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Founding myth

Founding myths could be thought of as a subclass of the general category of 'mythical' events. Nearly every nation-state has some kind of founding myth - be it a liberating war of independence, peaceful transition from colony to independent nation state or semi-divine original rulers. In all, the significance of the actual event involved has been overwhelmed by the layers of meaning which have been added by generations of observers or remembrancers.

Although myths are often considered to be accounts events that have not happened, many historians consider that myths can also be accounts of actual events that have become highly imbued with symbolic meaning. One way of conceptualizing this process is to view 'myths' as lying at the far end of a continuum ranging from a 'dispassionate account' to 'legendary occurrence' to 'mythical status'. As an event progresses towards the mythical end of this continuum, what people think/feel/say about the event takes on progressively greater historical significance while the facts become less important. By the time one reaches the mythical end of the spectrum the story has taken on a life of its own and the facts of the original event have become almost irrelevant.



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