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The Greek Myths: 1

(The Greek Myths #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,159 ratings  ·  68 reviews
In a work that has become a classic reference book for both the serious scholar and the casual inquirer, Graves retells the adventures of the important gods and heroes worshipped by the ancient Greeks. Each entry provides a full commentary which examines problems of interpretation in both historical and anthropological terms, and in light of contemporary research.
Paperback, 370 pages
Published December 1st 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1955)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  1,159 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is first of the two volumes and is more than a telling of Greek Myths. This volume has an intro, 104 myths and a map. It starts with the beginnings / creation and ends with the death of Theseus.

Thinking this would be nothing more than another telling of Greek Mythology it turned out to be a surprising and perfect read. Graves tells each myth in as a prose with all its versions. It’s the kind of read which would be easy to get lost in but in how Graves assigns a new letter for each
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Read with the kids. My kids now think Greeks are all randy drinkers prone to murder (in all its forms) and incest, and the Gods are worse. Now, onto The Greek Myths II. I'll add a more detailed review once we finish the second part.

- Robert Farwell / Edward Jones library / Mesa, AZ 2014
Arun Divakar
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
A myth is like a sponge for it soaks up centuries worth of material into it. The kernel of the story would be transformed into only a faint resemblance of its original as the years pass it by. If we were to imagine a character like Heracles to come alive today, he might listen to his own story in incredulity and say but that was not how it happened ! The factors of social, economic, environmental and demographic changes seep into the tales and make them more suited as moral fables with each ...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Robert Graves is quite thorough in writing about the myths and at the end of each story, he provides foot notes that can be as long as the story itself.

Some of the footnotes are speculative. "This god replaced an earlier pagan god etc.". It is difficult to know these things or the origins of any of these stories. But Graves gives his educated guesses and they are worth pondering.

In Graves' version the myths are not child friendly and a lot more graphic than I remember Edith Hamilton's version. I
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, classics
I've always been a big 'fan' (for want of another word) of ancient mythology and I've been looking for the 'perfect' book that just has them all together for quite a while. One that has it all neatly wrapped in a bow and I genuinely cannot believe it took me so long to find this!

I enjoyed the collection of these myths, some were familiar, some were really unfamiliar - which was brilliant, because though I really love the familiar myths, it was really good to read those that were unfamiliar and
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mythology
I took a very long time to read this book, because I read it bit by bit, when I wanted to. As I borrowed it from the library, I was "obliged" to finish it soon, and so hurried for the last part of it.

I didn't know that The Greek Myths was, not only a book about the myths AND their variations, but also a commentary by Robert Graves, explaining from where they come from, what they are really, historically, about. It was really interesting, but quite confusing - mostly because of the variations
Michael O'Brien
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Given the extent to which Greek mythology has influenced Western culture, art, and literature, I had what in hindsight were excessively high expectations of it, most of my knowledge having previously been from reading on it as a lad in the condensed versions found in encyclopedias. For a book with such salacious details and barbarities, you would think it would be at the very least, engaging, but, no, I found this to be a real plod to get through. It tends to relate each tale in a meandering ...more
Michael Huang
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To quote the introduction "Greek myths survive much better than other ancient world-system because they validated daily life of people who created and maintained them, and irradiated their imaginations."

In this book, Graves records these stories and added a lot of notes, sometimes anecdotes and other people's half-digested ideas (again according to the introduction). Nothing is certain by the way as discrepancies in time and name are the rule in mythology. Many are created as a history device:
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, history
The Folio edition is so beautiful, it was nice to read over a period of nine months. This is definitely not the book use for a quick Greek mythology lesson. Especially since it's considered highly inaccurate.
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
update: The more I have thought about it the less I would recommend this book. Its a real shame that it is called "The Greek Myths", it would be more accurate to call it "Robert Graves reports the greek myths and then theorizes about their meanings".

I really wouldn't even recommend this book as literature becuase it is a rather dense read and the re-telling of the myths is dry.

Don't mean to hate on Graves, but I just think his treatment of the myths will lead to their being further
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
A brilliant compendium of Greek mythology, drawn from all the major Classical sources and rewritten with flair by Graves. His erudite commentaries on each myth are illuminating, even if his interpretations are sometimes a bit forced. Looking forward to vol. 2.
Lyn Elliott
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read these first in my teens and still dp back into them from time to time.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ancient cultures and todays culture have more similarities than you could ever imagine. it's kind of shocking. it's a very informative and amusing book. I hope to read the second volume soon.

PS. the footnotes were a bit excessive to me but i guess if someone is trying to actually do a profound research they could be very helpful.
Perry Whitford
When Robert Graves sat down to write his deconstruction of the Greek myths in the 1950s, he was a man on a mission. He had a single great theme, first revealed in his book The White Goddess, which he was determined to highlight again and again out of every facet of the vast source material.

According to Graves, virtually every story in Greek myth can trace its origins to when the pre-Hellenic system of matriarchy was usurped by a subverting patriarchy, which re-wrote all the accepted legends in
This work remains the standard for most modern explanations of ancient myths, with sections devoted to each mythical legend followed by Graves' explanations. I find he takes the approach of a poet, rather than an academic, which makes it easier to digest. He does seem to take certain stands, such as calling out the Greeks for preferring thunder and lightning (Zeus) over the sun (Helius). How dare they. Graves is very thorough with notes upon notes, to the point that I lost track of Plato's ...more
Tom Kenis
A terribly academic, quasi-unreadable slog. Yet, slog I did...
The basic premise of the book is that of a primeval matriarchic, cruel and child-sacrificing, civilisation said to have inhabited the pre-Hellenic Greek world, gradually replaced by invading patriarchic tribes. "Blessed be the fruit." However appealing the idea, Graves goes to fabulous lengths to reinterpret every footnote of every myth in what one is tempted to call a Herculean, nay, Procrustean effort. Interesting, but a ripping
May 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, theology
I loved a lot of the moments in this, especially toward the beginning. It was often hard, though, to wade through a lot of boring to get to the good parts. My favorite toward the end was "...which is why Theseus's Athenian descendents are so absurdly small-buttocked." I think this book is worth having more as a reference work, thanks to what seems like a thorough index and the very frequent occurence of references to these stories in other writings, rather than as something to read straight ...more
Aaron Meyer
May 13, 2011 rated it liked it
The majority of myths presented here seem to focus on heroes rather than the gods themselves. I do enjoy the variety of sources used to bring the differing stories together and particularly the listing of those sources after each section. Robert Graves "learned" opinions after each section often left me amused. He was definitely a die-hard goddess cult person and every single thing would be tied back to this idea. His interpretation of words left much to be desired, for it seemed very careless. ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
Grateful the author didn't write a tome 3. This series was mandatory in high-school whilst preparing for the French baccalaureate. Didn't enjoy reading it at all, and has nothing to do with the translation, because I had checked the original version as well and same result: very dry, pedantic and tedious and in some instances misleading- more to be used for cross-references than actual reading material. Lacks maps and pictures - crucial elements when studying Greek mythology, or any mythology as ...more
Jon Ungerland
Jul 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: bored people
but seriously, this book is good if you're looking for a strong supliment to someone like Jung, who assumes that his readers have a good grasp of greek mythology and its implications on archetypal theory.
Dusty Hope
not bad, hectic in the head, a little all over the place, fascinating but frustrating.
Ann Klefstad
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No better source to ensnare you in the material, and he's thorough.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-a-to-g
Actual rating: 3.5 stars
Dec 17, 2009 is currently reading it
Shelves: reference
One of my many begun books, mostly read, to be used primarily as reference.
Quite a good book.
Justin Howe
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how much of Graves's scholarship is accurate, but he crafts a wild ride.
Aaron Camm
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Folio edition of the Greek Myths was a very thoughtful gift I received from a friend some years ago but sadly the beauty ends at the front covers. I'm something of a Greek mythology fan, so was not expecting to be so disappointed by the contents. The problem is not the Greek myths themselves, which have obviously endured the test of the time, but the writer, Robert Graves. A quick search on the internet reassured me that it was not just myself who found his analyses of these ancient classics ...more
Sam Isse
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it, great book
Frank Granlund
Classic Greek mythology
Aja Ancheta
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was very interesting. It was cool to see how different religions have such different beliefs. The different tales in the book are very surprising and interesting.
Nicholas Bobbitt
Love it! I need to get myself a copy.
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Robert von Ranke Graves, born in Wimbledon, received his early education at King's College School and Copthorne Prep School, Wimbledon & Charterhouse School and won a scholarship to St John's College, Oxford. While at Charterhouse in 1912, he fell in love with G. H. Johnstone, a boy of fourteen ("Dick" in Goodbye to All That) When challenged by the headmaster he defended himself by citing ...more

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The Greek Myths (2 books)
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