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Paperback Classical Myth Book

ISBN: 0131962949

ISBN13: 9780131962941

Classical Myth

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Book Overview

Comprehensive and scholarly, this well-designed and class-tested text presents Greek and Roman myths in a lively and easy-to-read manner. It features fresh translations, numerous illustrations (ancient and modern) of classical myths and legends, and commentary that emphasizes the anthropological, historical, religious, sociological, and economic contexts in which the myths were told.This book covers myths of creation, myths of fertility, myths of...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Oh! Gods!

This is a highly readable & comprehensive survey of Greek & Roman myths. It is intended as a college textbook but it a very enjoyable guide for anyone who is interested in the mythic stories. This is particularly true for those of us who have grown up on the the popular culture version of the ancient stories.

Great Composition

Powell has done it again in his fourth edition. Though there are minor changes whcih he made in the newest edition, this book offers great details about ancient gods and heroes - putting the reader's mind into the ancient mythical land. The books also has actual passages from various ancient writers and also included more background stories to help the readers understand the story in a better perspective. His writing is simple and honest. Its worth your money if you are an avid mythology reader.

The 3rd edition

The popularity of Classical Myth as a text for college classes is quite understandable; Classical Myth is a useful synthesis of textbook- and sourcebook-style material. The writing is engaging and the level of detail is appropriate--enough to challenge students but not so much as to overwhelm. Moreover, the third edition offers several significant improvements over the second edition. Let me share a few of the changes that jumped out at me:The chapters on the Olympian gods have been re-organized so that chapter six covers Zeus and Hera, chapter seven covers the male Olympians, and chapter eight covers the female Olympians. In the previous edition, the logic of the division of deities was less clear--chapter six covered Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, Hades and Aphrodite; chapter seven treated Apollo and Artemis; and chapter 8 discussed Hephaestus, Ares, Athena, and Hermes. There is also a new chapter, chapter twelve, entitled "Introduction to Heroic Myth." It is a short chapter which introduces students to the idea of the hero. Although the chapter is new, much of the material it contains is actually not new--it comes from chapter fifteen in the previous edition which was a discussion of myths related to Heracles. In my opinion, this chapter could usefully be expanded--it is quite short, and there is a great deal that can be said about the figure of the hero in myth and in interpretation of myth which is not said here.Finally, lists of key terms have been added at the end of each chapter, an addition which may be useful to students.However, I have a few quibbles with aspects of the previous edition that still appear in the third edition. Let me offer two general reflections and then one very specific objection.First, although Powell does use footnotes, they generally only gloss material that may be confusing for students. Like many other authors of textbooks on mythology, he usually doesn't indicate from what source or sources the various parts of the myths he is describing come. Of course, his text isn't intended for serious scholarly use and most scholars no doubt know where to turn for more detailed information. But students who want to track down the original sources will often be left in the dark by Powell's presentation of the myths. Since, however, I don't believe I've every seen a handbook of mythology that noted sources in this way, Powell really cannot be faulted for his decision.Second, Classical Myth is, like all handbooks of mythology, selective. Powell generally focuses on the most important and famous variants of the myths he discusses. This is quite appropriate for a textbook, but it is also somewhat deceptive. Students may come away with the erroneous impression that an established "canon" of Greek myth existed. I think a few more examples of variant versions of myths would help students appreciate that the stories that appear in Classical Myth represent only a few versions of the many disparate, often contradictory, stori

Excellent introduction into ancient myth

This book is a must-read for anyone with no real prior knowledge of classical myth, from the ancient Egyptians up through the Roman Empire. Not only does it provide information on culture and historical figures from these epochs, it occassionally relates the influences of these time periods on the modern world of art, music, and literature. An amazing amount of myth is conveyed in the book, and I have found it to be fascinating and of much use in other subjects such as English literature. I am, incidentally, taking Powell's 'Classical Myth' course right now, and he's the best professor I've ever had. :)

Bary Powell is INSANE! but in a good way.

Professor Powell is Proffessor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin, where he attracts studednts from all departments to his courses with his energetic lectures and true passion for the material he presents. This book, his text book for an intermediate level course in classics, embodies his style and flair for the subject with great skill. It's not just informative, Classical Myth is fun to read. He includes all the little bits they don't tell you about in high school, which will shock and surprise you. This is not a book for children. Prof. Powell brings color and energy to every myth he reviews. He also traces a western myth tradition from ancient Babylon through to images found in early Christianity. If you enjoy tales of myth and legend, you'll enjoy this book, buy it.
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