Handbook of Classical Mythology

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Handbook of Classical Mythology offers newcomers and long-time enthusiasts new ways to navigate the world of Greek and Roman myths. Written by a foremost mythologist, the book begins by exploring the sources and landscapes from which the myths emerged. It then provides a richly detailed timeline of mythic episodes from the creation of the cosmos to the end of the Heroic Age—plus an illustrated mythological dictionary listing every significant character, place, event, and object.

Whether exploring the world that gave rise to ancient mythology or researching a specific piece of the whole, the handbook is the best introduction available to the extraordinary cast of these tales (gods, nymphs, satyrs, monsters, heroes) and the natural and supernatural stages upon which their fates are played out.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Instead of creating another dry dictionary, the author succeeds in bringing these myths to life in their original mythical context and provides a tool that the student of Classics can begin with, and continue to use over time."


Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"This volume combines a traditional reference tool and a textbook. … it is a convenient way to package information about Greek and Roman mythology, particularly as part of a mythology series."



"If other titles in this series are as well written as this one, they will be must-haves for the reference collection in high schools and colleges. Author William Hansen has provided readers with a complete and clear picture of classical mythology … Recommended."


Library Media Connection

Library Journal
Hansen (classical studies & folklore, Indiana Univ.) attempts an "ethnography of the imagination," exploring both the stories of classical mythology and the social and geographical contexts that gave rise to them. To this end, he offers a 51-page introduction dealing with origins, places, and characters (including valuable and cogent comparisons of the nature of humans and the gods), as well as a discussion of what makes mythological storytelling different from other narrative forms such as folklore and fable. Part 2 is essentially a time line using the language of myth, and Part 3 covers the major deities as well as themes and ideas such as the culture hero, hubris, and anthropogony. Each entry is followed by suggested readings, and most have See also references. An annotated bibliography, a good index, and a glossary make information easy to locate. The black-and-white illustrations are captioned but not attributed. Containing some unique features and perspectives, this volume will be a good supplement to mythology collections in school and public libraries.-Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-This excellent addition to a series exploring regional mythologies is also a stand-alone success. A substantial introduction explains the origins, geography, and narrative strategies of classical myths. A slightly shorter essay discusses time in the myths and provides an organized account of the development of the world from creation through the heroic age. Nearly 100 entries on "Deities, Themes, and Concepts" include topics such as "Hubris," "Romantic Narratives," "Succession Myth," and "Combat Myth and Legend." An annotated bibliography, glossary, and index (essential since specific myths may lurk in a concept entry) increase the book's usefulness. Hansen does not cover cultic aspects as comprehensively as Simon Price and Emily Kearns's Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth & Religion (2003); nevertheless, there is a lot of overlap with that volume and with Mike Dixon-Kennedy's Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology (ABC-CLIO, 1998). Many well-chosen line and halftone illustrations from antique art add interest. The book's non-columnar format is a bit daunting, despite the writer's clear prose and narrative skill, and the generous typeface. Serious students of classics or mythology will value this informative volume.-Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576072264
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Series: World Mythology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 410
  • Age range: 13 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Time : what happens in classical mythology 61
3 Deities, themes, and concepts 95
4 Annotated print and nonprint resources 337
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