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  1. #1
    Mind Wanderer Zeego's Avatar
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    Default "Interpretatio Graeca"

    Interpretatio graeca - Wikipedia

    What is your take on this? Do you think it makes sense to say two formerly-unrelated deities are one and the same based on their similarities? I've noticed that a lot of people take an interesting approach to this: you'll often hear Neptune described as "the equivalent of Poseidon" despite being a technically distinct deity, while you will almost never hear the Egyptian deity Set described as "the equivalent of Typhon" even though he was identified as such by the same ancient people who identified Neptune as Poseidon.
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  2. #2
    trying to take a break Typh0n's Avatar
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    I understand deities as platonic "first forms" of aspects of reality. The gods of one mythos are not the gods of another, but the form or archetype, to use a Jungian term, they represent may have an equivalent in another mythos. Then again, I think it's not always so simple, for instance, some gods might appear similar without being the exact same being. I haven't thought enough about the issue to really go into it further, but I think that there are equivalants from one mythos to another, some very well-known and some left up for us to discover.

    The way I understand the equation of Set to Typhon, is that they both are rebels against "paternal" figures who represent the known order, in the case of Set that would be Osiris and for Typhon it was Zeus. Osiris and Zeus too, are very similar. They represent stability, the known order, resistance to change etc. Set represents the extension of existence beyond the borders of Egypt , the known order. This is why Set was associated with the oasis regions, and he comparable to Ash, an early Egpytian deity of the oasis. In later myths Set became the murderer of Osiris. He was also the one who saved the barque of the god Ra by spearing the Apep serpent who saught to devour it. Set's role in Egyptian mythology was really complex, see Seth, God of Confusion by Herman Te Velde for the complex role of Set in Egytpian mythology. Typhon was not deity, but a titan who rebelled against Zeus, and waged war against him and was defeated and imprisoned under Mount Etna.

    I could go on because I am passionate about the "bad guys" of mythology like Set and Typhon, but I'll stop.
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  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Without getting into a lot of reading and detail, it seems useful on a general level to get across the concepts of certain pantheons and what they embodied, and maybe there are dedicated deities in other pantheons who oversee the same aspects of creation and performed similar functions.

    However, as the problem with every shorthand, the cultures themselves might be different enough (and have a different context) that even gods with domains over the same things might not be viewed as the same gods or the same gods in terms of character. You also can't necessarily assume an older god was the ancestor of a newer similar god.

    I think the greek and roman gods were close enough chronologically that maybe there was some derivation involved and they are probably one of the most similar pantheons. But not necessarily when pulling from pantheons of more distant cultures.

    To give a relevant example, nowadays when people think of Death, it is typically viewed as an evil thing, and it is assumed that a God of Death is an evil (or at least terrible) God. However, in some of the older pantheons, this is not necessarily the case. Death in western culture is viewed differently than some other cultures might have viewed it, and thus the gods given dominion over that area are different as well.

    I don't think Set was necessarily the same even in description, he was the god of storms as well as that of the desert and foreigners and chaos. Lots of egyptian gods also had animals heads, the concept was not quite as equivalent as roman vs greek. Set was also villainized through his connection to enemy foreigners, so a lot of his acts became viewed through a lens as evil, or focused on the darker things he might have done.
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