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Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece [Paperback]

Gustav Schwab
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 9 2001 Pantheon Fairy Tale & Folklore Library
From fire-stealing Prometheus to scene-stealing Helen of Troy, from Jason and his golden fleece to Oedipus and his mother, this collection of classic tales from Greek mythology demonstrates the inexhaustible vitality of a timeless cultural legacy.

Here are Icarus flying too close to the sun, mighty Hercules, Achilles and that darn heel, the Trojans and their wooden horse, brave Perseus and beautiful Andromeda, wandering Odysseus and steadfast Penelope. Their stories and the stories of the powerful gods and goddesses who punish and reward, who fall in love with and are enraged by the humans they have created, are set forth simply but movingly, in language that retains the power and drama of the original works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Homer. In Gustav Schwab’s masterful retelling, they are made accessible to readers of all ages.

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“A superb volume, the keystone for any home library.”—The New Yorker

“A book to be grateful for. . . . Schwab retells the legends of ancient Greece with splendid vigor and charm.” —Commonweal

From the Back Cover

“A superb volume, the keystone for any home library.”—The New Yorker

“A book to be grateful for. . . . Schwab retells the legends of ancient Greece with splendid vigor and charm.” —Commonweal

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HEAVEN and earth had been created. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great June 15 2004
I'm not done with the book so far, but it's very useful.. I've been very intrigued with Greek Mythology and this book, although greatly long, maps out all the myths in great detail. I recommend this book to anybody who wants to learn more into the Greek Myths..
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great translations of the Greek myths. Jan. 1 2006
By NB- - Published on Amazon.com
I found that while reading this that in some parts it is a little hard to understand. Overall however the tales of Troy and the epics are written woderfully in a easy to understand and interesting way. It contains some different translations of how the myths took place that make it interesting rather than the humdrum everyday examples. Its a good way to start of a collection for anyone interested in the epics of Greek heroes and the tragedies such as oedipus and the seven against thebes.

As well this book provides a grove of information on some lesser known myths as well as contains an abridged version of both the Illiad and the Oddyssey. This book provides many tales of which to entice as well as to ensnare the mind and does a proficient job of putting most of the well known myths into perspective as well as providing certain areas with more explanation and vivid translation.

A great place to begin any collection on Greek mythology, however it is somewhat limiting and I would encourage anyone truly intersted in myth to start here and then read the actual unabridged stories as they were first intended to be read. This book will provide however a great launching point for any avid begginer.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books on Greek Mythology Available April 7 2013
By Nøkkenbuer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This translation of Gustav Schwab's epic anthology is without a doubt one of the best, if not THE best, books on Greek mythology. Not only does the author explain the myths, he brings them back to life and breathes fresh life back into these ancient fables. Moreover, his sources are vast and frequently conflicting in their input due to the equivocal and interpretive nature inherent in the mythology of Ancient Greece; yet, instead of simply collecting these contradicting tales into a single volume, he chose the riskier--yet more extraordinary--path of weaving his own version of these timeless tales. Utilizing his extensive knowledge of Greek mythology and culture, he brings together the countless interpretations and versions of every myth and reconciles them under a single perception. In doing so, he forged an undying legacy for himself as one of the last mythographers to have ever lived.

While it is admittedly true that some of the lesser-known or miscellaneous myths scattered throughout the Greek culture have been either neglected or omitted; however, I believe this was necessary to maintain the fluidity of his work as one myth transitions into another. This book is not simply a collection of myths; it's a chronology of Ancient Greece's more fictitious historical identity. Through this novel approach, Schwab combines historical accuracy with mythical legend and applies a writer's techniques with the heart of a poet. Needless to say, I believe that this novel is an essential and necessary piece of literary art for anyone interested in Ancient Greek history and/or mythology to own.

My only complaint is that by providing his singular interpretation, albeit one conceived from the various mythologies of ancient mythic authors, he is suppressing the fact that Greek mythology was in fact a religion based on local interpretation as compared to the universal doctrines so commonly found in later organized religions. There are hundreds, if not thousands or tens of thousands, of unique versions of each and every myth, depending on which location and time period one chooses to study. The fact of the matter is that there are no and never had been any dogmatism or strict doctrines within the Ancient Greek pagan beliefs. Until Gustav Schwab's epic interpretation (as found in this novel), the majority consensus among ancient Greeks regarding their theistic beliefs was ambiguous and relied primarily on the recognition of the most fundamental qualities of their faith. Outside of that, Ancient Greek paganism was a hazy conglomeration of local cults and deities assumed under a single system of belief.

I might also add that the telling of Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey" within this book are very basic and only fleetingly follows the original translation. In this, too, Schwab wove his own version of events in an artistic and relatively concise manner. That said, if you're seeking accurate, meticulously rendered translations of the original texts, you'll be sorely disappointed in this book. For these two reasons and these two alone, I believe this only deserves a four-star rating. Outside of that, this is an amazing and phenomenal book in every single way and if you have the opportunity to buy and/or read it, don't hesitate to jump on the chance while you still can.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Libary of Greek Mythology! Sept. 20 2012
By Coolzgurl101 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This was my first book on my kindle and it was definatly worth the cost.

The tales go from the kind Titan who gave fire to mandkind, Prometheus, to the epic tales of Troy! I have not read it all, (About 46%throuh) but it has tons of info even simle for a intelegent 10 year girl old like me.

I expecily liked how it stated, for example, numerous
diferent virsions of how Dionisys became imortal. One explains how Hera tricked one of Zeus's girfriends to ask him to show her his true form, disintergrating her imediatly, but sparing the son inside her. But Zeus put him inside him and when he was born, he was imortal because he was born from Zeus. Another said Zeus favored Dionisys for creating wine, and gave him the gift of immortality.

Over all a great book so far!

From Sophia Mcphee.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 14 2014
By Garry W Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
4.0 out of 5 stars If you Like Greek and Roman Mythology March 25 2014
By Lisa Gallo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I did enjoy reading this for my Mythology class for school. There were decent accounts of the myths which kept my interests.
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