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Stinley's avatar

Any recommendations for easy reads on ancient mythology?

Asked by Stinley (11525points) January 16th, 2017 from iPhone

I would like to learn more about ancient mythology like Greek, Norse and Roman. But I don’t really like non fiction. Do you know of any fiction books that are a good read on this subject?

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7 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

That made me smile. Ancient mythology is fiction.

There are numerous kids’ versions, including d’Aulaire (link: ), that are pretty light retellings; but bear in mind that many of the tales are not actually G-rated, so a children’s version may be very inauthentic. Reading about the Norse myths as a child, for instance, I thought Loki was a character of fun and laughter. Not so.

Edith Hamilton’s Mythology (link: ) is also a standard. Neil Gaiman incorporated mythology into his American Gods, but I think that book is better read when you know the stories than when you’re first seeing them. I learned mine from Bulfinch’s The Age of Fable, which I read and reread as a kid. Link:'s_Mythology

Also Joseph Campbell’s works will lead you into deep areas of mythology—but I suppose one might consider his discussions and interpretations “nonfiction” even though the subject matter is fictional. His TV miniseries The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers, is exceptionally enlightening.

The beliefs that have shaped cultures and history are fascinating to me. I have read much on the subject and yet have barely touched the surface. The myths of the Eastern religions are another rich and beautiful trove of human understanding fashioned into stories. The fact that they frequently bypass our logical processes is part of their power to teach and reveal.

Cruiser's avatar

Since @Jeruba beat me to it I will have to second the Bill Moyers series. Joseph Campbell really wrote the definitive book on mythology – The Power of Myth.

gorillapaws's avatar

+1 for Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, at least for Greek/Roman Mythology. It’s what I read in school.

VenusFanelli's avatar

Edith Hamilton has a good basic book on mostly Greek myths. Gustav Schwab has one in more detail. Bullfinch’s “Age of fable” is good.

Stinley's avatar

I took a look at these on Amazon and they all look a bit old fashioned. Any more modern versions that you have seen? I’m so demanding…

PS Welcome to Fluther @VenusFanelli

Sneki95's avatar

I once read Larousse encyclopedia about mythology. It was an interesting read, not too detailed, but still educational and informative. They wrote about mythologies around the world.
Maybe that is what you want.

Strauss's avatar

I’m familiar with Bullfinch from extracurricular reading in high school.

Yeah, I was that nerd!

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