9 Best Books About Greek Mythology Update 05/2022

My first bookish recollections are of spending hours curled up in my closet, where I used to read illustrated versions of old Greek mythology. The soap opera-worthy ensemble of goddesses and gods, heart-wrenching tragedies, and fanciful transitions from human to beast and back again have only strengthened my interest in the series over time. Aside from the classics, Greek mythology novels continue to be among my favorite readings. Adults, teenagers, and children alike will discover the greatest Greek mythology novels here, including Percy Jackson and Circe read-alikes.

Each area has its own sub-category: books for children and young adults, books for middle schoolers and teenagers, and novels for adults. To broaden our perspective, I’ve only selected one book from each author. Unless otherwise noted, all book descriptions are taken directly from Amazon. Before we get started, here’s something to consider: Today’s discussions of Greek mythology are shockingly whitewashed for a civilization that was notoriously gay and situated at a cultural crossroads. Honestly, they’re a lot less diversified than the civilizations and heroes we’ll be learning about. Though the situation is gradually getting better, more different perspectives in discussion and retellings of these stories would be welcome.

Heroes: Mortals And Monsters, Quests And Adventures By Stephen Fry

And then there are the Greek Heroes.

Neither plain people nor vindictive gods have ever undertaken on such daring and heart-pounding adventures, conquered so many terrifying dangers, or triumphed so gracefully as the Greek heroes did.

Heroes is the narrative of what we humans are actually capable of — at our worst and our greatest. It is filled with high-speed chases and fights, impossible puzzles and riddles, acts of basic cowardice and true courage.

The Greek Myths By Robert Graves

The legendary tales of Hercules’ labors, the Argonauts’ expedition, Theseus’ encounter with the minotaur, Midas’ golden touch, the Trojan War, and Odysseus’ return home are all woven together in one one epic tale. It is a narrative like no other.

While it’s a great introduction to Western literature for newcomers, it’s also a valuable resource for anyone looking for an authoritative and comprehensive account of the spectacular stories that make up Western literature’s bedrock. Full commentaries and a comprehensive index of names are included. The Greek Myths is one of the greatest works of literature ever written, a treasure trove of fantastic stories, and a masterpiece in its own right.

The Greek Plays: Sixteen Plays By Aeschylus, Sophocles, And Euripides Edited By Mary Lefkowitz And James Romm

All-new English translations from leading scholars, including those of classic Greek tragedies such as Agamemnon, Prometheus Bound and Oedipus the King. Also included are works by Emily Wilson and Frank Nisetich; and works by Sarah Ruden, Rachel Kitzinger and Mary Lefkowitz; and James Romm.

Among the Western world’s most significant and lasting cultural legacy are the ancient Greek tragedies and comedies. Everything from Shakespeare to current television is indebted to Greek tragedy’s observations on human nature. To understand the world around them now, poets, philosophers and politicians have long adopted Greek drama’s concepts and vocabulary.

The Iliad By Homer, Translated By Caroline Alexander

Iliad was written about 730 B.C. by Homer, and it tells the story of a few crucial weeks in the ten-year conflict between the Achaeans and the Trojans. When Achilles and Agamemnon square off in the epic duel that is The Iliad’s climax, they are confronted with some of the most devastating truths of battle.

Soldier and civilian, victor and defeated, hero and coward, young and old, young and old—The Iliad captures the destiny of every life torn by the Trojan War in vivid, searing detail. As narrated by Homer, this ancient story of a Bronze Age fight becomes a majestic and sweeping depiction of the ravages of war throughout history.

It’s an epic-scale translation that’s also devastatingly precise thanks to Caroline Alexander’s new translation, which sticks closely to the original Greek and was crafted by the renowned classicist Caroline Alexander.

The Library Of Greek Mythology By Apollodorus, Translated By Robin Hard

For the first time, a work of ancient antiquity has survived in the form of a library of Apollodorus, a comprehensive reference to Greek mythology.

Ancient Greek and Roman authors, all the way up to Robert Graves, have drawn inspiration from Apollodorus’ Library since it was first published in the 1st or 2nd century BCE. From Jason and Perseus, through Heracles and Helen from Troy, this book presents a comprehensive history of Greek mythology and the exploits of the greatest heroes and heroines. One must have the Library in order to understand how the Greeks themselves saw their mythological traditions, as well as how the Library serves as a key source for Greek mythology.

Metamorphoses By Ovid, Translated By Charles Martin

As a source of inspiration for artists as diverse as Salman Rushdie and Italo Calvino, Ovid’s epic poem has endured through the centuries because of its recurring subject of transformation.

Charles Martin’s poem captures the energy and tempo of Ovid’s original while remaining faithful to the text. Martin’s translation of Metamorphoses will be preferred by modern English-speaking readers. Endnotes and a dictionary of individuals, places, and personifications are also included in this edition.

Mythology: Timeless Tales Of Gods And Heroes By Edith Hamilton

Nothing else succeeds like Edith Hamilton’s mythology in bringing to life for today’s readers these foundational Western cultural traditions about heroes and deities, which have fueled human creativity since antiquity.

The Trojan War and Odysseus’ journeys are depicted in this epic tale. We learn about Jason and the Golden Fleece, Cupid and Psyche, and the great King Midas. As we learn more about the constellations’ origins, we can better understand their names. Upon Freud’s Oedipus complex to Wagner’s Ring Cycle to Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra, there are several pieces of art, literature, and culture that we might draw from.

The Odyssey By Homer, Translated By Emily Wilson

In this new, official translation, this old poem’s beauty as well as its dramatic tale are brought to life. This version’s “complex” hero, a guy of many personas and many tricks, emerges as a more complete human being than ever before in this retelling, and that’s no small feat.

Emily Wilson’s Odyssey is written in iambic pentameter poetry and modern idiom, echoing Homer’s melody; the poem’s speed matches the Greek original’s quick, flowing rhythm.

The epic’s primary themes, disagreements regarding its beginnings, and the unmatched scale of its effect and influence are examined in a fascinating, instructive introduction.

A Thousand Ships By Natalie Haynes

In the middle of the night, Creusa awakens to discover her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten apparently endless years of harsh struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans are done, and the Greeks are triumphant. Over the next few hours, the only existence she has ever known will turn to ash.

The disastrous ramifications of the destruction of Troy spread from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across seas and skies in between. These are the tales of the women entangled in that famous conflict and its horrible aftermath, as well as the feud and the fateful choices that began it all.

Powerfully recounted from an all-female viewpoint, A Thousand Ships provides voices to the women, girls and gods who, for so long, have remained quiet.

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