RHS Lecture , Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, 26 September 2012
Folklore experts have shown that for a legend to be remembered it is important that it is historicised. Focusing on three case-studies from early modern Germany and the Netherlands, this article explores how the historicisation of mythical narratives operated in early modern Europe, and argues that memory practices played a crucial role in the interplay between myth and history. The application of new criteria for historical evidence did not result in the decline of myths. By declaring such stories mythical, and by using the existence of memory practices as evidence for this, scholars could continue to take them seriously.