Everybody enjoys good folklore involving a heroic figure, a courageous leader, mythological grandeur, and extraordinary wisdom. Folklore and history can occasionally become intricately linked, making many individuals important members of our society. Some of these famous people may not have truly existed, though. Many historians have devoted their professional lives to learning the truth about these legendary figures, including whether or not they actually lived. Here are some well-known figures you’ve undoubtedly heard of but who may not have ever existed at all.
Sherlock Holmes :
It is true that Sherlock Holmes is a massively popular character in literature, movies, and TV shows, but he is not a real person. Watson was created by Arthur Conan Doyle based on a real-life surgeon named Joseph Bell, who would draw broad conclusions based on small details, a trait that Holmes also shares.
Even though the Titanic was a real ship, James Cameron’s 1997 film took some liberties and was loosely based on it. The main character Jack Dawson was not a real person. In the Fairview Cemetery, one grave is marked with the name J Dawson, where 121 Titanic victims are buried. Joseph was a trimmer who worked in the engine room of the ship. The crew discovered this amazing coincidence after the film had already been finished filming.
Jack the Ripper
According to legend, Jack the Ripper was a serial killer who operated in impoverished areas of London in 1888. It’s hard to determine whether all the murders were committed by one person because he wasn’t actually identified. In order to tell the story of Jack the Ripper, folklore, research, and pseudo-history are combined.
English mythology commonly includes Robin Hood, who has since become one of the most well-known stories in both literature and film. The fabled criminal is renowned for robbing the wealthy and giving to the needy. There have been countless arguments about whether or not he actually existed, but there has never been proof of it.
The Pythagorean Theorem is familiar to anyone who has taken geometry, but few of us know much about the man who formulated it. Many scholars believe he was a real person, but no one knows what his life was like. Many are attributed to him, yet some wonder whether he actually wrote them all on his own.
Researchers hypothesize that Jesus might not have existed in real life, but most experts in biblical archaeology agree that it is difficult to trace historical accuracy to the bible stories we are all familiar with.
Mulan, who became somewhat of a legend in China for many years, is a character most of us are familiar with thanks to the Disney animated film and its live-action remake. The Ballad of Mulan initially appears in the Musical Records of Old and New in the 6th century, under the Southern Chen dynasty. Scholars are divided on whether she existed in real life.
Helen of Troy:
As Marlowe famously wrote in Doctor Faustus, Helen of Troy was “the face that launched a thousand ships.” She was described as the most beautiful person in the world, so much so that it caused a war. However, she was most likely not a real person and is merely a character in The Iliad.
Another hotly contested topic is whether Confucius, a thinker and philosopher, was actually a real person. However, others have questioned the veracity of this claim. Lionel M. Jensen, an associate professor of history and the director of Chinese studies at the University of Colorado in Denver, has maintained that Jesuit missionaries introduced the concept of Confucius in the 16th century.
Despite the fact that King Arthur has long been a famous character in tales, literature, and movies, most contemporary historians concur that he never lived. The majority of King Arthur’s tales are literary compositions as well as folktales from England and Wales.