Classical Mythology: Images and Insights 13 9780073407524
Classical Mythology: Images and Insights

Classical Mythology: Images and Insights

Grade Levels: 13
By Stephen Harris and Gloria Platzner
Copyright: 2012
Publication Date: April 11, 2011
MHID: 0073407526
ISBN 13: 9780073407524

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New Features

Chapter 1: Introduction to Greek Myth includes more attention to the importance of the feminine divine principle and the role of female priests.

Chapter 6: The Olympian Family of Zeus: Sharing Rule of the Universe includes an expanded discussion of Hera to emphasize the Queen of Heaven's prehistoric importance as a goddess who was once worshiped independently of the Olympian patriarchy.

In Chapter 7: In Touch with the Gods: Apollo's Oracle at Delphi, the presentation of Apollo has been significantly revised to show both his connection to earlier goddess figures and his evolution as a god of prophecy and as the enlightened initiator of young men into civic responsibility.

Chapter 14: Myth and the Tragic Vision in the Theatre of Dionysus: Euripides' Bacchae now includes the complete version of Bacchae to position the only extant tragedy to feature the wine god in a leading role clearly in the context of Dionysian ritual and Athenian drama.

Chapter 18: The Roman Vision: Greek Myths and Roman Realities includes an expanded discussion of Roman rituals, religion, and heroes.

Chapter 21: The Persistence of Myth has been updated to give readers more accessible descriptions of recent European and American works and brings the uses of myth up to the most recent (2010).

Key Features

Presents myths in the general chronological order in which the literary works containing them were written, allowing readers to perceive the ways in which myths changed and developed over time, from the orally composed epics of Homer in the eighth century B.C., through the poetic hymns praising individual Olympian gods, such as Demeter, Apollo, Dionysus, and Hermes, to the much later Athenian plays dramatizing the myths of tragic heroes and heroines of the fifth century B. C., to the still-later evolution of myth in the environment of imperial Rome, and myth's further development in modern American and European literature and art.

Facilitates Student Learning with chapter-opening “Key Topics/Themes” section, marking all major names and concepts in boldface, a pronunciation guide, “Questions for Discussion and Review” at the end of each chapter, and numerous boxes and sidebars throughout to give additional helpful information on a particular god, heroine, or important mythic theme.

Invites readers to learn the myths via the same approach as people did in antiquity, by studying through superb works of art and literature. The book includes complete Greek plays and extended excerpts from the narratives of Homer, Hesiod, the “Homeric Hymns,” Virgil, and Ovid.

Includes over 200 works of art and a collection of lavish color plates that enhance the narrative and bring the texts to life.

Prefaces each literary work with a thoughtful essay explaining the significance of individual myths, as well as the many different ways that particular writers reinterpreted the myths, emphasizing their evolutionary dynamism. This combination of original material and lucid analysis effectively equips students to grasp a myth’s multivalent purposes and meanings.

Classical Mythology: Images and Insights


PART ONE The Nature and Function of Myth

CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Greek Myth

CHAPTER 2 Ways of Interpreting Myth

PART TWO Epic Myths and the Heroic Quest

CHAPTER 3 In the Beginning: Hesiod’s Creation Story

CHAPTER 4 Alienation of the Human and Divine: Prometheus, Fire, and Pandora

CHAPTER 5 The Divine Woman in Greek Mythology

CHAPTER 6 The Olympian Family of Zeus: Sharing Rule of the Universe

CHAPTER 7 In Touch with the Gods: Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi

CHAPTER 8 Dionysus: Rooted in Earth and Ecstasy

CHAPTER 9 Land of No Return: The Gloomy Kingdom of Hades

CHAPTER 10 Heroes of Myth: Man Divided Against Himself

CHAPTER 11 Heroines of Myth: Women in Many Roles

CHAPTER 12 Heroes at War: The Troy Saga

CHAPTER 13 A Different Kind of Hero: The Quest of Odysseus

PART THREE Tragic Heroes and Heroines

CHAPTER 14 Myth and the Tragic Vision in the Theater of Dionysus: Euripides’ Bacchae

CHAPTER 15 The House of Atreus: Aeschylus’s Oresteia

CHAPTER 16 The Tragic House of Laius: Sophocles’ Oedipus Cycle

CHAPTER 17 A Different Perspective on Tragedy: Euripides’ Medea

PART FOUR The World of Roman Myth

CHAPTER 18 The Roman Vision: Greek Myths and Roman Realities

CHAPTER 19 Virgil’s Roman Epic: The Aeneid

CHAPTER 20 The Retelling of Greek Myths: Ovid’s Metamorphosis

PART FIVE The Western World’s Transformations of Myth

CHAPTER 21 The Persistence of Myth


Selected Bibliography



About the Author

Stephen Harris

Stephen L. Harris is Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento, where he served ten years as department chair. A Woodrow Wilson Fellow, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. A member of the Society of Biblical Literature, his publications include Understanding the Bible (8th edition, 2011); The Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (with Robert Platzner); Classical Mythology: Images and Insights (with Gloria Platzner); Exploring the Bible; and Fire Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes, a survey of volcanic hazards on the U.S. Pacific Coast; and for National Geographic Books, Restless Earth, a study of global earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. He contributed the chapter on “Archaeology and Volcanism” to the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (Academic Press, 2000).

Gloria Platzner

Gloria Platzner teaches in the English and Humanities programs at California State University, Sacramento, including courses on Classical Mythology and World Mythology.