Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer
This remarkable and daringly original book proposes a new way of thinking about the Greeks and their myths in the age of the great Homeric hymns. It combines a lifetime's familiarity with Greek literature and history with the latest archeological discoveries and the author's own journeys to the main sites in the story to describe how particular Greeks of the eighth century...more
format: 419 page paperback (plus 80 page bibliography/index)
acquired: July from Half Price Books
read: Oct 20 - Nov 5
The cover blurb says, "Multilayered and beautifully written..." Don't be fooled by that nonsense, Fox's text is so dense that it's barely readable. As he sees it, he's really trying to do something new and dynamic with this book, combining as much archeological evidence as he can find and wi ...more
Fox has an interesting thesis that he presents in an engaging manner.
This is not a simple read. It is not a book to be skimmed. I found myself having to re-read passages, not from clumsy authorship, but because the threads are tightly knitted and require one to really mull them over.
The mix of anecdote, the consideration of the topic from multiple angles, make this a worthy read.
Among the more valuable points made ...more
It is amazing how far archeology has reached. This book actually manages to track and explain in detail the first migrations out of Greece after the dark centuries, some 2700 years ago, then explore the links between Greek, Anatolian and Middle Eastern myth ...more
The author shows that the island of Euboea, roughly 'around the corner' from Athens, played a hugely important role in connecting the eastern with the western Mediterranean, during the 9th and 8th centuries BC, and that, during that period, a lot of the Greek mythology, stories of the gods and their companions, interm ...more
I just can't get too interested in pottery sherds...and there's a lot about pottery sherds.
To me he doesn't really prove what he sets out to...and the title of the book seems only partly relevant to the text, I'd hoped for more on Jason and Odysseus and less on Eubean and Phoenician pottery.
He starts with the question, well he eventually gets to it anyway: what was the noise that the Achean army made that sounded like Zeus beating the seven shades out of Typho ...more
The book is about the cultures surrounding Homer. It's mostly a factual examination of lives based on and definitely obscured by our limited ability to interpret limited evidence from Homer's possible time period.
Homer's stories were probably composed during ...more
Despite some interesting moments the reading was generally rather dry and heavy making the book a struggle to complete.
There is a careful marshalling of his evidence - there is a great deal of discussion of pottery and dates, for example, for the first half of the book - to lay the groun ...more
It’s not that.
Lane fox's central theme is that the Greek myths as told by Hesiod and Homer had there origins in a diaspora of Greek merchants, sailors and soldiers from Euboea both east to Turkish/ Levant coast and west to Sicily and Italy. In both locations they found geographical locations, tales and artefacts which they recognised as analogous to their own tales and myt ...more
It has a lot of great information if you have a serious interest in the movement of ancient civilizations across the land. However, if you are just the average person picking the book up, thinking i ...more
Lane Fox was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford.
Since 1977, he has been a tutor in Greek and Roman history, and since 1990 University Reader in Ancient History. He has also taught Greek and Latin literature and early Islamic history, a subject ...more