What is the Difference Between Mythology and History

The main difference between mythology and history is that the study of mythology mostly involves godly and supernatural tales and fables of the past, while history comprises stories and tales about real people and events in the past.

Unlike history, mythology does not involve factual or proven documentation of past events. Moreover, while history mostly deals with the significant aspects of human existence, mythology deals with both human and super-human existence.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Mythology 
     – Definition, Characters
2. What is History
     – Definition, Characters
3. Similarities Between Mythology and History
     – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Mythology and History
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

History, Mythology

Difference Between Mythology and History - Comparison Summary

What is Mythology

In the broadest sense, mythology refers to the study of traditional stories about gods, heroes, and kings. Myths often depict the creation of the world as well as future destruction as well.  Myths explore how gods created men and the relationships between various gods and between gods and men. The key function of a myth is to provide a moral code for the people to follow and get influenced with.

Mythology and History - Comparison

Most significantly, studying mythology benefits students of all ages as mythological stories allow students to come in contact with a variety of cultures that stand quite the opposite of their own. Mythology, at the same time, teaches history to students through its explorations of examining ancient times and their effect on the current world.

What is History

History is the study of transition over time. Moreover, history covers all aspects of human life including, politics, society, culture, economy, religion, technology, medicine, intellect, military developments, science, etc.

Mythology vs History

History basically exists inside the written records that tell us what happened years back. In other words, history is what historians write. However, a written historical record depends on the primary sources, out of which the historian derives a plausible interpretation of what occurred in the past. Generally, the belief of the non-historians is that “history repeats itself”. However, the truth is that history cannot repeat itself. This is because history is lifeless, and history was, is and will always be about change.

Similarities Between Mythology and History

  • Both mythology and history can be considered as the creations of human imagination. History, however, is interpreted through the research of verifiable ‘facts’ and evidence from the past.
  • The nature of fables and tales is similar in both mythology and history.
  • They are alternative ways of looking at the past.
  • Both mythology and history have the power to shape the present.

Difference Between Mythology and History


Mythology is the study of mythical tales and myths that have had an impact on shaping the modern-day socio-culture, while history refers to the study of factual events that occurred in the past.

Area of Studies           

Mythology revolves around mythical events that are presented in the form of stories, while history covers the studies of real events where real people were involved in the past.


Mythological studies include genres such as hero mythology, religious mythology and creation mythology, while the study of history is narrowed down into different sub-areas such as social history, economic history, cultural history, military history, technological history and diplomatic history


The main difference between mythology and history is that, in a narrow sense, history reveals the lives of real people, the real happenings of the past, while mythological studies explore mythical stories with both natural and supernatural elements. In brief, history is a combination of real and accurate facts and the truth, while myth is the opposite. However, both mythology and history deal with past events and possess various common features, although they are two different subjects areas.  


1. Orrow-Whiting, Mark. “Why Is It Important to Study History?” Nord Anglia Education, 29 Apr. 2020.
2. “Mythology : Gods, Goddesses, Muses, Monsters.” Infoplease.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Art Hunting Scene Gods Greece Mythology” (CC0) via MaxPixel
2. “The Roman Forum History Ancient Rome Italy” (CC0) via MaxPixel

About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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