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Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod Paperback – March 24, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0415157063 ISBN-10: 0415157064 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (March 24, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415157064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415157063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,587,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'A welcome and provoking study of a difficult subject.' – J. H. Hordern, Trinity College, Dublin

'... contains much detailed and useful information ...'Scholia Reviews

'Charles Penglase's Greek Myths is a scholarly piece of work, soundly based on a good knowledge of the myths of ancient Iraq.'Times Literary Supplement

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "simonkyte" on July 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Penglase examines structural relationships between on the one hand the `Homeric' hymns from c.650BC (?) and Hesiod's `Theogony' and `Works & Days' from sometime in the eight century and on the other, the myths of Inanna-Ishtar, Dumuzi (Tammuz - as in the month in Arabic and Hebrew) and Ninurta-Ningirsu in the Mesopotamian tradition.
The book begins within a recounting of Inanna's descent into the underworld & the image of her clothes as power (SJK- common to the Gnostic and Hermetic traditions as well). Her condemnation to death by the Anunnaki represents the initial defeat motif and by means of her - seemingly, horizontal - ascent she gains netherworld powers. There is no discussion of her emergence onto the mythological scene or the fact that she (earlier (s)he) was probably a composite deity from various local versions.
Ekur (`kur' means `mountain') relates closely to Olympus but there is no attempt by Penglase to force Mesopotamia to be the origin of the Olympian gods - for Leto, Apollo, Artemis, Demeter & Persephone as well as the motif of Athena's birth and Zeus' journey for power, the relationship is only structurally derivative. The exception is Aphrodite who is probably a direct derivative of Ishtar.
In the Hymn to Apollo, both Apollo and his mother, Leto, perform journeys whilst Hera's role parallels that of Erishkegal. Again, the ascent sequence from within the earth follows the image of the searching mother goddess. There is an initial defeat which is later rectified and the complete journey results in the alternating ascent and descent of the deity with accompanying fertility effects. Apollo's struggles with Pytho and the river Telphousa are related to the Tiamat motif.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TammyJo Eckhart VINE VOICE on May 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Penglase is one of the leading experts on Greek and Mesopotamian mythology and any influence that may have occured between the two. He promotes what I would call "big theme" influences, not tiny details that strip each culture of its own creativity. A bit confusing at times, it is well worth the time of myth speicalists.
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