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The Greek and Roman Myths (Myths)

A Guide to the Classical Stories

Philip Matyszak


Who was Pandora and what was in her famous box? Why is a famous brand named after the goddess Nike? How did Achilles get his Achilles heel?

Also available as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon


Who was Pandora and what was in her famous box? Why is a brand of sportswear named after the goddess Nike? How did Achilles get his Achilles heel? What exactly is a Titan? And why is one computer virus known as a Trojan horse?

The myths of ancient Greece and Rome can seem bewilderingly complex and yet they are so much a part of modern life and discourse that most of us know fragments of them. This handy companion takes these fragments and weaves them into a comprehensible and enjoyable narrative, guiding you through the foundational stories of classical myth.

Philip Matyszak explains the sequences of events and introduces the major plots and characters, from the origins of the world and the labours of Hercules to the Trojan War and the voyages of Odysseus and Aeneas. He brings to life an exotic cast of heroes and monsters, wronged women and frighteningly arbitrary yet powerful Gods. He also shows how the stories have survived and greatly influenced later art and culture, from Renaissance painting and sculpture to modern opera, literature, film and everyday products.

Packed with intriguing facts and diverting stories, this carefully researched yet accessible guide is the ideal introduction to the myths and tales that lie at the heart of western culture.

With 95 illustrations.

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'For a perfect introduction to the stories of the Classical world, look no further. … Affordable, portable and accessible … thoroughly modern and approachable … Carefully researched, enjoyable, diverting and intriguing'
Reference Reviews

'This new companion is at once a handy work of reference, an entertaining read and an attractive artefact, discreetly illustrated and tastefully laid out. A pleasure to consult'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 19.6 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Publication date: 31 August 2010

ISBN: 9780500251737

Contents List

Introduction • 1. In the Beginning: From Chaos to Cosmos in Four Steps • 2. The Ages of Man 3. The Great Gods: The First Generation • 4. Olympus: The Next Generation • 5. Lesser Gods, Magical Creatures and Heroic Ancestors • 6. Heroes and their Quests • 7. The Golden Age of Mythology • 8. The Trojan War • 9. Going Home

About the Author

Philip Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St John's College, Oxford. He is the author of many books on classical civilization, including Chronicle of the Roman Republic, The Enemies of Rome, The Sons of Caesar, Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day, Ancient Athens on Five Drachmas a Day, Lives of the Romans (with Joanne Berry) and Legionary.