Thousands of years ago, they were used to help frame the world of the ancients, and dictate the guidelines of their societies. Today, they are often the first stories we learn as children, iconic tales in which good and evil clash, and humanity and fantasy collide. But what is the reality behind these stories? From the epic tragedy of Medusa, Greek mythology s most infamous female fiend, to Hercules, its greatest action hero, and Hades, master of the land of the dead and a god so feared no one would speak his name, explore these myths and the legendary figures who inspired them in CLASH OF THE GODS. Each episode connects ancient myths to actual historical events, as well as to events in the Bible and other cultures mythologies, gaining important historical insight from renowned scholars in search of the truth behind the legends.
This 10-part series on two discs travels back in time to reveal the stories behind some of history s most infamous mythological figures and legends including:
Odysseus: Curse of the Sea
Tolkien s Monsters
The majority of the series devotes episodes to the rise of the Olympian gods, beginning with Zeus's battle with his father, Kronos, and the Titans. Images of Zeus with a ridiculous white lightning bolt painted across his face repeat ad nauseam throughout to supposedly show how Zeus took control of mortal earth until consumed by his "uncontrollable sex drive." Likewise, the episode "Hercules" depicts a well-oiled man in tight underwear roaming the desert to elucidate how he is the world's "ultimate superhero." Only scholars like Tom Stone, who humorously likens Hercules to Babe Ruth, or Michael Fontaine from Cornell University, do any justice to the exploration of metaphorical connections between Hercules's 12-challenge quest and the ordeals humans were experiencing when the myth was popular. "Minotaur" better achieves its aim to link truths to the myth, by linking historical wars between the Cretans and Athenians to the horrific tale of the man-eating Cretan beast, deemed Athenian propaganda by historians like David George at Saint Anselm College. Also meaningful is the narrative thread in this episode about Theseus's dual fathers, one mortal and one god, and the fantastic connection between historical politicians, such as Alexander the Great, who believed that they too were conceived of two men. While "Medusa," the two-episode "Odysseus," and "Beowulf" do zilch to enlighten beyond basic redundant storytelling, the lamest episode of all is "Tolkien's Monsters," a heavy-handed look at how J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth was inspired by his days in the trenches during World War I. While the information in this series is informative and interesting, simulated drama and footage that repeats as if the History Channel ran out of material to edit in makes for possibly the worst series on mythology out there. Save your money and read the books instead. --Trinie Dalton