Legends about gold
The shiny and luxurious gold has been prized for centuries in a wide variety of cultures. This metal, whose glitter resembles the sun, has become a source of inspiration for different epics and legends.
It is still adored by many today. It is not for nothing that gold jewelry is considered the most valuable gift, and religious buildings all over the world are decorated with gold.
How many legends associated with this metal do you know? We have prepared a short excursion into history for you: legends about gold.
Let's start with the main question: where does gold come from?
Legends about the origin of gold
In ancient Egypt, as in many other cultures, gold was associated with the sun and was considered its offspring. According to an old legend, once upon a time a golden rain fell upon the Earth. Its drops fell and soaked into the soil, congealing in the form of nuggets deep in the ground.
Another legend about the origin of gold comes from Scandinavia. The Vikings believed that gold was the fallen tears of the goddess of beauty and fertility Freyja. She wept tears of red gold in absence of her husband.
But the Aztecs approached the question of the origin of this noble metal in a more prosaic way. The Aztecs believed that the ingots of gold were nothing else but excrements - the teocuitlatl of the Sun God.
Gold in egyptian legends
Egypt is considered one of the richest countries in gold. And it's not so much about natural resources, but about the quantity and beauty of various artifacts of antiquity found in the Egyptian pyramids and tombs of the pharaohs.
Therefore, there are many legends about gold in Egypt.
- One of them says that every morning the goddess of the sky Nut, depicted in the form of a cow, gives birth to a golden calf. By the way, gold in the Old Kingdom was called “nut”. By noon, the golden calf turned into the supreme god Ra, and in the evening it again became an animal. Every evening the goddess Nut devoured her child in order to give birth to it again in the morning.
- The sun was also believed to be an ingot of gold. Every morning the god Khepri raised it above the firmament. To do this, he turned into a sacred Egyptian insect - a scarab beetle.
- By the way, the division of society in Ancient Egypt was also directly related to gold. Pharaohs, as supreme rulers, were associated with yellow gold; priests - with green gold; military leaders - with purple and gold; the pyramid builders were a class of grayish gold.
Gold in Slavic mythology
The Slavs also honored the precious metal. One of the central legends of the Eastern Slavs explains the genesis of the universe from the World Egg. And it was, of course, made of gold. And later this legend was transformed into several famous fairy-tale plots: for example, the folktale Ryaba the Hen came to us from the World Egg or the secret of the death of Koshchei the Immortal which is hidden inside a golden egg.
Legends about gold in ancient Greece
The Greeks, too, paid considerable attention to this precious metal. And they also associated it with the Sun. Therefore, gold in their myths was closely related to the god of the sun Apollo, the deity of Helios. And there are plenty of legends associated with gold in the mythology of the ancient Greeks:
- One of the exploits of Hercules is associated with an adventure of fetching golden apples.
- The legend of King Midas, who knew how to turn everything around into gold, thanks to the gift given to him by Dionysus.
- The Golden Fleece, for which Jason set out on a quest.
Medieval legends about gold
The European Middle Ages created their own legends about gold. Even before that time, the Celts laid the foundation for one of these legends: according to their beliefs, small but harmful creatures called leprechauns live underground. And each of them guards a pot of gold. To fool a leprechaun and get gold was one of the main tasks of many heroes of the Celtic epic. By the way, there is a similar story in Norse mythology, where the underground treasures are guarded by dwarves.
Another legend is mentioned in the epic "The Ring of the Nibelung". It says that after the death of the protagonist, the brave Siegfried, the treasures of the Nibelungs - wagons full of gold - sank in the waters of the Rhine river.
And another legend was a real obsession for scientists of that time. This is about the philosopher's stone - a mythical alchemical substance capable of turning base metals into gold, for example, iron or mercury.
Eastern legends about gold
Japan also has its legends of gold. In the early Middle Ages, there were legends about the country of Wakwak with rivers of gold. Over time, this legend even reached Europe, but in a slightly modified form - about the country of Zipangu with Buddha temples made of gold.
And in the Far East there has long been a legend about the Golden Woman, a deity who serves as an oracle and helps local residents to predict events.
Gold is often called an insidious metal. But legends and myths often describe it as a gift from heaven, a child of the sun and a coveted prize for a hero. It is associated with a heavenly body and is often credited with divine origin.
All the legends about gold have one thing in common: a high value, a personification of light and warmth embodied in the metal that is hidden in the bowels of the earth. There are many legends about gold, and each of them fascinates in its own way, like this precious metal itself. Just have to look at it!