Since ancient times people have told stories to explain the world around them, how it was created, and whether life exists after death. Those stories of life's meaning have passed down through generations. This compendium of myths is divided into geographical sections from Northern Lands to the South Pacific Islands. Each section provides a map of the area, a timeline, and a short introduction to the different peoples and their myths within each area. Each section also includes an annotated list of mythological characters in alphabetical order. In all, more than 500 characters are described, including well-known figures from Greek, Roman, and Norse myths as well as figures from India, China, South America, and Polynesia. (Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions are not covered in this book.) Evocative illustrations on every page help readers visualize key stories and beings. A glossary of key terms and a comprehensive index further distinguish this book, which will serve as a highly useful reference tool on the home and library shelves.