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The truth behind some of the world's most famous historical myths, including Homer's epic, the Iliad, has been bolstered by two researchers who have analysed the relationships between the myths' characters and compared them to real-life social networks.

In a study published online 25 July, in the journal EPL (Europhysics Letters), Pádraig Mac Carron and Ralph Kenna from Coventry University performed detailed text analyses of the Iliad, the English poem, Beowulf, and the Irish epic, the Táin Bó Cuailnge.

They found that the interactions between the characters in all three myths were consistent with those seen in real-life social networks. Taking this further, the researchers compared the myths to four known works of fiction -- Les Misérables, Richard III, Fellowship of the Ring, and Harry Potter -- and found clear differences.

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