Greek Mythology

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 683

Bremmer, Jan, ed. Interpretations of Greek Mythology. Totowa, N.J.: Barnes & Noble Books, 1986, 294 p.

Collection of essays focusing on a variety of issues related to Greek mythology and its interpretation, including essays on the origins and historical aspects of Greek myth, as well as discussions of particular myths and types of myths.

Brillante, Carlo. "History and Historical Interpretation of Myth," pp. 91-140. In Approaches to Greek Myth, edited by Lowell Edmunds. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Studies the relationship between myth and history, examining in particular the way ancient Greeks viewed myth as a means of transmitting historical events. Brillante notes that they distinguished between heroic myths and divinity myths.

Burkert, Walter, ed. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979, 226 p.

Series of lectures designed to approach the study of myth from a variety of disciplines. Examines how myths are organized, the relationship between myth and ritual, and discusses several groups of myths.

Cook, Arthur Bernard. Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion, Volume I: Zeus, God of the Bright Sky. New York: Biblo and Tannen, 1964, 885 p.

Analyzes the myths related to "Bright Zeus" as god of the "Upper Sky" and the Hellenistic efforts to associate him with the sun, moon, and stars as well. Subsequent volumes study the myths related to "Dark Zeus" as god of thunder, lightning, earthquakes, clouds, wind, dew, rain, and meteorites.

Dowden, Ken. The Uses of Greek Mythology. London: Routledge, 1992, 204 p.

Studies the nature and diversity of Greek myth and the ways in which Greeks understood and employed their mythology.

Finley, M. 1. "Myth, Memory, and History." In The Use and Abuse of History, pp. 11-33. New York: The Viking Press 1971.

Examines the idea of pitting history against poetry, arguing that among the ancients "everyone accepted the epic tradition as grounded in hard fact," but that, in reality, "whatever else it may have been, the epic was not history."

Gordon, R. L., ed. Myth, Religion, and Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, 306 p.

Collection of essays concerned with the treatment in myth of divinity, the human condition, social order, and disorder and deviance. The essays are introduced by Richard Buxton, who characterizes the approach taken by the essayists (M. Detienne, L. Gernet, J.-P. Vernant, P. Vidal-Naquet) as structuralist.

Mondi, Robert. "Greek Mythic Thought in the Light of the Near East," pp. 141-98. In Approaches to Greek Myth, edited by Lowell Edmunds. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Explores the diffusion of "mythic ideas" or folklore motifs (as contrasted with the diffusion of texts and philological influences of one text on another) and discusses the parallels between Greek and Near Eastern myths.

Nilsson, Martin P. "Myths and Politics." In Cults, Myths, Oracles, and Politics in Ancient Greece, pp. 4-80. Lund: C. W. K. Gleerup, 1951.

Explores the political purposes for which Greeks appropriated mythology. Nilsson explains that myths helped to "justify the possession of a country or a district, they served to assert claims on some territory which a city wanted to win, and to impress the righteousness of these claims upon public opinion."

Penglase, Charles. Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod. London: Routledge, 1994, 278 p.

Uses the works of Hesiod and Homer to identify ideas and motifs which figure prominently in Mesopotamian myths. Penglase notes that one of the most common, prominent parallel ideas is that of a journey used to assert "the god's acquisition and demonstration of power in the journey."

Sergent, Bernard. Homosexualtiy in Greek Myth, translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Boston: Beacon Press, 1984, 344 P.

Offers an examination of various Greek myths which contain examples of homosexual behavior, following a discussion of the historical facts related to homosexuality in Greece and other early non-Christian societies.

Vernant, Jean-Pierre. Myth and Thought among the Greeks. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965, 382 p.

Uses Greek myths to examine, from a perspective of "historical psychology" a variety of aspects of Greek life and culture. Vernant covers such topics as religion, philosophy, science, art, social institutions, and economic data, considering all of these issues "as having been created by the human mind."

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