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The Greek and Roman Myths: A Guide to the Classical Stories Hardcover – November 15, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St. John’s College, Oxford. His books include Legionary, Gladiator, Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day, Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day, The Classical Compendium, Chronicle of the Roman Republic, and The Greek and Roman Myths. He lives in British Columbia, Canada.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; First Edition edition (November 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500251738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500251737
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. A. Standlee on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This slim volume now takes pride of place on my bookshelf as a common refrence source. Despite 35+ years of casual interest and study of Greco-Roman culture, I had never before had a simple description of the hierarchy of the major deities and demi-gods.

Even if you have no previous knowlege of the subject, or worse only the "knowledge" that appears in popular media, this book lays out a clear path, follows the path (with the brief side excursions clearly marked), and still leaves you wanting to know more.

The only downside is the brevity, especially in the last few chapters, where the pace appears rushed and questions go unanswered. Overall, though, a worthy purchase, well worth the price.
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Format: Hardcover
Like it or not, our culture has absorbed many of the ideas contained in pagan Greek myths. The Romans conquered the Greeks, but the Greeks won out when the Romans accepted much of the Greek culture, including their philosophy and their gods and the stories about their gods. The Romans accepted the myths with little change. The largest change was to give the gods new names, such as Zeus became Jupiter and Heracles, Hercules. The myths also became part of western culture. We see the stories on TV and in books; many themes in novels are obliquely based on mythical themes and readers who are unfamiliar with the original myths miss much of what is being said. Many English phrases are based on these tales, such as "the clash of the `titans,'" "this is his `Achilles heel,'" "he was attacked by a `Trojan horse,'" and the like.

Dr. Philip Matyszak, who teaches Ancient Rome at Cambridge University, offers readers a guide to these myths. He describes the gods and other personalities in the myths, summarizes the tales, and answers questions like: Why did the Romans accept the Greek myths? When was the golden age of mythology? Why did the myths persevere? Is the Trojan War a myth? Who were the Hellenes? Who were the Danaids, Jason, Psyche, Cupid, and a host of others? Who had control over the many gods, if anyone? What is a semi-god? What is the relationship between gods and heroes? Who was Pandora and what was in her box? How did Achilles get his Achilles heel? What is a titan? What prompted the Greeks to invent these tales?
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Format: Hardcover
The mythology of the Greeks has more impact on today's society than any other literature. "The Greek & Roman Myths: A Guide to the Classical Stories" is a literary introduction to the mythology of the Greeks, and its impact on the Roman legends and their strong impact on the world today. Outlining the common and known characters of these tales and their complex relations, "The Greek & Roman Myths" is an educational and very useful resource and literary guide for anyone who wants or needs to know about the classics.
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