History and Myth

History is the stories told by one sociocultural group about their collective past, while myth is a central idea based on that collective story, filtered through the lens of culture (Most, 2006).

Related Case Studies: Before and After Jaws: Changing Representations of Shark Attacks, A toothy tale: A short history of shark fisheries and trade in shark products in twentieth-century Indonesia


History and myth are both structures in which a group of people use a shared past to understand their present.

The culmination of told stories that shape history are formed as a result of place as well as culture, and often form in dialogue or opposition to other stories and narratives (Most, 2006). Myths hold the additional component of a central theme, moral, or guide that justifies and models the behavior of the subscribers to the myth itself (Schilbrack, 8). Thus, histories and myths collaborate to produce a universal understanding of the past, forming a basis of the sociocultural group’s past, present, and future. However, certain aspects of histories and myths through unclear evidence and support, have the ability to establish relationships between different groups of people (Most, 2006). 

Most, Stephen. River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basin. Oregon Historical Society, 2006, Portland.

Schilbrack, Kevin. Thinking through Myths: Philosophical Perspectives. Routledge, 2003. New York.