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Gods, Heroes, and Monsters

A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation

Second Edition

Carolina López-Ruiz

Publication Date - 15 June 2017

ISBN: 9780190644819

672 pages
6 x 9 inches

In Stock

A sourcebook that places the study of classical myth in a wider geographical and historical context


Offering an expansive view of the ancient Mediterranean world, Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation, Second Edition, presents essential Greek and Roman sources--including work from Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, and Ovid--alongside analogous narratives from the ancient Near East--Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Hittite kingdom, Ugarit, Phoenicia, and the Hebrew Bible. Some of the sources appear here in English translations for the first time.

This collection stresses cultural continuities and comparisons, showing how Greek and Roman myths did not emerge in a vacuum but rather evolved from and interacted with their counterparts in the ancient Near East. Reinforcing this more inclusive definition of "classical," it is organized thematically, which allows readers to excamine each category of myth in a comparative and cross-cultural light. For example, "Part III: Epic Struggles: Gods, Heroes, and Monsters" provides sources that feature Greek heroes like Heracles, Apollo, Achilles, and Hector along with the Epic of Gilgamesh and other ancient Near Eastern selections that focus on the hero.

Gods, Heroes, and Monsters, Second Edition. shows how the literature, inhabitants, and intellectual traditions of Greece and Rome and the ancient Near East were inextricably intertwined. The book is enhanced by a vibrant, full-color, 16-pg. photo insert, and many new translations by editor Carolina López-Ruiz and others.

New to this Edition

  • Features more mythological sagas from Apollodorus' Library and additional excerpts from his other work, including the stories of Deucalion, Dionysus, Bellerophon, Kadmos, and Tiresias
  • Supplements the texts on a legendary Golden Age of mankind with an excerpt from Virgil's Georgics
  • Includes two texts that relate to myths from Phoenicia and the western Mediterranean respectively: the foundation of Tyre (from Nonnus' Dionysiaka) and the story of the kings of the Tartessians, Gargoris and Habis (from Justin's Epitome)
  • Adds an excerpt from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh in a new translation, with a unique description of the Underworld
  • Integrates Plato's myths throughout the text instead of setting them aside in a separate section

About the Author(s)

Carolina López-Ruiz is Associate Professor of Classics at The Ohio State University. She is the author of When the Gods Were Born: Greek Cosmogonies and the Near East (2010), the coauthor of Tartessos and the Phoenicians in Iberia (OUP, 2016), and the coeditor of Colonial Encounters in Ancient Iberia: Phoenician, Greek, and Indigenous Relations (2009).


"Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths successfully reflects the current trend in Classical Studies toward viewing the ancient Mediterranean as an interconnected world, one in which people and texts circulated widely. By bringing such a rich variety of texts and mythological traditions together in translation, this collection will make it possible to offer introductory students a rich and complicated view of the ways in which the different cultures of the ancient Mediterranean interacted and influenced each other over time."--Carol Dougherty, Wellesley College

"In 1984, Walter Burkert argued that Greek myths ought to be viewed in a broad Near Eastern perspective. In this important new volume, Carolina Lopez-Ruiz presents a unique compendium of Egyptian, Hittite, Ugaritic, Biblical, Greek, and Roman sources that enable us to study the connections further. It includes many rarely or never before published texts in English enhanced by authoritative introductions and organized in novel ways that strike a good balance between student accessibility and high-level scholarship."--Nanno Marinatos, University of Illinois at Chicago

"This is an excellent sourcebook. Its main strengths are the great variety of sources included, ranging from the familiar to the less well-known; the outstanding translations introduced with up-to-date scholarship; and the extremely useful study aids: the detailed timeline and maps, the glossary of terms, and the bibliography with copious suggestions for further reading organized thematically."--Gary Matthews, North Carolina State University

"This title is, by a wide margin, the best anthology of its kind available. Among its many strengths: historical and cultural breadth of selections, the use of recent and new translations, the thematic organization rather than chronological or cultural, the use of the term 'Yaweh' in biblical selections where it occurs in the Hebrew, the use of both literary and epigraphic sources, and its affordable price."--Thomas M. Bolin, St. Norbert College

"Lopez-Ruiz has created an outstanding resource for the study of Classical mythology in a wider historical and geographical framework. With authoritative introductions placing each document in context, solid translations, and helpful annotations, this volume provides a convenient way to introduce students to the Mediterranean and Near Eastern antecedents of ancient Greek and Roman myths."--Deborah Lyons, Miami University (Ohio)

"Lopez-Ruiz's sourcebook is a very fine and wonderfully ample collection of mythological texts from the ancient Mediterranean area that will certainly facilitate the study and comparison of Greco-Roman and Near Eastern mythological themes and narratives. The timeline, introductions, notes, and bibliography are quite helpful and very well done."--William Hansen, Indiana University, Bloomington

"Gods, Heroes, and Monsters empowers students by granting them direct access to ancient mythological literature. The accurate, modern translations are contextualized by scholarly introductions that feature the current state of research on the various texts. Each section includes Greek, Roman, Near Eastern, and Egyptian texts grouped according to carefully chosen themes. This book will be an essential resource for any instructor wishing to teach ancient mythology in a manner that emphasizes sources and documents, yet remains accessible and enjoyable for undergraduates."--Marie-Claire Beaulieu, Tufts University

Table of Contents

    List of Maps
    List of Figures
    Note on Text Arrangement, Transliterations, and Chronology
    About the Editor
    1.1. Babylonian Epic of Creation: Enuma Elish
    1.2. Theogony of Dunnu
    1.3. Egyptian Cosmogonies
    1.3.a. The Memphite Theology: Ending of the Shabako Stone
    1.3.b. "A Hymn to Life": Coffin Texts Spell 80
    1.3.c. Excerpt from The Teachings for Merikare
    1.4. God's Creation, from the Book of Genesis 1
    1.5. Hesiod's Theogony
    1.6. The Demiurge, from Plato's Timaeus
    1.7. Orphic Cosmogony: The Derveni Papyrus
    1.8. Short Cosmogony in Apollonios of Rhodes' Argonautika
    1.9. Phoenician Cosmogonies
    1.9.a. Philon of Byblos: Excerpts from the Phoenician History
    1.9.b. Phoenician Cosmogonies Mentioned by Damaskios
    1.10. Creation Myth in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 1
    1.11. Two Short Cosmogonies, from Virgil's Aeneid and Eclogues
    1.11.a. A "Tyrian" Cosmogony, from Aeneid, Book 1
    1.11.b. Cosmic Song of Silenus, from Eclogues 6
    2.1. Mesopotamian Flood Stories
    2.1.a. Atrahasis
    2.1.b. Flood Story from the Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet XI
    2.2. Egyptian Texts on the Creation and Destruction of Mankind
    2.2.a. Excerpts from the Coffin Texts
    2.2.b. Excerpt from the Book of the Heavenly Cow
    2.3. Adam and Eve, from Genesis 2-3
    2.4. The Story of Noah, from Genesis 6-9
    2.5. Hesiod's Prometheus, Pandora, and Five Races of Mankind, from Works and Days
    2.6. The Creation and Attributes of Mankind, from Plato's Protagoras
    2.7. Deukalion and Pyrrha: The Greek Flood, from Apollodorus' Library
    2.8. The Ages of Mankind and the Flood, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 1
    2.9. Virgil's Golden Age, from the Georgics, Book 1
    2.10. An Orphic Anthropogony
    3.1. The Epic of Gilgamesh (selections)
    3.2. The Disputes between Horus and Seth
    3.3. Egypt: Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor
    3.4. Hittite Myths
    3.4.a. Anatolian Myth of Illuyanka
    3.4.b. The Hurro-Hittite Kumarbi Cycle
    3.5. Ugaritic Epic Poems
    3.5.a. The Baal Cycle
    3.5.b. The Aqhat Epic
    3.6. Yahweh as a Storm God: Psalm 29
    3.7. David and Goliath: 1 Samuel 17
    3.8. Homer's Gods and Heroes in battle: Iliad, Book 5
    3.9. Apollo's Journey: The Homeric Hymn to Apollo
    3.10. Dionysos' many faces
    3.10.a. The Homeric Hymn to Dionysos
    3.10.b. The opening of Euripides' Bacchae
    3.10.c. Dionysos' birth and wanderings, from Apollodorus' Library
    3.11. Jason and the Argonauts, from Apollodorus' Library
    3.12. Argive Heroes: Bellerophon, Perseus, and Herakles, from Apollodorus' Library
    3.12.a. Bellerophon and the Chimaera
    3.12.b. Perseus' adventures
    3.12.c. Herakles' life and labors
    3.13. The Theban Saga: Oedipus and the Seven against Thebes, from Apollodorus' Library
    4.1. The Foundation of a Heliopolis Temple by Senusert I
    4.2. The Hurro-Hittite Song of Release (Destruction of the City of Ebla)
    4.3. Cain and Abel: Genesis 4
    4.4. The Tower of Babel: Genesis 11
    4.5. Abraham's Test, from Genesis 22
    4.6. Moses and the Israelites' Escape from Egypt, from the Book of Exodus
    4.7. The Sargon Legend
    4.7.a. The Sumerian Sargon Legend
    4.7.b. Neo-Assyrian Sargon Birth Legend
    4.8. Birth of Cyrus the Great, from Herodotos' Histories
    4.9. The Foundation of Cyrene
    4.9.a. Herodotos on the Foundation of Cyrene
    4.9.b. Cyrene in Pindar, Pythian Ode 5
    4.10. Athens and Atlantis, from Plato's Timaeus and Kritias
    4.11. Theseus, an Athenian civic hero
    4.11.a. Theseus' exploits, from Apollodorus' Library
    4.11.b. The unification of Attica, from Plutarch's Life of Theseus
    4.12. Kadmos, Europa, and the foundation of Thebes
    4.12.a. The foundation of Thebes, from Apollodorus' Library
    4.12.b. The "Rape of Europa" and the foundation of Thebes, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Books 2-3
    4.13. Tyre's Foundation Story, from Nonnos' Dionysiaka
    4.14. The Foundation of Carthage
    4.14.a. Carthage's Foundation, from Justin, Epitome of Trogus
    4.14.b. The Dawn of Carthage in Virgil's Aeneid, Book 1
    4.15. Gargoris and Habis: Culture heroes in the western Mediterranean, from Justin, Epitome of Trogus
    4.16. The Foundation of Rome
    4.16.a. Beginning of Rome, from Livy's History of Rome, Book 1
    4.16.b. Romulus and Remus, from Plutarch's Life of Romulus
    5.1. Ishtar and Gilgamesh: Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet VI
    5.2. Story of the Two Brothers
    5.3.Joseph and Potiphar's Wife: Genesis 39
    5.4. Aphrodite and Anchises: The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
    5.5. Medea and Jason, from Euripides'Medea
    5.6. The origins of Love according to Aristophanes, from Plato's Symposium
    5.7. Teiresias: A transgendered seer, from Apollodorus' Library
    5.8. "Hymn to Venus," from Lucretius' De rerum natura
    5.9. Aeneas and Dido, from Virgil's Aeneid, Books 1 and 4
    5.10. Pasiphae and the Cretan Bull
    5.10.a. Minos, Pasiphae, and the Bull, from Apollodorus' Library
    5.10.b. Pasiphae's Passion, from Ovid's Ars Amatoria
    5.10.c. Minos and the Bull, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 8
    5.11. Theseus and Ariadne
    5.11.a. Ariadne's Fate, from Plutarch, Life of Theseus
    5.11.b. Ariadne to Theseus: Ovid, Heroides 10
    5.12. Phaedra to Hippolytus: Ovid, Heroides 4
    5.13. Penelope to Ulysses: Ovid, Heroides 1
    5.14. Hermaphroditus, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 4
    5.15. Cephalus and Procris, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 7
    5.16. Hyacinth and Apollo, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 10
    5.17. Pygmalion's Statue, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 10
    5.18. Myrrha and Cinyras, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 10
    5.19. Caenis-Caeneus, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 12
    5.20. Achilles at Skyros, from Statius' Achilleid
    5.21. Cupid and Psyche, from Apuleius, The Golden Ass, Books 4-6
    6.1. Sumerian poem Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld (Excerpt)
    6.2. Gilgamesh and the Underworld: Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablets X-XI
    6.3. Ishtar's Descent to the Underworld
    6.4. Great Hymn to Osiris
    6.5. The Fight between Re and Apep, from the Book of the Dead
    6.6. Isis and Osiris, from Plutarch's De Iside et Osiride
    6.7. Odysseus' Nekyia in Homer, Odyssey, Book 11
    6.8. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter
    6.9. Instructions for the Hereafter: An Orphic Gold Tablet
    6.10. The story of Er, from Plato's Republic
    6.11. Adonis, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 10
    6.12. Orpheus and Eurydice, from Virgil's Georgics, Book 4
    6.13. Aeneas' Katabasis, from Virgil's Aeneid, Book 6
    6.14. The Dream of Scipio, from Cicero's De re publica
    6.15. Psyche's Descent to the Underworld, from Apuleius, The Golden Ass, Book 6
    Glossary of Technical Terms
    Index of Places and Characters

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