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Classical Myth

Ninth Edition

Barry B. Powell

Publication Date - 31 July 2020

ISBN: 9780197528020

744 pages

A best-selling text for classical myth, now proudly published by Oxford University Press


For decades, Classical Myth has been one of the most popular and best-selling texts for the study of classical myth. Oxford University Press is proud to publish this essential book in a vibrant new ninth edition, complemented by digital learning resources that further enhance the reader's engagement with the classical past.

Visit www.oup.com/us/he/powell9e for a wealth of new digital teaching and learning resources.

Package this text at a discount with one or more of the author's translations of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid--all pubished by Oxford University Press--or with any title in the Oxford World's Classics series. Please contact your OUP sales representative to set up a package.

New to this Edition

  • An eBook with links to flashcards, chapter quizzes, note-taking guides, and full-color reproductions of all the photos in the text
  • PowerPoint slides and a test-item file, available to adopters at https://oup-arc.com
  • Several streamlined and reorganized chapters that make the text even more accessible
  • A completely revamped art program, with many new and improved images
  • Many new translations and an updated bibliography
  • A greatly reduced price that makes the text more affordable and accessible


  • A best-selling text, written by a renowned scholar and teacher
  • Explores the historical development of classical myth
  • Shows how the study of classical myth is closely connected to the study of the roots of Western culture
  • Stresses the importance of interpretation in the study of myth and encourages students to engage with multiple perspectives that can be brought to bear on the same topic
  • "Perspectives" features examine the uses of classical myth in the medieval, Renaissance, and modern periods
  • Offers modern translations of many of the most essential sources in classical myth
  • Enhanced by more than 200 illustrations, including reproductions of vase paintings, sculpture, architectural monuments, and other works of art from the ancient and modern worlds
  • Includes thirteen maps, twenty tables, and guides for pronouncing difficult terms and names
  • An access code, included with every new copy of the text, provides students with integrated digital learning resources, including a full-color eBook, quizzes, and flashcards
  • A Companion Website at www.oup.com/he/powell offers a Test Item File and PowerPoint lecture slides for instructors

About the Author(s)

Barry B. Powell is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught classical mythology for over thirty years.


"Classical Myth is the best of its kind."--David J. Schenker, University of Missouri

"This text is accessible to students at all levels of engagement. I am consistently pleased with the translations--easy for students to grasp, while maintaining the essence of the original meaning."--Heather Pollock, University of Akron

"Classical Myth is not excessively sophisticated for my 100-level students, yet it challenges them to explore beneath the surface of myths."--Elaina Wida, California State University, Long Beach

Table of Contents

    List of Perspectives
    List of Maps
    List of Charts
    List of Figures

    Part I. Definitions and Background
    1. The Nature of Myth
    2. The Cultural Context of Classical Myth
    3. The Development of Classical Myth
    Part II. Divine Myth
    4. Myths of Creation I: The Rise of Zeus
    5. Myths of Creation II: The Origins of Mortals
    6. Myths of Zeus, His Wife Hera, and His Brothers Poseidon and Hades
    7. Myths of the Great God Apollo
    8. Myths of Hermes, Pan, Hephaestus, and Ares
    9. Myths of the Female Deities Aphrodite, Artemis, and Athena
    10. Myths of Fertility I: Demeter and Related Myths
    11. Myths of Fertility II: Dionysus
    12. Myths of Death: Encounters with the Underworld
    Part III. Legends
    13. Introduction to Heroic Myth: The Mesopotamian Legend of Gilgamesh
    14. Perseus and Myths of the Argive Plain
    15. Heracles
    16. Theseus and the Myths of Athens
    17. The Myths of Crete
    18. Oedipus and the Myths of Thebes
    19. Jason and the Myths of Iolcus and Calydon
    20. The Trojan War
    21. The Fall of Troy and Its Aftermath
    22. The Return of Odysseus
    Part IV. Roman Myth
    23. Legends of Aeneas
    24. Legends of Early Rome
    Part V. Interpretation
    25. Theories of Myth Interpretation
    Reference Charts
    Chronology of the Ancient World
    The Greek and Roman Pantheon
    Index and Glossary

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