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Mythological figure who secures for humanity the attributes of culture either in cooperation with or in opposition to the gods. The culture hero is often an animal or trickster figure, the most common motif being the animal who steals fire from the gods for the benefit of humans. In other stories the culture hero is human and must overcome the opposition of animals. In still others, the culture hero must travel to an inaccessible place to reach a life-giving or healing tree or other plant; supernatural animals may assist or obstruct him. See also Prometheus.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on culture hero, visit Britannica.com.