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Classical Mythology
Classical Mythology by Elizabeth Vandiver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve loved Classical Mythology since I was 12. I loved the stories of these childish and petulant gods, their petty schemes and squabble. And the adventures of their various heroic offsprings, triumphant or tragic they may be. I swallowed them whole (like Cronos with his children).

I didn’t know what I was expecting when I purchased this thing. Did I want to hear the stories read to me? Did I want the Trojan War brought to life? This course isn’t that, but an examination of the theories and studies of classical myth at a level that I had never imagined. The students of the arts are probably facepalming themselves right now. Seriously, the sort of parallels that can be garnered from the reading of the stories have been nothing but astonishing to me. I certainly learned a great deal, the behind-the-scenes working of the stories, and how they can be interpreted.

I was surprised to learn about the heavy influence Ovid had on Shakespeare. Learned about how, despite the strong females gods prominent in classical mythology, ancient Greeks still valued boys higher than girls, men more valuable than women. The wholesale adoption of the Greek gods by the Romans, except for a major, wholly Roman god Janus.

This bears a second listening, as now I’m beginning to understand how some of the book reviewers actually critique works of literature, the method, if you will, of deconstructing a piece of work and apply layers of current reality that fits into the picture.

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