Literary Mythology


a collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder .

Norse mythology specified that the destruction of the world would be preceded by a cataclysmic final battle between the good and evil gods, resulting in the heroic deaths of all the ‘good guys.’ The German word for this earth-shattering last battle was ‘Götterdämmerung .’ Literally, ‘götterdämmerung ‘ means ‘twilight of the gods’ (‘Götter’ is the plural of ‘Gott,’ ‘god,’ and ‘Dämmerung ‘ means ‘twilight’). Figuratively, the term is extended to situations of world-altering destruction marked by extreme chaos and violence. In the 19th century, the German composer Richard Wagner brought attention to the word ‘Gotterdammerung’ when he chose it as the title of the last opera of his cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, and by the early 20th century, the word had entered English.

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