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  Trames
A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences

ISSN 1736-7514 (electronic)  ISSN 1406-0922 (print)
Published since 1997

Trames
A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences

ISSN 1736-7514 (electronic)  ISSN 1406-0922 (print)
Published since 1997

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A LARGE-SCALE STUDY OF WORLD MYTHS; pp. 407–424

(Full article in PDF format) https://doi.org/10.3176/tr.2018.4.05


Authors

Marc Thuillard, Jean-Loïc Le Quellec, Julien d’Huy, Yuri Berezkin

Abstract

The study of the narrative elements in tales and myths (motifs) belongs to a long tradition, initially aimed at finding the area of origin of early narratives (Urtexts). This objective, which has been much criticized, is generally abandoned today, but is it possible to establish the basis for an objectively verifiable mythogeography? Computer technology enables sophisticated mathematical computations on databases of an unprecedented scale, which makes it possible to base the comparative mythology on replicable calculation processes. In order to check for several subsets of motifs that could be specific to particular zones or continents, we test here two new methods on a corpus of 2264 motifs from ca. 40.000 myths recorded among 934 peoples around the globe, and we show that these motifs are best classified into two main groups.

Keywords

world mythology, big data, diffusion, classification, phylogenetics, network

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