Classical Myth

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-01-01
  • Publisher: Pearson College Div
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The fourth edition of CLASSICAL MYTH continues to frame ancient Greek and Roman myths and legends within their anthropological, historical, religious, sociological, and economic contexts. This text also provides students with modern translations of ancient works, information on the influence of Near Eastern myth, and concise sidebar essays that demonstrate how specific myths were appropriated in later times. The fourth edition includes: bull; bull;Additional readings from ancient sources bull;Completely revised bibliographies of modern works bull;Over 200 images to help students visualize mythical personalities and events Accompanying this text is a Companion Website trade; offering tools for instructors and students alike. Visit www.prenhall.com/powell for updated links to a vast array of resources, an interactive study guide, self-scoring quizzes, and more. PICK A PENGUIN! Prentice Hall is delighted to offer select Penguin Putnam titles to use in conjunction with this text at a discounted price. Contact your Prentice Hall sales representative for more details.

Table of Contents


1. The Nature of Myth.
2. The Cultural Context of Classical Myth.
3. The Development of Classical Myth.


4. Myths of Creation: The Rise of Zeus.
5. Myths of Creation: The Origins of Mortals.
6. Myths of the Olympian Gods: Zeus and Hera.
7. Myths of the Olympian Gods: The Male Deities.
8. Myths of the Olympian Gods: The Female Deities.
9. Myths of Fertility: Demeter.
10. Myths of Fertility: Dionysus.
11. Myths of Death: Encounters with the Underworld.


12. Introduction to Heroic Myth.
13. Perseus and Myths of the Argive Plain.
14. Heracles.
15. Theseus and the Myths of Athens.
16. The Myths of Crete.
17. Oedipus and the Myths of Thebes.
18. Jason and the Myths of Iolcus and Calydon.
19. The Trojan War: The House of Atreus; The Anger of Achilles.
20. The Trojan War: The Fall of Troy; The Return of Agamemnon.
21. The Return of Odysseus.
22. Roman Myth.


23. Theories of Myth Interpretation.
Appendix: Roman and Greek Forms of Classical Names; Spelling and Pronunciation.
Greek and Roman Gods Chart.
Chronological Chart.


What does our great historical hunger signify, our clutching about us of countless cultures, our consuming desire for knowledge, if not the loss of myth, of a mythic home, the mythic womb? -- FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE,The Birth of Tragedy,1872 The category "classical myth" exists more in the minds of contemporary teachers than it did in the ancient world itself, but it has, nonetheless, come to serve a useful pedagogical purpose. For some time now, courses bearing this or a similar title have been a vehicle for introducing college students to the cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans, hence to the roots of Western civilization. Studying the myths of the ancients primarily through the literary works in which they have been preserved, students are exposed to important classical authors, as well as to stories and figures that have sustained interest and kindled imaginations throughout the history of Western culture. The present text began as a modern introduction to classical myth, a comprehensive and flexible resource for college-level courses that would reflect the best recent scholarship in the field. The fact that the first three editions have been used in many such courses throughout North America, by instructors with different academic backgrounds teaching in a wide variety of educational settings, has been a gratifying confirmation of my sense that a book of this type was needed. In this fourth edition, I have made improvements to the book based on suggestions from instructors who have used earlier editions in their classes, as well as on my own experiences in teaching with it. But the central goals of the book remain unchanged. I have again included a large number of translations from ancient literary sources, organized around mythical figures or themes. I have again provided substantial background information and interpretive commentary to accompany these selections. And again, in both the translations and the background material, I have sought to take account of the needs of today's students as well as of the many new perspectives on the ancient world opened up in recent years by scholars working in various areas of classical studies. The first three editions were unique among texts in classical myth in the extent to which they emphasized the context in which the ancient stories were told. In this emphasis, which I call a contextual approach, I believe I was reflecting the direction of much contemporary scholarship, and in the fourth edition I have once again sought to place the myths in their anthropological, historical, religious, sociological, and economic contexts. Where possible, I have extended and improved the coverage of these topics, but I have preserved the same number and order of chapters, making it easy for users of the third edition to change to the fourth without redesigning their presentation of the material. I have reorganized Chapter 9, on Demeter, placing the Eastern material before the Greek, and considerably expanded Chapter 12, "Introduction to Heroic Myth," where I use the Mesopotamian story of Gilgamesh as a model for understanding thecomplex myths of heroes, give an expanded list of conventional motifs found in the myths of Greek heroes.I have added some material on the Olympian gods. I have also compressed and revised the other chapters and added new comments on context. This new edition has a revamped index and a completely revised bibliography. Many have asked that I cite the ancient sources for the myths, and in this edition I have added, where appropriate, some additional ancient sources at the end of the chapter. A complete inventory is, of course, beyond the scope of this text, but these suggestions can serve as a starting point for those wishing to explore the mythical background more fully. Those who wish to examine further the original Greek and Latin sources (which can be complex) may consult the references given in Keith Aldrich's tra

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