A full, authoritative, and wholly engaging account of these endlessly fascinating tales and of the ancient society in which they were created.
Greek myths are among the most complex and influential stories ever told. From the first millennium BC until today, the myths have been repeated in an inexhaustible series of variations and reinterpretations. They can be found in the latest movies and television shows and in software for interactive computer games. This book combines a retelling of Greek myths with a comprehensive account of the world in which they developed—their themes, their relevance to Greek religion and society, and their relationship to the landscape.
"Contexts, Sources, Meanings" describes the main literary and artistic sources for Greek myths, and their contexts, such as ritual and theater."Myths of Origin" includes stories about the beginning of the cosmos, the origins of the gods, the first humans, and the founding of communities."The Olympians: Power, Honor, Sexuality" examines the activities of all the main divinities."Heroic exploits" concentrates on the adventures of Perseus, Jason, Herakles, and other heroes."Family sagas" explores the dramas and catastrophes that befall heroes and heroines."A Landscape of Myths" sets the stories within the context of the mountains, caves, seas, and rivers of Greece, Crete, Troy, and the Underworld."Greek Myths after the Greeks" describes the rich tradition of retelling, from the Romans, through the Renaissance, to the twenty-first century.Complemented by lavish illustrations, genealogical tables, box features, and specially commissioned drawings, this will be an essential book for anyone interested in these classic tales and in the world of the ancient Greeks.
It would seem that enough books have been written about Greek mythology to fill an entire library. Still, it would be unfortunate to miss this work by Buxton (Greek language and literature, Univ. of Bristol, U.K.), which focuses on the context of the myths rather than the stories themselves. Buxton discusses the origins of Greek mythology, even examining the Greek countryside and its significance in the development of the narratives. The book comes full circle with a concluding chapter on Greek myths after the Greeks, from Roman adaptations to modern transformations. The text is both accessible and scholarly, while 330 illustrations (139 in color) ensure that exquisite photographs of art and of geographical sites grace nearly every page. Interspersed throughout are maps, genealogies, charts, lists, and sidebars, all helpful and intriguing in their own right. Highly recommended, even for libraries whose collections on Greek mythology are already adequate.-Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.