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Mythology: The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and Storytelling Hardcover – September 24, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is the ultimate family reference book on world mythology, cont-aining hundreds of stories accumulated over thousands of years, which will inspire and entertain readers of all ages. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder Bay Press (September 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571458271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571458278
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.2 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Loren D. Morrison on March 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Yes, this is a "coffee table book." And yes, it is huge and heavy. But then, it would have to be to cover so much material and to include so many beautiful illustrations.
Before I get into the "meat" of the book, I'd like to discuss the illustrations. It is difficult to imagine the amount of study and research it must have taken to find these illustrations. They range from thousand year old papyrus illustrations to frescoes to ancient pottery, to antique stone and jade carvings to statuary and on and on. They come from a myriad of ancient cultures and sources. If there were no text in MYTHOLOGY, it would be worth owning just for the art work.
But text there is! The text is broken down by geographical area, and by culture within that area. Also included, are maps where appropriate. For instance, the locations of the labors of Herakles (Hercules to the Romans) which I will discuss further later.
From the standpoint of depth of detail, this is not a scholarly reference. Rather, it is the work of good story tellers, for, after all, the ancient myths were good stories. By this I mean that the book is aimed at the layman (like me), and wherever you open it at random, you will find a great tale of ancient gods, monsters, giants, heroes, and just plain humans. These tales have come down through time, some predating the advent of writing.
MYTHOLOGY opens with a general discussion of mythology, comparing myths with magic mirrors which reflect the hopes and fears of ancient civilizations, and often, those of our civilization, today. Mythological tales, we are told, form the basis of much of the world's literature, philosophy and religion.
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Format: Hardcover
Full color photographs and beautiful artwork adorn each and every page of this massive collection. This book covers nearly every religous culture of the ancient world including: Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Celtic, Nordic, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Native American, Mesoamerican, South American, African, Aboriginal, and Polynesian. Worth far more than what Amazon is selling it for. A terrific reference for all those studying ancient history or comparitive religion.
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Format: Hardcover
This massive coffee-table style book gives a good overview of some of the major mythologies in the world. Overall, it has both good and bad points, with the good generally outweighing the bad.
The good points include the wide range of mythological stories that are related. While Greek mythology - certainly the most well-known and influential in Western culture - gets more space than any other culture (over one hundred pages), there is plenty of space dedicated to the whole world of mythology: Egyptian, Babylonian, Norse, Chinese, Indian and Japanese amongst them. A wide range of illustrations and photos help tell the stories.
Although wide-ranging, I think there are some noticeable gaps, both within specific sections (for example, no story of Eros and Psyche in the Greek myths) and significant types of myths that are neglected. It would have been interesting to see a little about the Arthurian legends, which are a big part of British mythology. The other thing that is missing is any sort of comparisons. While many cultures had creation and flood stories, there is little direct commentary on the similarities or differences. It would have also been interesting to see some discussion on parallels between myths and the stories of the Bible.
Of course, this book is big enough as it is, and editing decisions needed to be made. While this book suffers from the flaw of incompleteness, it does not have flawed writing, which makes it a good book although (literally) not a light read.
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Format: Hardcover
A reference book of this quality is an excellent addition to your reference library... especially if you are the type of person who likes to understand other's at a deep level. Whatever your subject, students of many different topics would also find this an indispensable title to have in your library. With more than 700 colour photographs and nearly 700 pages of information-packed pages to look through, `Mythology' is an excellent value reference book to add to your collection.

Even though there is a lot of information presented in this book, it is set out in a way that makes it easy to find the information you are looking for. The chapters are set out in the following structure:

1. Meaning of Myth

2. Cradles of Civilisation

Egypt's Divine Kingship

Ancient Mesopotamia

The Glories of Greece and Rome

3. The Celtic, Viking and Germanic Worlds

Celtic Deities and Heroes

Sagas of the Norsemen

4. The Eastern World

India's Eternal Cycle

China's Heavenly Mandate

Japan's Realm of the Rising Sun

5. The New World

North America's Mother Earth, Father Sky

Mesoamerica's Gods of Sun and Sacrifice

South American Kingdoms of Gold

6. The Southern World

The Ancestral Voices of Africa

The Unseen Worlds of Australiasia

If you are not sure which section your myth belongs to you can always use the index, which is very well set out too.

I would recommend `Mythology' as a reference book for artists, writers, those of your involved in religious studies and/or readers who just have a curious mind!
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