Yet my person's thought was "and how is that different to 'factual' history" (aside that it faster changes).
Yes perhaps you're right, if you're saying that "history" isn't much better than mythology.
Even so-called "history" is often (or, invariably?) partisan -- see e.g. Is history always written by the victors?
I am not an experienced (e.g. professional) historian, though -- so I don't want to say they are the same, either -- perhaps a historian might try to explain a distinction. I think that a very simple definition of "history" is that it's related to "writing" -- if nothing written survives, from a given period, then that period is by definition "prehistoric" -- though there may be something recorded from "oral history", or inferred from "archaeology" (and/or perhaps from "myth").
How can "mythology" and "history" be possible serious distinguished
I guess that's two questions:
- How do professional historians distinguish?
- How should a practising Buddhist distinguish?
Leaving aside the first as off-topic, I think there are suttas -- e.g. one of the suttas to Rahula, and the Kalama sutta -- where the Buddhas says people should consider what they themselves know to be true.
In my experience even what I "know" of my own personal history is not much better than any other history -- e.g. perhaps conceited, partisan, incomplete, and empty -- but even so perhaps people learn from experience (possibly learning wisdom or the opposite of ignorance), as Rahula was told to:
Having done a [...] action, you should reflect on it: 'This mental action I have done — did it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Was it an unskillful mental action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful mental action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should feel distressed, ashamed, & disgusted with it. Feeling distressed, ashamed, & disgusted with it, you should exercise restraint in the future. But if on reflection you know that it did not lead to affliction... it was a skillful mental action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then you should stay mentally refreshed & joyful, training day & night in skillful mental qualities.
I suppose Buddhists study the buddha-vacana too -- and maybe hagiographies (of which the Theragatha are an example).
What kind of mythology, history, anussati (bringing into present) is conductive for ones way toward long time happiness and beyond?
I'm not sure that story of the life of the Buddha, for example, is "history" -- including his birth and meeting the four "divine messengers".
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote,
Meeting the Divine Messengers
The traditional legend of the Buddha's quest for enlightenment tells us that throughout his youth and early manhood Prince Siddhattha, the Bodhisatta, lived in complete ignorance of the most elementary facts of human life. His father, anxious to protect his sensitive son from exposure to suffering, kept him an unwitting captive of nescience. Incarcerated in the splendor of his palace, amply supplied with sensual pleasures and surrounded by merry friends, the prince did not entertain even the faintest suspicion that life could offer anything other than an endless succession of amusements and festivities. It was only on that fateful day in his twenty-ninth year, when curiosity led him out beyond the palace walls, that he encountered the four "divine messengers" that were to change his destiny. The first three were the old man, the sick man, and the corpse, which taught him the shocking truths of old age, illness, and death; the fourth was a wandering ascetic, who revealed to him the existence of a path whereby all suffering can be fully transcended.
This charming story, which has nurtured the faith of Buddhists through the centuries, enshrines at its heart a profound psychological truth. In the language of myth it speaks to us ...
When I visited Singapore once, for example, there were three books in the hotel room: a Christian Bible, an Islamic Koran, and a Buddhist "Life of the Buddha" of some kind.
I think that sort of "narrative" of the Buddha's life is well-known.
Perhaps -- I don't know -- it is everyone's first introduction to Buddhism: a story you learn as a child.