Who were the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome and what did they mean to the people who worshiped them? We know them as enthralling characters in enduringly powerful myths, as found in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The gods are immortal and powerful yet also vain, vindictive, and vulnerable. Moreover, as manifestations of death, fertility, love, and war, they are also our key to understanding how the Greeks and Romans made sense of their world.
In this beautifully illustrated guide to the Greco-Roman pantheon Philip Matyszak presents the gods in all their complexity. Each chapter focuses on an individual god or goddess, mixing history with lively retellings of the myths in which they have a starring role, from stories of cosmic creation and universal war to musical contests and disastrous weddings. Matyszak ventures beyond the traditional Olympian pantheon and brings to light such gods and goddesses as Isis, adopted by the Romans from Egypt, Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, and the enigmatic Mithras, centre of a mystery cult. Although their time of widespread worship has long passed, these gods and goddesses have fascinated and inspired artists and writers for millennia. This book is lavishly illustrated with both ancient art and later reinterpretations of the famous myths, making it a must-have for anyone interested in Greek and Roman mythology.