Oftentimes, legends are held throughout history and passed through cultures as bedtime stories but where did they come from? Every story has an origin or an inspiration, but where did these inspirations come from and do they have any form of accountability? What makes a legend a legend is the fact that every time the story is told, a tiny detail gets changed in each telling. It is quite like a game of telephone, what is the actual story?
Some legends have captured people’s interests for a long time such as the tale of Naymlap. Legends in Peru, spoke of a fearless founder of a dynasty in the Lambayeque Valley in Northern Peru.The founder’s name was Naymlap. Supposedly he had come in , floating on rafts holding a beautiful green idol that he cherished very much so. He took it everywhere with him. Naymlap had a long reign and the people lived peacefully as long as he lived, until one day, he passed away. However, Naymlap’s attendants did not want the people to know their beloved leader had died of such human characteristics since they all thought of him as a god. To keep it a secret, they had buried him in the room that he lived in. The tale of Naymlap didn’t really have an author. It was a tale told from generation to generation. The tellings purpose , however, was to tell a tale of consequence from certain actions.
It was only considered a mere legend until an archaeology excavation team took place in 1980. They found numerous wealthy ceramics, burials, colorful wall murals, domestic dwellings, pyramids, and palace complexes underneath it all. It was found in two adjacent sites in Lambayeque Valley : Chotuna and Chornancap. As the tale was told, the diction led archaeologists to the three locations , the tale never straight up told of the locations of where the tale originated. Archaeologists didn’t truly believe the tale until objects were found. The tale used it’s diction to gain a mysterious edge and to tell about consequences.
The myth continues as such , the story ends with the last successor of Naymlap, Fempellec. Fempellec had tried to take the green idol that has been built into the palace , yet, as legend goes, Fempellec was intercepted by the Devil who came to him as a beautiful seductress. When the two had consummated their union, a terrible rain flooded the valley for 30 days followed by famine and sterility.
When the archaeologists conducted radio carbon measurements, set at the excavation sites that were placed around 650-700 A.D , the bricks used to build the sites, showed signs of erosion from flood water. Archaeologists wondered if the green idol that was depicted in the tale was a symbol for something else or was an actual object. So they sought to find it.
Yet, the green idol was never found in the search, the rest of the site and findings correlated directly to the legend. Is this an actual legend or is this a story based off of real life events?
IT makes one question stick out , what about other legends? Could they be based off of actual events?
Examining the legend of Atlantis was also an interesting find. There was so many different ideas and theories upon the subject that no two stories are the exact same, however, when examining the documents of the author of the tale ,Atlantis, it came from a man named Plato. Plato had told stories of an ancient civilization called the Minoan. It had been a prosperous civilization with gold and riches and architecture upon one’s wildest dreams. According to the legend, a volcano nearby had erupted causing absolute chaos. The magma chamber within the volcano had emptied so much that the core of the island fell through , creating a tsunami to cross the ocean and to hit the Minoan. The water that flooded the civilization caused the island to sink underneath the waves, to never be heard from again. A famous archaeologist known by the name ,Sykes, had conducted several expeditions to see if such a place has been found. Sykes had the largest Atlantis research collection in the world, the tales told by Plato, was always told to mystify readers around about the ancient civilization of Atlantis. Plato used the rhetoric to keep the destination of Atlantis a secret and the diction kept everyone wondering about the truth behind it.
He funded satellites to take pictures of Bimini to see if Atlantis lied underneath its waves. They did find two interesting things. They found a Soviet bunker with bomb shelters created out of cement near the shore. And they found interesting building about 100 square feet with marble pillars surrounding the ground of marble tile stones. There has been no proof of Atlantis existing but dating back to the stories, archaeologists think it is a great possibility. Unfortunately, Sykes had passed away before anyone actually found anything.
Adrienne Mayor is a paleontologist for Greek mythology. Legends told of a battle between Hercules and an ancient monster , however, experts had been stunned by the pictures dictating the monster. The monster did not represent any type of monster that usually the Greeks depicted their monsters. Typically, their creatures are serpentine like , quite like the tale of Medusa. Medusa being a snake like woman who could turn people to stone with one look. The tales of Medusa and monsters and such were based off of diction that held horror and a hero opportunity to vanquish a serious evil. Honor was such a high thing in Greek mythology that it makes readers question what the battles were actually like. Yet, all the vases and walls that dictate these battles made archaeologists question the truths behind it, could there have been actual people with these great names that accomplished these great feats?
Diction is important in ancient legends, there could be truth behind the legends but the authors of these legends told these tales the way they did for a reason. The fact behind it is oftentimes lost, yet the rhetoric always captivates.
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