Welcome to Timeless Myths

Timeless Myths is a home page devoted to the famous ancient and medieval myths and legends of Europe.

Timeless Myths covered the Golden Age of Classical Greek and Roman myths, as well as Norse and Celtic myths, and the Arthurian legend.

Timeless Myths provided reference and summarised accounts of famous events and high adventures. Timeless Myths also summarised popular characters, whether they are gods or goddesses, heroes or villains, rulers or just plain ordinary people.

I hope that you will enjoy these ancient tales with me.

Objectives of Timeless Myths
Structures of Timeless Myths
Interfaces and Appearances
Naming Conventions

Objectives of Timeless Myths

Timeless Myths is a home page targeting at audience who are interested in myths and legends. Timeless Myths covered mainly two different times – ancient and medieval periods.

Since I’ve been working on this web page on my own and purely out of personal interests, I’ve decided to limited the size of Timeless Myths to cover only four different myths – Classical myths (Greek and Roman), Norse myths (Scandinavian and German), Celtic myths (Irish and Welsh), and the Arthurian legend.

Most of my targeted audiences come mainly from education and researchers, particularly students and teachers (judging by the number of e-mails I have received from students, who wanted help with their homework). The rest of my audience are those who are just fascinated by myths and legends, and wanted to learn more.

The purpose of Timeless Myths is to retell popular myths and legends. The other purpose is to provide readers with sources of information on popular characters found in myths and legends.

In another word, I am simply retelling old stories (myths). So when you read tales from Timeless Myths, you will have a recount of the myth, not a literal translation. I am also trying to provide some references to readers on certain characters or adventures.

Notice I use the word “retell“, and not translation. Timeless Myths is based on me reading translations of various ancient and medieval sources, piecing these various works together, and writing them in my own words – of what the myth was really all about. Though the myths found in Timeless Myths are not actual translation, I had tried to remain faithful and accurate to the sources of the literature.

For example. Concerning the character, I’ve tried to describe where he come from, who he marry, whose his parents or children are, what he done, how he die, etc. I am trying to provide general information about the character, without going into an in-depth psychoanalysis on him.

Retelling these myths doesn’t mean that I am trying to invent entire new story, like what many of the modern fiction novelists have done, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley (The Mists of Avalon) and Stephen Lawhead (Pendragon Cycle). Don’t get me wrong, they are probably great writers, but I would not rely on their works in my website.

You may have notice that the majority of the themes that I covered, are heroic myths. I suppose I am great fan of adventure and their heroes or heroines. There are lot of tragedy also found in Timeless Myths. I also tried to cover myths of the gods and goddesses, particularly does concerning Creation Myths.

There are less tales on lovers. Most of these are found either in the Celtic myths or the Arthurian romances. They mixed adventure and tragedy with love. There are some people who want me to add more tales of lovers in the Greek/Roman myths. So I added a new page called Tales of Lovers, on June 2000.

I have plenty of responses from people, asking where I found these materials. Well they come from hours of reading English translation of epics, sagas, plays and poems. (See About Me of how I became involve with mythology.)

There are bibliography and suggested reading for each myth. You will find a link to the bibliography at the bottom of each page (just above the copyright), or go to the Appendix, which also has link, found at the bottom of the page.

Structures of Timeless Myths

As I’ve stated earlier, I have divided Timeless Myths into four major divisions or branches:

Classical Mythology
Norse Mythology
Celtic Mythology
Arthurian Legends

When I had constructed Timeless Myths, I envisioned that my web page be structured into several categories in each myth that I thought was logical.

Instead of giving each individual character or tale their own page, I tends to group them together. So if you were looking for a person, named Odysseus, then you will find him in a group of other heroes who fought in the Trojan War, under the page called Heroes II. Similarly, if you are looking for like the Iliad, then you will find this tale in a page called Trojan War, along with other tales about this war.

For example, in the Classical myths section, I divided into 4 categories – “Pantheon”, “Heroic Age”, “Royal Houses”, and the “Geographia”.

Pantheon would contain information about the gods and goddesses found in classical mythology as well as the stories of the Creation. While the Heroic Age contain information about the Greek heroes and heroines in “Heroes I” and “Heroes II”. Heroic Age also contains full stories, eg. Argonauts, Trojan War and the Odyssey. While the category – Royal Houses contain stories and information of rulers of powerful cities, such as Argos, Mycenae, Thebes, Troy, etc. There are more myths found in the “Geographia”, which are related to the regions, islands or cities of mythical Greece. You will find Roman myths and legends in the first three categories.

The other divisions of mythology have similar structures.

Here are the structures of Timeless Myths, the divisions and their catagories.

Classical Mythology Pantheon
Heroic Age
Royal Houses
Norse Mythology Asgard
Celtic Mythology Otherworld
Warrior Society
Celtic Cycles
Arthurian Legends Camelot
Age of Chivalry
Songs of Deeds

Songs of Deeds is a new section in the Arthurian section, created in 2006. This non-Arthurian section, is mainly about Charlemagne and his knights, such as Roland, Oliver, and in the future, possibly Guillaume, Ogier, Renaud and many others. I may also included legends that are unrelated to both Arthur and Charlemagne.

I have thought this sort of structure was fairly logical and better than a large index.

However, I have received many e-mails saying that they can’t find this or that. Which is why I place a search engine on the home page of Timeless Myths (see FAQs about Search Engine). The advantage of the search engines, is that it will find all references to the name you are looking for.

Unfortunately, I originally had only one search engine in the home page, so not everyone has been using it. To make it easier for user, I have placed a search engine in each branch, eg. Greek, Norse, Celtic, etc, as well as one in each category.

The Search Engine looks like this:

All you have to do is type in what you are looking for, then press the GO! button.

So my suggestion is that if you can’t find the stuff you required through normal navigation, then please used the search engine in my webpages. If the search engine can’t find it, either you misspelt it or is not found in Timeless Myths.

Of course you may also email me, too, if you have trouble finding the materials.

Interfaces and Appearances

Generally, I have tried to keep the interface identical throughout Timeless Myths. I have created and used similar layout templates for each different myth.

The menu page of each mythology and category has all their buttons (links) on the left-hand side, either images of either illustration or painting on the right-hand side. Below all of the buttons, there is a search engine powered by BeSeen’s MySearch from LookSmart.

Similarly, the layouts of the articles were also the same. It has header at the top, content of the article on the left side, with extra information in a small box on the right.

The Classical and Celtic mythology had identical layouts, but it has different background, font and colour, and different objects such as the banners (headers) and buttons for menu.

By using the same layout, there would be less confusion for the audience, but with different colour and buttons, it helps to distinguish one mythology from another.

This web site tried to concentrate more on “contents” than on looks. However, to attract audiences to my web sites, I have tried to make the interface look as interesting as possible.

So with my limited artistic skills, I have tried my hand on a bit of drawing and creating animation. All the buttons and banners were drawn by me using special paint program.

All other images come from scanning from books and magazines. I’ve tried to put some appropriate images, such as illustrations, painting and sculptures, to suit a particular subject.

These, I admit, were drawn or painted by other artists many of them long dead. To avoid infringement of copyright, I labelled them whenever I can – who the artists were and where it is from (museum, art galley, etc). Unfortunately not all the images have the information I required.

If any images are copyright belonging to you or an organisation, then I would like to apologise for infringing your copyright. Please contact me, and I will have it immediately removed from my website.

Naming Conventions

Often, when you reading literatures (particularly one other than English), you will come across different names for the same character, depending on who the translator/author.

In classical mythology, people today, often preferred the Latin equivalents than the original Greek names that are associated with same characters. This was mainly due to difficulties in pronouncing some Greek sounds.

Also the Latinised names have become, more or less, an accepted part of English. When people rediscovered classical mythology during Middle Ages, Latin was very much a universal language in Western Europe. All Romance languages, such as Italian, French and Spanish, originated from the parent language, Latin. French became dominant language in the 11th-13th century, even in Norman and Plantagenet (Angevin) England. These two houses come from France. Greek and Roman myths became even more popular during Renaissance, reinforcing the use of Latinised names of Greek heroes and gods.

Since these characters mainly come from Greece, I have tried to use correct naming convention as much as possible. Most characters in classical myths, I will try to use the Greek names, instead of the more popular Roman/Latin counterparts. However, this is not alway possible since I am no expert in language.

Examples, all the deities in Greek myths, I had no problem using the Greek name, such as Zeus, instead of Jupiter; Poseidon instead of Neptune, Athena instead of Minvera, etc. Then there are the heroes, I have used Heracles instead of Hercules, Odysseus instead of Ulysses, and so on. In lot of areas, I had to used Latinised name, such as Achilles, Ajax and probably more than I had thought.

Another exception, is when all stories and deities in the page are Roman, such as the Roman Deities and Tales of Rome. Here, I used Roman name for all the gods.

The same thing applied to Norse myths. Whenever I can, I used the Norse name instead of the German counterpart.

The only exception here was Wayland the Smith. Wayland was popular hero found in the legends in all Germanic kingdoms. I have used the Anglo-Saxon name, Wayland, since Wayland is much more recognisable, than those of Norse name, Volund, or the German equivalent, Wielund.

However, I have struck a little problem, with the Celtic myths and the Arthurian legend. I had to choose between the Gaelic (Irish) names and the Anglicised names for Irish myths. For me, I can’t distinguish which is which; so I had chosen to pick the most popular one to use, and stick with it.

It is even worse for the Arthurian legend, because the legend was internationally recognised. The sources for Arthurian legend probably originated with the Celtic speaking Welsh, yet the Breton (also Celtic), French, English, German and Italian authors have all written part of the legend.

For example, the hero Perceval. This is by far the most popular spelling of Perceval, used by the English and French. But you could use Peredur in Welsh, or Parsival, Parzival and Parsifal in German.

Geoffrey of Monmouth was a Welsh author, who first made legend of Arthur, an international success. Yet, Geoffrey wrote his Historia in Latin. However, I have avoided using the Latin names, since the Latin names were the least popular names used in the Arthurian legend. I can safely ignored using the Breton and German names. That left me with using Welsh, English or French name. I found that the Welsh name was almost impossible to pronounce, so I have eliminated Welsh, except for the tale of Culhwch and Olwen, found in the Mabinogion.

This left me in a dilemma of choosing between English and French. I found myself faced with dilemma – a “Scylla and Charybdis situation”. Either, I end up in a belly of monster, or I take my chance in drowning in a whirlpool.

Okay, okay. Maybe I am exaggerating my situation; I am just trying to illustrate a point.

I had decided to compromise. In most cases, I will use their English names, but since most of my sources come from France, there are many instances where I will use the French names. I have used French names, “Tristan and Isolde” instead of “Tristram and Iseult”; I have also preferred to use the French “Lancelot”, instead of the English “Launelot”, and in Knight of the Lion I have used “Yvain” instead of “Ywain” or “Owain” (though for the Dream of Rhonabwy, I had used the Welsh “Owain” or “Owein”). The rest, I pick one of the names and try to stick with it.

I would like to apologise to the purists, if I tend to use Anglicised form of the names. As I said before, I am no expert in languages, and I used what I come across in my reading.