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Hero Twins

Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ v ] One of the most common and basic motifs of North American Indian mythology is that of the primeval hero twins. Usually conceived of as lesser divinities or as C ulture heroes , the twins are often the subjects of a miraculous birth (e.g. the N avajo and H opi twin war-gods). In some versions of the myth, their mother is killed after their birth and their consequent exploits are to avenge her death. In still others, their father is portrayed as the sun-god, and their youth a period wherein they seek to learn his true identity. The twins may exemplify opposing characteristics (e.g. the one bringing benefits to mankind, the other introducing disease, old age and death), perhaps representing conflicting aspects of the more general figure of culture hero [8: iii , 38–43]. In many accounts, the twins complete the process of creation by ridding the world of monsters, by shaping the physical landscape or by contributing to man's socialization. ( see also C reation myths .) ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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