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Introduction: Myth In History, History In Myth

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Chapter Summary

Myth is defined as "narrative tradition of a people concerning its religion and world-view, a story about men and gods" and as a "baseless story, a fable". "Historical myth" is defined as "a groundless representation of a person, thing, or case". The history of the Low Countries provides an auspicious canvas for examining the role of myth and myth making. The Greek term mythos means story and myths were the stories that they told to make sense of their own existence and wider world around them. Myths can adapt and mutate as the needs of their audiences change. Myths have their own history. Care has to be taken not to make the assumption that the history is either inevitable or teleological. Willem Frijhoff coins the term 'emblematic myths' to describe mythologies embraced by Dutch colonists in the Americas. The relationship between history and myth is indeed complex.

Keywords: Dutch; history; Low Countries; myth; Willem Frijhoff



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