The Gods of Olympus: A History

The Gods of Olympus: A History


By (author) Senior Lecturer in Classics Barbara Graziosi

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  • 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: 667,070

Product description

An elegant and entertaining account of the transformations of the Greek gods across the ages, from antiquity to the Renaissance and the present day The 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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Author information

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.

Review quote

""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."