noun \yü-ˈhē-mə-ˌri-zəm, -ˈhe-mə-\

Definition of EUHEMERISM

:  interpretation of myths as traditional accounts of historical persons and events
eu·he·mer·ist \-rist\ noun
eu·he·mer·is·tic \-ˌhē-mə-ˈris-tik, -ˌhe-mə-\ adjective


Euhemerus, 4th century b.c. Greek mythographer
First Known Use: 1846


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Attempt to find a historical basis for mythical beings and events. It takes its name from Euhemerus (fl. 300 BC), a Greek scholar who examined popular mythology in his Sacred History and asserted that the gods originated as heroes or conquerors who were admired and later deified. Though modern scholars do not accept euhemerism as the sole explanation for the origin of gods, it is thought to be valid in some cases.


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