In Hindu mythology, Sati was the daughter of Daksha, son of the Hindu creator god Brahma. Sati was in love with Shiva, god of destruction, but her father forbade her to have anything to do with him.
Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture, was identified with the Greek god Cronus. In Roman mythology, Saturn fled Greece and settled in Italy after losing a battle with Jupiter*.
In Greek mythology, satyrs were half-man, half-beast creatures that lived in forests and hills. Usually pictured as human above the waist and as horse or goat below the waist, satyrs had pointed ears or horns on their heads.
Savitri is the name of several figures in Hindu mythology. According to tradition, Savitri is a god of the sun who rides through the sky each day granting long life to humans and immortality to the gods.
The concept of a scapegoat, a person who is blamed for the sins of others, goes back to ancient times. The term comes from a Hebrew ritual that is described in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament of the Bible.
In Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were a pair of monsters who lived on opposite ends of the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily Scylla was originally a sea nymph who was loved by the sea god Poseidon*. Out of jealousy, Poseidon's wife Amphitrite poisoned the waters in which Scylla bathed.
St. Sebastian, the patron saint of archers and soldiers, was one of the early martyrs of the Christian church.
According to one myth, Sedna was a child with an enormous appetite who tried to eat her father's arm while he was asleep. When he awoke, her father put Sedna in a boat and took her out to sea.
People who claimed special knowledge of the divine or supernatural realms have appeared in many myths, legends, folktales, and religious traditions. Those known as seers could see things hidden from others.
Semitic mythology arose among several cultures that flourished in the ancient Near East, a region that extended from Mesopotamia* in modern Iraq to the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. These groups of people spoke Semitic languages, had similar religions, and worshiped related deities.
Serpents and snakes play a role in many of the world's myths and legends. Sometimes these mythic beasts appear as ordinary snakes.
In Egyptian mythology Set (or Seth) was the evil brother of the deities Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys. The son of the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut, Set tore himself from his mother's body before he was fully formed.
Shakuntala is the heroine of a great love story told in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata. She was the daughter of a wise man named Vishvamitra and the nymph Menaka, who abandoned her in the forest as an infant.
In the Arthurian legends*, the Lady of Shalott was a young woman named Elaine of Astolat who died of unfulfilled love for Sir Lancelot, the greatest of King Arthur's knights. Lancelot had entered a jousting tournament but wanted to hide his true identity so he asked Elaine to give him a different shield.
Shamash was the sun god in the mythology of the ancient Near East. Associated with truth, justice, and healing, he was one of the most active gods in the pantheons of ancient Sumer*, Babylonia*, and Assyria*.
Both Jewish and African traditions include stories about the Queen of Sheba. The ruler of a wealthy nation in southern Arabia, the queen had heard tales about the great wisdom of Solomon, king of the Hebrews.
According to Hebrew tradition, Sheol—which means the pit—was a realm beneath the earth where the spirits of the dead resided. It was in many ways the opposite of the world of the living.
Shiva, the destroyer, is one of the three supreme gods in Hindu mythology. The other two are Brahma, the creator, and Vishnu, the preserver.
Siberia is a vast region in northern Asia, stretching from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. To the north lies the Arctic Ocean; to the south lie Mongolia, China, and Central Asia.
The sibyls were female prophets of Greek and Roman mythology. Their prophecies, which emerged as riddles to be interpreted by priests, were inspired by Apollo* or other gods.
In Norse* myth and legend, the warrior Sigurd was a member of the royal family of Denmark and a descendant of the god Odin*. He was raised by a blacksmith named Regin, who made him a special sword from pieces of a sword owned by Sigurd's father.
Sinbad the Sailor appears in the Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Persian, Arab, and Indian tales written down between the 800s and the 1400s. A merchant from the city of Baghdad in the Near East, Sinbad made seven voyages to lands and islands around the Indian Ocean.
The Sirens were female creatures from Greek mythology whose singing lured men to destruction. Descriptions of the Sirens vary from beautiful women to monsters with the bodies of birds and human heads.
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was famous for two things: his cleverness during life and the punishment he suffered after death. Although stories about Sisyphus differ somewhat in their details, he is usually referred to as the king of Corinth.
According to the Old Testament of the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities destroyed by God because of their wickedness. Apparently located near the southern end of the Dead Sea, the cities were known for the crude behavior and lack of hospitality of their inhabitants.
The Sphinx was a legendary winged monster of Greek mythology that had the body of a lion and the head of a woman. Her siblings were Cerberus, Hydra, and the Nemean Lion.