Etiology  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Etiology (alternatively aetiology, aitiology) is the study of causation, or origination. The word is derived from the Greek Template:Lang, aitiologia, "giving a reason for" (Template:Lang, aitia, "cause"; and Template:Lang, -logia). The word is most commonly used in medical and philosophical theories, where it is used to refer to the study of why things occur, or even the reasons behind the way that things act, and is used in philosophy, physics, psychology, government, medicine, theology and biology in reference to the causes of various phenomena. An etiological myth is a myth intended to explain a name or create a mythic history for a place or family.

Mythology

An etiological myth, or origin myth, is a myth intended to explain the origins of cult practices, natural phenomena, proper names and the like. For example, the name Delphi and its associated deity, Apollon Delphinios, are explained in the Homeric Hymn which tells of how Apollo carried Cretans over the sea in the shape of a dolphin (delphis) to make them his priests. While Delphi is actually related to the word Template:Lang ("womb"), many etiological myths are similarly based on folk etymology (the term "Amazon", for example). In the Aeneid (published circa 17 BC), Vergil claims the descent of Augustus Caesar's Julian clan from the hero Aeneas through his son Ascanius, also called Iulus.

The story of Prometheus' sacrifice-trick in Hesiod's Theogony relates how Prometheus tricked Zeus into choosing the bones and fat of the first sacrificial animal rather than the meat to justify why, after a sacrifice, the Greeks offered the bones wrapped in fat to the gods while keeping the meat for themselves.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Etiology" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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