The Gods of Greece and Rome

The Gods of Greece and Rome

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From famous denizens of Olympus to anonymous river nymphs and sea monsters, the deities of the ancient world populate the pages of this resource.Richly readable and informative, it defines the myths in terms of their influence on Western literature, and depicts the role of the deities in everyday life."show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 162.1 x 209.8 x 16.5mm | 335.66g
  • Dover Publications Inc.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 47 + 1 ht
  • 0486427986
  • 9780486427980
  • 1,255,128

Review Text

Explore the dramatic world of the ancient Graeco-Roman deities with this classic text, reproduced here with original illustrations. Drawing on contemporary sources such as Homer, these tales of love, lust and ferocity still hold us captivated. Beginning with the god of all gods, the mighty Zeus, we trace his diverse forms, his descendents and constantly warring family as they become transformed over the centuries. Great were the passions that raged and bitter were the feuds, often incomprehensible to mere mortals, who could only worship and sacrifice in the hope of tempering the moods of their idols. It was the gods who literally moved heaven and earth, and alongside the epic tales are accounts of festivals and rituals that tied in with the seasons. The arrival of Demeter in spring brings forth life from the earth, covering it with green, the mother of the corn. Prayers were dedicated to her with the sowing of seed and the fruits of harvest were offered in thanks. Her withdrawal in winter meant death, but her re-emergence the next year was comforting proof to the ancients of the never-ending cycle that meant they themselves would be reborn after their own demise. With the birth of agriculture came the first remnants of civilization, temples were built for worship and the arts flourished as statues and frescoes depicted the gods' Arcadian adventures. Over the years, as mankind changed, so the attributes of their deities altered. Eros, commonly known as the god of love, was once regarded as a combative god, celebrated with sport and warlike contests. Later, as Greek society mellowed, he became the god of love and friendship. So we come to realize that the gods, whatever they be, are a reflection of ourselves and the society in which we find ourselves. The brutality of early mankind gave way to a gentler mythology, as ignorant fears were overcome and nature - indeed the very gods themselves - became tamed. This book is a fitting tribute to the gods and people of old. (Kirkus UK)show more