We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more


Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Primary Sources

Callim. Hymn 1
Here are located references to primary sources for the legend of Solon and Croesus, with a brief description of content.
Bacchyl. 3.15-62: Apollo and Croesus.
Diod. 9.2.1-9.2.5: Solon, Croesus, and Cyrus.
9.26.1-9.27.3: Croesus’ interview with Solon.
9.29.1-9.29.2: Croesus, Atys, and Adrastus.
9.31.3-9.34.1: Croesus defeated by Cyrus.
Hdt. 1.30.1-1.45.3: The Solon and Croesus episode.
1.46.1-1.56.1: Croesus and Delphi.
1.85.1-1.91.6: Cyrus’ capture of Croesus.
Hyg. 194: Arion.
Plut. Sol. 27.1-28.4: Solon, Croesus, and Cyrus; if you like, read the complete Life of Solon:  Plut. Sol. 1.
Xen. Cyrop. 7.2.9-7.2.29: Cyrus and Croesus.

Back to top

Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Secondary Sources


Raphael, Frederic. The Hidden I: A Myth Revised. Original drawings by Sarah Raphael. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1990. Novel. A new version of the myth of Gyges by a noted author. The legend of Gyges, who was forced to look upon the naked wife of King Candaules, is the first story that Herodotus tells in his History (1.8-13) and it is a gem.


The Pre-Socratics and Herodotus

Guthrie, W. K. C. The Greek Philosophers from Thales to Aristotle. New York: Harper & Row, 1960. A lucid introductory survey.

Raphael, Frederic. The Hidden I: A Myth Revised. Original drawings by Sarah Raphael. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1990. A new version of the myth of Gyges by a noted author.

Romm, James. Herodotus. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. An introduction to the historian that is appreciative of his literary art and the legends that it contains.

Wheelwright, Philip, ed. The Presocratics. New York: Odyssey Press, 1966. A helpful collection of English translations of Greek philosophical writings (with pertinent ancient testimony) from the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.

The Gods, Religion, and the Occult

Bremmer, J. N. Greek Religion. Greece & Rome. New Survey in the Classics, No. 24. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. An update of Burkert’s book, below.

Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion (English translation). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985.

———. Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

Connelly, Joan Breton. Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Detienne, Marcel, and Vernant, Jean-Pierrre. The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. Essays on blood sacrifice.

Dodd, David Brooks, and Faraone, Christopher A., eds. Initiation in Ancient Greek Rituals and Narratives: New Critical Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Dodds, E. R. The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951.

Dowden, Ken. Death and the Maiden: Girls’ Initiation Rites in Greek Mythology. New York: Routledge, 1989.

Drachmann, A. B. Atheism in Pagan Antiquity. Chicago: Ares Publishers, 1977 [1922].

Ferguson, John. Among the Gods: An Archaeological Exploration of Greek Religion. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Flower, Michael Attyah. The Seer in Ancient Greece. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

Garland, Robert. Introducing New Gods: The Politics of Athenian Religion. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1992. How the Athenians introduced new gods and cults, through political, economic, and spiritual motives.

Guthrie, W. K. C. The Greeks and Their Gods. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955. Still a reliable introductory survey of Greek religion.

Hinnells, John R. A Handbook of Ancient Religions. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Jaeger, Werner Wilhelm. The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers: The Gifford Lectures 1936. Translated for the Gifford Lectures from the German manuscript by Edward S. Robinson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.

James, E. O. Seasonal Feasts and Festivals. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1961.

Johnston, Sarah Iles. Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Harvard University Press Reference Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Kerényi, C. The Gods of the Greeks. New York: Grove Press, 1960.

Larson, Jennifer. Greek Nymphs: Myth, Cult, Lore. A comprehensive study from Homer through the Hellenistic period. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Leeming, David, and Page, Jake. Myths of the Male Divine God. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Through a comparative analysis of many mythologies, the authors trace the birth of the archetype (Trickster/Shaman/Animal Master) and its development (Divine Child/Goddess Consort/Dying God/Sky God and Earth Mate/ King God) and finally the theologized Creator God and universalized God as Self and God Within. The authors do the same for the archetype of the female divinity: Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine (2001).

Luck, Georg, ed. Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985. A collection of ancient texts, translated and annotated.

Marinatos, Nanno, and Hagg, Robin, eds. Greek Sanctuaries: New Approaches. New York: Routledge, 1995. Deals with origins, historical developments, and social functions of sanctuaries and particular cults in Archaic and Classical Greece.

Mikalson, Jon D. Athenian Popular Religion. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983. Subjects include divine intervention and divination, the gods and human justice, the afterlife, and piety and impiety.

Miles, Jack. God: A Biography. New York: Knopf, 1995.

Nilsson, M. P. A History of Greek Religion. 2d ed. New York: Norton, 1963. An excellent, scholarly introduction.

———. The Mycenaean Origin of Greek Mythology. New York: Norton, 1963 [1932].

Ogden, Daniel. A Companion to Greek Religion. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. Literature and Culture. New York: Blackwell, 2007.

Parker, Robert. Athenian Religion, A History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Pedley, John. Sanctuaries and the Sacred in the Ancient World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Price, Simon. Religions of the Ancient Greeks. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. A survey of the religious life of ancient Greece from archaic times to the fifth century A.D., drawn from literary, inscriptional, and archaeological evidence.

Otto, Walter Friedrich. The Homeric Gods: The Spiritual Significance of Greek Religion. Translated by Moses Hadas. London: Thames and Hudson, 1954.

Rice, David G., and Stambaugh, John E. Sources for the Study of Greek Religion. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1979. Translations of texts and inscriptions dealing with “The Olympian Gods,” “Heroes,” “Public Religion,” “Private Religion,” “Mystery Cults,” and “Death and Afterlife.”

Rose, H. J. Religion in Greece and Rome. New York: Harper & Row, 1959. Originally published as Ancient Greek Religion (1946) and Ancient Roman Religion (1948).

Sissa, Giulia, and Detienne, Marcel. The Daily Life of the Greek Gods. Translated by Janet Lloyd. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000 [1989].

See also the bibliography at the end of Chapter 1 for related Comparative Studies.

Back to top

Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD


Campra, André (1660–1744). Arion. Cantata for solo voice and orchestra. Mythologie: Cantates Françaises. Forget and L’Ensemble Arion. Analekta AN 28050. Also includes Clérambault’s Léandre et Héro and Orphée and Montéclair’s Pan et Syrinx.

Keiser, Reinhard (1674–1793). Croesus. Opera. Klietmann et al. Orchestre Baroque du Clemencic Consort, cond. Clemencic. Nuova Era 6934/35. Also Röschmann et al. Academy for Ancient Music Berlin, cond. Jacobs. Harmonia Mundi. Inspired by Herodotus’ story about Croesus, Solon, and Cyrus; the complete title is Croesus, Haughty, Fallen, and Again Exalted.

Korngold, Erich Wolfgang (1897–1957). The Ring of Polycrates. Wottrich et al. Deutsche-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, cond. Seibel. Of related interest, since this opera with its modern setting cleverly incorporates the legend of the tyrant Polycrates from Herodotus, which is similar to the legend of Croesus in its theme of the inevitability of fate.

Jenkins, Leroy (1932–). Off-Duty Dryad, for string quartet and dancer. CRI CD 663. A concert piece by this composer and jazz violinist, about a wood nymph, with choreographic allusions to Nijinsky’s ballet set to Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun.

——— Off Duty Dryad. The Soldier String Quartet. CRI CD 663.Written for a dancer portraying a wood nymph.

Matho, Jean-Baptiste (1663–1746). Arion. Tragedy in music. Vignau et al. Il Teatro Musicale, cond. Chauvet. Arcobaleno AAOC-94202. A fanciful story of the love of the musician and poet Arion for Irène, princess of Cythera, loosely based on Herodotus. Arion is saved from a storm at sea by Sirens and King Périandre learns from oracles that Arion is the son of Neptune and this tragic opera ends happily with the marriage of Arion and Irène.

Mozetich, Marjan (1948–). Songs of Nymphs. Erica Goodman Plays Canadian Harp Music. BIS CD-649. The four movements are Prelude, Reflection, Ritual, and Freedom. The composer explains: while composing “I kept yearning for a beauty and peace outside modern reality. I kept imaging idyllic settings in a classical, pagan world, the essence of nymphs and nature spirits rarely acknowledged in our overly rational times.”

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.

Respighi, Ottorino (1879–1936). The Naiad, for mezzo-soprano with orchestra. Subrata. Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Adriano. Marco Polo 8.223347. One of four lyrics (La Najade), from d’Annunzio’s Poema paradisiaco, also makes reference to Selene.

Sibelius, Jean (1865–1957). The Wood-Nymph (Dryad) tone poem or ballade for orchestra. Lahti Symphony Orchestra, cond. Vänskä. BIS-CD-815 (also Musical Heritage Society). Included on the recording is a shorter melodrama, for a small ensemble, with a narrator for a text by the Swedish poet Viktor Rydberg about a handsome lad whose heart is stolen away by a wood-nymph. Sibelius also wrote two other versions, a piano piece using the same musical themes and an earlier solo song that does not.

Zemlinsky, Alexander (1871–1942). King Candaules. Opera. O’Neal et al. Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, cond. Albrecht. Capriccio 60 071-2. After the play Le Roi Candaule, by Gide. The dramatic legend of Candaules and Gyges reiterates Herodotus’ themes of destiny and retribution.

Back to top

Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD


A History of God. Documentary: The History Channel.

The Lost Gods. Documentary about belief in deities though the centuries. Smithsonian Networks.

VHS video not yet on DVD
Hamadryad. Dance and Myth, The World of Jean Erdman. Part 1: The Early Dances. Includes The Transformations of Medusa. Erdman, dancer, choreographer, and director, was once a soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She is the widow of Joseph Campbell, who had a tremendous influence upon the development of mythological themes in modern dance. Mystic Fire Video MYS-76337.

Back to top

Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy
Please send comments or suggestions about this Website to custserv.us@oup.com