americans don't need to rely on legends to tell the stories of women in the Revolution

As historian Nancy Marie Brown points out, “[A]sking not ‘Are the sagas true?’ but ‘Are they plausible?’” is a far better barometer for testing the Viking tales’ veracity.

Did a Viking Woman Named Gudrid Really Travel to North America in 1000 A.D.?

The sagas suggest she settled in Newfoundland and eventually made eight crossings of the North Atlantic Sea

Eagles are enduring symbols in Aztec lore.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Unearth 600-Year-Old Golden Eagle Sculpture at Aztec Temple

The artwork is the largest bas-relief engraving found at the Templo Mayor to date

Encounters with the giant oarfish—the world's largest bony fish—may have inspired sailors to tell tales about fantastical sea serpents.

Virtual Travel

Meet the Real Animals Behind Mermaids, Dragons and Other Mythical Creatures

You can now take a virtual tour of a "Harry Potter"–inspired exhibition exploring the origins of fantastical beings

The altar's inscription suggests pilgrims traveled great distances to reach the religious site.

Cool Finds

Altar to Ancient Greek God Pan Found Embedded in Wall of Byzantine Church

Christians in what is now northern Israel may have repurposed the basalt structure as a deliberate affront to pagan worshippers

A digital reconstruction of the newly unearthed Norse godhouse

Cool Finds

Ruins of Eighth-Century Pagan Temple Found in Norway

The structure—built to honor Norse gods like Thor and Odin—is the first of its kind discovered in the country

The statue, which stands across from the New York County Criminal Courthouse, inverts the myth of Perseus slaying Medusa.

Why a New Statue of Medusa Is So Controversial

The gorgon, seen holding Perseus' severed head, stands across from the court where Harvey Weinstein was tried

The rusted metal casket that holds the preserved heart of Pierre David (1771-1839), former mayor of Verviers

Renovations Reveal 19th-Century Mayor's Heart Entombed in Belgian Fountain

Workers unearthed a metal box thought to contain the local leader's organ last month

The Norse system of thralldom was not always complete chattel slavery, but most of the enslaved had little agency.

The Little-Known Role of Slavery in Viking Society

A new book looks at the legendary Scandinavians through their own eyes

The 22-bedroom County Wexford estate sits on 63 acres of land.

You Could Be the Next Owner of Ireland's 'Most Haunted House'

Local legend claims that the devil visited Loftus Hall, now on sale for $2.87 million, during the 18th century

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