An overview of the history, theory, and stories of myths
Myths are not just the stories from the ancient Greeks and Romans—they represent deep truths from the essential concerns people face in their lives. Readers may already have heard of the Trojan Horse or how Oedipus married his own mother, but why have these stories lingered?
In Classical Myth: An Introduction, Barry B. Powell provides the historical and theoretical background necessary for us to understand not only the concept of what a myth is, but the cultural context of how it emerged, and the different approaches to interpreting myth that were put forward by ancient theorists and their more recent successors. Then he helps readers to understand classical myth as it is found in its primary sources: the works of Homer and Hesiod, and the Greek tragedians and historians, Ovid and Vergil. By examining a number of prominent themes in classical myth, this textbook explores the relationship between myth and art, politics, society, and history of the ancient world. This completely revised second edition features new illustrations and will help readers who want to understand myths or study their original sources.
Barry B. Powell is Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.