A network theoretic approach to comparative mythology

  • Padraig MacCarron

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    In recent years complex networks have been used to model a plethora of phenomena, many of which reside outside the realm of traditional sciences. Of these, mythology is one of the furthest removed fields from science. Many approaches to the study of comparative mythology exist and almost all are entirely qualitative. In this work, however, methods of network theory are applied to the myths and tales of different cultures in order to quantitatively compare them to one another.

    In total, 33 mythological sources are analysed here. Social networks are constructed based on characters’ interactions within each myth. The network properties allow us to make distinctions between the type of myth and, in some cases, to distinguish the myths of one culture from another. This method provides an entire new branch to the field of comparative mythology.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorRalph Kenna (Supervisor)

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