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Hellenic Polytheism Books

So, @somethingreekish asked what books I used in terms of Hellenic reading material/sources. I thought, I should just make a post about it!

Note: This is not an in-depth review and does not cover any potential faults of the books or their authors in regards to Hellenic polytheism. 

I’mma tackle these in order of readability. The further it goes, the more intensive the reading level. I’ll also include ISBNs if you are interested in finding them online. (Or better yet, your local independent bookstore, if you have one!)

100 Characters from Classical Mythology
by Malcolm Day
ISBN: 9780764160066

This book is basically an easy-to-read collection of one-page profiles on most of the well-known deities in Greek mythology. It acknowledges the kinship of the Greek and Roman pantheons, and will often explicate the differences. It has lots of nice photos of statues and plenty of classical artwork to accompany, not to mention the Gods’ family tree. The book is divided into sections: Primordial Gods, Olympian Gods, Descendants of the Titans, and Heroes.

Greek Mythology 
by Katerina Servi
ISBN: 9789602133736

I actually obtained this one in the gift shop of the Acropolis Museum in Athens. It’s written by Katerina Servi, a Greek archaeologist. It’s honestly very similar to the first book, but the family tree is more developed, and almost all of the art is photos of sculptures and terra cotta paintings (like the cover, above)! It’s even divided into sections similarly. 

The Greek Myths
by Robin Waterfield
ISBN: 9780857382887

Okay, hear me out… this is a retelling of the Greek myths that is incredibly reader-friendly. If you’re looking for a palatable collection of myths that isn’t nearly as *ahem* dry as the few below, this is a great middle ground. Whenever I wish I had my own collection of religious texts and stories to revisit, I open this book. Think of it as a collection of “Books” of faith for Hellenics. Plus, it is gorgeously designed and has tons of lovely paintings and photos of sculptures within!

Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths?: An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination
by Paul Veyne
ISBN: 0226854345

WAIT DON’T CUT MY HEAD OFF YET, HEAR ME OUT. This is a philosophical and historical essay on Hellenism and how the collective human experience and belief can produce things greater than itself. I know that sounds a tad blasphemous, but honestly it’s really interesting, and I’ve always tried to maintain a healthy level of skepticism in every aspect of my life! I still believe nothing is above a scrutinizing eye. A quote from the back: “Truth is not found, but created, as is history.” 

The Iliad & The Odyssey
by Homer
ISBN: 9781607102120

Agamemnon, Achilles, Odysseus… I don’t think I need to explain why I bought this! This is a really nice edition though, it’s hardcover and has gilded pages. Just good to have for reference. I wouldn’t call them easy reads, though.

The Library of Greek Mythology
by Pseudo-Apollodorus of Athens
ISBN: 9780199536320

Aaaand here at the bottom of the “light reading” pile is this lovely gem. It’s one of the oldest libraries still in print to survive since 2nd century Greece, and is generally considered one of the most true-to-context books of Hellenism. It’s got a few maps, some crazy complex family trees, and (thankfully) lots of explanatory notes in the back. Polytheists who use Theoi.com will be familiar with how the text reads, as it’s one of their most-referenced and -quoted sources.

That’s all! I hope someone found this list helpful to start out with, although I know this is only the tip of the iceberg of possibilities for adding to your own library! Just thought I could give you some candid feedback from someone who owns the above titles.

Happy reading!

PART TWO