In the mythology of the Navajo of North America, First Man and First Woman, known as Altsé hastiin and Altsé asdzáá, respectively, were beings who prepared the world for the creation of people. Created when the winds blew life into two special ears of corn, the couple led the creatures that would become the Navajo on a journey from a series of lower worlds up to the surface of the earth.
Floods are among the most powerful and devastating of natural events. Long after the water has subsided, people remember and talk about the loss and destruction.
From new life to death, from purity to passion, flowers have had many meanings in myths and legends. Swelling from tender bud to full bloom, flowers are associated with youth, beauty, and pleasure.
The Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship in several maritime legends, was a sign of bad luck, particularly for sailors. In most versions, the ship appeared off the Cape of Good Hope, the southern tip of Africa.
In Norse* mythology, Freyja was the goddess of love and fertility, associated with affairs of the heart. According to one Norse source, "all lovers would do well to invoke her." Her identification with love and passion led other deities to condemn her behavior.
In Norse* mythology, Freyr was the god of fertility and prosperity and the twin of Freyja, the goddess of love and fertility. He and his sister were the children of the sea god Njord and the female giant Skadi.
In Norse* mythology, Frigg was the wife of Odin, father of the gods. She was associated with marriage and the birth of children.
Fruit appears in myths from around the world. Often it is a symbol of abundance, associated with goddesses of fruitfulness, plenty, and the harvest.
In Greek and Roman mythology, the Furies were female spirits of justice and vengeance. They were also called the Erinyes (angry ones).
In Greek mythology, the goddess Gaia represented the earth. Also called Gaea or Ge by the Greeks and Terra or Tellus by the Romans, she was a maternal figure who gave birth to many other creatures and deities.
According to Arthurian legendi, Galahad was the purest and noblest knight in King Arthur's court and the only one ever to see the Holy Grail. The son of Lancelot—another celebrated knight—and Elaine, Galahad was raised by nuns and arrived at the court as a young man.
Galatea, whose name means "milk white," was a sea nymph in Greek mythology. She was loved by the Cyclops* Polyphemus, an ugly giant with one eye in the middle of his forehead.
Ganesha, the god of good fortune and wisdom, is one of the most popular Hindu deities. People call upon him at the beginning of any task, because his blessing supposedly ensures success.
Greek myths describe Ganymede as a handsome boy who was kidnapped by the gods to serve as a cupbearer on Mount Olympus*. Born in Troy*, where his father was king, Ganymede came to the attention of Zeus*, who was captivated by his appearance.
The Bushpeople of southern Africa believe that Gauna is the leader of the spirits of the dead. He is the enemy of Cagn, the god who created the world.
Genies (also called jinn or genii) are spirits in cultures of the Middle East and Africa. The term genie comes from the Arabic word jinni, which referred to an evil spirit that could take the shape of an animal or person.
St. George was a Christian martyr who lived in the Middle East in the A.D.
Giants play many different roles in myth and legend. These mythical beings, much bigger than people, usually have human form, but some are monstrous in appearance.
The best-known and most popular hero in the mythology of the ancient Near East, Gilgamesh was a Sumerian* king who wished to become immortal. Endowed with superhuman strength, courage, and power, he appeared in numerous legends and myths, including the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Gluskap, a culture hero of the Algonquian-speaking people of North America, created the world and has helped his people in many situations. According to Native American mythology, Gluskap was responsible for making all the good things in the universe—the air, the earth, the animals, and the people—from his mother's body.
Medieval legend says that a woman named Lady Godiva rode naked on her horse through the English city of Coventry centuries ago. Although a Lady Godiva really existed, no evidence links her with such a deed.
Gog and Magog appear as evil figures in the mythology of several different cultures. In the book of Revelation in the Bible, Gog and Magog are the evil powers that will battle God at the end of the world.
In Roman mythology, the Golden Bough was a tree branch with golden leaves that enabled the Trojan hero Aeneas* to travel through the underworld safely. The bough was said to be sacred to Proserpina (Persephone), the queen of the underworld, and was associated with the goddess Diana*.
One of the best-known stories in Greek mythology concerns the hero Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece. The fleece, which came from a magic ram, hung in a sacred grove of trees in the distant land of Colchis.
According to Jewish legend, a golem was a human-shaped object brought to life by a magic word. Usually the golem functioned like a robot and could perform simple tasks.
In Greek and Roman mythology, the Gordian knot was an extremely complicated knot tied by Gordius, the king of Phrygia in Asia Minor*. Located in the city of Gordium, the knot came to symbolize a difficult problem that was almost impossible to solve.