Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Penguin Book of Classical Myths” as Want to Read:
The Penguin Book of Classical Myths
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Penguin Book of Classical Myths

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  329 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Synopsis What were the twelve labours of Herakles? Why did Zeus turn himself into a shower of gold? What was the name of the guard-dog of the Underworld? Which two-faced Roman god gave his name to the month January? What is the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx? The myths of ancient Greece and Rome are the most dramatic and unforgettable tales of love, war, heroism and be ...more
Paperback, 590 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Penguin UK (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Penguin Book of Classical Myths, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Penguin Book of Classical Myths

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
CONTAINS BRIEF NUDITY. (Have I got your attention yet?)

Ever since reading the tragic tale of Echo and Narcissus, absorbing the triumphs of Hercules and spending a glorious sum of hours composing papier-mâché Gorgon heads in sixth year, I've been irreparably hooked on Greek mythology. Reading March's collection has only rekindled my love for these truly fantastical tales. It's captivating to learn how large an impact these characters and stories have made, such as the lending of certain vocabula
Charlie Holmes
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 out of 5 stars!

“Sing, Muse, the wrath of Peleus’ son, Achilles, the accursed wrath that brought countless sorrows to the Greeks, hurled down to Hades the souls of many brave heroes, and left their corpses a prey for the dogs and all the birds…”

The joy I am feeling after finishing this book is immense. It took me a year, but only because I underlined and marked sections for something that I am working on.
I spotted this book in Watersones when I was in London last year and bought it on a whi
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I could gush about this for hours. Absolutely stunning.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m going to be honest and admit that this book came to me by accident.

I’m a lover of the classical myths. Name a time period of old where myths were aplenty and I’m sure I have some knowledge in the back of my mind, knowledge I would like to expand upon. So, when my grandfather handed me this book and told me it was a free book I was rather taken aback. A free book detailing classical myths? I had to be missing out on something.

Fortunately, I was not. Due to his membership with some book compan
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
This seems not a very well known collection, but is highly readable and as comprehensive as one can expect. Serves as an appealing middle option between more terse classical dictionaries or compendia and shorter, outlook(as opposed to retelling)-inclined accounts like Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction.
Ashley Mcintyre
Apr 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting content but a laborious read.
Sep 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
March, Jenny. THE PENGUIN BOOK OF CLASSICAL MYTHS. (2008). ****. I have to be honest. I didn’t really “read” this book. I dipped into it a lot and found myself reading the next fifty pages or so each time. It’s a massive (suitable for use as a doorstop) compendium of the Greek and Roman myths. Everything you ever want or need to know about this subject is in here. The author – obviously an expert in the field – has managed to make it much more than a simple cataloging of the gods and myths. Asid ...more
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
This is an absolutely superb compendium of the Greek myths. I think it is, in fact, an even better read than Robert Graves' The Greek Myths that I finished reading a few weeks ago. While I think that Graves' book is the more scholarly treatment, Ms. March's collection is better written and is probably organized in a more user-friendly fashion for readers trying to access information quickly. This is a wonderful book to have on the shelf with your editions of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripide ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
3 1/2 stars.
So far its really good and non complicated like books on the classical myths tend to be.
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the best mythology books right beside Edith Hamilton's.
I read this book while vacationing in Rome and Florence -- I actually bought it at the Colosseum gift shop! Something about being in Rome really piqued my interest in Greek and Roman mythology, so I just whipped through this while sitting in different piazzas and on different terraces, enjoying the Italian sunshine. I really think everyone should have this foundation of knowledge re: Greek and Roman myth, especially lovers of literature, who will run into various permutations of these classic my ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review also available on my blog!

Buy from The Book Depository

Hi guys!

If any of you pay attention to my posts then you’ll realise that this book is a bit different to what I normally review as it is non-fiction. In my policy page it even says no non-fiction books. However, some of you might have also realised that I absolutely ADORE classics - particularly Greco-Roman mythology. So when I saw this book (especially its gorgeous cover) I knew I had to have it. (Thank God for generous Grandmas!)

Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Love love love this book, I am now deeply hooked on Classical mythology, I've always had an interest in it but this book just sealed the deal. I had previously read parts of the Aneid and the Odyssey and had just completed the Illiad but I wanted something that gave you an overview of all the Greek myths, to create a solid foundation of knowledge on which to build on and that is exactly what this book gave me. I had to read it all the way through because it was a library book, but I'm so glad I ...more
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive guide to the myths of Greece and Rome; easily accessible, enjoyable to read, and one that delves into the tales of heroes such as Jason, Hercules and Achilles, as well as exploring the myths that surround the heroes of the Ancient World. This book takes the reader from the creation of the world up until the founding of Rome, with plenty in-between, and introduces unfamiliar stories alongside the most well known. The way its written makes it easy to lose yourself in the book, and ...more
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
An engaging summary of the principal classical myths, nicely organized around major storylines such as the voyage of Jason and the argonauts, the Trojan war etc. I found this a very useful introduction to the epic poems of Homer and Virgil for example. These abound in allusions to the gods and principal characters of Greek and Roman mythology. Now as I reread the Iliad, I find the poem much more accessible than when I first tackled it in a state of relative ignorance of the background mythology ...more
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this after "The Penguin Book Of Myths & Legends of Ancient Egypt", and it is just as clear, concise and engaging. While the naming conventions differentiating between the original Greek and Roman stories can be a tad confusing, it didn't detract from the reading experience, nor did it make it difficult to take the key elements from each tale.
Apr 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I couldn't, for the life of me, finish this book! It wasn't that it was boring. It's just so many names, events and places. I was hoping for something with more of working dialogue. This is not written in any fictional sense, though. It's written by a professor, and runs as such. Name, name, name, quote, more names, a place, what they did. Repeat. No dialogue. Hard to maintain interest.
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Full of myths and an easy read. Giving various versions of the same myth and making them clear. Begins with creation and goes on through time for most of the book until later chapters where part mentioned earlier are given further detail.

Great book for anyone who knows nothing of myth to anyone who knows plenty.
Melissa Yates
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm actually still reading this (as of Oct 12, 2011) because it's too much to absorb all at one time for me. Chris read it in two or three days though. I usually read some in between other books. It's very detailed.
rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2015
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Infinitely better than Edith Hamilton's Mythology, this Penguin Book gives all the vivid details and variations of the myths and arranges them in a logical order. Great as a reference or simply to read straight through.
TL Brown
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great interpretation of the stories I used to read all the time.

I want to say the story of Demeter & Persephone is my personal favorite, however, The Trojan War is an epic style crossover type story.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! I trust Jenny March's authority on the subject and turn to it whenever I need a definitive guide on Classical Mythology.
Craig McConnell
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A nice compromise between scholarly apparatus and reability - a definite improvement over Edith Hamilton.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Does what says on tin. Very thorough, very clear, logically organized... Those crazy Greeks (and Romans)!
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The immortal glory that is Greece...
Venus Smurf
It's just not possible to go wrong with mythology. The myths are always fascinating, complicated, and very entertaining. What's not to love?
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
A good compendium of various myths, some well known and some not so much.
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
A good entry point for anyone who, like me, is a newby to Greek and Roman mythology. Some fantastical, inspiring, and tragic stories. I'm looking forward to reading more.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Orpheus: The Song of Life
  • War Music: An Account of Books 1-4 and 16-19 of Homer's Iliad
  • The Nature of Greek Myths
  • Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer
  • Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt
  • The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology
  • Greek Art
  • Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction
  • Six Tragedies
  • The Myths of Greece and Rome
  • The Elements Encyclopedia of the Celts
  • The Way of Herodotus: Travels With the Man Who Invented History
  • The Complete Dictionary of Symbols
  • Invisible Romans
  • What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images
  • The Library of Greek Mythology
  • The Birth of Classical Europe: A History from Troy to Augustine
  • Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction