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Usefully organised in thematic sections. Very complete and yet short and understandable.


  • Greek Gods;
  • A Special Artifact.
  • Movement: From Person to Actor to Character.

Good for a wide audience that isn't really interested in reading enormous books by classic scholars. Also a good way to get some very interesting bibliography. Paul rated it really liked it Feb 20, Filipe Nunes rated it it was amazing Jun 05, Greis rated it liked it Jun 02, Vasilis rated it liked it Aug 27, Casey rated it liked it Jan 20, Iset rated it really liked it Jul 24, Carlos rated it really liked it Jan 26, Kathleen rated it really liked it Jul 20, Chibs marked it as to-read Oct 29, Pinar marked it as to-read Apr 08, Falk marked it as to-read Apr 20, Christine Hansen marked it as to-read Jun 25, Mara Kaz marked it as to-read Dec 06, Renan Virginio marked it as to-read Aug 06, Nikos marked it as to-read Jul 19, K marked it as to-read Apr 27, Sarah marked it as to-read Jul 11, Courtney marked it as to-read Dec 11, Kali added it Jan 20, Antonis added it Apr 09, Donmar marked it as to-read May 26, The Sleepy marked it as to-read Aug 07, Jordan Robinson marked it as to-read Jan 07, Adam added it Jan 03, There are almost no errors of fact, and the few typographical errors are trivial.

I have, however, serious reservations, which prevent me from recommending this book. I will leave aside individual points of disagreement, of which there are many, and limit myself to two major weaknesses. First, D. Does it matter that D. Perhaps not on their own, but similar misstatements appear often enough that their cumulative effect is not insignificant. Moreover, D's compressed style often leads him to resort to oversimplification.

There is no "right" or "wrong" version of a myth, and evaluating competing versions in these terms only serves to perpetuate old-fashioned, outmoded and unsophisticated notions of the nature of myth and its transmission. For example, in D. Surely not to the Arcadians. And "successful" in what arena? There is very little evidence for the popularity of Zeus's Cretan birth outside of a single line of literary descent from Hesiod down to the Alexandrians and onward. Nothing is gained by D.

Other literary works

Pausanias, after all, tells us that he could not name all of the places where Zeus was said to be born or raised 4. Admittedly, D. The novice needs more sign-posting and more connecting of the dots than D. My second major criticism concerns D. The worship of the Greek gods, on the other hand, can be summed up as "idolatry and sacrifice" p. Rather than challenging the reader's notion of what constitutes religion, D. Any ancient Greek who took his gods or even a single myth literally is belittled as childish, uneducated or unsophisticated.

The great poets and philosophers, according to D. The poets and philosophers--the intellectual elite, with whom D. About ten other books in the series are available or forthcoming, according to Routledge's website. Cook, Zeus: a study in ancient religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ; H. Schwabl in RE 10A and Suppl. Alcock, Archaeologies of the Greek past. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, But once he came to power, much like his despised parent, Cronos became rather suspicious of his children — the most noticeable ones being Zeus, Poseidon, and Aphrodite.

In his utter paranoia, he swallowed them to keep them from ever surpassing him. But his mother Gaia and wife Rhea were able to rescue Zeus who fought him off and banished him to the dreaded Tartarus in the underworld once he had freed his siblings. The end of Cronos heralded the age of the Olympian deities who would go on to be far more popular in Greek mythology than their predecessors ever were.

The twin brother of Artemis, Apollo was a god with many facets.

His father was, again, Zeus and he was born to his mother Leto on the island of Delos — the only refuge they could find from an enraged Hera no surprises there. Leto was so overwhelmed with the care she received from the inhabitants of Delos that she promised that Apollo would always favor them and ensure their prosperity, a promise which he went on to honor.

As mentioned earlier, Apollo has many facets which were rather contradictory. He was the god of serenity and music and was often depicted with a lyre. He was also a skilled archer who could often be seen with a silver bow. He was considered the god of healing and medicine but when enraged, he would bring about death and despair with his arrows.

He would harness his four-horse chariot and move the sun across the sky every single day, providing light and life to the earth. Being a prophetic god, he was a celebrated figure among the oracles, and they established Delphi as a site dedicated to worshiping him. Being the god of festivity, pleasure, and wine, he was quite a popular deity — both among gods and mortals.

He is the only god who had a mortal parent in the form of his mother Semele, his father being the mighty Zeus. Dionysus slowly built a cult of followers who would accompany him on his journeys around the world. He was far more interactive with his followers than the other gods, feasting, drinking, and living life to the full with them. He fell irrevocably in love with Ariadne, who was despicably abandoned by Theseus when she fell asleep on the island of Naxos.

The Greeks celebrated many festivals in his honor, and it would not be an overstatement to say that he was far more popular than Zeus in many parts of ancient Greece. See also: Top 10 Hindu Gods. One of the most popular Titan gods, Prometheus is held in high esteem among the great benefactors of mankind. His father Iapetus was also a Titan but his mother was an Oceanid. Being the god of forethought, he foresaw the defeat of the Titans at the hands of the new Olympian gods and cleverly sided with the Olympians during the battle, thus escaping imprisonment at Tartarus along with the others.

Prometheus was then assigned the task of molding mankind out of clay. Once he was done creating mankind, he became rather attached to them, always worried for their welfare. This led him to cross paths with the mighty Zeus time and again since he did not care so much about humans. So when Zeus took away fire from mankind, Prometheus stole it from the heavens and gave it back to the humans.

Zeus punished him for his treachery by chaining him to a rock where an eagle would eat his liver every day his liver regenerated every night for he was immortal. Eventually, he was freed from his agony by the powerful demigod Hercules.

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Zeus by Ken Dowden - AbeBooks

When Zeus and his brothers drew straws to decide who got to be the lord of which realm, Poseidon drew the realm of the seas. In this way, he became the ruler of the seas and, along with his wife Amphitrite, led a group of lesser gods that included Triton and the Nereids. Being the lord of seas, he was widely worshiped and followed by seamen and voyagers. But his influence was even more far reaching.

Historians cite him as being a major deity in several ancient Greek cities.

The Temple of Zeus in Olimpia - The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - See U in History

In terms of sheer power, he came second only to the mighty Zeus. As well as taming the power of the seas, he also carried a trident which could cause massive earthquakes with a single strike. At some point, he fell desperately for Demeter who asked him to create the most unique creature if he was to win her.

It is said he made a number of animals in his quest and finally created the first majestic horse. Following the advent of the age of the Olympian gods, Hades became the ruler of underworld — a place where only the dead could enter though there were quite a few exceptions to that. Naturally, ruling over such a gloomy and dismal realm seldom led to a good impression, making him less prominent in Greek mythology.

Greek mythology

However, many Greeks believed him to be the personification of death itself which he was not and paid him regular homage because of their superstition. But his evil image is a far cry from what he was actually like, for he was not as much of a bad guy as we have been led to believe. Contrary to common belief, it was not Hades who was responsible for the redemption of souls but rather the three demigods Minos, Aiakos, and Rhadamanthys would carry out the judgment.


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He was also pretty fair in his dealings with Hercules who approached him with the intention of capturing his three-headed dog. Zeus was the god of the whole known universe that the Olympians won from the Titans.