Chapter

Myth and History

Romila Thapar

in Time as a Metaphor of History: Early India

Published in print September 1996 | ISBN: 9780195637984
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081912 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195637984.003.0006
Myth and History

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This chapter discusses the relationship between myth and history. It has been argued that myths narrate events in primordial, atemporal moments which constitute sacred time, and differ from the continuous profane time of daily routines. Therefore, by narrating myths profane time is abolished. The question then is whether this was true of the treatment of time in the Purāṇas. Was there at least the suggestion that a differentiation was being perceived between different forms of time and the assessment of past events? Was cosmological time seen as mythic time? Was mythic time segregated from chronological time in narrating the past? Was this segregation seen as a mechanism for separating myth and history?

Keywords: myth; history; time; Purāṇas; cosmological

Chapter.  2164 words. 

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