Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as godsdemigods, and other supernatural figures.[1][2][3][4] However, others also include humans, animals, or combinations in their classification of myth.[5] Stories of everyday human beings, although often of leaders of some type, are usually contained in legends, as opposed to myths.[1][4] Myths are sometimes distinguished from legends in that myths deal with gods, usually have no historical basis, and are set in a world of the remote past, very different from that of the present.[4][6]

Myths are often endorsed by secular and religious authorities and are closely linked to religion or spirituality.[7] Many societies group their myths, legends, and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past.[7][2][8][9] In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its later form.[7][10][11] Other myths explain how a society’s customsinstitutions, and taboos were established and sanctified.[7][11] There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and the enactment of rituals.

The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject.[12] The study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by EuhemerusPlato, and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and later revived by Renaissance mythographers. Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studiesphilologypsychology, and anthropology.[13] Moreover, the academic comparisons of bodies of myth are known as comparative mythology.