The complete world of Greek mythology

Richard Buxton

Book - 2004

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Subjects
Published
New York : Thames & Hudson 2004.
Language
English
Physical Description
256 p. : col. ill., maps ; 26 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
0500251215
Main Author
Richard Buxton (-)
  • I: Contexts, sources, meanings
  • General characteristics of Greek myths
  • Sources of evidence
  • Contexts for myth-telling
  • II: Myths of origin
  • Cosmogony
  • Origins of humanity
  • Local origins
  • Bringers of culture
  • Colonies
  • III: The Olympians: power, honour, sexuality
  • Powers and spheres of influence
  • Honour and boundaries
  • Divine sexuality
  • IV: Heroic exploits
  • Perseus
  • Meleager, Atalanta and the Kalydonian Boar
  • Jason, the Argonauts and Medea
  • Herakles
  • Theseus and the heroic Athenian past
  • The Trojan War
  • V: Family Sagas
  • The house of Pelops
  • Tereus, Prokne and Philomela
  • Antiope and his kin
  • Danaos and his kin
  • Proitos, Stheneboia and Bellerophon
  • The House of Laios
  • Strong bonds: love between spouses
  • Same-sex eroticism
  • VI: A landscape of myths
  • Mountains
  • Caves
  • Rivers and springs
  • The sea
  • Crete
  • Troy
  • The underworld
  • VII: Greek myths after the Greeks
  • How Rome re-imagined Greece
  • The Middle Ages
  • From the renaissance to the 20th century
  • Present and future
  • Maps
  • General map of the Greek world
  • The voyage of the Argo
  • The Labours of Herakles
  • Theseus' exploits en route for Athens
  • Greek contingents at Troy
  • Mountains
  • Rivers.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

It would seem that enough books have been written about Greek mythology to fill an entire library. Still, it would be unfortunate to miss this work by Buxton (Greek language and literature, Univ. of Bristol, U.K.), which focuses on the context of the myths rather than the stories themselves. Buxton discusses the origins of Greek mythology, even examining the Greek countryside and its significance in the development of the narratives. The book comes full circle with a concluding chapter on Greek myths after the Greeks, from Roman adaptations to modern transformations. The text is both accessible and scholarly, while 330 illustrations (139 in color) ensure that exquisite photographs of art and of geographical sites grace nearly every page. Interspersed throughout are maps, genealogies, charts, lists, and sidebars, all helpful and intriguing in their own right. Highly recommended, even for libraries whose collections on Greek mythology are already adequate.-Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Engrossing and lavishly illustrated, this survey demonstrates once again why Greek mythology is so enduringly popular. Greek lit prof Buxton (Imaginary Greece: the Contexts of Mythology) treats the subject thematically, covering Greek origin myths, the character and functions of the Olympian gods, the exploits of heroes, the Homeric epics and the sagas of the House of Atreus and other tragic clans in which there is a "seamless connection…between heroic exploits and domestic catastrophes." Maps and family trees are provided to chart the progress of mythic quests and to help keep straight the tangled ancestry and couplings of gods and mortals, along with hundreds of superb photos of landscapes, ruins and objets d'art that steep readers in the atmospherics of ancient Greece. Buxton does not bowdlerize the elements of rape, incest, adultery, homosexuality, castration, bestiality, phallic overstimulation and Dionysian abandon in these stories, or the ubiquitous motif of parents devouring (and regurgitating) their children. But he is alive to their more profound psychological and social import. As mythic cycles of violence and retribution, hubris and nemesis play themselves out, he pegs them as explorations in extremis of the tensions people feel as they are torn between squabbling relatives, family and polis, or duty and fate. Buxton's engagingly written blend of erudition and insight makes these primordial tales seem fresh again. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Discusses the origins, plots, themes, and influences of Greek myths; outlines the relationships between the gods, mortals, and their offspring; and includes maps showing the locations of the different stories.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A full, authoritative, and wholly engaging account of these endlessly fascinating tales and of the ancient society in which they were created.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Greek myths are among the most complex and influential stories ever told. From the first millennium BC until today, the myths have been repeated in an inexhaustible series of variations and reinterpretations. They can be found in the latest movies and television shows and in software for interactive computer games. This book combines a retelling of Greek myths with a comprehensive account of the world in which they developed—their themes, their relevance to Greek religion and society, and their relationship to the landscape."Contexts, Sources, Meanings" describes the main literary and artistic sources for Greek myths, and their contexts, such as ritual and theater."Myths of Origin" includes stories about the beginning of the cosmos, the origins of the gods, the first humans, and the founding of communities."The Olympians: Power, Honor, Sexuality" examines the activities of all the main divinities."Heroic exploits" concentrates on the adventures of Perseus, Jason, Herakles, and other heroes."Family sagas" explores the dramas and catastrophes that befall heroes and heroines."A Landscape of Myths" sets the stories within the context of the mountains, caves, seas, and rivers of Greece, Crete, Troy, and the Underworld."Greek Myths after the Greeks" describes the rich tradition of retelling, from the Romans, through the Renaissance, to the twenty-first century.Complemented by lavish illustrations, genealogical tables, box features, and specially commissioned drawings, this will be an essential book for anyone interested in these classic tales and in the world of the ancient Greeks.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"Contexts, Sources, Meanings" describes the main literary and artistic sources for Greek myths, and their contexts, such as ritual and theater."Myths of Origin" includes stories about the beginning of the cosmos, the origins of the gods, the first humans, and the founding of communities."The Olympians: Power, Honor, Sexuality" examines the activities of all the main divinities."Heroic exploits" concentrates on the adventures of Perseus, Jason, Herakles, and other heroes."Family sagas" explores the dramas and catastrophes that befall heroes and heroines."A Landscape of Myths" sets the stories within the context of the mountains, caves, seas, and rivers of Greece, Crete, Troy, and the Underworld."Greek Myths after the Greeks" describes the rich tradition of retelling, from the Romans, through the Renaissance, to the twenty-first century.Complemented by lavish illustrations, genealogical tables, box features, and specially commissioned drawings, this will be an essential book for anyone interested in these classic tales and in the world of the ancient Greeks.