Greek Mythology

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Rachel
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Greek Mythology

Postby Rachel » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:49 pm

So, today I finally decided to do something about my absolutely pitiful knowledge of Greek Mythology (Percy Jackson, basically), and figured I'd do some research. And then I realized that Greek Mythology was pretty freaking long, actually. So, sorry if this is kind of a stupid question, but after you know the major gods, where do you go from there?
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WhoIam
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby WhoIam » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:56 pm

Well, you could look into some of the myths themselves, like Echo and Narcissus, Arachne, Pygmalion, the creation myth, Bellerophon and Pegasus, Heracles and his tasks, Perseus, Theseus, Jason, etc. Lots of the stories have morals, even if the moral is "don't mess with the gods."
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby deHavilland » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:06 am

I would suggest starting with the 12 Olympian Gods (+ Dionysus), which are all easily read about, particularly in the Homeric Hymns. And since Homer went ahead and wrote hymns to some of the lesser deities outside of the Olympians, you can use the same poems as a launching point for say the Muses or Asclepius. But the Olympians all have oodles of mythology about them outside the hymns.

Then I think your core texts - without getting into the highly specialized nitty gritty - would be something like the Creation Story (Theogeny, by Hesiod), the alienation of humanity from the gods (Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, Pandora and the Five Ages of Humanity, which are written about in Hesiod's Works and Days).

Then there's the Hero myths that you can get into, which go along with the Ages of Humanity; Perseus (and the Gorgon) and Heracles (Twelve Labors of) being obvious reads. And then we get into "Heroes at War, the Troy Stuff," so the Iliad and the Odyssey.

After which point you sort of start to get into the Tragedies, which fall into the more specific stuff; the Oresteia, Agamemnon, Eumenides, Oedipus Rex, Antigone, Medea, the Bacchae, the Aeneid and Ovid's Metamorphoses.

But if you want to make your life really easy, pick up a copy of Bulfinch's Mythology.
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby Rachel » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:09 am

You guys are the best, oh my God. Thank you, thank you, thank you! *smishes you both*
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby Acaila » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:22 am

Ooh, the Tragedies (and Metamorphoses) are good recommendations actually. Aeschylus' stuff is a bit more stuffy I would say, but Oedipus Rex, Antigone, The Bacchae and Medea are all absolute crackers :)
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby deHavilland » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:26 am

Hey, if Aeschylus is good enough for Jean Prouvaire...
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby Morgan » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:56 am

WhoIam wrote:Lots of the stories have morals, even if the moral is "don't mess with the gods."


Don't mess with the gods, and don't be attractive anywhere in the vicinity of Zeus.
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby WhoIam » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:59 am

That too :D
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby Marianne » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:41 pm

Is this a bad time to confess that three-quarters of my knowledge of Greek mythology comes from repeatedly mainlining D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths as a kid? (And a lot of the rest comes from the Metamorphoses. Or Google.) A hefty chunk of the meta I've written on Tumblr wouldn't even exist if I didn't have Real Classicist friends to interrogate.

I guess the moral of the story is that in nerdy fannish research as in amateur tech support, the skill is not knowing everything, the skill is knowing how to look things up. :lol: But a solid foundation to work from helps. And I still really like the D'Aulaires' book even though I'm not a kiddo anymore.
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Acaila
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby Acaila » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:05 pm

Mine mostly originated in this bad boy: http://www.amazon.com/Usborne-Book-Gree ... 0746002408
One of my favourite books as a kid.
And probably fed by liking Xena and Hercules :oops: (and liking to point out when they went against the mythology I knew)
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby between4walls » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:24 pm

Seconding D'Aulaires' as a starting point (plus pretty pictures!).

Ovid's Metamorphoses have a bunch of verse retellings of myths for a Roman audience.

A lot of Greek stuff focuses in on one part of a longer myth while assuming some background knowledge, so I would poke around on wikipedia and get the family trees/the whole story before reading any one tragedy or epic. Eg look up the Trojan War, the House of Atreus (who show up in the Iliad and the Oresteia), the House of Thebes/Cadmus (Oedipus's family), Theseus and his family/adventures...

I don't advise reading the epics straight through unless you've already got some background and really, really want to, but excerpts are good. The tragedies are much shorter and have fewer boring parts.

Recommended Tragedies-
Sophocles- Theban plays:
Antigone (first tragedy I read, will give you shivers down the spine, and raises questions that still interest us today. Plus, a great heroine.)
Oedipus Rex (will also give you shivers down the spine, a great story of fate and free will. Takes place first but was written second)

Aeschuylus (the first great tragedian)-
The Oresteia (A trilogy. The story of Orestes of the House of Atreus, or what happened when Agamemnon came home from the Trojan War)
Prometheus Bound (Prometheus rants and prophecies while chained to a rock. Kind of slow but ends with some epic defiance)

Euipides- The Bacchae (Dionysus comes to earth to visit his human relatives. Read if you want to be scarred for life, and see how the Greek gods are really not nice. Or human)
Iphigeneia in Tauris (Orestes and Pylades get stranded in a country that practices human sacrifice. Demonstrations of friendship, unexpected family reunions, and wacky hijinks ensue. Not actually tragic. :D )
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between4walls
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby between4walls » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:29 pm

Also, I know you asked about mythology, but ancient Greek and Roman history is just as interesting (and sometimes just as mythical :wink: ) and will also help with cultural references as it tends to get alluded to as often as straight-up myths.
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:07 am

Started off with the Edith Hamilton mythology compilation. There's not only Greek mythology but even sections devoted to Roman and Norse myths. And there's a section on the family trees of the major houses in the Greek myths
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby Gervais » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:15 pm

It isn't "serious" or very much in-depth, but if you want a quick, funny intro to different types of mythology, or just whatever: http://bettermyths.com/
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Re: Greek Mythology

Postby Je suis obsédé 24601 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:05 pm

In my freshman year, in English one, we read the Odessy (which I thought was good, but not a lot of people liked it). We had to research all the Gods and Godesses in the book, and I had to do Calypso. So I will try to be as helpful as possible :D

Calypso: She lives on an island of Ogygia, where she detained Odysseus (the main character) for several years. She is generally said to be the daughter of the Titan Atlas. She sings to the "prisoner" and enchants them to make them stay forever.

Scylla and Charybdis: Scylla was a six headed monster, with three rows of sharp teeth in each mouth, who lured sailors to eat them. Her weapon was a whirlpool called Charybdis. She was originally a very beautiful woman, but when Amphitrite found out that she was claimed by Poseidon, Amphitrite turned Scylla into the six headed beast.

Helios: The Sun God. Odysseus and his crew landed on the Thrinacian island and ate some of the cattle belonging to the Sun God. Helios' daughters (the guardians of the fields) told him, and Helios went to Zeus. Zeus heard of what Odysseus and his men did, and he struck their ship with his lightening bolt.

Athena: Daughter of Zeus. She is the goddess of wisdom, purposeful battle, and the womanly arts. She assists Odysseus and Telemachus with divine powers throughout the Odyssey. She speaks up for them in the councils of the gods on Mount Olympus. She often appears in disguise as Mentor, an old friend of Odysseus. Some say that she was born out of Zeus' forehead, because he had swallowed her pregnant mother (Metis).

Poseidon: God of the seas. He despises Odysseus because Odysseus blinded his son (the Cyclops Polyphemus).was chosen as Poseidon's domain. He is one of the three brothers: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Here is a link for a list of his "lovers" and offspring on Wikipedia (if it helps) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poseidon
The list is more towards the bottom of the page.

Zeus: King of Gods and men. He helped weigh the fates of men and rules the gods. His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. He killed the guard that guarded the brothers of Cronus, the Gigantes, the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes. The Cyclops gave him his famous lightening bolt. Was born in Crete, Greece some Grecians say)
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