Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Euhemerism

In his Sacred History, Euhemerus (fl300BC), describes an Island, Panchaea, where kings and Heroes are treated to posthumous deification by those they had ruled over or saved. He then advances the theory that it is in this manner that all the Gods have been created. This theory is not given much credence in modern anthropology or comparative religion. Some Fantasies of History may suggest that the rulers of Atlantis or of some other prehistoric Polder have provided models for our later gods. Some Science Fantasy tales – like Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light (1967) – play fruitfully with the concept. [JC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.