A sophisticated look into the eight Greek myths that remain the most relevant to us today, exploring their powerful cultural impact from their ancient origins to the present.
The Greek myths have been retold countless times, first by the conquering Romans, then through the medieval and Renaissance eras of Europe, and finally finding new expression in masterworks of art, literature and cinema on the global stage. Classical scholar Richard Buxton explores the stories at the heart of this ancient mythology and how they have come to influence our society today.
The Greek legends seem to speak to us universally, their deities tantalizingly human - often indulging in behaviours morally ambiguous at best and obscene at worst - and their heroes dealing with dilemmas and destinies that echo, if exaggeratedly, conflicts in our own lives. The dramatic choices that such figures as Prometheus, Medea and Oedipus face have resonated with audiences over thousands of years. Each chapter focuses on a mythical character and the powerful stories and interpretations that surround them. Yet the myths' relevance has not been uniform; they shift with the cultural tide. They have endured moments of censure, criticism, and even ridicule, but now their influence can be recognized almost everywhere, from opera to psychology, from fashion to contemporary art.
How is it that these tales have retained their power to connect with our own fascinations, fears and desires, though they came from a world very different from our own? Here Buxton charts their cultural impact through a rich variety of re-imaginings, examining the many guises they have taken through the ages and the profound truths that they continue to illuminate.