The Mythology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

The Mythology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

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Eighty of the world’s greatest myths and characters, from the gods of Greek mythology to the Norse heroes, retold and explained with engaging text and bold graphics.

From early creation stories to classical hero narratives and the recurring theme of the afterlife, experience each myth and unravel the meanings behind the stories, getting to the heart of the importance of mythology to different cultures worldwide. More than just stories, myths are a testament to the amazing creativity of humans striving to explain and make sense of the world around them. Here you will discover Zeus, god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods, and Loki, the cunning trickster with a knack for causing havoc, aided by his ability to change shape and gender. Beyond the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greek, Roman, and Norse myths, this book delves into the stories of the Australian aborigines, the Cherokee, and the Aztecs, each brimming with amazing characters and insights into human existence.

This newest title in the bestselling Big Ideas series pairs engaging visual style with global coverage of world myths–profiling everything from the well-known tales of the Greeks, Norsemen, and Egyptians to the legends of the Caribbean, the Americas, Oceania, and East Asia–bringing the wisdom of the ages to life.

From the Publisher

Preserving Myths

The line between literature, myth, and folktale is blurry; many myths have been preserved as literary works. The popular tales of King Arthur are rooted in Celtic myth, while the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the great works of Hindu mythology, are celebrated masterpieces of epic poetry.

 

 

 

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, rises from the Plain of Thessaly. Thessaly was the site of the decade-long war the Titans fought against Zeus and his siblings.

The Abduction of Persephone

Hades kidnaps Persephone in a field of daffodils in British artist Walter Crane’s The Fate of Persephone (1877). The horses rear up between a sunlit world and ominous darkness.

Aeschylus

Revered as the father of tragedy, Aeschylus was an early Greek dramatist—one of three, along with Euripides and Sophocles, whose works survive and are still performed.

The Sibylline Books

The three books of prophecies known as the Sibylline Books were one of ancient Rome’s greatest treasures. They were kept in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill and consulted at times of crisis.

The Weaving Match

Minerva wove a tapestry depicting the competition between herself and Neptune to be the protector of Athens. Arachne wove one showing the immorality of the gods.

Pygmalion

Pygmalion is mentioned in Greek sources as a king of Cyprus who fell in love with a cult statue of Aphrodite, but the familiar myth of Pygmalion the sculptor is only known to us from the Roman poet, Ovid.

The Adventures of Thor and Loki in Jötunheim

Although Thor’s strength, bravery, and dependability were renowned, the Norse god was also portrayed as rather slow-witted and easy to deceive. Many of the myths concerning Thor were humorous examinations of the limitations of brute strength.

Understanding the Universe

The mythology of the Americas is deeply bound with their indigenous peoples’ views on spirituality and religion. In particular, it shows the deep links between humanity, the natural world, and the cosmos.

 

 

 

Creating Nature

Spider Woman, also known as ‘Thinking Woman’ or ‘Spider Grandmother’ was a creator goddess, said to be as old as time, yet as young as eternity. To the Navajo, Spider Woman is also a teacher who gave the sacred art of weaving to humanity.

The Night Barque of Ra

Ra was god of the sun and also a creator god, who rose from chaos to create himself. Every day he crossed the heavens in a barque, or ship, the ‘Boat of Millions of Years’ bringing sun to the land.

Ta’aroa Gives Birth to the Gods

Before the cosmos was created, there was just a blank void. Amid this expanse of nothingness floated a huge egg-shaped shell. Inside was the feathered creator god, Ta’aroa, who had no mother or father.

 

The Mythology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

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