Primary Document Resources

Monomyth: Hero's Journey Project

Joseph Campbell's Monomyth, developed in Hero With A Thousand Faces, describes the common heroic narrative in which a heroic protagonist sets out, has transformative adventures, and returns home. It is a useful formula for comparing literary traditions across time and culture.

Here, ORIAS provides resources to explore and compare three different works through the lens of the Monomyth: Mali's Sunjata, South Asia's Ramayana, and Japan's Yamato.

Yamato

Image of Yamato Takeru from 19th century woodblock print

The tales of Prince Yamato Takeru are told in the Japanese chronicles Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, and others. This image, from a 19th century woodblock print, depicts Yamato as he is about to set off on his adventures.

Ramayana Resources

Scene from the epic Ramayana: Kumbhakarna battles the monkeys, 1100-1200 CE, former kingdom of Angkor

Read summaries of the narrative, including one illustrated with art from different regions. See a beautiful digitized version of the tale. Watch a controversial modern film based on the epic.

Featured: The Travels of Ibn Battuta

October 5, 2016

The Travels of Ibn Battuta: a Virtual Tour has been one of ORIAS' most successful, most widely used projects. The Travels of Ibn Battuta: A Virtual Tour began as a Web resource written in 1999 by Nick Bartel for his students at Horace Mann Middle School, San Francisco, California.

Yamato Text Excerpts

These passages come from B.H. Chamberlain's 1882 translation of the Kojiki. The full text is available at sacred-texts.com.

The Shahnameh

Close-up image from Mongol-era version of the Shahnameh showing Alexander and a talking horse.

Read a summary of the epic. Learn about its history and its author. Compare dozens of versions of the same scene in an extensive database. Plus, recommendations for English-language versions of the epic for children.

Epic of Gilgamesh

Close-up of cuneiform tablet

See images of some of the original tablets. Learn about the history of writing. Hear parts of the epic read in the original Akkadian.