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Myths of the Ancient Greeks Paperback – Illustrated, April 1, 2003
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About the Author
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Professor Richard P. Martin teaches Greek and Latin literature at Stanford. Martin's research focuses primarily on Homeric poetry and how it functioned as a performance art in ancient Greece. His research has involved fieldwork in modern Crete, interviewing those who still perform traditional oral epics. In addition,he has studied resemblances between ancient oral poetry and modern rap. He has worked on presenting Homer digitally, in a full-scale multimedia version of the Odyssey on CD, in connection with distance learning projects. Martin is also interested in the performance of Greek lyric as represented in myth and art, and the analysis of Greek myth.
Prof. Martin is currently working on three books: Homeric Religion; Comic Community (about the social contexts of comic productions in ancient Athens); and Homer Abroad, about Greek epic as compared with other ancient and contemporary epic traditions.
Born and raised in Boston, he studied Classics as well as Medieval and Modern Irish language and literature at Harvard University where he received his B.A. in Classics and Celtic Literature and M.A. and Ph.D. in Classical Philology. Prior to his position at Stanford, Professor Martin taught Classics for eighteen years at Princeton University. He was the Chair of the Classics department at Stanford from 2002 through 2008.
"Read on Arrival," in The Wandering Poets of Ancient Greece, edit. R. Hunter and I. Rutherford. Cambridge 2009.
"Words Alone are Certain Good(s)" TAPA (138.2) 313-49 (2008)
"Myth, Performance, Poetics: the Gaze from Classics," pp. 45-52 in Ethnographica Moralia: Experiments in Interpretive Anthropology, edit. Neni Panourgia and George Marcus. New York: Fordham UP.
"Outer Limits, Choral Space," pp.35-62 in Visualizing the Tragic: Drama, Myth, and Ritual in Greek Art and Literature, edit. Chris Kraus, Simon Goldhill, Helene P. Foley, Jas Elsner. Oxford, 2007.
"Homer among the Irish: Synge, Yeats, George Thompson, and Parry," pp 75-91 in Homer in the Twentieth Century: Between World Literature and the Western Canon, edit. Barbara Graziosi and Emily Greenwood. Oxford.
The Birds (Aristophanes). Translated and adapted with Paul Muldoon. Gallery Press, 1999.
"The Scythian Accent: Anacharsis and the Cynics" in B. Branham & M.-O. Goulet-Caze eds. The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy. University of California Press, 1997: 136-55.
The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the Iliad. Cornell University Press, 1993.
"The Seven Sages as Performers of Wisdom" in C. Dougherty and L. Kurke eds. Cultural Poetics of Archaic Greece: Cult, Performance, Politics. Cambridge University Press, 1993: 108-128.
"Telemachus and the Last Hero Song" Colby Quarterly 29.3 (1993): 222-40.
"Hesiod's Metanastic Poetics" Ramus 21.1 (1992): 11-33.
Healing, Sacrifice, and Battle: Amechania and Related Concepts in Early Greek Poetry. Institut fur Sprachwissenschaft der Universitat Innsbruck, 1983.
Top Customer Reviews
The introduction speaks of where Greek myth comes from, mentioning, of course, Hesiod's Theogony, Homer, and the like. The early chapters introduce us to Chaos (whether it be a mere entity or a personification), Gaia, Eros, Ouranos, and the Titans, before leading into the Olympians. There are also chapters on Greek heroes, such as Herakles, Theseus, Perseus, and Jason. Tales from Athens and Thebes are also covered quite extensively. The final chapter speaks of the war at Troy. The chronology this material is presented in flows quite well, making it easy to read straight through, though it can also be read in small scattered segments if need be.
I bought this book as a supplemental study aid for a course I recently took in Greek and Roman mythology, ended up reading it cover to cover, and I found that I actually turned to it more often than the course textbook. I found it easier to read than the course textbook, even though it covered the same basic information (with very few minor exceptions). Each myth or legend reads more like a short story than a blasé academic diatribe, making the material much more easily digestible and interesting. Martin also adds in a little bit of background information that helps to put many of the myths and legends into context, which can be intriguing at times. Martin also includes a few maps and family trees, which are a great quick reference.Read more ›
The book covers the origins of the gods and titans and covers all the most famous stories up to the Trojan war and Odysseus' return home. It also includes a family tree of the gods and goddesses, a map of the ancient Greek world and a list of recommended reading for those readers who want to find out more about the myths.
This is probably the most concise and clear book on Greek myths and offers a great introduction to anyone who is just starting to explore this field, or to readers who just want to sit down with their favorite story. Highly Recommended.
I really enjoyed the way the book with organized, it felt a lot less haphazard than many books of mythology. There are nine sections:
1. The Begining
2. Singers, Players, and Rivals
3. Lovers Mortal and Divine
4. The Tales of Athens
5. Theseus, Lord of Athens
6. Herakles, Greatest of Heroes
7. Once and Future Hereoes (Featuring Jason and Perseus)
8. The Saga of Thebes (Oedipus)
9. The War at Troy
What I found most helpful was the introduction at the beginning, which featured a nine page family tree, maps, and an insightful introduction on the origins and uses of mythology.
Finally, this is simply a fun read. Greeks didn't shy away from anything, and their myths traverse subjects from incest to war to fratricide to cross-dressing. You don't have to read it all in one go; you can pick it up and flip to what interests you. This is probably the best introductory level mythology book I've read, and I highly recommend it.
Greek myths were not handed down to us as lets say a Harry Potter book will be handed down to later generations. Hundreds of Greek communities had developed stories in ancient Greece with the Greek characters we know as the Zeus, Hades, Poseidon and the rest. But in the oral community, before the writing was conceived in Greece, each community had different stories of all these characters. There would have been similarities in all communities but each would have had a different take on the stories, myths. When the state of Greece became more organized and defined, these myths would have come together in a collective consciousness. But no single book or series of books would have collected all these stories. Instead, a multitude of fragments is left to the modern world and these fragments need to be put together in a unified story, or more accurately, stories.
Dr. Martin has responsibly compiled the fragments and retold the myths for us to enjoy. Because of the lack of cultural knowledge for us modern readers, he has to from time to time add comments that inform what would have been readily known to the ancient Greeks. The Greek myths we think we know can be reexamined with a high degree of confidence of knowing we have a reliable accounting of said stories.
This book is highly recommended. Please read the introduction before preceding to the rest. It will help you understand the work and its full intent.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was disappointed in that this was a book removed from a school library and was not listed as such. Read morePublished 13 days ago by S. Rice
It got me through my mythos college class and did its job well: being a readable book. Sure, it can't make breakfast for you in the morning or give you a foot massage, but who... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
The first part of the book is the best for me, since it's not only retelling some stories, but also a little bit of interpretation and analysis. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Rafael Díaz
I had to get this book for a college mythology class but it's turned into something for the kids to read too. It's an easy read.Published 7 months ago by colette
Beautiful book with wonderful illustrations. Most importantly it is accurate...unlike all the movies we are seeing these days...Published 13 months ago by Kindle Customer
I like the book, mainly because it presents a wide variety of Greek myths.
Unfortunately, It is more like the abstract of each myth and also it lacks in writing style. Read more