By Barry B. Powell
A necessary reference for someone drawn to gaining a deeper realizing and appreciation of classical mythology, this particular advisor deals unique resource fabric at the social and ancient history, interpretation, and remark on significant literary books on Greek myth—such as Homer, Hesiod, the tragedians, the historians, Ovid, Vergil, and in Greek artwork. Written in a transparent and lucid demeanour, the booklet bargains clean and unique interpretations according to the most recent scholarship, and springs prepared into 3 distinctive components: I: Definitions and Interpretations (devoted to theoretical issues); II: history (to fill in details necessary to figuring out myth); and III: issues (chapters directed towards particular subject matters within the research of myth). For common readers of English literature and/or classical mythology.
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Additional info for A Short Introduction to Classical Myth
Science, in turn, was destined to replace religion. Myth is associated especially with the religious phase of development because myth is characterized by a belief in personal forces that act in stories, whereas science and magic are concerned with impersonal forces. Europeans of the late nineteenth century were preoccupied by the concept of progress. Especially in England, progress was thought of as change for the better and, in fact, implicit in the principle of evolution. Like writers on myth during the Enlightenment, Frazer ignored the possibility that change may not always bring improvement.
Palaephatus' special contribution was to explain myths as originating from a misunderstanding of language. According to Palaephatus, Actaeon, for example, was not really transformed into a stag and torn apart by his dogs; rather, he was ruined by spending too much money on his hunting dogs. " Similarly, the Lernaean Hydra against which Heracles fought was not really, as many said, a water snake (assisted by a dangerous crab) from whose many necks two heads would grow every time he cut one off; only by cauterizing the severed necks did Heracles overcome the beast.
Odysseus' wanderings reflected those of the patriarchs. Nysa, the mountain where Dionysus was raised, becomes an anagram for Syna (= Sinai). T H E O R I E S OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT Such interpretations fell under serious attack in the eighteenth century as part of the profound cultural revolution called the Enlightenment. As the institutional power of the church waned in response to political and social CHAPTER 2 T H E MEANING OF MYTH I 27 changes in Europe, everything traditional was subject to reexamination, usually with a notable lack of sympathy.
A Short Introduction to Classical Myth by Barry B. Powell