Legendary battles between gods and gods, between gods and humans, between humans and fabled beasts, and between humans and humans have fascinated readers for centuries. Sometimes crossing the border into real historical conflicts, the tales, heroes, and villains recorded in ancient texts throughout the world provide a glimpse into the culture, morals, spirituality, and social mores of the distant past, all still at play in the modern world. At times surprisingly universal in theme, the stories that have spun out of epic conflicts have been revisited again and again in art, drama, music, and literature, and continue to prove fertile ground for discussion among scholars and in the classroom. This unusual compilation features not only battles that are already well known, but many that are not. A special effort has been made, for instance, to include battles from African, Asian, Polynesian, East European, and other marginalized cultures, along with an abundance of essays on female warriors from all around the world.
These volumes focus on famous clashes and renowned heroes and heroines in folklore and mythology. These struggles chronicled suffering, bravery, and patriotism as well as indifference, cowardice, and duplicity. People throughout the ages have often compared these mythological wars to the real ones they have been forced to live through.
Mythological subjects covered in these volumes include:
- Greek tales of the Titanomachy, the Attic War, and the Trojan War
- Aztec & Mayan legends of Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcóatl
- Norse & Celtic legends of the Ragnarök, the Battle of Brávellir, the Ӕsir-Vanir War, the Cath MaigeTuired, and the Battle of Moira
- Far East mythological tales of the Battle of Zhuolu and the Battle of Banquan
- Native American tales of the Grasshopper War and Crow Necklace and his Medicine Ceremony
- Egyptian writings on the War of Vesosis and Tanausis and the Battle of Horus and Set
- Indian stories of the Ramayana and the Kurukshetra War
- The Middle Eastern legend of Yushamin
The content is arranged by region and myth cycle. Regions covered include: Africa; the Americas; Egypt; Norse, Celts & Europe; the Far East; Greece; India & Central Asia; the Near East; the Pacific; and the Roman World. Each region begins with a number of Overview essays that discuss the literature, mythology, and art of the region.
All articles also include a section that surveys films, novels, video games, and comic books that feature the mythical warriors and battles discussed in the write-up. Maps, illustrations, legendary battle items, and poetry round out this volume. Several Finding Guides list content by region and beliefs, in addition to a Subject Index.