King Arthur's knights, gathered at the Round Table to celebrate Pentecost, see a vision of the Holy Grail.

T. S. Eliot and the Holy Grail

The Nobel Laureate drew on a centuries-old legend when he put the Fisher King in The Waste Land.
Four Immortals Saluting Longevity. T

The Trouble with Immortality

Stories about immortality are present in many cultures throughout time. How cultures perceive immortality—as a blessing or a curse—can differ widely.
King Arthur removing the sword from the stone

The Return of the Hidden Hero

The hero/king/god isn’t dead, he’s just sleeping, often under a mountain, waiting for the day his people really need him. 

What If We’ve Been Misunderstanding Monsters?

Fictional evil creatures might be more nuanced—and have more to teach us—than has long seemed.
A disappearing Roman emperor with a lictor (left) and nobleman (right)

Latin Literature’s Problem with Invisibility

Ancient Romans saw the rituals of professional sorcerers as foreign and suspicious. But how else were you supposed to become invisible?

The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestries Depict a “Virgin-Capture Legend”

They’re big in elementary school, but unicorn tableaux also have a complex iconographic history that combines religious and secular myths.

The Unicorns of JSTOR

These rare creatures have by turn—and somewhat paradoxically—been associated with purity, fertility, seduction, healing, sacrifice, immortality, and divinity.
The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

Greek Gods and Game Theory

Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction. Connecting it with famous stories makes it easier for students to grasp.
Frig goddess

Should We Thank Frig it’s Friday?

The Anglo-Saxon goddess Frig has often been cited as the origin of the word Friday, but one scholar questions whether such a deity ever existed.
Moana Maui

The Polynesian Origin Myths Behind Disney’s Moana

Like Disney’s Moana? Learn about the Polynesian origin myths Disney consulted to create the demigod character Maui, played by Dwane “The Rock” Johnson.