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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Primary Sources

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Secondary Sources


Bibliography and Teaching

The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology, ed. Roger D. Woodard, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Contributions by experts in various fields are diverse in nature and style. Some offer surveys for beginners, others provide more sophisticated interpretations or scholarly research.  The scope is comprehensive, although omissions are inevitable for such a vast topic. The three sections are entitled: Sources and Interpretations; Response, Integration, Representation; and Reception.

Interpretation, Analysis, and Comparative Studies

Ackerman, Robert. The Myth and Ritual School: J. G. Frazer and the Cambridge Ritualists. New York: Routledge, 2002. An examination of the works of Frazer, Jane Harrison, Gilbert Murray, F. M. Cornford, and A. B. Cook. The last chapter explores the application of myth and ritual on postclassical literature.

Anderson, Graham. Fairytale in the Ancient World. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

Bremmer, J., ed. Interpretations of Greek Mythology. London: Routledge, 1998. A collection of essays.

Burkert, Walter. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. By far the best explanation of the significance of structural theories.

Buxton, R. G. A. From Myth to Reason. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

———. Imaginary Greece: The Contexts of Mythology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. An introduction, with emphasis on social contexts in which Greek myths were narrated.

Csapo, Eric. Theories of Mythology. London: Blackwell, 2004. A history of theories of myth, with sample readings on how to interpret myths.

Detienne, Marcel. The Creation of Mythology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.

Doniger, Wendy. The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

Dowden, K. The Uses of Greek Mythology. New York: Routledge, 1992. A judicious assessment of psychoanalytical approaches on pp. 32–34 and 180.

Dundes, A., ed. Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. A collection of writing by major interpreters of myth, including Frazer, Eliade, Malinowski, Jung, and Lévi-Strauss.

Edmunds, Lowell, ed. Approaches to Greek Myth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990. A collection of essays. An article by E. Caldwell, “The Psychoanalytical Interpretation of Greek Myth,” seeks to reconcile Freudian and structuralist approaches.

Eliade, Mircea. Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954. Perhaps the best among his works to serve as an introduction.

Ellis, John M. One Fairy Tale Too Many. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. A study of the text and history of the work of the brothers Grimm, which, Ellis claims, is a fraud. A warning to those who have too blind a faith in oral myth that has been made literary.

Felton, D. Haunted Greece and Rome: Ghost Stories from Classical Antiquity. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999, A folkloric and literary analysis of ancient ghost stories and the influence and development of themes in modern times.

Fontenrose, Joseph. The Ritual Theory of Myth. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971.

Frazer, James G. The New Golden Bough: A New Abridgement of the Classic Work. Edited by Theodor H. Gaster. New York: Criterion Books, 1959; Mentor Books, 1964.

Gordon, R. L., ed. Myth, Religion, and Society: Structuralist Essays by M. Detienne, L. Gernet, J.-P. Vernant, and P. Vidal-Naquet. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Graf, Fritz. Greek Mythology: An Introduction. Translated by Thomas Marier. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993 [1987]. A history of the interpretation of the principal Greek myths from the seventeenth century to the present.

Kirk, G. S. Myth: Its Meaning and Function in Ancient and Other Cultures. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970. Valuable for its critical views of comparative studies.

———. The Nature of Greek Myths. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1974. Useful for its treatment of different approaches to myth.

Leach, E. Claude Lévi-Strauss. New York: Viking Press, 1970. A good exposition of Lévi-Strauss; in the chapter “The Structure of Myth,” Leach offers structural analysis of several Greek myths.

Lefkowitz, Mary. Greek Gods, Human Lives: What We Can Learn from Myths. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. The Savage Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966 [1962].

———. The Raw and the Cooked. Translated by J. and D. Weightman. New York: Harper & Row, 1969. Volume 1 of the four volumes of Mythologiques; its “Overture” is the best introduction to Lévi-Strauss.

Lincoln, Bruce. Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1999.

Malinowski, B. Magic, Science, and Religion. New York: Doubleday, 1955. Includes “Myth in Primitive Psychology,” 1989 [1926].

Propp, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale. 2d ed. Translated by Lawrence Scott. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968 [1928]. The pioneer work in the structural theory of myth.

Puhvel, Jaan. Comparative Mythology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987. A study of the prehistoric origins of mythical patterns in India, Iran, Greece, Rome, and elsewhere.

Schrempp and William Hansen, eds. Myth: A New Symposium. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002. A collection of essays, inspired by that of Thomas Sebeok.

Sebeok, T. A., ed. Myth: A Symposium. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971. An especially valuable collection of essays on the major approaches to the interpretation of myth.

Segal, Robert A. Joseph Campbell: An Introduction. New York: Meridian, 1997 [1987].

Strenski, Ivan. Four Theories of Myth in Twentieth-Century History: Cassirer, Eliade, Lévi-Strauss and Malinowski. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1987. An iconoclastic judgment of mythography and mythographers. For Strenski (p. 194), no such thing as myth exists, “Rather, what exists is the artifact ‘myth’ along with the ‘industry’ manufacturing the concept as it is used here and there.”

———, ed. Malinowski and the Work of Myth. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. Collection of central writing by Malinowski.

Struck, Peter T. Birth of a Symbol: Ancient Readers at the Limit of Their Texts. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. An exploration of how the ancient Greek literary critics and theorists invented and developed ideas of symbolism and allegorical interpretation.

Thompson, Stith. The Folktale. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977 [1946].

———. Motif-Index of Folk-Literature. 6 vols. Bloomington: Indiana University Press,1966. The basic reference book for folktale motifs.

Vernant, J.-P. Myth and Society in Ancient Greece. Translated by J. Lloyd. New York: Zone Books, 1990 [1974].

Vernant, Jean-Pierre, and Vidal-Naquet, Pierre. Translated by J.  Lloyd. Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece. New York: Zone, Books, 1990.

Myth and Psychology

Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. A psychologist provides archetypal descriptions of the Greek and Roman goddesses and shows how they provide meaningful patterns for the understanding of the character, behavior, and personality of women today.

———. Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

———. Gods in Everyman: A New Psychology of Men’s Lives and Loves. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. A sequel to Everywoman for men.

Eisner, Robert. The Road to Daulis: Psychoanalysis, Psychology, and Classical Mythology. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1987. Chapters include “Oedipus and His Kind,” “Electra and Other Monsters,” and “Apollo and His Boys.”

Evans, Richard I. Dialogue with C. G. Jung. 2d ed. New York: Praeger, 1981. Basic concepts clearly presented through Jung’s own words.

Jung, C. G., et al. Man and His Symbols. New York: Dell, 1968. Only the first essay (“Approaching the Unconscious”) is by Jung.

———.Jung, C.G., Psyche and Symbol: A Selection of Writings of C.G. Jung. Translated by V.S.de Laszlo. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Lloyd-Jones, H. “Psychoanalysis and the Study of the Ancient World,” in P. Horden, ed., Freud and the Humanities. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985, pp. 152–180. (reprint in Greek Comedy [etc.]: The Academic Papers of Sir Hugh Lloyd Jones, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. See pp. 281–305. Hostile criticism of psychoanalytical theory by an authoritative classical scholar.

Mullahy, Patrick. Oedipus Myth and Complex: A Review of Psychoanalytic Theory. New York: Grove Press, 1955. An excellent survey.

Schneiderman, Leo. The Psychology of Myth, Folklore, and Religion. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1981. Chapters include “The Mystical Quest,” “The Cult of Fertility,” and “Jason and the Totem.”

Walker, Steven. Jung and the Jungians on Myth. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Woolger, Jennifer Barker, and Woolger, Roger J. The Goddess Within: A Guide to the Eternal Myths That Shape Women’s Lives. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1987. The major goddesses considered as types, with a bibliography of novels and plays and a list of movies (on video), identifying characters that embody these types.

Gender, Homosexuality, and the Interpretation of Mythology

Bacchilega, Cristina. Gender and Narrative Strategies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. The representation of women in four classic fairytales and postmodern revisions in literature and film.

Clark, G. Women in the Ancient World. Greece and Rome Surveys 21. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Davidson, James. The Greeks and Greek Love: A Bold New Exploration of the Ancient World. New York: Random House, 2009.

Doherty, Lillian E. Gender and the Interpretation of Classical Myth. London: Duckworth, 2001.

Dover, K.J. Greek Homosexuality. Updated with a new Postscript. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989 [1980].

Dynes, Wayne R., and Donaldson, Stephen, eds. Homosexuality in the Ancient World: (Studies in Homosexuality, vol. 1). New York: Taylor & Francis (Garland), 1992. A collection of papers in their original languages about various aspects of Greek and Roman homosexuality.

Fantham, E. “Women in Antiquity: A Selective (and Subjective) Survey.” Échos du Monde Classique 30 (1986), pp. 1–24.

———. Women in the Classical World: Image and Text. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Foley, H. P., ed. Reflections of Women in Antiquity. New York: Gordon & Breach, 1981. First published in Women’s Studies 8, nos. 1–2 (1981).

Fone, Byrne. Homophobia: A History. New York: Metropolitan Books (Henry Holt), 2000. An important study, the first part of which deals with the ancient world.

Gomme A.W. “The Position of Women at Athens in the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C.” Essays in Greek History and Literature. New York: Essay Index Reprint Series, Books for Libraries Press, 1967.

Halperin, David M. One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, and Other Essays on Greek Love. New York: Routledge, 1989. He argues that modern attitudes towards homosexuality are inadequate for an understanding of sexual mores in the ancient world.

Hawley, Richard, and Levick, Barbara, eds. Women in Antiquity: New Assessments. New York: Routledge, 1995. Includes discussion of women’s roles in religious ritual and mythology.

Hubbard, Thomas K., ed. Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2003. A wide-ranging, invaluable collection form archaic Greek lyric to later Greco-Roman antiquity.

Lear, Andrew and Eva Cantarella. Images of Ancient Greek Pederasty. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Lefkowitz, Mary R. Women in Greek Myth. 2d. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007 [1986].

Pomeroy, Sarah B. Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves. New York: Schocken, 1975. See especially Chapters 2 and 6.1.

Sargent, B. Homosexuality in Greek Myth. London: Athlone Press, 1987.

Rabinowitz, Nancy Sorkin, and Richlin, Amy, eds. Feminist Theory and the Classics. New York: Routledge, 1993. A collection of essays, some of which include approaches to mythology.

Thornton, Bruce S. Eros: The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality. Boulder: Westview Press, 1997. An insightful exploration of the destructiveness of Eros in Greek imagery and metaphor and the links between ancient and present-day attitudes and concerns about sex, love, and family.

Williams, Craig A. Roman Homosexuality, Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Winkler, John J. Constraints of Desire: The Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece. New York: Routledge, 1990. A study of the sexuality of women (e.g., Penelope and Sappho) and the interpretation of rituals (e.g., in honor of Demeter, Aphrodite, and Adonis).

Two scholarly journals, Arethusa and Helios, are especially receptive to feminist scholarship. Arethusa 6 (1973) and 11 (1978) have been mostly reprinted in J. J. Peradotto and J. P. Sullivan, eds., Women in the Ancient World: The Arethusa Papers (Albany: State University of New York, 1984). Helios 12, no. 2 (1985) contains a debate on “Classical Studies vs. Women’s Studies,” by Marilyn Skinner, Mary Lefkowitz, and Judith Hallett.

Iconography, Religion, and Feminist Interpretations

Dexter, Miriam Robbins. Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book. Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press, 1990. A history of goddesses through a comparison of the iconography with the literary tradition.

Ehrenberg, Margaret. Women in Prehistory. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989. The role of women from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age, with a consideration of matriarchy in Minoan Crete.

Eller, Cynthia. The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future. New York: Beacon Press, 2000. An argument against the validity of interpretations of feminists such as Marija Gimbutas, who imagine in a time of goddess worship a gynocentric golden age before the onslaught of patriarchy.

Gimbutas, Marija. Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, 7000–3500 B.C.: Myths and Cult Images. New and updated ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982. A study of figurines, which includes analysis of “Mistresses of Waters,” “The Great Goddess of Life,” &ldquoi;Death and Regeneration,” and the “Year God.”

———. The Language of the Goddesses. Foreword by Joseph Campbell. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. An analysis of the symbols in the archaeological evidence under the major categories of “Life-Giving,” “The Renewing and Eternal Earth,” “Death and Regeneration,” and “Energy and Unfolding.”

Goodison, Lucy, and Morris, Christin, eds. Ancient Goddesses: The Myth and the Evidence. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998. A collection of essays discussing the evidence for the Great Goddess and its interpretation.

Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Edited by John Boardman et al. Zurich: Artemis Verlag, 1981–1997.

Marinatos, Nanno. The Goddess and the Warrior: The Naked Goddess and Mistress of the Animals in Early Greek Religion. New York: Routledge, 2000. Traces the origins of concepts of the goddess in the Bronze Age, with emphasis upon Circe, Medusa, and Artemis, who is deemed to have supervised the initiation of males.

Zeitlin, Froma. Playing the Other: Gender and Society in Classical Greek Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.


Carpenter, T. H. Art and Myth in Ancient Greece. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1990.

Condos, Theony. Star Myths of the Greeks and Romans; A Sourcebook. Grand Rapids,MI: Phanes, 1997. Includes the only surviving works on the constellation myths from antiquity: an epitome of The Constellations of Eratosthenes, never before translated into English, and the The Poetic Astronomy of Hyginus; alsocommentaries on each constellation myth.

Freedman, Luba. The Revival of the Olympian Gods in Renaissance Art. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Gantz, Timothy. Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources. 2 vols. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. An excellent resource.

Kalil, L., ed. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologicae Classicae. 8 double vols. Zurich and Munich: Artemis, 1981–1997. The most complete source for ancient representations of classical myths, with extensive essays (in English, French, German, or Italian), photographs, and bibliography for each entry.

Reid, Jane Davidson. The Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts 1300–1900s. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. The most comprehensive reference work listing works of art, music, and literature, with bibliography.

Snodgrass, Anthony. Homer and the Artists: Text and Picture in Early Greek Art. NewYork: Cambridge University Press, 1998. The argument is that early Greek artists considered Homeric versions not as primary sources but as only one of possible variants.

Torrijos, Rosa López. Mythology & History in the Great Paintings of the Prado. London: Scala Books, 1998. The majority of the paintings reproduced and discussed deal with Greek and Roman mythology.

Van Keuren, Frances. Guide to Research in Classical Art and Mythology. Chicago: American Library Association, 1991. A bibliographical reference book, clearly arranged by topic and period.

The Gods, Religion, and the Occult

See the Bibliography at the end of Chapter 6.


Beard, Mary. The Invention of Jane Harrison. Biography. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002. A portrayal of anthropologist Jane Ellen Harrison (1850–1928) and her career in the milieu of Classical scholarship at Cambridge of the period, along with her younger protégé Eugenie Sellers, virtually forgotten today.

Calasso, Roberto. The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993. An idiosyncratic retelling of many ancient myths, but capacious enough to include musings on the interaction of myth and the contemporary world.

The following books are collections of poetry or discussions about poetry on classical themes.

Bush, Douglas. Mythology and the Renaissance: Tradition in English Poetry. New York: Norton, 1963 [1932]. Includes a chronological list of poems on mythological subjects.

DeMaria, Robert, Jr. and Robert D. Brown. Classical Literature and its Reception and Anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. The first part deals primarily with selections from British poets;  the second part  is a collection of translations from twenty-one Greek and Roman authors. Some of the material dea;s with mythological themes.

De Nicola, Deborah, ed. Orpheus and Company: Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology. Lebanon: University Press of New England, 1999.

Kossman, Nina, ed. Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001 [1971]. An impressive collection by internationally renowned poets.

Living Classics: Greece and Rome in Contemporary Poetry in English, ed. S. J. Harrison. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. This collection of essays explores the extensive use of Latin and Greek literary texts in a range of recent poetry written in English by scholars and poets, including Tony Harrison, Seamus Heaney, and Michael Longley.

Mayerson, Phillip. Classical Mythology in Literature, Art, and Music. Newburyport: Focus Publishing, 2001. A well-written survey designed to increase understanding of works of literature, art, and music inspired by classical mythology.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD


There are no music sources for this chapter.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD


Classical Mythology: Its Origins and Impact. Documentary with the participation of Hugh Lloyd Jones, Mary Lefkowitz, and Gregory Nagy. Films for the Humanities.

Pandora’s Box: The Roles of Women in Ancient Greece (Video Lecture Series Volume I). Documentary by Ellen D. Reeder, Curator of Ancient Art at the Walter's Art Gallery, One hundred thirty-eight works of art from 5th century B.C. are used to present new and important perspectives about the lives, customs, and rituals of women in classical Greece. Important feminist themes are highlighted, especially “Women and the Metaphor of Wild Animals,” and “Mythic Women as Images of Apprehension” Institute of Mediterranean Studies, Cincinnati.

Documentaries about Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell. A Biographical Portrait: The Hero’s Journey. Joseph Campbell and Peter Donat.Wellspring. A good introduction to Campbell and mythic themes.

Sukhavati (Place of Bliss); A Mythic Journey (the title refers to Campbell’s life calling). Acorn Media.

Mythos 1: The Shaping of Our Mythic Tradition and Mythos 2: The Shaping of the Eastern Tradition. Documentary series narrated by Susan Sarandon. Acorn Media.

The Power of Myth (the PBS series with Bill Moyers). Acorn Media.

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