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Classical Myth

An Introduction

2nd Edition

Subjects: Classical Studies, Greek
Paperback : 9780472039722, 280 pages, 16 images, 2 maps, 1 table, 6 x 9, August 2024
Ebook : 9780472221943, 280 pages, 16 images, 2 maps, 1 table, 6 x 9, August 2024
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An overview of the history, theory, and stories of myths

Table of contents

Table of Contents
Part I. Definitions and Interpretation
Chapter 1: What is a Myth?
Chapter 2: Premodern Theories of Myth
Chapter 3: Modern Theories of Myth
Part II. Background
Chapter 4. Greek History
Chapter 5. Greek and Roman Society
Chapter 6. Greek Literature and the Development of Classical Myth
Part III. Case Studies
Chapter 7. Myth and the Near East: Hesiod’s Theogony and Its Sources
Chapter 8. Myth and Religion: Persephonê, Orpheus,           Dionysus
Chapter 9. Myth and the Hero: Heracles and Gilgamesh
Chapter 10. Myth and History: Crete and the Trojan War
Chapter 11. Myth and Folktale: The Odyssey
Chapter 12. Myth and Society: The Amazons
Chapter 13. Myth and Law: Orestes
Chapter 14. Roman Myth and Roman Religion: The Metamorphoses of Ovid
Chapter 15. Myth and Politics: Theseus and the Aeneid of Vergil
Chapter 16. Myth and Art: The Greek Invention of The Narrative Style
Index and Glossary
Chronology of the Ancient World
The Greek and Roman Pantheon
Map I. Greece, The Aegean Sea, and Western Asia Minor
Map II. The Ancient Mediterranean


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.