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The Greek Myths by Robert Graves
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The Greek Myths (1955)

by Robert Graves

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The poet’s starting point in the Greek Myths is the change from matriarchal society to a patriarchal one as background for his retellings, which may have been inspired by the many years he passed at the Mediterranean island of Majorca.
  hbergander | Feb 15, 2014 |
I liked reading this book. I bought it as a part of an art history class, but I enjoyed the tales and provides great contexts to a lot of Ancient Greek and Western art. ( )
  Jen_Muller | Apr 7, 2013 |
Scholarly, academic, comprehensive retelling of the myths with copius footnotes. The comprehensive and academic slant perhaps mean that the stories themselves don't have as much room to shine through as i some other versions and translations. But definitely worth giving shelf space to for the sheer depth and breadth of the myths covered. ( )
  ruric | Dec 29, 2012 |
NF2
  Foulkeways | Oct 5, 2010 |
Review of Volume I: One down, one to go on this chore of a read. To be honest, I gave up (to a degree) on trying to keep every single thing straight. There are so many names and places, places named after mythic people, similar names (Metis and Thetis, Aglauros and Agraulos are just a few examples) 32 names beginning with 'Ae', and a 37 page index of names, just too much data for complete absorption. Not to mention the contradictory stories from other sources. There is a lot of 'Other people say...' something totally different. But, the book is also stuffed with data making analogies between the mythic stories and how they relate to the invasions and migrations of people and ideas in the pre-Classical era before the historical era that we know much more about. Most of the myths recall the patriarchal Dorian, Mycenaean, Aeolian and other invaders merging with pre-existing goddess cults. Hence the allusions to the mighty heroes either conquering or ritually marrying representatives of animal totems, not to mention the whole concept of a 'tanist' twin to the king, ritually sacrificed at the end of his reign. All in all, pretty confusing and convoluted stuff. Graves' work has been downgraded by the academic world, but I think there is a lot of truth to his ideas, even if a scholar could poke holes in his theory here and there, there is just too much supporting data. Not to mention similarity between mythic tales from far flung areas of Europe and West Asia. Like the Greeks claiming that the Danaids travelled to 'Hyperborea' beyond the Pillars of Heracles, and the Irish claim a mythic origin from the Tuatha de Danaan, who came from the south and ridded Eire of the Balrogs. Just an example, but is it coincidence? There are further examples of this linkage in trees representing the same 'magical' properties in both Greece and Ireland, and a matching tree magic based calendar. This topic is more the domain of The White Goddess, but the Greek Myths by Graves is presented in such a way, with a synopsis of the versions of a story followed by an analysis of what they mean applied to what I suppose you could call 'The White Goddess Theory', that these works go hand in hand, or opposite sides of the same coin, if you will.

The first book is pretty much the early creation myths, and stories about local heroes, all early stuff, along with Perseus and Theseus. The second covers Oedipus, Heracles, Jason and the Argonauts, and the mythic side of Homer, all later additions to the Greek saga.

As a concluding remark, these make a great reference and are important works of scholarship, but Edith Hamilton's 'Mythology' is a much more accessible, concise and frankly handier book on the subject, and is a easy to find Signet paperback. Her 'The Greek Way' is also a great primer on the literary history of Athens.

Review of Volume II: Boy am I glad that's over. Not a very interesting book as far as the mythic stories are concerned, but filled to overflowing with the data that makes up those stories. They just had all of the fun sucked out of them and replaced with information. Like trying to read Leviticus and all of the geneologies and laws that it contains. A great compendium, but a boring read. I have honestly never fallen asleep so many times reading any single book ever. Still, it is an impressive work that will be referred back to many times over. ( )
1 vote DirtPriest | Sep 10, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Graves, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, GrahameIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLeish, KennethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The medieval emissaries of the Catholic Church brought to Great Britain, in addition to the whole corpus of sacred history, a Continental university system based on the Greek and Latin Classics.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140171991, Paperback)

Combines in a single volume the complete text of the definitive two-volume classic, citing all the ancient myths.


@GoldenFarce Good, the gals stand outside my house all the time. The constant chanting is creepy, but all agree: Jason crossing the line!

When he gets home we’ll talk. I’m sure we can work it out. But what’s the best way to approach this? Any advice, anyone? #wackrelationships

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A retelling of the ancient myths includes Heracles' labors, the Olympian tales, and the myths of Sisyphus, Midas, and the Argonauts.

» see all 5 descriptions

Legacy Library: Robert Graves

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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