Dissertation Title:

Myth and Martial Culture: Re-Souling Service


Nathan Hogan

Date, Time & Place:

October 4, 2022 at 1:00 pm
in the Studio Classroom at the Lambert Campus


United States servicemembers, veterans, and their families live in a world of multi-dimensional humanity filled with mythos and yet, in most cases are completely unaware of its existence. Modern secularization and industrial ideologies have been used by societies to sever martial rituals and symbols from their mythological roots, diluting, disguising, and calcifying them as customs, courtesies, and traditions. The resulting ignorance of the myths—which are the voices of their spiritual ancestors—can create existential crises for many service members and their families. This dissertation delineates characteristics that distinguish US martial cultures, elucidates the myths, symbols, and rituals associated with those cultures, and seeks to reconnect these cultures with their mythic origins through a comparative mythological approach exploring five different cultures and their myths. Further, this dissertation seeks to reduce the “otherness” between martial and civilian cultures by exhibiting the unique and diverse gifts of martial culture as depicted in myth.

Mythological themes regarding martial lifeways are ubiquitous throughout the world. While the myths explored herein are often approached as metaphor within Jungian and academia settings, this dissertation demonstrates that the experiences of the figures in the myths are a lived reality for those in martial culture. The martial themes inform the myths and communicate a transcendent reality that connects martial cultures across dimensions of time and space. It is those stories that are lost to current military cultures that are so in need of re-balancing mythos and logos. I assert that bringing forth the ancient stories and rites will re-ensoul martial culture by reintroducing the mythical experiences of ancient wisdom to contemporary servicemembers, veterans, and their families who exist as inheritors of the lifeway of their martial spiritual ancestors.


  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, I, 2017
  • Chair: Dr. Patrick Mahaffey
  • Reader: Dr. Dana White
  • External Reader: Dr. Kristoffer Alstatt
  • Keywords: Hindu Mythology, Norse Mythology, Roman Mythology, Japanese Mythology, War, Service, Civil-military Relations, Martial Culture, Military, Veterans, Ritual, Military Customs, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Culture Shock