Bulfinch's Mythology: Legends of Charlemagne or Romance of the Middle Ages, The Age of Chivalry or Legends of King Arthur and The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes (Complete)by Thomas Bulfinch
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The literature of our time, as of all the centuries of Christendom, is full of allusions to the gods and goddesses of the Greeks and Romans. Occasionally, and, in modern days, more often, it contains allusions to the worship and the superstitions of the northern nations of Europe. The object of this book is to teach readers who are not yet familiar with the writers of Greece and Rome, or the ballads or legends of the Scandinavians, enough of the stories which form what is called their mythology, to make those allusions intelligible which one meets every day, even in the authors of our own time. The Greeks and Romans both belong to the same race or stock. It is generally known in our time as the Aryan family of mankind; and so far as we know its history, the Greeks and Romans descended from the tribes which emigrated from the high table- lands of Northern India. Other tribes emigrated in different directions from the same centre, so that traces of the Aryan language are found in the islands of the Pacific ocean.
The people of this race, who moved westward, seem to have had a special fondness for open air nature, and a willingness to personify the powers of nature. They were glad to live in the open air, and they specially encouraged the virtues which an open-air people prize. Thus no Roman was thought manly who could not swim, and every Greek exercised in the athletic sports of the palaestra.
The Romans and Grecian and German divisions of this great race are those with which we have most to do in history and in literature. Our own English language is made up of the dialects of different tribes, many of whom agreed in their use of words which they had derived from our Aryan ancestry. Thus our substantive verb I AM appears in the original Sanscrit of the Aryans as ESMI, and m for ME (MOI), or the first person singular, is found in all the verbal inflections. The Greek form of the same verb was ESMI, which became ASMI, and in Latin the first and last vowels have disappeared, the verb is SUM. Similar relationships are traced in the numerals, and throughout all the languages of these nations.
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