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Word Count: 450
We study the similar myths of various societies by comparing them to one another We can compare these myths on the basis of their generic genetic or historical relationships Generic relationships among myths are based on the way people react to common features in their environment For example the Maori of New Zealand and the ancient Greeks both had myths that described how the earth became separated from the sky Genetic relationships A large society may develop a particular myth Then for some reason the society breaks up into several separate societies each of which develops its own version of the myth These myths have a genetic relationship Myths about the Greek god Zeus and the ancient Indian god Indra have a genetic relationship The two gods resemble each other in many ways For example each is a sky god and each uses a lightning bolt as his chief weapon These similarities can be explained by the fact that the ancient Greeks and the people of ancient India descended from a common culture the Indo-European community The Indo-Europeans lived several thousand years ago in the area north of the Black Sea in southeastern Europe This culture worshiped a warrior god who ruled the sky One group of Indo-Europeans migrated westward to what is now Greece There they developed a sky god who became known as Zeus Another group of Indo-Europeans the Aryans migrated southward into northern India They developed the warlike sky god Indra Historical relationships appear when similar myths develop among cultures that do not share a common origin For instance many ancient Near and Middle Eastern societies had a myth in which several generations of sons overthrew their fathers who ruled as gods or kings Variations of this myth appeared in Greece and Iran among the Hittites in what is now Turkey and among the Phoenicians who lived mainly in what is now Lebanon Many
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