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I wonder...

Reading through a list of mythical creatures, trying to find ones from Africa, and not finding much. It makes me wonder, were pre-Christian Africans less superstitious than everyone else, or what?

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
kengr
Nov. 11th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
No, it's just that there aren't as many papers/studies/books about subSaharan African mythology. And even fewer of those resourerces have been put online.
musesrealm
Nov. 11th, 2011 03:00 am (UTC)
One of the reasons is that Africans, in many cases, had an oral tradition rather than a written one until fairly recently. Many tribes in Africa were and still are nomadic, and a nomading lifestyle doesn't often lend itself to creating a written language; if you write something down it's just one more thing you have to carry with you, or have to leave it and then find your way back to it later. There were, of course, exceptions. Many ancient things were destroyed or forgotten when the various European powers came to Africa and started dividing it up. It should also be noted that Christianity is notorious for taking a folk belief and co-opting it as their own. "No, Brigit is *not* a goddess, she's a saint, but since you pagans are stupid you didn't know that until we told you." "Also, this winter holiday that you like to celebrate is really the birth of our lord, but you've been celebrating it wrong. Stupid pagans."

What kinds of creatures are you looking for? I have many books, and since I'm still looking for a job I have lots of time on my hands for research.
fayanora
Nov. 11th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
Brigit is not an official saint. She's an example of the pagans being so fond of an old Deity that they made her into a saint after they converted to Xianity. The same kind of thing happened with Santeria, the old gods becoming saints when Catholicism started forcibly converting the slaves.

I'm trying to come up with magical creatures of an African flavor for Lyria's home country. Though as Brooke pointed out, oral traditions + European invasion = lots of lost stories. And Lyria's home continent, while similar to pre-colonial Africa up to a point, is also different. Nobody ever invaded them, and Lyria's home country is a couple centuries more advanced, technologically and socially speaking, than her new home country of Dralakkith. The level Dralakkith is at currently in the story, with a magic-driven industrial revolution, cars, mass production, and modern cities, is where Lyria's home country was a couple centuries ago when she left it. No doubt they've advanced further since then.
In fact, Dralakkith can thank Lyria for most of their advances. She patented a lot of things her people had already invented, and then started coming up with her own stuff, because she's a genius.
daddys_kitten_
Nov. 11th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
Not sure if it helps, but there are a few African myths at Myths RETOLD: http://bettermyths.blogspot.com/p/smorgasbord-of-mythology.html
fayanora
Nov. 11th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Cool! Thanks!
xander_opal
Nov. 11th, 2011 06:38 am (UTC)
I suspect that there has been a lack of attention and record of these myths and legends, a sad oversight.
acelightning
Nov. 11th, 2011 07:54 am (UTC)
I think that African and Native American beliefs don't include very many "mythical" animals because those peoples knew real animals so intimately. They had to kill animals in order to eat, and they had to kill animals that were trying to eat them, but they always respected the spirits of the animals they had to kill. There was no need to use animals as symbols of something else, hence no need to invent creatures like unicorns, dragons, gryphons, and kraken.

underlankers
Nov. 12th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
More that the mythology is rather obscure when it comes to Africa. Unfortunately the cultures there have gotten less in the way of books than others.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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