The Greek and Roman myths have never died out; in fact they are as relevant today as ever. For thousands of years these myths have inspired plays, operas, paintings, movies, and television programs. They are fascinating tales that tell us about ourselves-about our hopes, fears, and desires, which are as ancient as mankind. Many of these myths are deeply disturbing; others are sublimely beautiful. All of them move us still, as they did the Greeks and Romans hundreds of generations ago. Oh My Gods is a retelling of some of the most popular myths by a gifted scholar and writer. These tales of errant gods, fantastic creatures, and human heroes are brought to life in fresh and contemporary versions. Have there ever been stories to rival the myths about the creation of the universe and the wars among the earliest gods? Or about the Olympian gods themselves: powerful Zeus, king of the gods, possessed of a wandering eye; his wife, Hera, queen of marriage and childbirth, perpetually outraged by her husband's many affairs; Poseidon, god of the sea, brother of Zeus; their other brother, Hades, god of the underworld; and all the other gods and goddesses-talented Apollo, beautiful Aphrodite, fierce Athena, swift Hermes, and many more.
Did Zeus use his immense power solely for good? Was Jason really a great hero who sailed across the sea to find the Golden Fleece or a selfish lout who succeeded only with the help of a clever and resourceful woman he later betrayed? Classicist Freeman (Julius Caesar) tries to answer these questions by retelling familiar Greek and Roman myths so we can hear the challenging portions that are often glossed over. But what he accomplishes is simply the retelling of these myths for modern readers in contemporary language while remaining faithful to the original sources. Often he paraphrases a single ancient author or merges several sources. Sections are devoted to myths of creation, myths of gods and goddesses, heroes, lovers. Freeman retells such familiar tales as the spinning contest between the goddess Athena and the great weaver Arachne, which ends with Athena turning Arachne into a spider that will forever weave beautiful patterns in her webs. The book includes a helpful glossary, lists of Greek and Roman gods, and suggestions for further reading. While there is no substitute for Hesiod, Homer, Ovid, or Virgil, Freeman's lively if unoriginal retellings offer a useful introduction to these enduring stories. Maps. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Simon & Schuster
January 03, 2012
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