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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Primary Sources

2.54.1-2.57.3: Oracle at Dodona. 2.121-121F.2: This story is similar to that of Trophonius and Agamedes.
Apollod. 1.3.1: Zeus and Consorts.
1.3.5: Hephaestus.
E 1.21-E 1.22: Battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs; Caeneus.
Bacchyl. 11.39-11.112: How Hera drove the daughters of Proteus mad. Another version has Dionysus cause their madness.
Eur. Cycl. 530-589: The Cyclops imagines Silenus is his Ganymede.
Hdt. 4.59.-4.63.1: Scythian gods and religion compared with Greek.
Hes. Sh. 178-190: Lapiths and Centaurs.
Sh. 245-269: The Fates.
Hom. Il. 1.260-274: Nestor tells of his Centauromachy.
Il. 1.493-611: The Olympians on Olympus.
Il. 2.101-208: The King’s scepter made by Hephaestus.
Il. 4.50-67: Hera reminds Zeus of her prestige and power.
Il. 5.825-5.909: Diomedes wounds Ares in battle.
Il. 14.153-354: Hera seduces Zeus.
Od. 8.266-366: Hephaestus, Aphrodite, and Ares.
Od. 21.285-304: Centaur.
HH 3a 305-329: This selection from Homeric Hymn to Apollo tells about Hera and Hephaestus.
HH 5 202-217: This selection from Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite tells about Zeus and Ganymede.
HH 8
HH 12
HH 20
HH 23
HH 24
HH 29
HH 25
Hyg. 138: Philyra, mother of Chiron.
148: Hephaestus’ Trap.
155: Catalogue of Children of Zeus.
158: Catalogue of Children of Hephaestus.
159: Catalogue of Children of Ares.
Luc. D.G.: Zeus and Ganymede.
D.G.: Hephaestus.
Ov. Met. 4.169-189: Aphrodite and Ares.
Met. 10.155-161: Zeus and Ganymede.
Met. 12.189-531: Caenis Caeneus and the Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs.
Paus. 1.20.3: Hephaestus thrown from Olympus and his return.
2.17.1-2.17: The Heraeum.
4.33.7: Thamyris and the Muses.
5.7.6-5.9.6: History of Olympia and the games.
5.10.1-5.11.11: The temple and statue of Zeus.
5.10.8: Pediment at Olympia; battle of Centaurs and Lapiths.
5.12.4-5.13.7: Offerings at Olympia and the precinct of Pelops.
5.13.8-5.14.10: Altar of Olympian Zeus and other altars.
5.15.1-5.15.12: The workshop of Pheidias and other buildings and dedications.
5.16.1-5.17.4: The temple of Hera.
Pausanias goes on to describe the chest of Cypselus and then continues his tour of Olympia. Of particular interest is his description of several statues of Zeus: Paus. 5.24.9-5.24.11.
Paus. 7.4.4: Sanctuary of Hera in Samos.
7.24.4: Priests of Zeus.
8.10.2-8.10.3: Sanctuary of horse Poseidon originally built by Trophonius and Agamedes.
9.11.1: House built for Amphitryon by Trophonius and Agamedes.
9.29.4-9.29.6: The Muses.
9.37.3-9.37.7: Trophonius and Agamedes.
9.39.5-9.40.2: Oracle of Trophonius.
9.40.11-9.41.5: Hephaestus’ creations.
10.5.13: Temple made by Trophonius and Agamedes.
Plato, in his Cratylus, offers a difficult analysis of etymologies for the names of many gods and mortals in mythology. An example is the etymology given for the name of Hestia: Plat. Crat. 401a-401D. The substance of the discussion begins at Plat. Crat. 391d and continues through 413d. We shall give no further references to this work.
Plat. Laws 636b-636d: Why the Cretans concocted the story of Ganymede and Zeus.
Laws 783d-785b: The birth of children to be supervised by women-inspectors who meet at the temple of Eileithyia.
Phdr. 246e-247d: A religious interpretation of Zeus and the Olympians.
Phdr. 258e-259d: The Muses.
Strab. 9.2.4: Some details about oracular response at Dodona, in the context of a dispute between Thracians and Boeotians.
9.2.25: Mt. Helicon and the Muses.
9.5.19-9.5.20: Lapiths.
10.3.10: Music and the Muses.
Xen. Sym. 8.28-8.30: The spiritual relationship between Ganymede and Zeus.
Cyrop. 4.3.15-4.3.23: Centaurs.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Secondary Sources

Auden, W. H. (1907–1973). “Ganymede.” Poem.

Bacon, Francis (1561–1626). “Procus Iunonis, sive, Dedecus.” (“Juno’s Suitor, or, Baseness”) as translated by Arthur Gorges in Chapter 16 of De sapientia veterum (On the Wisdom of the Ancients). Prose.

Fielding, Henry (1707–1754). “An Interlude between Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, and Mercury.” In Miscellanies, vol. 1. Humorous piece.

Graves, Robert (1895–1985). “The Weather of Olympus.” Poem.

Phillips, Marie. Gods Behaving Badly. Little, Brown & Co., 2008. Novel. In the twenty first century, the twelve Olympian deities live in a dilapidated townhouse in London and have had to get jobs. Apollo, now a TV psychic, can only reminisce about how once they were famous and about their adulation.

Valéry, Paul (1871–1945). “L’histoire d’Héra.” Poem.


Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Gods in Everyman: A New Psychology of Men’s Lives and Loves. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.

———. Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.

Gantz, Timothy. Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources. 2 vols. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996 [1993]. A summary for each myth, tracing its development in literature and art.

Gimbutas, Marija Alseikaite. The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989.

Herrmann, Jr., John J. and Christine Kondoleon. Games for the Gods: The Greek Athlete and the Olympic Spirit. MFA Publications (a division of the Museum of fine Arts, Boston), 2004. An investigation of the origins of the Olympic games, the various athletic events, and the victors honored, beautifully illustrated with over 160 sculptures, vases, and coins from collections across the United States, as well as images of modern athletes by noted photographers.

Lefkowitz, Mary. Women in Greek Myth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.

Lowenthal, Anne W. Joachim Wtewael, Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan. Malibu, CA: Getty Museum Studies on Art, 1995. A detailed study of this remarkable small painting (8 x 6 1/8 in.) on copper, in a historical context that includes other depictions of the same subject.

Rashke, Wendy L., ed. The Archaeology of the Olympics: The Olympics and Other Festivals in Antiquity. Madison (and Chicago): University of Wisconsin Press, 1988. An informative collection of essays.

Slater, Philip E. The Glory of Hera: Greek Mythology and the Greek Family. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.  

Swaddling, Judith. The Ancient Olympic Games. 2d ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000.

Young, David. A Brief History of the Olympic Games. London: Blackwell, 2004.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD


Antoniou, Theodore (1935–). Ode, for soprano and chamber orchestra on the poem of Andas Calvos. Agorá AG 153. The poem is “to the Muses, fount of all inspiration.”
Also of interest on the recording: Circle of Thanatos and Genesis and Chorochronos II.

Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770–1827). The Creatures of Prometheus. Music for a ballet about the creation of mankind by Prometheus, ending with his apotheosis. Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Deutsche Grammophon 419 608 2; Martha Argerich et al., Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Abbado. Sony Classical SK 53978. Includes Liszt, Prometheus; Nono, Prometeo; Scriabin, Prométhée, Le Poème du feu.

Bliss, Arthur (1891–1975). The Olympians. Libretto by J. B. Priestley. Ambrosian Singers and Soloists, Polyphonia Orchestra, cond. Fairfax. Intaglio INCD 7552. Comic opera with a play within the play, The Comedy of Olympus, involving the amusing antics of Diana, Bacchus, Mars, and Jupiter.

Brahms, Johannes (1833–1897). Song of the Fates (Gesang der Parzen), for chorus and orchestra. Text by Goethe. Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, cond. Shaw. Telarc CD-80176. Included also are two other works of interest to classicists: Song of Lamentation (Nänie), which bewails the death of beauty, with references to Hades, Orpheus, Aphrodite and Adonis, Achilles, and Thetis. Text by Goethe; and Song of Destiny (Schicksalslied). Text by Hölderlin. Campra, André (1660–1774). Hébé. Cantata for soprano and continuo. Nicolas, cond. Chapuis. Pierre Verany PV.786101 (distr. Harmonia Mundi). Includes Achille Oisif, Arion, Daphné, Didon.

Chadwick, George Whitefield (1854–1931). Euterpe: Concert Overture for Orchestra. The Louisville Orchestra, First Edition Encores, cond. Mester. Albany Records TROY 030-2 (includes Converse, Endymion’s Narrative.). Also Nashville Symphony Orchestra, cond. Schermerhorn, Naxos 8.559117 (includes Melpomene and Thalia).

———. Melpomene: Concert Overture for Orchestra. Detroit Symphony Orchestra, cond. Neeme Järvi. Musical Heritage Society 5171997. Also Nashville Symphony Orchestra, cond. Schermerhorn, Naxos 8.559117 (also includes Euterpe and Thalia).

———. Thalia: Concert Overture for Orchestra. Nashville Symphony Orchestra, cond. Schermerhorn, Naxos 8.559117 (also includes Euterpe and Melpomene).

Christiné, Henri (1867–1941). Phi-Phi. De Rieux et al. Orchestra, cond. Bervilly. Accord 4465 886-2. Comic operetta about Phi-Phi (the sculptor Pheidias), Pericles, and Aspasia.

Dillon, Lawrence (1959–). Furies and Muses. Cassat String Quartet. Albany Records Troy 513. This quartet is inspired by the concept that the Furies and the Muses represent “both aspects of the same goddess in her creative and destructive stages.”

Holst, Gustav (1874–1934). The Planets. The Toronto Symphony, cond. Davis. EMI CDC 547417. Although Holst explains that his work is inspired by astrology and not mythology, it is difficult not to think of the gods when listening to “Mars, the Bringer of War” and “Mercury, the Winged Messenger.”

Hovhaness, Alan (1911–2000). String Quartet No. 1, Jupiter. The subtitle “Jupiter” is derived from Mozart’s Symphony no. 41, which also includes a four-voiced fugue. Hovhaness’s fugue was reworked for orchestra to become Prelude and Quadruple Fugue. The Shanghai Quartet. Delos DE 3162; Prelude and Quadruple Fugue. Delos DE 3157. Many recordings are readily available of the familiar Jupiter symphony of Mozart.

Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista (1710–1736). L’Olimpiade. Bizzi et al. Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Armiliato. Arkadia CDAK 129.3. The setting of this opera is the Olympic Games, and the plot is inspired by Herodotus’ tale of Cleisthenes of Sicyon and the suitors of his daughter.

Pichel, Wenzel (1741–1805). Symphony in D Major, Mars and Symphony Concertante in D Major, Apollo. The Ordea Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Rîmbu. Olympia OCD 434.

Porter, Cole (1891–1964). Out of This World. Greenwood et al. Original Broadway cast recording. Sony Broadway SK 48223; Martin et al. Also the 1995 original New York cast recording from City Center’s Encores, Great American Musicals in Concert. DRG Records 94764. This delightful musical, loosely based upon the legend of Amphitryon, includes an amusing view of Olympus with clever songs for Jupiter (“I Jupiter, I Rex”), Hera (“I Got Beauty”), and Mercury (“They Couldn’t Compare to You”).

Rameau, Jean-Philippe (1683–1764). Platée. Sénéchal et al. Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, cond. Rosbaud. EMI CMS 7 69861 2. In this operatic comedy, Platée is a reed-nymph who through the trickery of Mercury believes that Jupiter wants to marry her.

Schubert, Franz (1797–1828). “Dithyrambe” and “Die Götter Griechenlands” (songs about the Olympian gods); “Ganymed” (Ganymede’s ecstatic hymn, with text by Goethe, extolling his loving union with his beloved god the father); “Der Musensohn” (a song sung by a poet, son of the Muses); “Uraniens Flucht,” a lengthy song set amidst the festive life of Zeus and the gods and recounting the dramatic return of Urania (a goddess as conceived by the poet Mayhofer). The Hyperion Schubert Edition 14. Hampson, McLaughlin, and Johnson. Hyperion CDJ33014 (for “Die Götter Griechenlands” and “Uraniens Flucht”); Fischer-Dieskau and Moore. Deutsche Grammophon 437 215-2. Vol. 1 (for “Ganymede”), Vol. 2 (for “Dithyrambe,” “Die Götter Griechenlands,” and “Der Musensohn”).

Scott, Cyril (1879–1970). Symphony No. 3, The Muses, with Chorus. BBC Philharmonic, cond. Torchinsky. Chandos CHAN 10211. The four movements depict Melpomene, Thalia, Erato, and Terpsichore. Includes Neptune.

Theodorakis, Mikis (1925–). Ode to Zeus, from Canto Olympico. Boston Pops Orchestra, cond. Williams. Sony SK 62620. Commissioned in 1992 for the Olympic Games in Barcelona, this ode is an appeal to Zeus to honor the victors.

Williams, John (1932–). Summon the Heroes. Boston Pops Orchestra, cond. Williams. Sony Classical SK 62592. An orchestral piece on this album (with this title) that includes other music about the spirit of the Olympic Games. Also by Williams: Olympic Fanfare and Theme and The Olympic Spirit. The other selections: Carl Orff, “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana; Leo Arnaud, Bugler’s Dream; Theodorakis, “Ode to Zeus” from Canto Olympico (see entry above); Michael Torke, Javelin; Leonard Bernstein, Olympic Hymn; Dmitri Shostakovitch, Festive Overture; Vangelis, Conquest of Paradise (Theme); Miklós Rózsa, “Parade of Charioteers” from Ben Hur; Josef Suk, Toward a New Life.

Wolf, Hugo (1860–1903). “Ganymed.” Song, like Schubert’s, using Goethe’s poem. Holzmair and Palm. Collins Classics 14022.

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The Ancient Olympics: Athletes, Games & Heroes (Video Lecture Series Volume II). Documentary by David Gilman Romano of the University of Pennsylvania Museum. A multifaceted introduction to the ancient Olympics through a study of sculpture, painting, and contemporary scenes of athletic competition. Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Cincinnati.

Down to Earth. Rita Hayworth stars in this film as the muse Terpsichore, who comes to Earth to make a Broadway producer (Larry Parks) fix a new musical because she is irate that she is portrayed as too modern and sexy. Directed by Alexander Hall. Sony Pictures.

The First Olympics. A compilation of three TV documentaries: The First Olympics (a visit to the ruins of ancient Olympia); Blood and Honor at the First Olympics (the competitions of boxers, runner, and charioteers); The Greek Gods (from Aphrodite to Zeus). The History Channel.

The Greek Gods. Documentary. The History Channel.

In the Paths of the Gods. A documentary series of eight videos on the gods: Zeus, King of the Gods; Athene and Aphrodite; Dionysus, The Joy of Life; Demeter, The Miracle of Fertility; Poseidon, Master of the Seas; Artemis, The Forces of Nature; Apollo, Light and Harmony; Ares and Eris. Films for the Humanities. The primary asset of this series is the narrator, Peter Ustinov.

The Muse (In Goddess We Trust). A movie directed by Albert Brooks, with Sharon Stone, an extravagant and eccentric muse who makes extraordinary demands upon a screenwriter, Albert Brooks, in return for the creative inspiration she can bestow. USA Home entertainment.

Myth, Man & Metal. Bronze Sculpture of Ancient Greece and Rome. An illustrated video lecture by Carol C. Mattusch. Video Lecture Series, Vol. 3. Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Cincinnati. The creativity of Hephaestus (Vulcan) provides an introduction for the subject.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Fox 2000 Pictures. This screen adaptation of the popular novel by Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief (the first of a five book series) inevitably bears characteristics similar to those of the Harry Potter books and movies (in fact the director, Chris Colombus, was also responsible for the first two Potter films). The young hero, Percy (Logan Lerman), is a dyslexic demi-god (his father being the deity Poseidon and his mother a mortal), who has so many adventures embodying  major themes in classical mythology that it is difficult to decide in which Chapter this epic should be listed. Percy’s teacher is the centaur, Chiron (Pierce Brosnan). He goes on a quest for the stolen lightning bolt of Zeus and forestalls a catastrophic war among the gods; he embarks on yet another quest for the blue pearls that will allow him to rescue his mother successfully in the fantastic realm of Hades and Persephone (the entrance being in Hollywood), accompanied by a mischievous satyr and a daughter (!) of Athena, a heroine counterpart, valiant helper, and romantic interest.  Very “cool” for a young audience, yet plenty of action and startling special effects to amuse audiences of all ages, e.g. the beheading of Medusa (Uma Thurman), the eating of Lotus cookies, entailing an eventful delay in Las Vegas, and a battle with a hydra in the Parthenon in Nashville. Olympus, the home of the gods is not the top of a mountain but a splendid structure high above the Empire State building. Students of mythology should enjoy making critical assessments of this contemporary and youthful manipulation of Greek Mythology.

Platée, by Jean-Philippe Rameau. Paul Agnew et al. Orchestra and Chorus of Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, cond. Marc Minkowski. Stage director, Laurent Pully. Kultur. Amusing comic opera about Jupiter’s amorous nature. Mercury decides to punish Juno’s unrelenting jealousy by devising a scheme whereby Jupiter is involved with Platée, an extremely amorous and ugly nymph, determined upon seduction. In 2000 the production of the New York City Opera, staged by the choreographer Mark Morris, was a great success.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. One is the statue of Zeus at Olympia and another, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, both illustrated and discussed with theatrical flair for a popular audience. Questar Video.

Xanadu (1980), directed by Robert Greenwald. A remake of Down to Earth as a vehicle for Olivia Newton-John, a muse who, this time, helps two friends open a roller disco (Gene Kelly also stars). Universal Studios.

A series of short films about the gods and other topics has been written, produced, and directed by Gregory Zorzos and a catalogue of titles is available from Amazon.com

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