Our spring sale is on! Use promo code SPRING24 at checkout to save 50% on any order!

The first English verse translation of the Dionysiaca of Nonnus of Panopolis

Table of contents

Editors’ Preface: William Levitan and Stanley Lombardo
Introduction: Gordon Braden
Summary of the Poem
The Poem
Book 1:                       Douglass Parker
Book 2:                       Douglass Parker
Book 2 (continued):    William Levitan
Book 3:                       Joseph Harrington
Book 4:                       Judith Roitman
Book 5:                       Rob Turner
Book 6:                       Brian Walters
Book 7:                       Christian Teresi
Book 8:                       Frederick Ahl
Book 9:                       Anne Shaw
Book 10:                     Michael Shaw
Book 11:                     Darwin Michener-Rutledge
Book 12:                     John L. Gronbeck-Tedesco
Book 13:                     Mike Lala
Book 14:                     Michael B. Lippman
Book 15:                     John L. Gronbeck-Tedesco
Book 16:                     Rachel Hadas
Book 17:                     Catherine Anderson
Book 18:                     Tessa Cavagnero
Book 19:                     Sheila H. Murnaghan
Book 20:                     Andrew W. Barrett
Book 21:                     Zachary Puckett
Book 22:                     Richard Jenkyns
Book 23:                     Anne Carson
Book 24:                     Gordon Braden
Book 25:                     Alex Dressler
Book 26:                     Darwin Michener-Rutledge
Book 27:                     Melina McClure
Book 28:                     Denise Low and Eileen R. Tabios
Book 29:                     Adrienne Atkins
Book 30:                     Alison R. Parker
Book 31:                     David Fredrick and Rachel Murray
Book 32:                     Joseph Harrington
Book 33:                     Adrienne Atkins
Book 34:                     Anna Mayersohn
Book 35:                     Maryrose Larkin
Book 36:                     Rebekah Curry
Book 37:                     Jonathan Mayhew
Book 38:                     Denise Low
Book 39:                     Anthony Corbeill
Book 40:                     Deborah H. Roberts
Book 41:                     Diane Arnson Svarlien
Book 42:                     Charles-Elizabeth Boyles
Book 43:                     Bethany Christiansen
Book 44:                     Tessa Cavagnero
Book 45:                     Anna Mayersohn
Book 46:                     Melina McClure
Book 47:                     Cyrus Console
Book 48:                     Stanley Lombardo
On Translating Nonnus
Notes on Contributors
Suggestions for Further Reading
Glossary of Personal Names


Tales of Dionysus is the first English verse translation of one of the most extraordinary poems of the Greek literary tradition, the Dionysiaca of Nonnus of Panopolis. By any standard, the Dionysiaca is a formidable work. It is by far the longest poem surviving from the classical world, a massive mythological epic stretching to over 20,000 lines, written in the tradition of Homer, using Homer’s verse, Homer’s language, his narrative turns and motifs, and invoking his ancient Muses. But it is also the last ancient epic to follow a Homeric model, composed so late in fact that it stands as close in time to the Renaissance as it does to archaic Greece. Like its titular hero, Dionysus, with his fluidity of forms, names, and divine incarnations, the poem itself is continually shifting shape. Out of its formal epic frame spills a tumult of ancient literary types: tragedy, elegy, didactic, panegyric, pastoral idyll, and the novel are all parts of this gigantic enterprise, each genre coming to the fore one after the other.

Tales of Dionysus brings together forty-two translators from a wide range of backgrounds, with different experiences and different potential relationships to the text of Nonnus’ poem. All work in their own styles and with their own individual approaches to the poem, to translation, and to poetic form. This variety turns Tales of Dionysus into a showcase of the multiple possibilities open to classical translation in the contemporary world.

William Levitan is Professor of Classics Emeritus at Grand Valley State University.

Stanley Lombardo is Professor Emeritus of Classics at The University of Kansas.

“This innovative translation also offers a renewed vision of Nonnus’ very innovative work. It may also open late Greek poetry to a larger audience.”
—Christophe Cusset, Laboratoire Histoire et Sources des Mondes Antiques, Lyon

- Christophe Cusset

“This is an excellent project, one that may bring a long-deserved audience to one of the great poets of the Greek world.”
—Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, The Ohio State University

- Benjamin Acosta-Hughes

"Nonnus and Dionysus have given new zest to my thoughts about Greek literature and ancient mythology. . . . To all involved – editors, contributors including Douglass Parker, publishers. . . – Bravo."
—Penelope Wilson in Translation and Literature

- Penelope Wilson

"Levitan (Grand Valley State Univ.) and Lombardo (Univ. of Kansas) succeed in their aims of making the Dionysiaca more accessible and of illustrating the varied options available in modern translation practice."

- S. E. Goins, McNeese State University

"[T]he Dionysiaca is made of 48 books, written in a convoluted and constantly changing style, supercharged with long compound adjectives, most of which have no obvious equivalent in modern languages. Tales of Dionysus is therefore a welcome addition to our libraries, and an original one."
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

- Laura Miguélez-Cavero, Complutense University of Madrid

Read: Review in Bryn Mawr Classical Review | May 2023 | Link to Read
Read: Interview with Stanley Lombardo for the University of Kansas News | 10/03/22 | Link to Read