The Gods of Olympus: Divine Travels and Transformations from Antiquity to the Renaissance
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The Gods of Olympus: Divine Travels and Transformations from Antiquity to the Renaissance

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  22 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Metropolitan Books (first published November 7th 2013)
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Peter Mcloughlin
The myths about the Greek Gods of Olympus date to pre-literate archaic Greece. They were first written down in Hesiod's Theogony and Homer's works. They are truly immortal they lived in Classical Greece, Were carried by Alexander to Egypt where they mingled with Egyptian deities, became a part of the Roman pantheon and dubbed latin names. They had a rough patch in the middle ages and were often feared as demons and were pretty much lived on underground only to come forth in the Renaissance as pa...more
James Miller
Unlike Burkett's study, Greek Religion this eschews detailed and dry study of each individual god in favour for a fascinating study of the ways in which the gods have been received and used by successive generations and cultures and the problems all have had with them: be they worried Greeks, traditionalist Romans, or monotheistic Christians. I finished wanting to go back to the Homeric Hymns and read some Patriarch: always a good sign.
Sarah Holz
*I received this as an ARC from the publisher through Goodreads.

Barbara Graziosi has taken a subject that many with an interest in the classics think they know, the history and evolution of the Greek Olympian deities, and managed to spin an engaging micro-history of the most recognizable of Ancient Greece's cultural ambassadors. The book traces the twelve major gods (Graziosi makes references to Heracles and to lesser extent Hestia, but chooses to pursue Dionysus as the twelfth Olympian) from th...more
Margaret Sankey
Solid overview of how the Greeks shaped the Gods to reflect their needs, from explaining how there was a population from Crete at Delphi (that Apollo!) to including local deities as their locations became more important. Graziosi follows the Greek Gods through their handling by an expansionist Hellenistic world, the scoffing of Roman politicians, Christian syncretists and Renaissance artists, even Incans who altered their sun temples after exposure to classical statuary.
Cassandra
I have always had a fascination with the Greek Gods. This book was excellent at giving me a new perspective at which to look at them. The book was well written and well thought out. It is a very good read for anyone that has a fascination with the subject.
Jennifer
The first half of Graziosi's The Gods of Olympus provides an excellent chronicle of the titular mythological superstars' origins and how they influenced and were influenced by the cultures around them. Around the halfway point, however, the author - a Classics professor at Durham Universtiy - moves out of her period and her comfort zone, and while the book stays interesting it breezes through the later time periods so quickly that the last few signatures might as well have been printed on glossy...more
Josh
Jul 02, 2014 Josh added it
Shelves: history, first-reads
Barbara Graziosi does a wonderful job explaining how our understanding of the Olympians has developed over time. From tangible individuals all the way to symbols of scientific and intellectual exploration, Graziosi shows that societies have adapted Zeus and his entourage to fit their needs and value from the time they first entered into the collective consciousness. Although they are immortal, they are certainly not unchanging, but rather are tied to the same ebbs and flows of history as anyone...more
Nancy
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Very engrossing. A unique look at the influence the Greek myths had and still have on societies.
Diane
Absolutely excellent! Gods of Olympus is a lively and entertaining history of the Greek Gods throughout history.
Margaret Heller
Reviewed for Library Journal.
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