Here are some examples of classic mythology and the real-life events that may well have inspired the myths.
Crater Lake and the Battle of the Gods
This is one of many myths that came from an American tribe. They believed that Crater Lake in Oregon used to be the mountainous home for their deity of the underworld, Llao. Llao was embroiled in a bitter war with the god of the sky, Skell. During this battle fire and brimstone was thrown across the sky as the fight waged on. It covered the region between Mazama and a nearby mountain range. Llao lost the battle and retreated to the underworld. Keel then collapsed the mountain on top of him imprisoning him and then covered this area with a lake to further seal him in.
Whilst that battle is undoubtedly a work of fiction it is rooted in some level of fact. Some 7700 years ago there was a massive volcanic eruption in that area. Following this, a huge pool of lava broke through the earth’s crust leaving a massive crater which was eventually filled with rainwater thus forming the lake.
Sri Lanka and the Ape-Men Army
This is a classic tale of a kidnapping. In the story, Sita, who is the wife of the god, Rama was kidnapped by the Demon King and taken to the island, Lanka.
In order to retrieve his wife, Rama enlisted an army of ape-men to build a bridge between India and Lanka. Once this was built the army crossed the bridge and defeated The Demon King.
I’m not saying the details of gods and ape-men are true, but the bridge itself seems to have existed. Although it has been submerged aerial views show a 30-mile bridge from the island to the mainland.
One of the most enduring myths. The lost city submerged for all eternity. It was first described by the philosopher Plato. For a long time this was thought to just be a myth but now some scientists believe that this empire may actually be based on the Minoan empire.
More than 3500 years ago there was a powerful volcanic eruption that hit an area known at the time as Thera. The magma chamber was so large and emptied so quickly that it led to the collapse of the centre of the island. This sparked a reaction that sent a tsunami across the sea to Crete. The inflowing seawater from the Aegean submerged the majority of Thera.
And this was the home of the Minoans, wiped out by a catastrophic natural disaster. Could this be what the tale of Atlantis is based on? It’s contentious but certainly plausible.
The Great Flood
The tale may well be based on the Epic of Gilgamesh. In this story, which originated with the Mesopotamian civilisation, many gods came together and created a great flood. One of the gods took pity and told a man named Utnapishtim to build a boat to save himself and some animals. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?
The story is considered one of the first ever great works of literature and the parallels with the biblical story suggest that the stories of Noah’s ark may well have been based upon it. But did the flood that Gilgamesh tells of actually happen?
Well, it appears that way. The geological records for that area show that the Black Sea was deprived of its glacial meltwater around 11,500 years ago. Instead, that water joined the North Sea resulting in the Black Sea starting to dry up. This led to dry land between the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean basin was filling with sea water which eventually forced the sediment barrier to break suddenly.
The effect of this would have been visually stunning! A waterfall 200 times the size of Niagara Falls would have formed almost instantly. This is feasibly the inspiration behind the original story.