MythsMuddlesPaper

MythsMuddlesPaper - 1 European Studies 203 18 February 2008...

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European Studies 203 18 February 2008 Myths and Muddles In Antiquity, there existed a limited amount of factual, concrete answers to questions of origin and existence. The ancient “experts” were left to draw their own conclusions based on hearsay that became—through repeated use throughout the centuries—fact. These facts were then used to create convenient, simple and indispensable myths that have helped to culturally shape the world into what it is today. In his essay, “Europa/Europe: Myths and Muddles” (2007) Manfred Pfister discusses the relationship between myth and reality, while examining myth’s role in the historic and future construction of a European identity. In Pfister’s eyes, the relationship between myth and reality is one of stark difference. As his title suggests, he uses the creation myth of Europa and the muddle that is the reality of Europe to highlight this difference. The idea of Europe today seems to be as constantly changing and as hard-to-define as ancient historians once found it. To provide examples of this, we look to Wilson and Van der Dussen’s The History of the Idea of Europe. As early as the 5 th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus confessed his confusion over the origin of the naming of the continents, as well as the part played by Europa, who according to legend had never set foot on the European continent. (Wilson 14) While the facts and reality of the situation might remain more than a little
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MythsMuddlesPaper - 1 European Studies 203 18 February 2008...

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