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Are garden gnomes from ancient times?

Garden gnomes as we know them today are a relatively modern invention, dating back to the 19th century in Germany.  While there is a perception they are from olden times, they were actually not part of ancient cultures or mythology.

However, there are many ancient figures and creatures from mythology and folklore that have been associated with the earth, nature, or small size that could be considered as "ancestors" of the garden gnomes. Some examples include:

  1. Dwarves - In Norse and Germanic mythology, dwarves are small, earth-dwelling creatures who are skilled in metalworking and mining. They are known for their wisdom and knowledge of the earth.

  2. Gnomes - In ancient Greek and Roman mythology, gnomes were earth elementals that were associated with the earth and its riches. They were also considered to be wise and knowledgeable.

  3. Brownies - In Scottish and English folklore, Brownies are small, helpful spirits that live in houses and help with household chores. They are known for their hard work and diligence.

  4. Tomte or Nisse - In Scandinavian folklore, Tomte or Nisse are small, helpful spirits that live on farms and help with agricultural work. They are known for their wisdom and knowledge of the earth.

  5. Leprechauns - In Irish folklore, leprechauns are small, mischievous fairies who are associated with wealth and good luck. They are known for their cunning and trickery.

While these are not ancient garden gnomes, these figures have similar characteristics and stories associated with them and were most likely influential in the concept of garden gnomes.