Short Introduction to Classical Myth, A, 1st edition

  • Barry B. Powell

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In this brief book, Barry B. Powell provides the historical and theoretical background necessary to understand classical myth as it is found in its primary sources: the works of Homer, Hesiod, the Greek tragedians and historians, Ovid, and Vergil. Part One examines the origin of the concept of "myth" and the many approaches to interpreting myth that were put forward by ancient theorists and their more recent successors. Part Two describes the cultural context in which classical myth developed. Part Three examines a number of prominent themes in classical myth, exploring its relationship to the art, politics, society, and history of the ancient world. The book is designed as companion reading for students or others who are studying myth through original sources.

Table of contents


 1. What Is a Myth?

 2. The Meaning of Myth I: Ancient and Premodern Theories.

 3. The Meaning of Myth II: Modern Theories.


 4. The Cultural Context of Classical Myth.

 5. The Development of Classical Myth.


 6. Myth and Creation: Hesiod's Theogony and Its Near Eastern Sources.

 7. Greek Myth and Greek Religion: Persephone, Orpheus, Dionysus.

 8. Myth and the Hero: The Legends of Heracles and Gilgamesh.

 9. Myth and History: Crete and the Legend of the Trojan War.

10. Myth and Folktale: The Legend of Odysseus' Return.

11. Myth and Society: The Legend of the Amazons.

12. Myth and Law: The Legend of Orestes.

13. Roman Myth and Roman Religion: The Metamorphoses of Ovid.

14. Myth and Politics: The Myth of Theseus and the Aeneid of Vergil.

15. Myth and Art.

Published by Pearson (September 7th 2001) - Copyright © 2002