The Gods of Olympus: A HistoryHardback
- Publisher: Metropolitan Books
- Format: Hardback | 290 pages
- Dimensions: 162mm x 236mm x 36mm | 480g
- Publication date: 11 March 2014
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0805091572
- ISBN 13: 9780805091571
- Illustrations note: black & white halftones, maps
- Sales rank: 440,742
An elegant and entertaining account of the transformations of the Greek gods across the ages, from antiquity to the Renaissance and the present dayThe gods of Olympus are the most colorful characters of Greek civilization: even in antiquity, they were said to be cruel, oversexed, mad, or just plain silly. Yet for all their foibles and flaws, they proved to be tough survivors, far outlasting classical Greece itself. In Egypt, the Olympian gods claimed to have given birth to pharaohs; in Rome, they led respectable citizens into orgiastic rituals of drink and sex. Under Christianity and Islam they survived as demons, allegories, and planets; and in the Renaissance, they triumphantly emerged as ambassadors of a new, secular belief in humanity. Their geographic range, too, has been little short of astounding: in their exile, the gods and goddesses of Olympus have traveled east to the walls of cave temples in China and west to colonize the Americas. They snuck into Italian cathedrals, haunted Nietzsche, and visited Borges in his restless dreams.In a lively, original history, Barbara Graziosi offers the first account to trace the wanderings of these protean deities through the millennia. Drawing on a wide range of literary and archaeological sources, "The Gods of Olympus" opens a new window on the ancient world, religion, mythology, and its lasting influence.
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Barbara Graziosi is the author of "Inventing Homer" and "Homer in the Twentieth Century," among other works. In 2011, she provided the introduction and notes for a new translation of the "Iliad" for Oxford World's Classics. A professor of classics at Durham University, Graziosi is also a contributor to "The Times Higher Education Supplement," the "London Review of Books," and BBC radio programs on the arts. "The Gods of Olympus" is her first trade book. She lives in the U.K.
"Cutting-edge history... Deploying an intriguing combination of old-fashioned and inventive approaches to the classical world and its reception, Barbara Graziosi here breaks new ground in the interpretation of the major Greek gods." "--Times Higher Education" (London) "There is still life in the Olympians... An erudite and engaging account of their history and remarkable survival." --"The Literary Review"(London) "A delightfully entertaining study... In an impressive feat of research and synthesis, Barbara Graziosi has made the Greek gods vivid, accessible, and relevant for all of us. Graziosi's affection for her subject is exciting and infectious, and her beautifully seamless writing style, keen intelligence, and lovely sense of humor kept me eagerly reading. An excellent history." --Rosemary Mahoney, author of "Down the Nile" and "For the Benefit of Those Who See" "Humankind is at its most creative--and most revealing--in its desire for the divine, and its imagining of gods. Barbara Graziosi's absorbing history of the twelve Olympians follows their extraordinary journeys through the world and inside the human mind, where they have subtly coexisted with other gods, and continue to outlive us all." --Patricia Storace, author of "Dinner with Persephone" "Engaging... An intelligent and entertaining examination of the Greek deities' timeless ability to 'express different, human truths'... Graziosi crosses the centuries elegantly, using the gods' constant presence to suggest that history is an ongoing continuum." --"Publishers Weekly ""The examination of each period is fascinating... Accessible to general readers, this work will be fun for anyone wondering whatever happened to the Greek gods over the centuries, as well as those specifically interested in classical reception." "--Library Journal" "A book to savor." "--Kirkus Reviews"