Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Engrossing and lavishly illustrated, this survey demonstrates once again why Greek mythology is so enduringly popular. Greek lit prof Buxton (Imaginary Greece: the Contexts of Mythology) treats the subject thematically, covering Greek origin myths, the character and functions of the Olympian gods, the exploits of heroes, the Homeric epics and the sagas of the House of Atreus and other tragic clans in which there is a 'seamless connection
between heroic exploits and domestic catastrophes.' Maps and family trees are provided to chart the progress of mythic quests and to help keep straight the tangled ancestry and couplings of gods and mortals, along with hundreds of superb photos of landscapes, ruins and objets d'art that steep readers in the atmospherics of ancient Greece. Buxton does not bowdlerize the elements of rape, incest, adultery, homosexuality, castration, bestiality, phallic overstimulation and Dionysian abandon in these stories, or the ubiquitous motif of parents devouring (and regurgitating) their children. But he is alive to their more profound psychological and social import. As mythic cycles of violence and retribution, hubris and nemesis play themselves out, he pegs them as explorations in extremis of the tensions people feel as they are torn between squabbling relatives, family and polis, or duty and fate. Buxton's engagingly written blend of erudition and insight makes these primordial tales seem fresh again." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Engrossing and lavishly illustrated, this survey demonstrates once again why Greek mythology is so enduringly popular.... Buxton's engagingly written blend of erudition and insight makes these primordial tales seem fresh again." Publishers Weekly
Complemented by lavish illustrations, genealogical tables, box features, and specially commissioned drawings, this is an essential reference tool for anyone interested in these classic tales and the world of the ancient Greeks.
A retelling of Greek myths is combined here with a comprehensive account of the world in which the myths developed - their themes, their relevance to Greek religion and society, and their relationship to the landscape.
A full, authoritative, and wholly engaging account of these endlessly fascinating tales and of the ancient society in which they were created.
About the Author
Richard Buxton is Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of Bristol. His many books include Imaginary Greece: The Contexts of Mythology.