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arvistro
05-01-15, 15:38
I want to open this for fun and discussion since we might have there folk who knows a thing or two in mythology and those who know anthropology.

So, my point is that maybe mythological creatures such as dwarves, elves, etc, are based on stereotyped reality of ancient man.

For example, dwarves, they live in mountains, they work with metals, they have big heads, they have robust bodies.
This is about bell beakers who I recall could have been related to some metals and montains, from wiki:
Historical craniometric (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craniometry) studies found that the Beaker people appeared to be of a different physical type than those earlier populations in the same geographic areas. They were described as tall, heavy boned and brachycephalic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachycephalous). (although there is a problem of bell beakers being tall, dwarves are usually seen as short).

Alpine race (mountain folk) is described as being:
...the Alpine race is thick-set and broad. The average height of the Alpine man is about 1.63 metres. This small height is brought about by the relatively short, squat legs. This broadness and shortness is repeated in all the details: in the broadness of the hand and its short fingers, in the short, broad feet, in the thick, short calves.

wiki mentions this on dwarves:
Lotte Motz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotte_Motz) theorized that the Germanic dwarfs, particularly as smiths and gatekeepers, constituted a reminiscence of the Megalithic culture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalithic_culture) in Northern Europe.

Do you think there is something to it, or is it rather wrong?

I have issues with dolichocephalic hunters (elves) who lived in forests. Maybe those actually developed from some early priest caste living in sacred groves? Or maybe elvish dolicocephalic feature is something introduced only by the Lord of the Rings and re-copied into video games from there? :)

Maleth
06-01-15, 12:47
I believe that dwarfs could be a reference to midgets or very short people that are also known today. Same with Giants with either very tall people (through better nutrition) that some group of migrating humans could have encountered with other groups that were much shorter (still evident today. It is also well know that door ways and some burial chambers and ancient buildings had very low door ways in countries were people today are much taller) There is also a Gigantism condition produced with an over active hormone that could have put these situations in storytelling myths and legends. (some unusual tall ancient skeletons have been found)

Humans had always a passion for exaggerating stories to make them more captivating and interesting and they sound much better heard around a bonfire when radio TV and internet was not around. I call it the Hollywood effect, but it all started with the dawn of civilization. :smile:

arvistro
06-01-15, 14:24
I believe that dwarfs could be a reference to midgets or very short people that are also known today.
I propose 2 (or more) types of dwarfs for discussion:
1) hobbit type which are midgets/very short people. Like Frodo, Sam etc from Lord of the Rings.
2) dwarf type which is basically alpine race. Like Gimli from Lord of the Rings.

Your reference is about the type 1.
Type 2 is the Alpine race:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_%28Middle-earth%29

They are not much shorter than men, but more robust, sturdy.

I think "Snowwhite and 7 dwarfs" has both types combined, they are small like hobbits/gnomes, but they work in mining like dwarfs.

Aberdeen
07-01-15, 04:15
........

Humans had always a passion for exaggerating stories to make them more captivating and interesting and they sound much better heard around a bonfire when radio TV and internet was not around. I call it the Hollywood effect, but it all started with the dawn of civilization. :smile:

I think that's a really good explanation as to why there are stories about dwarves, elves, hobbits, giants, etc.

arvistro
07-01-15, 12:20
I think that's a really good explanation as to why there are stories about dwarves, elves, hobbits, giants, etc.
I agree. Of course I don't believe in dwarfs, elves, giants walking around the planet.

As they say there is no smoke without fire. So, maybe there was a time and place when these story tellers made their tales by exaggerating their experienced reality.

For example, this way:
Blacksmith, montains people tended to be rough, sturdy folk, round headed (bell beaker??) -> so dwarfs (the LOTR type) are exaggerated sturdy folk living in mountains, dealing with ore, wealthy.
Druids & priests were living in sacred groves, tended to be more gracile, tall, long faced (don't know, some priest caste at some time?) -> so elves (the LOTR type) are exaggerated long, tall, gracile, long faced, living in their groves, shining magicians.

Dwarf (from LOTR):
https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTjsya-lt79izn0GBB63vRovgxCRP7OSsxqZ0wskVnXaduNgyvwtQ
Alpine race man (from wiki):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpine_race#mediaviewer/File:Heinrich_Kiepert_-_Imagines_philologorum.jpg

Elf (from LOTR):
http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/23600000/Haldir-lord-of-the-rings-23648609-825-392.jpg
Nordic race man (from wiki):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_race#mediaviewer/File:Karl_von_M%C3%BCller.jpg
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_race#mediaviewer/File:Karl_von_M%C3%BCller.jpg)
edit: Or maybe the Alpine/Nordic dichotomy was reality of J.R.Tolkien's time, or his interpretation of history. However I think he based those on some older archetypes.

Mars
07-01-15, 13:12
Well, hobbits actually existed... :-) But in south-east Asia and maybe Australia, not in Europe. It's the homo floresiensis species. It coexisted with anatomically modern humans for a long time (from 40,000 to 13,000 years ago, when homo floresiensis disappeared).
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