Bryan's Reviews > Classical Mythology: The Greeks

Classical Mythology by Peter Meineck
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Sep 22, 11

bookshelves: classic-literature, history, mythology, nonfiction, to-read-again, recommend
Recommended for: writers, artists, historians,
Read from August 12 to September 22, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Informative and elucidating are the words that come to my mind for description.

As a literary enthusiast and appreciator of classic mythology, I've often found it difficult to keep straight the heroes and tales of ancient European myths. Prof. Meineck does a great job of telling these stories in both a succinct and fascinating way.

I particularly liked the way he explained a theme in the Odyssey, by Homer, about how Agammenon's death contrasts starkly with Odysseus' humble, yet calamitous, return. Agammenon returns home from the Trojan war in great pomp. During the war, however, he has cheated on his wife, and now his wife has concocted a malicious plan to take revenge. Because Agammenon is so prideful, his wife finds it easy to execute her plan and kill Agammenon. Odysseus, on the other hand, returns to his home (after years and years of hard trials through which he has learned to be humble and intelligent, rather than dominant and arrogant) in the disguise of a beggar. By this disguise he is able to infiltrate his own home, which has been usurped by wicked men seeking to assume Odysseus' wealth and power, without being recognized and thus be able to win back his house by surprise. At that time in history it was a novel concept that a noble man like Odysseus could return to his home in such a demeaning disguise, regardless of the peril. This theme marks an increase of self-awareness and wisdom in humanity.

Overall I can definitely recommend this to anyone who likes mythology, mythopoeia, ancient cultures, and simple, great stories.
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