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Gods, Heroes, and Monsters

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

Carolina López-Ruiz

Publication Date - July 2013

ISBN: 9780199797356

656 pages
6 x 9 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $24.95

The first and only sourcebook that places the study of classical mythology in a wider historical and geographical context


Setting itself apart from typical anthologies in classical mythology, Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation 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 examine 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.

Offering a uniquely expansive view of the ancient Mediterranean world, Gods, Heroes, and Monsters 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. Ideal for undergraduate courses in Classical Mythology, it is also captivating reading for the general public.

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) and the coeditor, with M. Dietler, of Colonial Encounters in Ancient Iberia: Phoenician, Greek, and Indigenous Relations (2009). Dr. López-Ruiz is currently preparing a monograph, with S. Celestino, on the pre-Roman culture of Tartessos in the Iberian Peninsula (OUP, forthcoming 2014).


"In this generously filled volume, Carolina López-Ruiz has produced a wonderfully rich and wide-ranging selection of texts for the study and enjoyment of mythical themes from the ancient world: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Hittite Anatolia, Syria and Palestine, and Greece and Rome. The volume incorporates various maps and illustrations and a 'Timeline' in five parallel columns that enables readers to place the material from the different areas in its chronological contexts."--Martin L. West, All Soul's College, University of Oxford

"Gods, Heroes, and Monsters 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 the introductory student 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

"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 at last 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)

"An outstanding collection of ancient mythological sources, which juxtaposes the well-known Greek and Roman stories with contemporary and earlier literary texts from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Ancient Near East. The Greek sources alone would justify using the book in a mythology course; the quality and range of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Hittite, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Hebrew sources in it is without equal. This well-organized book will enable teachers to broaden their scope beyond a narrow definition of the Classical, without giving up the use of expertly translated primary sources. It presents mythology as a dynamic, evolving, infinitely varied field where individual authors and age-old common 'knowledge' interact across political, social, and linguistic barriers. The beautiful English translations show a rare combination of meticulous scholarship and literary sensitivity."--Naama Zahavi-Ely, College of William and Mary

"López-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. Mesopotamia: 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. Excerpts from, The Teachings for Merikare
    1.4. God's Creation, from the Book of Genesis 1
    1.5. Hesiod's, Theogony
    1.6. Orphic Cosmogony: The Derveni Papyrus
    1.7. Phoenician Cosmogonies
    1.7.a. Philon of Byblos: Excerpts from the, Phoenician History
    1.7.b. Phoenician Cosmogonies Mentioned by Damaskios
    1.8. Cosmogony in Aristophanes', Birds
    1.9. Short Cosmogony in Apollonios of Rhodes', Argonautika
    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. Ovid's Ages of Mankind and the Flood, from, Metamorphoses, Book 1
    2.7. An Orphic Anthropogony
    3.1. The, Epic of Gilgamesh (selections)
    3.2. The Disputes between Horus and Seth (from the, Pyramid Texts and papyri)
    3.3. Egypt: Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor
    3.4. Hittite Myths
    3.4.a. Anatolian (Hattic) Myth of, Illuyanka
    3.4.b. Hurro-Hittite Narrative Song: 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
    3.8.a. The Aristeia of Diomedes: Iliad, Book 5
    3.8.b. Odysseus and the Cyclops: Odyssey, Book 9
    3.9. Apollo's Journey: The, Homeric Hymn to Apollo
    3.10. Dionysos in Disguise
    3.10.a. The Opening of Euripides', Bacchae
    3.10.b. The, Homeric Hymn to Dionysos
    3.11. The Exploits of Perseus, Herakles, and Theseus, from Apollodorus', Library
    3.11.a. Perseus
    3.11.b. Herakles
    3.11.c. Theseus
    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. The Israelites' Escape from Egypt, from the Book of Exodus
    4.7. The Sargon Legend
    4.7.a. The Sargon Legend (Sumerian Text)
    4.7.b. Sargon Birth Legend (Neo-Assyrian Text)
    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. The "Rape of Europa" and the Foundation of Thebes, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Books 2-3
    4.11. Theseus' Unification of Attika, from Plutarch's, Life of Theseus
    4.12. The Foundation of Carthage
    4.12.a. Foundation Legend, from Justin,, Epitome of Trogus
    4.12.b. Aeneas' Arrival at Carthage, from Virgil's, Aeneid, Book 1
    4.13. The Foundation of Rome
    4.13.a. Beginning of Livy's, History of Rome, Book 1
    4.13.b. Romulus and Remus, from Plutarch's, Life of Romulus
    5.1. Ishtar and Gilgamesh: Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet VI
    5.2. King Snefru and the Oarswomen
    5.3. Egypt: Story of the Two Brothers
    5.4. Joseph and Potiphar's Wife: Genesis 39
    5.5. Aphrodite and Anchises: The, Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
    5.6. Medea and Jason, from Euripides', Medea
    5.7. "Hymn to Venus," from Lucretius', De rerum natura
    5.8. Aeneas and Dido, from Virgil's, Aeneid, Books 1 and 4
    5.9. Pasiphae and the Cretan Bull
    5.9.a. Minos, Pasiphae, and the Bull, from Apollodorus', Library, Book 3
    5.9.b. Pasiphae's Passion, from Ovid,, Ars Amatoria, Book 1
    5.9.c. Minos and the Bull, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Book 8
    5.10. Theseus and Ariadne
    5.10.a. From Plutarch,, Life of Theseus
    5.10.b. Ovid,, Heroides 10
    5.11. Hippolytus and Phaedra: Ovid,, Heroides 4
    5.12. Penelope and Ulysses: Ovid,, Heroides 1
    5.13. Hermaphroditus, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Book 4
    5.14. Cephalus and Procris, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Book 7
    5.15. Hyacinth and Apollo, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Book 10
    5.16. Pygmalion's Statue, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Book 10
    5.17. Myrrha and Cinyras, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Book 10
    5.18. Caenis-Caeneus, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Book 12
    5.19. Achilles at Skyros, from Statius,, Achilleid, Books 1-2
    5.20. Cupid and Psyche, from Apuleius,, The Golden Ass, Books 4-6
    6.1. Gilgamesh and the Underworld: Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablets X-XI
    6.2., Ishtar's Descent to the Underworld
    6.3. Great Hymn to Osiris
    6.4. The Fight between Re and Apep, from the, Book of the Dead
    6.5. Isis and Osiris, from Plutarch's, De Iside et Osiride
    6.6., Telipinu: An Anatolian Myth about a Departed God
    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. Cybele and Attis, from Arnobius,, Adversus Nationes, Book 5
    6.11. Adonis, from Ovid,, Metamorphoses, Book 10
    6.12. Orpheus and Eurydice, from Virgil,, Georgics, Book 4
    6.13. Aeneas', Katabasis from Virgil, Aeneid, Book 6
    6.14. The, Dream of Scipio, from Cicero, De re publica, Book 6
    6.15. Psyche's Descent to the Underworld, from Apuleius,, The Golden Ass, Book 6
    7.1. The Demiurge, from the, Timaeus
    7.2. Anthropogony, from the, Protagoras
    7.3. The Atlantis Myth, from, Timaeus and
    7.4. Aristophanes' Speech on Love, from the, Symposium
    7.5. The Myth of Er, from the, Republic
    Glossary of Technical Terms
    Index of Places and Characters