Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Stephen Fry's Great Mythology #1

Mythos: De Griekse mythen herverteld

Rate this book
Losbandigheid, lust en liefde, moord en doodslag, triomfen en tragedies; de Griekse mythen en sagen zijn wilder en woester dan het leven zelf. Deze verhalen bieden alles wat een lezer zich kan wensen. De oude Grieken inspireerden onder anderen Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce en Walt Disney. In de handen van Stephen Fry komen de verhalen opnieuw tot leven. We worden verliefd op Zeus, we aanschouwen de geboorte van Athena, we zien hoe Kronos en Gaia wraak nemen op Ouranos, we huilen met koning Midas en we jagen met de even beeldschone als meedogenloze Artemis. Stephen Fry haalt deze verhalen op uit de oudheid en geeft ze hun welverdiende plek in onze moderne tijd.

422 pages, Paperback

First published November 2, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Stephen Fry

81 books9,829 followers
Stephen John Fry is an English comedian, writer, actor, humourist, novelist, poet, columnist, filmmaker, television personality and technophile. As one half of the Fry and Laurie double act with his comedy partner, Hugh Laurie, he has appeared in A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. He is also famous for his roles in Blackadder and Wilde, and as the host of QI. In addition to writing for stage, screen, television and radio he has contributed columns and articles for numerous newspapers and magazines, and has also written four successful novels and a series of memoirs.

See also Mrs. Stephen Fry as a pseudonym of the author.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
47,457 (43%)
4 stars
45,006 (41%)
3 stars
13,751 (12%)
2 stars
1,804 (1%)
1 star
435 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,409 reviews
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,967 followers
November 10, 2017
I don't know about any of you, but this one's a winner. Far from feeling like another dry recounting of a number of our favorite Greek myths, Fry's down-to-earth humor and traditional (modern) storytelling have turned these gods into something most relatable.

I've read Edith Hamilton and Bullfinch's recountings and I've had the pleasure of countless other sources, but here's where Fry shines: he cherry-picks the very best stories and tells them so charmingly and naturally that I wouldn't be surprised if most people would go out of their way to start their friends and family out with this, first.

He does sacrifice breadth in favor of depth, but of course, that's a fine thing. These are some of the most amazing stories of the bunch. They're all told with intelligence, heart, and humor.

Do I have a man-crush? Maybe. A little. But Fry has always been charming as hell. A must-read!
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
282 reviews503 followers
August 25, 2021
"That vacant twelfth throne has got my name on it."

I love all things Greek Mythology: Chaos, Primordials, Titans, Gods, Demigods... what's not to love, with so much to explore. But when the narrative is hilarious like this, it gets even better!

"It is easier to hide a hundred mountains from a jealous wife than one mistress."

Before Riordan's PJO, I had zero knowledge about Greek Mythology. It was something that I never wanted to, or had to, learn of, or read about before. PJO changed all that, hooking me for life, by becoming one of my favorites genres to read about. I was expecting something similar with Mythos, a story based on a single god, or a group of connected ones. But this was a little different that that. Instead of picking a little part of the god tree, and extending a story from there, Stephen Fry starts at the very beginning and goes through the entire family tree of first entities. So, rather than a single continuous story, we have a complication of short-stories, attempting to make the reader familiar with every well-known 'God' we meet in Greek Mythology. Had I ever been enrolled in any of the Greek Myth courses during school days, this would've been one of the most helpful starter-books.

"Mother Maia here took me through the family tree last night. What a nutty bunch we are, eh? Eh?"

Probably like all the readers, what I loved the most about the book was Fry's humor; this was hilarious through and through. Being a collection of independent stories, one cannot expect the book to have a perfect flow, but, for me, being able to laugh, page after page, made up for everything. This one really doesn't need a long review. Whether you love Greek Myth or not, give Mythos a try: this might just be the one to fall in love with it!

Artemis: 'Farther, do you love me?'

Zeus: 'Artemis, what a question! Your know I do. You know I love you with all my heart.'

Artemis: 'Do you love me enough to grant me a wish?'

Zeus: 'Of course my dear.'

Artemis: 'Hm. Come to think, that's nothing. You grant wishes to the smallest and least significant nymphs and water sprites. Would you grant me several wishes?'

Zeus: 'Several wishes? Goodness! Surely you have everything a girl could want?'

Artemis: 'They aren't difficult wishes, daddy. Just the smallest things.'

Zeus: 'Very well, let's hear them.'

Artemis: 'I never ever want to have a boyfriend or husband or have a man touch me, you know, in that way -'

Zeus: 'Yes, yes...er...I fully understand.'

Artemis: 'Also, I want lots of different names, like my brother has. “Appellations”, they’re called. Also a bow, which I notice he has a whole collection of but I don’t because I’m a girl which is totally unfair. I’m the older twin after all. Hephaestus can make me a really special one as a birth present just like he did for Apollo, a silver bow with silver arrows please. And I want a knee-length tunic for hunting in, because long dresses are stupid and impractical. I don’t want dominion over towns or cities, but I do want to rule mountainsides and forests. And stags. I like stags. And dogs, hunting dogs anyway, not lap dogs which are useless. And, if you’d be very very kind, I’d like a choir of young girls to sing my praises in temples and a group of nymphs to walk the dogs and look after me and help protect me from men.'

Zeus: 'Is that it?’

Artemis: 'I think so. Oh, and I’d like the power to make childbirth easier for women. I’ve seen how painful it is. In fact it is actually quite sincerely gross and I want to help make it better.'

Zeus: 'Goodness me. You don’t ask for the moon, do you?'

Artemis: 'Oh, what a good idea! The moon. Yes, I’d love the moon, please. That will be all. I’ll never ask for anything ever again ever.'

Zeus granted every wish. How could he not?
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
July 8, 2019
The funny thing about Greek mythology is its absolute brutal weirdness. And Stephen Fry totally gets it; he plays on it and as he re-tells it he injects it with so many witty comments. I mean, how could you not? It's waiting to be roasted.

For example, Zeus rips his father Cronos' balls off and throws them to the other side of the earth. The fluid (cough cough) seeps out and thus Aphrodite is born. Once Cronos is defeated, his five children (that he formerly ate) are regurgitated and born anew. They then swear loyalty to Zeus, their liberator from perpetual digestion. On another occasion Zeus has a really bad headache and screams for hours and hours so the other gods decide to bash his head in with a hammer revealing yet another god: Athena. She emerges carrying a spear and is dressed for battle. This material is asking for a man like Stephen Fry.

In a way, the book reminded me of Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. Both books follow the same concept: the reworking of ancient myths to present them to a modern audience without losing any of their originality. And I think it’s a great idea. Stephen Fry’s attempt carries much more of his own personality than Gaiman’s did. (Certainly not a bad thing.) His own voice really shone through and I could tell that he really enjoyed writing this. It may sound strange, but as amused as I was reading it, I know the author was more so penning it.

The stories he presents here are by no means exhaustive, but they are a great introduction to the structure of the Ancient Greek hierarchy amongst the gods. And it’s surprisingly complex with the most powerful not being the one who has taken charge. Zeus is strong, but he would be nothing without his five regurgitated siblings who helped to secure his legitimacy over the Titans who are far older. What I do think the book needs is a contents page or something because I was not entirely sure what I was going into when I picked the book up. It’s easy to mislead readers, and it would have been good to know what myths and legends are not included.

The part I found most interesting was the Promethean myth. This is a concept I’m quite fond of, having written on it a few times in academic work, and I did really like the way Fry described his friendship with Zeus before they had their fallout over humanity’s right (or lack thereof) to fire. And it got me thinking, how great would it be to read a novel purely about Prometheus. Madeline Miller’s recent novel Circe gave quite a bit of attention to him, though I’d love to see him as a protagonist. Hopefully one day someone will write it.

This is a fun book, with many laugh out loud moments that probably capture exactly what you were thinking about the strangeness of some of the myths, Stephen Fry says exactly what he wants too and it’s definitely worth hearing.

p.s- I listened to the audiobook (read by the author) which I think gave it an added edge.
July 9, 2020
This is good enough to eat! Loooooooooooooooooooove it! Gosh!!! I'll try to savour it for as long as possible!

What misery can be so great that it causes you to go about half drowning honest ants? (c)
‘You should ask yourself what brought you here,’ said Pan. ‘If it’s love, then you must pray to Aphrodite and Eros for guidance and relief. If your own wickedness caused your downfall then you must live to repent. If it was caused by others then you must live to revenge.’ (c)
What a business. The god of love himself lovestruck. (c)
Her so-called beauty had always been a source of irritation to her. She hated the fuss and stir it caused, how oddly it made people behave in her presence and how freakish and set apart it made her feel. She had planned never to marry, but if she had to then a rapacious beast would be no worse than a tedious fawning prince with mooncalf eyes. The agony of its attentions would at
least be over quickly. (c)
Her mother Damaris howled, shrieked and sobbed. King Aristides patted her hand and wished himself elsewhere. (с)
The sun shone down upon her. Larks called in the blue sky. She had pictured boiling clouds, shrieking winds, lashing rain and dreadful thunder as accompaniments to her violation and death, not this glorious idyll of late-spring sunshine and rippling birdsong. (c)
He is taking me to my doom. Well, at least it’s a comfortable way to travel.’ (c)
‘Why, you are here, your highness.’
‘And where is here?’
‘Far from there but close to nearby.’
‘Who is the master of this palace.’
‘You are the mistress.’ (c)
All was laughter and delight at the wedding of Eros and Psyche. Apollo sang and played on his lyre, Pan joined in with his syrinx. Hera danced with Zeus, Aphrodite danced with Ares and Eros danced with Psyche. And they dance together still to this very day. (c) Uhhhh. My kind of ending!
Io may have been a cow, but she was a very influential and important one. (c)
Erechtheus had Athena as a proxy parent, Gaia as a mother and Hephaestus as a father. Three immortal parents could be regarded as overdoing it (and as boastfulness about their founder on the part of Athenians), but it was not uncommon for mortals to claim one such progenitor. (c)
‘You are joking?’
‘I sort of promised.’
‘Well, sort of unpromise then.’ ...
‘I have spoken and so I have … er, spoken.’ (c)
In honour of Cygnus the young of all swans are called ‘cygnets’. (c)
No lesson, no matter how grim, ever seems to deter us. (c)
The seeding of Gaia gave us meaning, a germination of thought into shape. Seminal semantic semiology from the semen of the sky. I will leave such speculation to those better qualified, but it was nevertheless a great moment. (c)
Profile Image for Jack Edwards.
Author 1 book191k followers
April 13, 2019
A must-read for any lovers of Greek mythology. Fry breathes life into these well-known tales in a way which isn’t patronising or assuming of any prior scholarly knowledge. He structures the book in a way which can be enjoyed by those with a wide understanding of this mythology, as well as those who are dipping into it for the first time - and it’s glorious. It’s witty and gripping but also extremely interesting, with each story exploring how the Greeks explained natural phenomenons, including how the bee got its sting and why we use the word tantalise. Mythos is a beautiful retelling and and an absolute masterpiece.
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews3,002 followers
April 16, 2021
Nerd alert!

I used to love Greek mythology. Clash of the Titans was one of my very favorite movies growing up. (If you think I’m talking about the 2010 dumpster fire of a remake, then I feel sorry for you. I’m talking about the OG, legendary, asstastic Ray Harryhausen stop-motion animation 1981 triumph featuring an oiled-up young Harry Hamlin in a toga and a Medusa that still appears in my nightmares. But I digress.)

Mythology was my favorite section of high school English. And in college, guess who has two thumbs and got an A+ in Greek & Roman Mythology 101? Yep, this girl. But then a funny thing happened on the way to adulthood.

I lost my myth-loving mojo. In fact, I lost all interest in anything verging on fantasy. This is a problem because not only do I have FOMO when I can’t get through beloved books like Circe or Piranesi, but I feel like I can’t brain on the regular when attempting the New York Times Crossword every Sunday. (Man, do those crossword writers love their gods and goddesses!)

Enter Stephen Fry and his Whitman’s Sampler of Greek mythology, Mythos, or what I shall henceforth call How Regina Got Her Greek Groove Back. Turns out all I needed to reengage in the world born of Chaos was humor. Imagine that.

Mythos takes readers briskly through the family tree of Ouranos and Gaia, which is populated by gods and goddesses, well-known beasties, and eventually us mere mortals. If your eyes glazed over reading that sentence, don’t despair! Fry puts it in terms like this:

“We return now to the great arc in the heavens traced by Ouranos’s severed gonads. Kronos had flung the Sky Father’s junk, if you recall, far across the sea.” Fun fact: Did you know that Aphrodite was born from said flung junk? Well, you would if you read this book.

So the real question isn’t should you read Mythos, but rather what format should you pick? If you go with the audiobook, you get Stephen Fry’s stellar narration, while if you go with the print version you get maps, charts, and classical artworks. My advice would be to do both simultaneously. Do a little read-along, if you will. And if you will, you’ll be treated not only to the sleazy shenanigans of that ol’ horndog Zeus, but also the etymology of almost every name, word, or phrase you’ve ever used.

This is the first in Fry’s “Great Mythology” series, followed by Heroes and the forthcoming Troy and The Odyssey. I do plan to read them all, which should really help me up my NYT Crossword game.

4.5 stars rounded up. Opa!

Blog: www.confettibookshelf.com
IG: @confettibookshelf
Profile Image for Trish.
1,931 reviews3,402 followers
July 1, 2020
I first heard of Stephen Fry many years ago, have since watched him debate with the Church and wander through dense jungles trying to find nearly extinct animals, listened to him bring one of my favourite magical worlds to life, and learned a great deal from him on what must be one of the best quiz shows on (British) television. Not to mention his influence on LGBTQ rights and the acceptance of mental health issues (he himself is suffering from at least one). He's been on radio programs, television shows, and in movies. He knows so much about almost everything, out of a natural curiosity, and had a very ... interesting ... childhood/life so far.
In short: the man is a national and international treasure and I'm a total fangirl. *swoons* Naturally, he is not without fault, but that - in a very ironic twist of fate - makes him so PERFECT a man to retell the Ancient Greek Myths.

After all, if one looks at all the groups of gods from around the world and all kinds of eras, they are all flawed - but none more so than the Greeks with all their debaucheries (and, by extent, the Roman ones but they are mostly a copy of the Greek pantheon anyway).

Funnily enough, the publication of Mythos this year coincides (and I'm told it really was a coincidence albeit a fortunate one) with the publication of Gaiman's retelling of the Norse myths. Thus, I now have TWO wonderful tomes detailing the essentials of two cultural influences on what is nowadays Europe (the name itself was taken from Greek mythology).

The Greek culture (city states, first democracy, the victory over the Persians and thus what would later become a big part of Islam, their type of warfare, ...) is the root of almost all the European countries today and one can see it in many instances. Moreover, the Greek pantheon is probably the most well-known one. Many artists have immortalized the birth of Aphrodite (Venus) or the love between Amor and Psyche or Apollo driving his sun chariot across the sky or Zeus imprisoning the Titans.
As is also typical for mythology, the myths explained seemingly unexplainable happenings back in the day while the gods showed the characteristics one could observe in any human.

Fry cannot retell ALL the myths that have survived, of course, but he managed the almost Herculean task (see what I did there? :P) of selecting the ones for his book perfectly and not only bringing the myths to life with his incomparable voice (I listened to the audio because I can never resist the man), but to also retell the stories in a way that is simultaneously modern and tasteful - which makes this book so appealing. He seamlessly weaves in references to pop culture, literature and music (modern and classic) and modern politics, explains linguistic roots as well as the naming of many a constellation and elements and therefore gives a detailed but never boring lesson about why the Greek myths matter so much, even to this day. In doing so, he gives us a history of ourselves, where we come from, what shaped us.

We start at the beginning, the creation myth (from Chaos to order) and then move on to the Titans.

From there, it's only a small step to Zeus and his siblings overthrowing their parental generation and establishing/ruling Olympus and Hades, after which we humans are created. After that, the fun really begins! We are being introduced to the muses (after one of which - Thalia - I was named),

monsters, heroes, gods, demi-gods, nymphs, centaurs, satyrs and all the rest that make up this colorful and vivid world.
We learn about family relations, rewards and punishments (often it isn't even clear what is what). We learn about the comical stuff as much as about the drama, the wonderful stories as much as the horrible ones. Naturally, it will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever heard a Greek myth that most catastrophes are started by the Olympians getting up to no good (often in form of raping an immortal of some kind or a man or a women - female and male gods alike were quite indifferent to whether or not you wanted to be their consorts). The message clearly being that as a mortal you could only lose (even rape victims were the blamed parties and got punished by other, jealous, gods). What is the most interesting and satisfying aspect about this, however, is how timeless these stories are and how much they still translate to modern problems (believe it or not, the rape or seduction was often only the beginning, setting the stage to a whole world of other plots). I guess we haven't evolved all that much after all.

Neil Gaiman was asked, after the publication of his book about Norse myths, if he would do another one about a different pantheon and he declined, saying that the Norse mythology was where his heart lay and any work about any other would therefore not be adequate. I firmly believe it's the same with Stephen Fry and Greek mythology (although greedy little bookworm as I am, I do want moremoremore).

I cannot recommend this book enough as it is as vibrant as the Greek pantheon itself and Fry is not only very knowledgeable in the myths themselves but also in languages (that were greatly influenced by these myths) and history in general and you can feel the author's passion for these myths, his enthusiasm therefore being infectious. Moreover, he has a unique way of knowing just when and how to make you laugh, giving the overall retelling a lightness despite the heaviness of some stories.
I am both enchanted and delighted and would even recommend this book before one of the classic sources like Bullfinch (in fact, I hope very much that THIS will also become one such classic over time).
Profile Image for Netta.
192 reviews132 followers
December 14, 2017
It is regrettable that Stephen Fry's talent to be effortlessly snobbish in a very appealing, charmingly British way, does absolutely no good to the subject of his book. The main problem with this book is that Fry's retelling of the myths of Ancient Greece is exactly what the title promises – it is the retelling of the myths of Ancient Greece with some supposedly witty (but more often irrelevant) remarks which can be easily omitted. The question is: Do we actually need one more retelling of Greek myths? No. Are we in desperate need of Fry's comments on well-known, beloved stories? The answer is, I'm afraid, no. While Neil Gaiman, writing his Norse Mythology tried to make it look like a comforting fairy tale, Fry simply retold what, I daresay, has already been told rather nicely.
Profile Image for Bren fall in love with the sea..
1,574 reviews270 followers
May 6, 2023
“Painters, poets and philosophers have seen many things in the myth of Sisyphus. They have seen an image of the absurdity of human life, the futility of effort, the remorseless cruelty of fate, the unconquerable power of gravity. But they have seen too something of mankind’s courage, resilience, fortitude, endurance and self-belief. They see something heroic in our refusal to submit.”
― Stephen Fry, Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold

I have finished this book and it is the best of 2022 so far and likely will stay that way. I say this because this book is a masterpiece and has made it into my all time favorite list.

I was going to update my review but you know what? I like the way it stands.

I wrote my review as I read which I never do. But I did that with this one.

So, my review is below, unfiltered, comments and love for the book pouring forth from me. I just cannot bear to erase them. So that is my review below. And I say this again before I hit the "done" button. This is an absolute masterpiece.

All finished!

I am leaving the review below up which was written as I read.

But will be adding more thoughts soon -- as this book is now firmly in my top 10 of all time.

AND I found out -- there is a part two!!

Doing some quite different than I normally do -- editing my review as I read. I have to. This book is a masterpiece. Added to favorites and I'm only 50 % done!

I have not finished this book yet.

Proper review to follow once I do.

I have done something I've NEVER done before. I've rated a book and rated it 5 stars before finishing!

Have you ever done this?

I can't help it. I am enthralled. And I believe -- unless this book somehow takes a bad turn -- I will be labeling it under 'Favorite books."

I have always held an interest in Greek Mythology though I am by no means an expert.

I've read about these times -- and the beautiful, Mythical, compelling and captivating world of the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greek times - since I was little.

Reading this is like coming face to face with my childhood. It's like reaching back in time, to that simpler place of innocence, when one read purely for the joy and magnificence of the pages that danced in front of you.

I don't have that feeling of firsts much anymore. And I have desperately wanted to go back in time, to relive the time of the Olympians.

But never could I find a book about them to get lost in. Not in my adult years. Not like when I was in childhood.

Well - I am lost in the pages of this book. It has beguiled me, left me drowsy and drunk with awe, I am speechless at the magic in these pages.

I am deliberately reading slowly so as not to finish and have to say goodbye to soon.

Once I do, I might just go back and reread it all again!

It's been a stormy day, with strong winds and snow and ice. It's been a tough time psychologically too. But this book has made me smile. What a gift!

How lovely to find this enchanting compilation! And what a wonderful and loving tribute to these Gods and Goddesses and to this ageless, timeless era of beauty.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,861 reviews519 followers
February 19, 2023
In addition to his talent as an actor and author, we can add a storyteller. Stephen Fry has concocted an excellent reminder of Greek myths and legends. As he says, it's not all there because otherwise, he would have written eleven volumes, but it's a good, well-told, modern introduction for those unfamiliar with mythology. For those who know, it's a good, fun, and sometimes offbeat reminder. He masters and knows his subject well - a good time in the company of a good author-actor-storyteller. Fry knows how to do everything!
Profile Image for Luffy.
867 reviews720 followers
December 24, 2018
I'm happy to say that Fry's comforting, relaxed, and vibrant voice echoes through the entire book, even for those chapters reserved for humans, mainly. I know the author is very intelligent, and has never been accused of being a narcissist.

Name dropping aside, I thought the book was far from committing the most wanton of sins, that is patronising. The tales of the Gods were unleashed by Stephen Fry on my unsuspecting mind. Imagine if he turned his talents to Hindu gods, or Inuit ones. The potential is there and the possibilities almost endless.

Mythos is the kind of book that can be translated very well in all languages. I won't be surprised if heathens around the world would revive Greek myths and worship the Gods. These Gods are very human like. Just as bloodthirsty as the Abrahamic one, but with more sides to their cunning hearts. I learned a lot, it turned out I knew next to nothing about the minor adventures of these Olympians and Titans.
Profile Image for Lucy.
415 reviews610 followers
April 4, 2020

So lucky to have found this book in the local library. Stephen Fry does a brilliant job of recounting the Greek myths- through describing the tales of gods, goddesses and creatures alike. This was a very informational read and I was able to build my knowledge on Greek myths and uncover more tales.

Stephen Fry writes the book in such a way that it is not dry or boring (unlike some other informational books) and you can easily follow the myths and use your imagination. His writing can be rather comical with his commentaries running throughout the book, and this just makes the book more captivating!

He talks about most of the gods and their stories, as well as metamorphoses (which I loved!). His book contains all the Gods in their selfish and arrogant ways and the consequences this has on the people they meet.

This book included some of my favourite myths, for example, I have always been intrigued by the story of Hades and Persephone. It was great to also be introduced to the Furies (I love the underworld and was especially curious of them). It was also great to learn more about the story of Arachne.

Not only does he write about the myths but he also includes footnotes which provide extra information. For example, how some words are still used today, or how they were derived from Greek myth.

Overall this was a very comprehensive read and fulfilled my curiosity of learning more about the Greek myths. I loved learning about the Greek myths when I was a child, and now as an adult, it is fantastic to read a book which reinforces this curiosity!
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,057 reviews1,724 followers
May 20, 2023
این جلد فقط شامل اساطیر خدایانه. اساطیر قهرمانان، مثل پرسئوس و هرکول و جیسون، توی جلد بعدی اومدن. کتاب صوتی اونم پیدا کردم. نصف لذت کتاب به خاطر صدای جادویی استیون فرای بود.

از اینجا می‌تونید این کتاب رو گوش کنید:
Profile Image for Martin.
327 reviews136 followers
August 21, 2019
Where did it all start?
Stephen Fry, in his delightful voice, tells of the beginning of the world and the birth of all the Greek gods and goddesses.

The original gods were the sky the sea, the ocean, the earth and many more natural spirits.
Much later came the most familiar gods, who were Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Venus, Mars and so on.

The Greeks had gods with human emotions exactly the same as the Greeks themselves. The gods were created in their image.
No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly and brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses. They are like us, only more so - their actions and adventures are scrawled across the heavens above.

All the major stories that we may remember are re-told in loving detail;
The War between the Titans and the Gods,
Prometheus stealing fire from the heaven of Olympus to give to mankind and also teaching many other civilizing ideas,
Pandora and her box of troubles,
The golden apples that would start the Trojan war,
How Zeus, who was not the first god, became lord of all the Gods,
The Greek version of the Flood,
The many god-descended kings, queens, and heros who all had Zeus as their father,
How the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus, reacted to all his offspring from people and lesser goddesses,
Heracles (Hercules) destined to fight on the side of the Gods and save them from the Titans, was still hated by Hera.

We learn of many creatures; nymphs, centaurs, satyrs, naiads, dryads and more. Legendary heros and real mortals are brought to life.

Stephen Fry speaks to us in his rich, fluent tone. He gives many interesting asides on stories and often translates old language into modern day idioms that we can understand.

I have always liked the Greek mythology.
My favorite actor/reader is Stephen Fry.
To have both in one is simply marvelous.


Profile Image for William Gwynne.
355 reviews1,468 followers
March 31, 2022
Expanded review now on BookNest - BookNest - Mythos

“For the world seems never to offer anything worthwhile without also providing a dreadful opposite.”

Mythos is the first of Stephen Fry’s retellings of Greek Mythology, with this initial instalment focusing on the origins of the world, the gods, of mankind, and the early tales of these creations. It varies from the epic scale of Zeus and his siblings launching global warfare against the Titans, all the way to individual tales of clever interactions between mortal and immortal.

So, as you may know, I am a huge fan of mythology, of history and of folk tales, from Norse, to Celtic, to Greek. Surprisingly though, I have not delved much into Greek/Roman mythology, and it was time to rectify that. Mythos did a great job at filling the gap, and I really look forward to continuing this journey through Greek Mythology in Heroes, and then Troy, which complete Stephen Fry’s triad of Greek retellings.

Starting with characters, as I said, in Mythos we meet mortals and immortals, animals and monsters, and everything in-between. We are introduced to a huge cast of characters, many of whom are only present for a few pages. But, do not let this daunt you! As I will discuss later in this review, it is not intended for you to remember everyone. The very nature of most mythologies is for many temporary figures to rise and fall, and therefore for the large amount of stories to amalgamate into hundreds of figures with as much variety as you can imagine.

“Kronos was not quite the pained and vulnerable emo-like youth”

Now about prose. Unsurprisingly, given his personality, Stephen Fry has a very distinctive voice. He exudes what he is famed for. His charisma, his humour, and his intellect. In Mythos, he gives an elementary perspective to very confusing concepts, and manages to write in a manner that is simultaneously easy to read, yet also thought-provoking and then hilarious.

What I would say as a criticism is that the beginning feels a bit like the opening of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. Whilst Fry injects his enthusiasm, the crafting of the world vital introduction of so many important characters significantly slows down the pace, and provides a bit of a slog early on. But again. Do not led this dissuade you, fore beyond this initial twenty/thirty pages, it was fresh, unique and a joy to read.

One of the aspects that really draws me to Greek Mythology is the presentation of the gods. I find it fascinating that those of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had religions that contrast so strongly with the modern conception of religion. I would say the main disparity is that Mythos shows that the Gods were designed to be inherently feared and worshipped, with love acting as a secondary factor. Very Machiavellian.

“It is their refusal to see any divine beings as perfect, whole and complete of themselves, whether Zeus, Moros or Prometheus, that makes the Greeks so satisfying.”

Continuing from this, I loved that the Gods were shown in their full. Stephen Fry crafted many tales that I found surprisingly compelling, as the virtues and vices, sacrifices and betrayals of the Gods and other characters were told and revealed. The reader is shown the abuse of power, the thirst for power, but also a willingness to sacrifice oneself for a greater purpose, as we see in the tale of Prometheus.

To talk a bit more about the pacing and structure. As with most mythological retellings, Mythos is essentially a large amount of short stories loosely tied together, with probably 50-60 tales told in this solitary instalment. This structure allows short bursts of reading, and satisfactory moments to be dotted throughout the book. Whilst there are bonuses to this structure, there are also shortcomings. Due to the sheer amount of story’s, and central focus on the exploits of the Gods, it is inevitable that many of these tales became repetitive in the final quarter. We see many variations of a God experiencing lust for a mortal, surprisingly falling in love, and then another God tricking their lover to cause a tragedy. This is evocative and engaging at first, but over time became a bit draining.

“What Pandora did not know was that, when she shut the lid of the jar so hastily, she for ever imprisoned inside one last daughter of Nyx. One last little creature was left behind to beat its wings hopelessly in the jar for ever. Its name was ELPIS, Hope.”

So, overall, Mythos is a great retelling of Greek Mythology. It supplied me with an enjoyable, funny read that managed to be simultaneously educational and light, with Fry avoiding dense sequences where he could. The only criticisms I have do not regard the mastery of Stephen Fry himself, but more the nature of mythological retellings. So, if you enjoy this type of story, I highly recommend! It is certainly one of, if not the best, mythologically books I have read.

3.75/5 STARS
Profile Image for Sara.
198 reviews144 followers
April 14, 2020
Realy great book 👌, stephen Fry did a marvelous job, the writing itself is for me personally to chaotic and in the end I still didn't know who who is or who did what again the only thing I could remenber is the 12 olympic gods , but still a excellent book if you are into greek myths and looking forward to be reading more greek mythology 🥰 , 3⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews359 followers
May 7, 2018
This was the perfect book to read over a very sunny and hot Bank Holiday.

Covering the dawn of the Gods, through the golden and silver ages, this discusses a wide range of stories told in the usual Fry wit. It’s incredibly informative and well planned out, told in a more structured chronological order than I’m normally use to with these stories. And I’ve read a lot of these stories. There’s nothing new here if you’ve delved into Greek mythology, but I enjoyed Fry's take on them - and I really liked the little addendums of information littered throughout that enhanced my knowledge of the Greeks and their language and lore.

My favourite stories have always been those about hubris, or pride, and here we get a whole chapter dedicated to the various ways the Gods have punished those mere mortals who dare to challenge them, such as Arachne the great weaver and Marsyas the ill fated satyr. The stories are told in such a laid back way, that it’s easy for those familiar, and those who are new to the stories, to equally enjoy them. The Gods are described in such a colourful, fun way, that their distinct personalities leap from the pages and allowed me to fall in love with them all over again.

If anything, this lacked the luscious tales of the later period dedicated to the great heroes of Odysseus, Perseus, Jason etc. I hope that Fry writes another volume to include these at some point because they for me really embody the overall epic feel of the Greek stories. However, this certainly has its place amongst other retellings.
Profile Image for Dennis.
659 reviews269 followers
February 2, 2020
I’ve never been that interested in Greek mythology, to be honest. I knew a few of the names and (fewer) of the stories, of course. But I would definitely consider myself a newbie.

So as a newbie, did this book work for me? It did. Partially.

This is essentially a short story collection, told from the beginning. I enjoyed most of the tales. Some more than others, sure. But generally I felt entertained throughout the book.

But I’m not sure how I’m supposed to keep all the names and their relationships straight. In the end I had marked down 308 names. 308! It’s just too much information to end this read with a feeling of having learned a lot.

I’m probably more a fan of the author now, than of the myths of ancient Greece. Stephen Fry has such a charming narrative voice, he could basically tell me about anything, and there would be a high probability of me enjoying it immensely.

He did pique my interest in mythology, though. And this, ultimately, makes the book a success. I might have not learned as much as I had initially hoped for. But I definitely enjoyed it much more than I thought.

His narration of the audiobook, by the way, is even more fun than only reading the words he so eloquently and humorously put on paper. But because of the many names I had to revert to actually reading the book, in order to be able to make some notes. So this book is definitely marked down for a re-read (or rather listen), before I pick up the second one. Because this I surely will. Well done, Mr. Fry!

This has been a buddy-read with Susy, Grant, Allan, Lata, Rebecca, Amanda and Jeff.
Profile Image for Hanneke.
326 reviews324 followers
September 15, 2020
Stephen Fry ends his delightful retelling of the Greek myths with these wise warnings to us, simple mortals:

“Don’t mess with the gods. Don’t trust the gods. Don’t anger the gods. Don’t barter with the gods. Don’t compete with the gods. Leave the gods well alone. Treat all blessings as a curse and all promises as a trap. Above all, never insult a god. Ever.”
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,293 reviews21.7k followers
December 29, 2021
I was talking to a friend a couple of weeks ago and I mentioned some Greek myth – I can’t even remember which one now. Anyway, she said, where do you learn this stuff. And I’m not even totally sure where I’ve picked up half of the myths – just ‘along the way’ I guess. But then I remembered that I’d seen that Fry had pulled this together and so I told her this book would be as good a place to start as any other.

And it really is. This is a modern telling of the myths, but I guess Fry is assuming this book isn’t going to make his immortality, and so he can tell this in a way that will date quickly, all the same, he’ll get to spend the money it will make ‘now’.

This is a book especially for those who want a lightning fast introduction to the Greek Gods and the names from myths you’ve heard over and over again, but never quite knew what they did that has people 3000 years later still chatting about them. As he says, he hasn’t told the stories of Homer here – things would have gotten out of hand – but this is a lovely, quick read and if you need more there are plenty of other places to get more.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,494 reviews962 followers
May 22, 2020

Greeks did not grovel before their gods. They were aware of their vain need to be supplicated and venerated, but they believed men were their equals. Their myths understand that whoever created this baffling world, with its cruelties, wonders, caprices, beauties, madness, and injustice, must themselves have been cruel, wonderful, capricious, beautiful, mad, and unjust. The Greeks created gods that were in their image: warlike but creative, wise but ferocious, loving but jealous, tender but brutal, compassionate but vengeful.

Stephen Fry is a great salesman. His short introduction to this volume of re-packaged Greek myths is a great teaser-trailer for the greatest stories ever told (arguably). If you where on the fence, like me for example, about the need to revisit these childhood classic tales, such a passionate, clear exposition from the host of the journey might just be the final decider.

I cannot repeat too often that it has never been my aim to interpret or explain the myths, only to tell them.

As arguments in favour of picking Mr Fry to be the best narrator for these overused and clearly familiar collection of stories, we have his Classical Cambridge education, his long years of experience working in television and films and, most of all, his irreverent and sharp sense of humour, a necessary ingredient when approaching a subject that is liable to still stir up controversy in a world where social and religious intolerance are on the rise.

Without any fear of giving up spoilers ( ‘Zeus can’t keep it in his pants’ would cover about half the origin stories of various gods, heroes and animals) the success of the project for me consists in the rigorous research and in the clear exposition of a wildly scattered source material, as well as the steadfast adherence of the author to the decision to tell a good story instead of writing an academic research paper. Occasional liberties taken with the presentation in the form of comedy sketch dialogues and tongue-in-cheek sideline commentary add salt and pepper to the meat of the story and help the reader put these ancient myths in a modern frame of reference. A sort of re-packaging of the material for a modern audience that manages to be informative, fun and, most of all, true to the spirit of this fascinating culture that has given so much to the world at large.

I like to picture the first stage of creation as an old-fashioned TV screen on which a monochrome game of ‘Pong’ played. You remember ‘Pong’? It had two white rectangles for rackets and a square dot for a ball. Existence was a primitive, pixellated form of bouncing tennis. Some thirty-five to forty years later there had evolved ultra hi-res 3-D graphics with virtual and augmented reality. So it was for the Greek cosmos, a creation that began with clunky and elemental lo-res outlines now exploded into rich, varied life.

Think for a moment of how the modern world would look and act without the liberating, thought provoking, artistic explosion that was the Renaissance period, about the still enduring fascination of men of science, culture and art who cast off the strictures of religious dogma and rediscovered the exuberant, irreverent, subversive world of Greek and Roman mythology. I sure prefer this to a variant of “Handmaids Tale” where religious bigots make the laws. Almost all the numerous illustrations used by Stephen Fry in this volume come from the Renaissance period. Painters, poets, philosophers are still dipping their toes into these waters , still making their appeals to the muses and to the gods on Mount Olympus for inspiration, for illustration of their chosen themes.

Without the Bacchic element, life would be uninteresting; with it, it is dangerous. Prudence versus passion is a conflict that runs through history. It is not a conflict in which we ought to side wholly with either party. [Bertrand Russell – History of Western Philosophy]


I have no intention in my review to enumerate the myths included by the author in this collection. It’s basically the whole story of creation, up to the age of Heroes. It starts with the first generation of cosmological abstract concepts (Chaos, Space, Light) , followed by the first generation primordial Beings (Mother Earth, Father Time and their elemental progeny) begetting the Olympians and, through them, the literal explosion of divine presence that saw every mountain, every brook, tree or city, every emotion and every art receive its guardian spirit: gods and demigods, nymphs, satyrs, titans, monsters, chimeras, prophets, kings and adventurers.

Some of these origin stories are necessarily brief, given the massive treasure chest of variant myths, commentaries and artistic rendition going on from the times of Homer and Hessiod through Apuleius and Ovid and into Shakespeare and Co. For these myths, the book serves more as a reminder of their place in the chronology and reference bookmark for further study.

The lesson that repeats and repeats throughout the story of man: Don’t mess with the gods. Don’t trust the gods. Don’t anger the gods. Don’t barter with the gods. Don’t compete with the gods. Leave the gods well alone. Treat all blessings as a curse and all promises as a trap. Above all, never insult a god. Ever.

The real attraction are those myths that the author feels close to his heart or fundamental in relation to our modern search for meaning and purpose in a chaotic universe. It’s easy to identify which stories make the grade, because Mr Fry lets his enthusiasm guide him to a more detailed, more passionate presentation and better sideline commentary. Such is the story of the creation of man, of Prometheus and Pandorra , the story that explains free will and the core concept that Gods are created in the image of man and not the other way around.

Athena’s breath brought the clay statues to life, literally inspiring them with some of her great qualities of wisdom, instinct, craft, and sense.

Also fascinating, and mostly left to the reader to comment upon, are the similarities between a lot of these myths and stories from the Bible, from Hindu, Egyptian and other Middle Eastern sources, all pointing out to a much older common root and to cross pollination of ideas. The Deluge and Philemon and Baucis are just two examples of such common ground.

Hospitality, or ‘xenia’, was so extraordinarily esteemed in the Greek world that Hestia shared the care of it with Zeus himself, who was on occasion given the name Zeus Xenios. Sometimes the gods tested human “guest friendship”, as we shall see in the story of Philemon and Baucis. This was known as ‘theoxenia’. Xenophobes, of course, do not extend the hand of friendship to strangers...

Sidenote on sidenotes : a lot of these annotations are used in a lexical manner to show how many of these myths have become core concepts and common language in our modern vocabulary, thanks again to Renaissance and Enlightenment heritage.

Being from Tyre, Cadmus probably used the word for “let it be so” most commonly used throughout the Middle East : Amen .

Second sidenote on sidenotes: Extra kudos to Mr. Fry for not trying to turn his book into a polemic on sexuality, an obvious and tempting path given the celebrated promiscuity of the ancient gods. His solution is the much more elegant and discreet solution of simply telling the stories without either bowdlerizing or lionizing the issue.

I could have my pick of a highlight from a tale of one of Zeus infidelities, one origin story for a town or concept (Cadmus comes to mind) or a story of true love. I guess my favorite is Eros and Psyche, one of the longest and most tenderly rendered stories in the whole book, and illustrative of the deliberate approach of the author in his storytelling:


Perhaps the best-known myth involving Eros and Psyche – Physical Love and Soul – is almost absurdly ripe for interpretation and explanation. I think, however, that it is best told like all myths, not as an allegory, symbolic fable, or metaphor, but as a story. Just a story.

That statue of Antonio Cadova still is my most memorable moment from several lengthy visits to the Louvre, so I was really looking forward to the moment and was not disappointed. Gods and human alike are fallible, ruled by their emotions and capable of either pettiness or greatness in unpredictable ways. Which is in the end, why life is so damn interesting.

... in this story, as in so many others, what we really discern is the deceptive, ambiguous, and giddy riddle of violence, passion, poetry, and symbolism that lies at the heart of Greek myth and refuses to be solved. An algebra too unstable properly to be computed, it is human-shaped and god-shaped, not pure and mathematical.

Similar emotions (and fond memories of the Medici fountain in Jardin du Luxembourg) are to be found in the renderings of the myths of Acis and Galateea, or Pygmalion and another Galateea:

Just once or twice in Greek myth mortal lovers are granted a felicitous ending. It is that hope, perhaps, that spurs us on to believe that our quest for happiness will not be futile.


I think this will be a good place to stop for now. I’m glad of my decision to buy this book and I will keep it in my library for future reference on Greek Mythology. I plan to follow up with Stephen Fry’s book on Heroes, with Neil Gaiman’s ‘Norse Mythology’ and, hopefully, with something more accessible about Hindu mythology (or a re-read of Zelazny’s ‘Lord of Light’). The author also recommends the site theoi.com as a good reference source.
I’ll leave you with a final funny piece of trivia about the first musical critic ever, Midas. Spoiler alert: he was cursed with more than the gold touch.

“You honestly think Pan played better than me?”
“I do.”
“Well, in that case,” said Apollo, with a laugh, “you must have the ears of an ass.”

Profile Image for Nat K.
415 reviews155 followers
November 25, 2020

"Gods are nothing if not capricious."

A riot of characters and colour burst from these pages. I cannot pretend to be any the wiser about Greek mythology, because, let's face it, there's a cast of thousands involved. And it's hard to keep track of them all. But I had a hell of a good time reading this. Wonderful escapism!

In his imitable style, Stephen Fry brings to life the dawn of time, when gods and goddesses ruled the earth, heavens, seas & sky. He tells us about the squabbles, the jealousies, the lusts. Just like humans, but with an eeny bit more power. He makes them real and relatable. Kind of like if Apollo and Zeus were living next door.

It was fascinating to find that there are so many words we use everyday which are derived from the name of a powerful being or royal being or their offspring (think ocean, typhoon, electron, hygiene, cosmos, panacea, tantalized).

There are scenes of violence & unspeakable acts of cruelty. Likewise sweet, sweet love.

My favourite chapter was the one describing the creation of humankind. Basically, Zeus was "bored". As he said to his good mate Prometheus "... you have absolutely no idea how boring it is to be a god in a complete and finished world... I am cosmically lonely. Is this how it's going to be forever and ever now?" The solution? Zeus asks Prometheus to create a new race, modelled out of clay in the likeness of the gods "A subservient, adoring race of little miniatures." Unfortunately Zeus accidentally squashes some of the newly created statuettes, which is why we don't have green, violet or cobalt blue persons amongst us. Shame, but there you go. Even gods stuff up sometimes.

I also loved the tale of "Echo", who revelled in love and found joy in other's finding love. "It delighted her to ease the path of lovers everywhere." Sadly for Echo, her naïveté led her to unwittingly lie to Zeus' wife Hera, who was busy having another tryst. In revenge, Hera took away Echo's power of speech "You will have no power to reply except to repeat the last thing which has been said to you." This is where echo (echo...echo...) comes from.

Darn Zeus, bit of an all round bad boy. Stand back ladies and gents.

I cannot begin to imagine how much effort went into writing this, there's so much information in this book. There are oodles of "fun facts" and more weighty matters revealed via footnotes. I learnt so much! From serious information to the humorous and whimsical. To top it all off, all of this is done without the book turning into a massive academic yawn. This book is FUN. You can tell Stephen Fry had a blast writing it. His wit, humour & intelligence shine through. Thoroughly readable and immensely enjoyable. I can't recommend it enough. Go on, hang out with the gods for a while 🎉
Profile Image for Kerri.
980 reviews351 followers
April 28, 2020
I've always loved Greek Mythology, there's something so captivating about it, and it is intriguing to read different versions and tellings of the many stories, Gods and other figures. Stephen Fry's Mythos is easily the most readable book of Greek Mythology that I've read so far (excluding children's versions, though those usually avoid the more violent and sexual aspects of the myths) and I wish I had had it at my disposal during my high school years, when Classical Studies was my favourite subject, but one that was occasionally hindered by supremely dry retellings of very interesting stories. In Mythos, they are approachable, clear and told in an somewhat conversational manner. It makes for a fascinating read that is also fun - and I can't highlight enough how important that sense of fun is. Mythology is bizzare and dramatic, and Stephen Fry embraces that.
I had such a great time reading this, and it really reminded me why I fell in love with Greek Mythology in the first place.
I will be getting a copy of the follow-up book, Heroes, soon and can hardly wait to continue reading!
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,239 reviews297 followers
February 7, 2021
Translation widget on the blog!!!
O carte aparte. Fascinată fiind de miturile și legendele grecești, această carte nu avea cum să nu îmi atragă atenția la Bookfest.

Pe măsură ce o citeam, am fost fascinată de modul în care autorul Stephen Fry a reușit să ne redea fiecare legendă în parte. Cu un limbaj simplu și de actualitate, fiecare mit străvechi a fost scos la lumină și împărtășit și explicat cititorilor săi fără a se încerca cosmetizarea acestora.

Pagină după pagină de abordări și unghiuri din care poți privi apariția vieții pe pământ; a zeilor din Olimp sau a muritorilor care au devenit celebrii. “Mythos” reprezintă cartea care te ajută să stabilești mai ușor ordinea întâmplărilor, să înțelegi motivațiile faptelor din spatele legendei. Astfel, am realizat că și aceste ființe au beneficiat de liberul arbitru, au fost dotate cu defecte și calități.
Recenzia mea completă o găsiți aici:
Profile Image for Claudia.
954 reviews535 followers
April 14, 2018
I must have been around 8 when I first read The Legends of the Olympus and fell in love with Greek mythology. I reread it at least 3 times afterwards and remains one of my favorite books to this very day.

Stephen Fry’s retelling of these myths is just as good as the original, if not better. It is limited to the gods (heroes’ tales are not included) but much more detailed than the version I read. I never really thought about how many of today’s vocabulary are derived from the names in these myths – I always took them for granted, even if it's obvious. But Fry does an amazing job explaining them – either in the stories or in the footnotes.

However, without his hilarious approach it would have been just another book about the Greek myths, even if more complex than others. But the way he chose to tell the stories is just brilliant.

Whatever the truth, science today agrees that everything is destined to return to Chaos. It calls this inevitable fate entropy: part of the great cycle from Chaos to order and back again to Chaos. Your trousers began as chaotic atoms that somehow coalesced into matter that ordered itself over aeons into a living substance that slowly evolved into a cotton plant that was woven into the handsome stuff that sheathes your lovely legs. In time you will abandon your trousers – not now, I hope – and they will rot down in a landfill or be burned. In either case their matter will at length be set free to become part of the atmosphere of the planet. And when the sun explodes and takes every particle of this world with it, including the ingredients of your trousers, all the constituent atoms will return to cold Chaos. And what is true for your trousers is of course true for you.

The seeding of Gaia gave us meaning, a germination of thought into shape. Seminal semantic semiology from the semen of the sky.

Remember Tartarus was a primordial being too, who was born out of Chaos at the same time as Gaia. So when she approached him, they greeted each other as family members will.
‘Gaia, you’ve put on weight.’
‘You look a mess, Tartarus.’
‘What the hell do you want down here?’
‘Shut up for once and I’ll tell you …’

‘Suppose,’ said Zeus, ‘suppose I were to start a new race.’[…]
They should be shaped in our image, anatomically correct in every detail, but on a smaller scale. Then we could animate them, give them life, replicate them and release them into nature to see what happens.’
Prometheus pondered this idea.
‘Would we engage with them, speak to them, move about with them?’
‘That would be exactly the point. To have an intelligent – well, semi-intelligent – species to praise and worship us, to play with us and amuse us. A subservient, adoring race of little miniatures.’
‘Male and female?’
‘Oh, good heavens no, just male. You can imagine what Hera would say otherwise …’

Zeus stroked his beard, thought hard and came up with what he believed was a masterstroke. He transformed Io into a cow, a beautiful plump young heifer with shivering flanks and large, gentle eyes. If he hid her in a field Hera would never spot her and he could visit her whenever he liked. Or so he imagined. When lust descends, discretion, common sense and wisdom fly off and what may seem cunning concealment to one in the grip of passion looks like transparently clumsy idiocy to everyone else.

Hera knew her husband all too well. Once his libidinous propensities were aroused there would be no taming them.

I can’t recommend this book enough – you’ll have a lovely time reading it.

PS: when I first read the legends, in my edition there is a picture of François Gérard’s painting Psyché et l'Amour, exhibited at Louvre. It became my goal to see that painting with my own eyes. And here it is my childhood dream come true when I was 15:

Profile Image for Emma.
975 reviews975 followers
April 11, 2018
As always, Stephen Fry proves to be a wonderful narrator, bringing life, humour, and modernity into these age old stories. Certainly, Jeremy Kyle's show has nothing on the incessant sexual escapades, jealousy, deceit, love, and revenge that fuel the tales, which are essentially one long list of who had sex with who and what children were born of it. Sometimes listening to it in big chunks was almost too much, it is perhaps a book best dipped into so that each mini story has a greater impact- otherwise there are moments when you think to yourself: oh, another young girl tricked/stolen/turned into an animal/taken against her will? Looking at you particularly Zeus. Hera, are you still bitter, hun? Perhaps you should spend more time dealing with your husband than the poor women who can't escape him. And if you're the kind of young man who can stop traffic, best believe you'll end up dead. Or a flower.

Anyway, it's a great resource, accessible and amusing. It's not exhaustive, there are plenty of big names who didn't make it into this cut, but Fry does well with the stories he includes, making everyone from Gods to nymphs that bit more understandable. Apart from Zeus, seriously, that guy...
Profile Image for Anna.
758 reviews513 followers
June 19, 2018
The lesson that repeats and repeats throughout the story of man. Don’t mess with the gods. Don’t trust the gods. Don’t anger the gods. Don’t barter with the gods. Don’t compete with the gods. Leave the gods well alone. Treat all blessings as a curse and all promises as a trap. Above all, never insult a god. Ever.

Stephen Fry’s dry, sardonic wit and wicked humour shines through every page, particularly the pseudo-archaic banter between the Gods and Goddesses, which is perhaps what someone already familiar with the origins and the many misdeeds of the Mount Olympus dwellers, as well as with Fry’s personal love for the subject, looks for in this book. If you read the afterword, you will know - before making any such comments - that his aim was not to interpret or explain the myths, only to tell them, breathing new life into these well-known characters and making the stories downright funny.

I think it is this is an absolute treasure of a book and I hope Stephen Fry will delight us more in the future with his unequalled gift for storytelling!
Profile Image for  Teodora .
303 reviews1,634 followers
December 15, 2022
4/5 ⭐

I'll have to say, the best thing to do in order to enjoy Stephen Fry's books is to listen to him narrating them.

This book had honestly nothing in it I haven't heard of or read about before, it's all Greek mythology after all and at least 85% of everyone here has been obsessed with mythology at some point in their lives. But the way Stephen Fry tells his stories is mesmerising. It is funny and witty and absolutely fascinating, all you need in life is a storyteller as great as Mr Fry, a cup of good tea and a fireplace with a crackling fire and you're in for the best time of your life.

The gods and goddesses and creatures and super-humans in the old Greek myths put on new clothes and became something different, even though they were exactly the same and I really liked that.

If you ever have the chance, listen to this as an audiobook narrated by Stephen Fry himself and you won't be disappointed!
Profile Image for Lena K..
62 reviews126 followers
April 4, 2019
The Greeks created gods in their image, and that is why I love Greek mythology so much. The gods are just like humans, for better and for worse. They scheme, they cheat, they punish, but they also love, help and are compassionate.

The stories of Ancient Greece have accompanied me since childhood, when I’ve first read the version for kids, and they accompany me still, after reading the original works of Homer, Hesiod, Ovid and others.

Stephen Fry’s retelling of the most famous myths was great and it’s a nice place to start if you’re new to Greek Mythology. It’s short, it’s funny and it’s well written and explained. It may bore you a bit if you’re already familiar with the myths, but I actually enjoyed it nonetheless. It was like meeting old friends – Prometheus and his love of humanity, Sisyphus and his wit, Athena (my favorite), and all the other gods, titans, nymphs, monsters and heroes.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,409 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.