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Posted on Thursday, August 25 - 2005

" The mermaid and merman legends begin with the worship of gods as have many mythologies. This information has been divided into three different categories to help save time in your browsing and to establish simple guidelines to see different periods in the mythology of mermaids. The earlies..."

The mermaid and merman legends begin with the worship of gods as have many mythologies. This information has been divided into three different categories to help save time in your browsing and to establish simple guidelines to see different periods in the mythology of mermaids. The earliest representations and descriptions of these now well known creatures can be traced back as far as the eighth century BC. .

The three stages of mermaid mythology:  Merfolk as Gods :- a look at the birth of the mermaid mythology and how it began as pagan water deities and supernatural female water beings. Merfolk and Christianity :- the role of the mermaid mythology changed significantly with the growth of the Chirstian Church, this is a look at how and why the myth survived when so many other pagan deities didn't and what the new role of the mermaid was. Merfolk and the Rise of Science:- for a long time the mermaid was believed to have existed even by educated men, with the rise of science and the Enlightenment the tides turned back to try and disprove the existence of such a creature as the mermaid. This being done the role of mermaids changed yet again.

Merfolk as Gods: The Babylonians were known to worship a sea-god called Oannes, or Ea. Oannes was reputed to have risen from the Erythrean Sea and taught to man the arts and sciences. In the Louvre today can be seen an eighth century wall-scene depicting Oannes as a merman, with the fish-like tail and the upper body of a man. The Syrians and the Philistines were also known to have worshipped a Semitic mermaid moon-goddess. The Syrians called her Atargatis while the Philistines knew her as Derceto. It is not unusual or surprising that this moon-goddess was depicted as a mermaid as the tides ebbed and flowed with the moon then as it does now and this was incorporated into the god-like personifications that we find in their art and the ancient literature. Atargatis is one of the first recorded mermaids and the legend says that her child Semiramis was a normal human and because of this Atargatis was ashamed and killed her lover. Abandoning the infant she became wholly a fish...


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