Best Greek Mythology Books

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 5, 2020
If you are into fictional retellings of ancient myths and Greek myths are among your faves, in our selection of the best Greek mythology books, you will surely find something that'll catch your fancy, no matter if you are an experienced mythology reader or a newbie. So, check it out and find some new interesting read. ...Read more ...Read less
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BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
TITLE AND AUTHOR
BOOK TYPE
NUMBER OF PAGES/ FILE SIZE
PUBLISHER
 
PROS

In this book, the author skillfully lays down Greek, Roman, and Norse myths. The deeds of Odysseus and Heracles, the Trojan War, and many other stories are brought to life and described in detail on its pages. 

CONS

It might be hard to follow the timeline in some spots.

OUR VERDICT

Edith Hamilton's Mythology is a bestseller with millions of copies sold worldwide that have become a piece of classics. This edition is a celebration of the book's 75th anniversary that has all chances to become a collector's item. And a hardcover version with Jim Tierny illustrations will make an excellent gift to any myth fan.

detailed parameters
TITLE AND AUTHOR

Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Edith Hamilton

BOOK TYPE

Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, MP3, CD

NUMBER OF PAGES/ FILE SIZE

384 pages / 57267 KB

PUBLISHER

Black Dog & Leventhal; Illustrated edition (September 26, 2017)

PROS

With the deities, heroes, and monsters skillfully and freshly described as if they are still alive, you'll fall in love with this book from the very first page. And detailed pictures literally interpret the text.

CONS

The sound quality of the audio leaves something to be desired.

OUR VERDICT

In print for over 50 years, the Book of Greek Myths by D'Aulaires is a perfect introduction to Greek mythology for different generations. It will enthrall younger readers and keep adults captivated while an essay about the authors' lives and their family pictures add a personal touch to it.

detailed parameters
TITLE AND AUTHOR

Greek Myths, Ingri d'Aulaire

BOOK TYPE

Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, Audio CD

NUMBER OF PAGES/ FILE SIZE

208 pages / 279054 KB

PUBLISHER

Doubleday Books for Young Readers; Illustrated Edition (October 19, 1962)

PROS

Classic Greek myth plots are laid down in a comprehensible and easy-to-understand manner engaging little readers. Meanwhile, informative references to historical, geographical, and cultural facts bring an educational effect.

CONS

Some words are a bit too advanced for the age group.

OUR VERDICT

The book is a compilation of the most popular Greek myths from the National Geographic Kids series written in an engaging lyrical manner and accompanied by amazing illustrations on each broadside that will make stories even more fascinating. Bright, catchy, and filled with interesting details, the book makes a great gift for a school kid.

detailed parameters
TITLE AND AUTHOR

Treasury of Greek Mythology, Donna Jo Napoli

BOOK TYPE

Hardcover, Kindle

NUMBER OF PAGES/ FILE SIZE

192 pages / 95651 KB

PUBLISHER

National Geographic Kids (October 11, 2011)

PROS

The book is smartly organized and divided into 4 big sections, including Gods, Goddesses, Spirits, and Nymphs; Heroes, Heroines, and People; Monsters, Prodigies, and Hybrid Creatures, Places and Landmarks. There is also a short appendix of gods, a glossary of sources, and an index.

CONS

A few descriptions look like basic summaries of characters, events, or locations. 

OUR VERDICT

Classical Mythology A to Z is an entire Greek mythology encyclopedia. Informative and highly detailed, it describes not only widely-known deities and mythic characters but also less popularized antique characters familiar to only avid mythology fans. Beautiful both from the inside and from the outside, the book is a great keepsake and a gift idea. 

detailed parameters
TITLE AND AUTHOR

Classical Mythology A to Z, Annette Giesecke

BOOK TYPE

Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, Audio CD

NUMBER OF PAGES/ FILE SIZE

376 pages / 36828 KB

PUBLISHER

Black Dog & Leventhal; Illustrated Edition (October 6, 2020)

PROS

Some popular ancient stories are viewed and presented from an absolutely new angle. Thus, the story of Achilles and the Trojan War is told from the perspective of his goddess mother.  The book also provides answers to how we got the names of many of our constellations and stars.

CONS

The reader might come across some typographical and grammatical errors in the text.  

OUR VERDICT

The book is a well-structured mythology guide written in an easy narrative manner.  Mixing fantasy and mythic stories with real historical events, the author seeks to intrigue the reader, get them interested, and induce them to learn. Written in rather simple and understandable language and containing a big collection of myths, the book is a good choice for beginners. 

detailed parameters
TITLE AND AUTHOR

Greek Mythology, Lance Hightower

BOOK TYPE

Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

NUMBER OF PAGES/ FILE SIZE

242 pages / 369 KB

PUBLISHER

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 16, 2015)

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Edith Hamilton Mythology:

An Immortal Greek Mythology Hit

There are books that become bestsellers straight away and carry their popularity through generations. Mythology by Edith Hamilton is one of such books. First published in 1942, it has sold millions of copies worldwide since then and become a piece of mythology classics. Having been favored by readers for decades, today, this book is available in all most popular formats including CD, MP3, and Kindle edition as well as prestigious hardcover and mass-market paperback formats. So, whether you are an old-fashioned bookworm or a modern reading fan, it will get you covered.

Myths have long outlived their creators and are still a part of our lives. Edith Hamilton took it as a basis when making up her mythology compendium and brought to a modern reader a precious collection of Greek, Roman, and Norse myths that are considered the keystones of the whole Western culture. You’ll meet the Greek deity pantheon of Olympus and Norse gods in Valhalla, read the legendary stories of Odysseus and Jason, and immerse in the drama of the Trojan war.

While making her myth research, the author drew inspiration from the timeless pieces of poetry from Homer, Sophocles, and Aeschylus. However, in retelling traditional myths, Hamilton not only throws dry facts at the reader but also provides context and her own outlay, with a lot of focus on heroes. As you read, you'll discover the origins of many names and constellations and come across references to modern works of art and literature. In the meantime, the prose is lucid and clear while the overall tone is poetic and evocative. Although some general understanding of the topic is needed, there is no need for deep or specific knowledge, making this book great for beginner adult readers.

Review of Edith Hamilton Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes

A Thing of Beauty

The book version under this review is a deluxe hardcover copy printed to celebrate the book’s 75th anniversary and the publishers did their best to make it a thing of beauty. Under a gorgeous cover with ethnic images and the title in traditionally styled letters are 384 thick laminated pages with legible texts and vivid pictures that won’t fade over time. As compared to previous editions, this book is complete with wonderful colored illustrations that appeal to your imagination.

Made up of full-format pages, the book is chunky and might seem rather heavy to hold. However, neatly bound and looking very professional, it’s well worth some extra weight. As such, it’s a real gem that will take a decent place on your bookshelf and make a perfect gift for collectors, mythographers, and anyone interested in myths.

To cut a long story short, Mythology by Edith Hamilton is a literary masterpiece and an immortal hit that can serve as a golden standard to evaluate other mythology books.

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ASIN 0316438529

 

Ingri d'Aulaire Illustrated

A Perfect Intro to Greek Myths

Created thousands of years ago by people living in a whole different era, myths will never lose their value. Despite huge technological progress, today, people don’t seem to change too much and face the same psychological and personal problems as their ancient predecessors. So, the moral these tales bring is still up-to-date. And if you are looking for a starting point to begin an exciting mythology journey, D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths will suit you to a tee.

The book is deemed to be a piece of timeless classic for adults and kids alike, and deservedly so. Built around the most famous legends and tales of ancient Greece, the selection of myths in this edition is greatly systematized. It starts with Gaia and Uranus followed by Cronos, proceeds to Zeus with the rest of the major Olympian gods, and then goes down to other minor mythic creatures and mortals. With all the inherent brutal weirdness of myths, D’Aulaires managed to retell them in a carefully worded and refined style with a slight touch of humor and present them in an enthralling and evocative manner. The language is not too simplified and relatively sophisticated, so it is still understandable for older kids above eight years old.

Yet, what makes this book really shine is skillful and incredibly detailed portraits of deities, heroes, and monsters, giving an impression they are still alive and making the stories even more engaging. Those descriptions are further enhanced and supported by numerous vivid illustrations that literally interpret the text. They range from character images to drawings of ancient Greece maps to pictures of constellations and mythical events. Bright and lavish, some of those illustrations are page-size and work great to visualize the mythic scenes and let the reader plunge into the ancient atmosphere.

Review of Ingri d'Aulaire Illustrated D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

With a Personal Touch to It

Just like many other mythology books, D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths has its signature style and is infused with the authors’ voice and passion for myths. Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire were a married couple and worked together for years, which might be the main reason why the text and illustrations are ideally synchronized and make up an entire work of art. Cherished by several generations of readers, the book has seen multiple publications and the present edition is one of the latest. It comes with an updated cover and has some personal touch to it giving us a sneak-peek into the author’s life. In the afterword, the reader will find a brief essay about D’Aulaires’ work, some photos from their family archive, and their drawings that have never been published before.

In short, initially created for younger readers, the book is much loved by smaller kids and teens and is greatly appreciated by adults who seek some light and enthralling mythology read.

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ASIN 0440406943

 

Donna Jo Napoli Illustrated

One of the Best Greek Mythology Children's Books

Most kids like monsters, non-real beings, and fantastic creatures that dwell in a fascinating and wonderful fairytale world. And only a few of them know that many mythic characters of modern stories originate from Greek mythology characters that are larger than life. Hence, if you want to introduce your kids to Greek myths in an interesting and fun way, Treasury of Greek Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli is one of the best mythology books for children.

Part of the National Geographic Kid series, this book is the result of the fruitful and successful collaboration between award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli and award-winning illustrator Christina Balit, two people who did their best to make those timeless classic stories attractive and understandable for little readers. The language used is free from fancy and complicated words and is very poetic, making up the lucid and flowy narration. Meanwhile, a family tree and the characters’ profile help smaller readers trace the relationships between characters as well as their origins.

Kids are visual learners. Knowing this, the book abounds in bright, vivid, and catchy illustrations that will immediately draw the attention of young readers. Full-body images and detailed portraits of mythological figures, as well as pictures of associated symbols, are drawn in splendid Art Deco style mixing sharp lines with a rich and flashy color palette.

Review of Donna Jo Napoli Illustrated Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters

For Fun and for Education

An eye-catching cover and magnificent illustrations will engage kids’ imagination straight away and induce them to read the stories. Speaking of which, the selection of tales targets to provide little readers with a broad grounding on classic Greek myths. The stories introduce kids to the creation of the universe out of Chaos, twelve Olympian gods, and their heroic mortal offsprings, as well as the most popular mythology monsters and the devastation of the Trojan war. While keeping all sex aspects inexplicit, the author clearly lays out all family lines and personal relations and smartly highlights the nature of both the gods and the heroes.

Each story is adorned with sidebars depicting gods, heroes, and monsters that set links between myth and astronomy, geography, history, and modern culture. Giving a generalized view on ancient Greek tales, the book will leave inquisitive minds intrigued and encourage them to learn more by connecting myths to real-life events and places or seeking additional information about certain historical facts.

To wrap it up, Treasury of Greek Mythology from National Geographic is a great storybook on Greek mythology specifically created for kids. An easy-to-read and engaging text coupled with vibrant illustrations will leave no little reader indifferent.

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ASIN 1426308442

 

Annette Giesecke Classical Mythology A to Z:

An Entire Mythology Encyclopedia

If you are real big on Greek mythology and want to dig deeper behind the stories themselves to learn what stands behind and look into the character origins, Classical Mythology A to Z by Annette Giesecke is an absolute must-have for you.

Based on Greek mythology, the book is neither a compendium of classical stories retold nor a storybook. In fact (and as the title suggests), it is a reference guide or an encyclopedia on Greek and Roman mythology that contains brilliant explanations of gods, characters, places, events, and locales you come across in myths. To add more, those are not the kind of generalized and often shallow explanations provided in many other popular mythology books but clear, full, and detailed descriptions that provide answers to many questions that throw us back to the ancient world. Besides, apart from well-known gods, deities, and heroes, the book provides references to less popular antique characters and mythic creatures only some most avid mythology fans are familiar with.

To continue, Classical Mythology A to Z is perfectly and smartly organized, just like any good reference guide should be. It is divided into four big sections including chapters on Gods, Goddesses, Spirits, and Nymphs; Heroes, Heroines, and People; Monsters, Prodigies, and Hybrid Creatures, Places and Landmarks. Meanwhile, a short appendix of gods and a thought-out index will become a great helping hand to find the needed reference or info quickly and without a hassle. Further on, there is a comprehensive glossary of sources where you can find some more details or trace how some stories have changed over time. And several family trees throughout the book will help you see how many characters relate to each other.

Review of Annette Giesecke Classical Mythology A to Z: An Encyclopedia of Gods & Goddesses, Heroes & Heroines, Nymphs, Spirits, Monsters, and Places

Written by a True Expert

An author that stands behind this comprehensive and interesting encyclopedic mythology guide not only has a good writing skill but also is a true expert in the subject. Annette Giesecke is a Philosophy Doctor and Professor of Classics at the University of Delaware. Being a scholar actively engaged in studying the ancient world and its culture, she knows everything about antiquity. So, you can rest assured the data and knowledge she shares in her mythology book are authentic, true-to-life, and reliable. Though not a bundle of stories, this book will make a perfect companion reference guide to navigate you through gorgeous works of Homer and Hesiod or a Mythology bestseller by Edith Hamilton. As a result, you’ll get a deeper insight into the story roots and have a better understanding of characters and events.

All in all, Classical Mythology A to Z by Annette Giesecke is one of the fullest and most complete reference guides on mythology. Written by an experienced mythology specialist, it comes packed into a beautiful design that makes it a great idea for a gift and a nice keepsake.

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ASIN 0762470011

 

Lance Hightower Greek Mythology:

For Beginner Mythology Readers

Whether you have a youngster with Greek mythology reading being his or her hobby or you are interested in the subject yourself and want to get an easy and quick kickstart on Greek myths, the Greek Mythology book by Lance Hightower has a lot to offer.

To start with the contents, on 242 pages, the book is a decent collection of stories that will provide a full overview of ancient mythology, covering all the core Greek myths and legends. You’ll get a fascinating sneak-peek into the genealogy of proverbial Greek goods tracing their lineage from the elemental beings at the creation of the universe to titans, Olympian deities, and down to mortal heroes. This way, you’ll be able to study the mythological hierarchy to better understand relations between characters and look into the roots of each story.

When it comes to the stories themselves, they are written in a light narrative manner, are not loaded with fancy terms and notions, and are free from intricate words and phrases specific for academic works. Some readers find the author’s style a bit amateurish, however, targetting younger audience and novice mythology readers, the book is both easy-going and decently informative.

For your maximum convenience, the book is available in different formats, including a compact paperback version, Kindle edition, and an audiobook. So, whether you are a traditional book fan who likes turning pages or a modern digital reader, you can easily take this book with you and enjoy captivating fantastic stories wherever you go and whenever you have a spare minute to read.

Review of Lance Hightower Greek Mythology: Greek Gods, Goddesses, Heroes, Heroines, Monsters, And Classic Greek Myths Of All Time

With an Eye on a Learning Aspect

Greek mythology is the cradle of knowledge pertaining to ancient civilizations that gave a start to multiple cultural studies and investigations that will never stop. And since the times of their occurrence, Greek myths have penetrated many spheres of human life and still continue to live there. Mythology is a rich learning source and so is this book by Lance Hightower.

Mixing fantasy with true historical events in an intriguing way, myths help us see the philosophy of antiquity, and the author in his turn masterfully reveals the morale of each story. Many modern dominant religions root back to views, beliefs, and thinking of the ancient world as well as many artists, poets, and musicians seek inspiration in mythology. Besides, Greek myths provide simple explanations to some complicated issues and show how seemingly trifle action or deeds can lead to unexpected heavy consequences. Mythology intervenes in many sciences and the book will help you trace that impact.

To end it up, though not a scholar work, Greek Mythology by Lance Hightower is a piece of enjoyable read for beginners that will be an informative mythology guide and enable the reader to view some mythology plots from a different perspective.

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ASIN B018W2E39Q

 

What Is a Greek Mythology Book?

Mythology is something that has kept people fascinated for centuries and still provokes us to think today. A myth is a kind of legend or story built around some hero or event. Being a part of ancient culture, myths reveal the secret of existence and the universe through the mysterious forces of nature and the power of gods. In literature, myths refer to a folklore genre and, once told by ancient people, they were integrated into the works of famous ancient writers and have survived to this day mostly because our craving for the unknown and fabulous is as strong as it was centuries ago.

Myths are found in any culture, but Greek myths are the most famous. They are more than just wondrous tales about supernatural characters. Through gripping stories about titans and epic adventures of courageous heroes where people live and fight side by side with the gods, and the gods are not the only supreme power in the universe, Greek myths allow us to learn the history of entire civilizations, better understand their thoughts and beliefs, trace their views and apply them to our modern life.

Today, books about Greek mythology are compilations of most popular Greek myths created both for avid readers who are deep into mythology reads and those who have only decided to immerse into a captivating world of ancient mythology. The most famous tales from Greek mythology are those about Odysseus, Jason, Theseus, Prometheus, Perseus, Amazons, Pandora, Sisters of Fate, Hercules, Oedipus, etc.

And if you are a fan of puzzling and mystic stories, we are sure mystery books will also come to your liking.

What Features to Compare

Mythology read is different from many other fiction books on your bookshelves. Hence, it is not enough to know that it’s a folklore genre (and do not let it confuse you). As such, the genre is a secondary aspect when choosing a mythology book. So, we’ve made a list of things to consider to ease and guide your choice.

Author

Myths are the stories that have already been told and written down in the ancient Greek language. Thus, what we have in English are the versions translated and retold by contemporary authors. In other words, you’ll read the story through the eyes of the writer and perceive it from his or her point of view. That is why it is important to know who the book author is, look into their background, and learn some of their biographies to see if you share the author’s vision and general approach. Many mythology books are often written by historians and scientists who dedicated their lives to studying Greek myths and searching for their gist.

Complexity

Greek mythology books stand somewhere in between fiction and serious historical reads and fall into different groups categorized by complexity. There are classic bestsellers simply retelling the legendary myths in an unbiased manner that are good for all times and types of readers. Then, there's kind of scientific work focused on analysis and abounding in the author’s comments to provide some sort of subjective view that might be greatly appreciated by those who are real big on mythology and study it on a professional level. And finally, you will come across books created specifically for beginners who are new to this and are eager to learn more. Such stories are usually accompanied by footnotes with explanations of terms and notions a reader might be not familiar with.

Writing Style

The writing style is important in view of the fact that Greek mythology books are available for different age categories of readers including adults, teens, and even smaller kids. Ordinarily, legendary stories for the smallest are written in plain and simple language, while books targeted at an adult audience will likely have an abundance of complex words and advanced terms. 

Layout

Mythology books greatly depend on illustrations. Good pictures help the reader plunge into the ancient atmosphere and better visualize the scenery and people from that time. Bright, vivid, and interesting illustrations will light up your imagination, draw you in, and make the read even more fascinating.

Book Format

Modern books are more than paperback and hardcover samples. They also come in a digital Kindle format and are available in Audiobooks and on CDs. The choice here fully depends on your preference and is a matter of personal convenience and habit. While hardcover samples are an excellent gift idea, digital versions will take no place in your bag and are more convenient for on the go read.

Did you know?

Roman vs Greek Mythology: Know the Difference

Both ancient Greeks and Romans had their myths that took origins many centuries ago. With that, though, Greek mythology is much older and has existed long before Roman myths even occurred. So, in a way, Roman myths and legends were adopted from Greek mythology with a projection of their own time- and culture-appropriate values. Many modern readers view those myths as similar, with the only difference being in the names and some minor changes in stories. However, descriptive, elaborate, and very close in storytelling, Greek, and Roman myths have a number of major differences and distinctive features.

  • The biggest difference is in the overall concept. While Greek mythology focuses more on explaining the essence of existence, Roman myths are a source and basis of their religion. So, the tales approach the same events and actions from a bit different perspective.

  • Greek mythology personalized gods and often indued humans with divine powers while setting a clear line between life and death. Hence, in Greek myths, mortals participated in dangerous battles and adventures and performed deity deeds on earth. Roman mythology, on the other hand, believed in the afterlife and disregarded heroic deeds and feats of mortals.

  • Mortals in Greek and Roman mythology lived different lives. Greek gods had a supreme status the mortals couldn’t attain. People could only deserve the honor of gods by good works during their time on earth. Instead, in Roman culture, deities were kind of motivators for people to live the right way and become like gods or get a better life after death. In fact, this is what stands behind pretty much any contemporary religion.

  • The images of gods and goddesses in Greek and Roman myths are not the same. Thus, the Greeks view deities as beautiful and gorgeous beings with a human appearance. Gods were perfect creatures in everything, from their bodies to their deeds. Meanwhile, Romans had less do to with personification and more to do with some sort of formless divinity enabling the readers to imagine how those gods could look like.

The Core of Greek Mythology

Greek mythos come in numbers, yet by and large, there are two basic pillars the myth storylines stick to.

  • The Olympians. The center of Greek mythology is a pantheon of gods living on Olympus mountain, which is the highest Greek peak, from where they rule the world. All in all, there are twelve Olympian gods who look like men and women. Headed by the king of gods Zeus, they refer to different natural forces or essential values.

  • Human Heroes and Monsters. The stories about deities interweave with tales about adventures and deeds of mortal heroes who fight monsters to save mankind. Those monsters are often hybrids of humans and animals like harpies, cyclopes, minotaurs, gorgons, etc.

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Publish Date: 2020-11-05 15:09:49