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Publisher's Summary

From Zeus and Europa, to Diana, Pan, and Prometheus, the myths of ancient Greece and Rome seem to exert a timeless power over us. But what do those myths represent, and why are they so enduringly fascinating? Why do they seem to be such a potent way of talking about ourselves, our origins, and our desires?

This imaginative and stimulating Very Short Introduction goes beyond a simple retelling of the stories to explore the rich history and diverse interpretations of classical myths. It is a wide-ranging account, examining how classical myths are used and understood in both high art and popular culture, taking the listener from the temples of Crete to skyscrapers in New York, and finding classical myths in a variety of unexpected places: from Arabic poetry and Hollywood films, to psychoanalysis, the bible, and New Age spiritualism.

About the series: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These audiobooks are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly listenable.

In a hurry? Listen to more Very Short Introductions.
©2007 Helen Morales (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 10-07-18

Myth-making and myth-makers

"Classical mythology only happens when the stories become active agents; when people use them."
- Helen Morales, VSI Classical Mythology

An interesting take on Classical Mythology. Just like Mary Beard begins and ultimately frames her examination of the Classics for VSI by exploring the British Museum's Bassae room and the Temple of Bassae in Greece, Helen Morales uses Europa on the Bull (on the Euro and on a 3rd Century Roman coin) to BEGIN to examine how myth is used and transformed by cultures, governments, etc., as emblems and powerful statements. While she travels beyond the myth of Zeus (as Bull) and Europa (and beyond governments), she will often return again and again to this myth to explain and illuminate other aspects of classical myths.

In the book Morales looks at the context of Classical myths, Gods and heros, the metaphorphoses of mythology (muthos to logos), she looks at Freud's role in our modern view of Classical Myths (how myth impacted analysis and analysis impacted Classical myths), the sexual politics of myth, and myths and the New Age.

I liked it. I'm always interested how scholars will attempt to tackle the distilation process of VSI. Some cram, some thin, some find creative ways to obliquely tackle and introduce their subjects to amateurs. It is a venture that is (for many subjects) a challenge worthy of a mental Hercules (Heracles).

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rewarding and stimulating journey

certainly not an overview of the myths themselves, but an interesting albeit quick overview of the significance of classical myth through history (as the "manure" to our current western culture). Led me to looking up unfamiliar concepts and authors, always the sign of a stimulating read (listen). Worth repeat listening