Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Myths of the Ancient Greeks

Myths of the Ancient GreeksMyths of the Ancient Greeks by Richard P. Martin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Myths of the Ancient Greeks is a book with perfect economy of title. It is a brief retelling of the major surviving myths of the ancient Greeks, and Martin adds a light touch to the stories. He succeeds in making very accessible stories that are notoriously difficult to comprehend. This is not a scholarly look at the myths, but again a light introduction to the stories that may peak your interest into deeper study.

The introduction is wonderful, and makes a key point that any person familiar with Greek myth must understand: that these myths can never be fully understood. The Ancient Greeks had very different concepts of morality, justice, honor, duty, and above all religion than we presently possess, whether we are in the Christian west, or the varieties of eastern belief systems. Once you accept that these stories may not be something we can fully grasp, we may try to imagine what it would be like to think like the ancient Greeks, and this is one of the wonderful and mind expanding aspects of the study of Greek myth.

A light, but not simple book that succeeds beautifully as an introduction to a strange, beautiful, and terrifying world of thought.

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