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Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold

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Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold PDF, ePub eBook The Greek myths are the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney. They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. In Stephen Fry's hands the stories of the titans and gods become a brilliantly entertaining account of ribaldry The Greek myths are the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney. They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. In Stephen Fry's hands the stories of the titans and gods become a brilliantly entertaining account of ribaldry and revelry, warfare and worship, debauchery, love affairs and life lessons, slayings and suicides, triumphs and tragedies. You'll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia's revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis. Thoroughly spellbinding, informative and moving, Stephen Fry's Mythos perfectly captures these stories for the modern age - in all their rich and deeply human relevance.

30 review for Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I don't know about any of you, but this one's a winner. Far from feeling like another dry recounting of a number of our favorite Greek myths, Fry's down-to-earth humor and traditional (modern) storytelling have turned these gods into something most relatable. I've read Edith Hamilton and Bullfinch's recountings and I've had the pleasure of countless other sources, but here's where Fry shines: he cherry-picks the very best stories and tells them so charmingly and naturally that I wouldn't be surpr I don't know about any of you, but this one's a winner. Far from feeling like another dry recounting of a number of our favorite Greek myths, Fry's down-to-earth humor and traditional (modern) storytelling have turned these gods into something most relatable. I've read Edith Hamilton and Bullfinch's recountings and I've had the pleasure of countless other sources, but here's where Fry shines: he cherry-picks the very best stories and tells them so charmingly and naturally that I wouldn't be surprised if most people would go out of their way to start their friends and family out with this, first. He does sacrifice breadth in favor of depth, but of course, that's a fine thing. These are some of the most amazing stories of the bunch. They're all told with intelligence, heart, and humor. Do I have a man-crush? Maybe. A little. But Fry has always been charming as hell. A must-read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    The funny thing about Greek mythology is its absolute brutal weirdness. And Stephen Fry totally gets it; he plays on it and as he re-tells it he injects it with so many witty comments. I mean, how could you not? It's waiting to be roasted. For example, Zeus rips his father Cronos' balls off and throws them to the other side of the earth. The fluid (cough cough) seeps out and thus Aphrodite is born. Once Cronos is defeated, his five children (that he formerly ate) are regurgitated and born anew. The funny thing about Greek mythology is its absolute brutal weirdness. And Stephen Fry totally gets it; he plays on it and as he re-tells it he injects it with so many witty comments. I mean, how could you not? It's waiting to be roasted. For example, Zeus rips his father Cronos' balls off and throws them to the other side of the earth. The fluid (cough cough) seeps out and thus Aphrodite is born. Once Cronos is defeated, his five children (that he formerly ate) are regurgitated and born anew. They then swear loyalty to Zeus, their liberator from perpetual digestion. On another occasion Zeus has a really bad headache and screams for hours and hours so the other gods decide to bash his head in with a hammer revealing yet another god: Athena. She emerges carrying a spear and is dressed for battle. This material is asking for a man like Stephen Fry. In a way, the book reminded me of Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. Both books follow the same concept: the reworking of ancient myths to present them to a modern audience without losing any of their originality. And I think it’s a great idea. Stephen Fry’s attempt carries much more of his own personality than Gaiman’s did. (Certainly not a bad thing.) His own voice really shone through and I could tell that he really enjoyed writing this. It may sound strange, but as amused as I was reading it, I know the author was more so penning it. The stories he presents here are by no means exhaustive, but they are a great introduction to the structure of the Ancient Greek hierarchy amongst the gods. And it’s surprisingly complex with the most powerful not being the one who has taken charge. Zeus is strong, but he would be nothing without his five regurgitated siblings who helped to secure his legitimacy over the Titans who are far older. What I do think the book needs is a contents page or something because I was not entirely sure what I was going into when I picked the book up. It’s easy to mislead readers, and it would have been good to know what myths and legends are not included. The part I found most interesting was the Promethean myth. This is a concept I’m quite fond of, having written on it a few times in academic work, and I did really like the way Fry described his friendship with Zeus before they had their fallout over humanity’s right (or lack thereof) to fire. And it got me thinking, how great would it be to read a novel purely about Prometheus. Madeline Miller’s recent novel Circe gave quite a bit of attention to him, though I’d love to see him as a protagonist. Hopefully one day someone will write it. This is a fun book, with many laugh out loud moments that probably capture exactly what you were thinking about the strangeness of some of the myths, Stephen Fry says exactly what he wants too and it’s definitely worth hearing. p.s- I listened to the audiobook (read by the author) which I think gave it an added edge.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    This is good enough to eat! Loooooooooooooooooooove it! Gosh!!! I'll try to savour it for as long as possible! Q: What misery can be so great that it causes you to go about half drowning honest ants? (c) Q: ‘You should ask yourself what brought you here,’ said Pan. ‘If it’s love, then you must pray to Aphrodite and Eros for guidance and relief. If your own wickedness caused your downfall then you must live to repent. If it was caused by others then you must live to revenge.’ (c) Q: What a business. Th This is good enough to eat! Loooooooooooooooooooove it! Gosh!!! I'll try to savour it for as long as possible! Q: What misery can be so great that it causes you to go about half drowning honest ants? (c) Q: ‘You should ask yourself what brought you here,’ said Pan. ‘If it’s love, then you must pray to Aphrodite and Eros for guidance and relief. If your own wickedness caused your downfall then you must live to repent. If it was caused by others then you must live to revenge.’ (c) Q: What a business. The god of love himself lovestruck. (c) Q: Her so-called beauty had always been a source of irritation to her. She hated the fuss and stir it caused, how oddly it made people behave in her presence and how freakish and set apart it made her feel. She had planned never to marry, but if she had to then a rapacious beast would be no worse than a tedious fawning prince with mooncalf eyes. The agony of its attentions would at least be over quickly. (c) Q: Her mother Damaris howled, shrieked and sobbed. King Aristides patted her hand and wished himself elsewhere. (с) Q: The sun shone down upon her. Larks called in the blue sky. She had pictured boiling clouds, shrieking winds, lashing rain and dreadful thunder as accompaniments to her violation and death, not this glorious idyll of late-spring sunshine and rippling birdsong. (c) Q: He is taking me to my doom. Well, at least it’s a comfortable way to travel.’ (c) Q: ‘Why, you are here, your highness.’ ‘And where is here?’ ‘Far from there but close to nearby.’ ‘Who is the master of this palace.’ ‘You are the mistress.’ (c) Q: All was laughter and delight at the wedding of Eros and Psyche. Apollo sang and played on his lyre, Pan joined in with his syrinx. Hera danced with Zeus, Aphrodite danced with Ares and Eros danced with Psyche. And they dance together still to this very day. (c) Uhhhh. My kind of ending! Q: Io may have been a cow, but she was a very influential and important one. (c) Q: Erechtheus had Athena as a proxy parent, Gaia as a mother and Hephaestus as a father. Three immortal parents could be regarded as overdoing it (and as boastfulness about their founder on the part of Athenians), but it was not uncommon for mortals to claim one such progenitor. (c) Q: ‘You are joking?’ ‘I sort of promised.’ ‘Well, sort of unpromise then.’ ... ‘I have spoken and so I have … er, spoken.’ (c) Q: In honour of Cygnus the young of all swans are called ‘cygnets’. (c) Q: No lesson, no matter how grim, ever seems to deter us. (c) Q: The seeding of Gaia gave us meaning, a germination of thought into shape. Seminal semantic semiology from the semen of the sky. I will leave such speculation to those better qualified, but it was nevertheless a great moment. (c)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I first heard of Stephen Fry many years ago, have since watched him debate with the Church and wander through dense jungles trying to find nearly extinct animals, listened to him bring one of my favourite magical worlds to life, and learned a great deal from him on what must be one of the best quiz shows on (British) television. Not to mention his influence on LGBTQ rights and the acceptance of mental health issues (he himself is suffering from at least one). He's been on radio programs, televis I first heard of Stephen Fry many years ago, have since watched him debate with the Church and wander through dense jungles trying to find nearly extinct animals, listened to him bring one of my favourite magical worlds to life, and learned a great deal from him on what must be one of the best quiz shows on (British) television. Not to mention his influence on LGBTQ rights and the acceptance of mental health issues (he himself is suffering from at least one). He's been on radio programs, television shows, and in movies. He knows so much about almost everything, out of a natural curiosity, and had a very ... interesting ... childhood/life so far. In short: the man is a national and international treasure and I'm a total fangirl. *swoons* Naturally, he is not without fault, but that - in a very ironic twist of fate - makes him so PERFECT a man to retell the Ancient Greek Myths. After all, if one looks at all the groups of gods from around the world and all kinds of eras, they are all flawed - but none more so than the Greeks with all their debaucheries (and, by extent, the Roman ones but they are mostly a copy of the Greek pantheon anyway). Funnily enough, the publication of Mythos this year coincides (and I'm told it really was a coincidence albeit a fortunate one) with the publication of Gaiman's retelling of the Norse myths. Thus, I now have TWO wonderful tomes detailing the essentials of two cultural influences on what is nowadays Europe (the name itself was taken from Greek mythology). The Greek culture (city states, first democracy, the victory over the Persians and thus Islam, their type of warfare, ...) is the root of almost all the European countries today and one can see it in many instances. Moreover, the Greek pantheon is probably the most well-known one. Many artists have immortalized the birth of Aphrodite (Venus) or the love between Amor and Psyche or Apollo driving his sun chariot across the sky or Zeus imprisoning the Titans. As is also typical for mythology, the myths explained seemingly unexplainable happenings back in the day while the gods showed the characteristics one could observe in any human. Fry cannot retell ALL the myths that have survived, of course, but he managed the almost Herculean task (see what I did there? :P) of selecting the ones for his book perfectly and not only bringing the myths to life with his incomparable voice (I listened to the audio because I can never resist the man), but to also retell the stories in a way that is simultaneously modern and tasteful - which makes this book so appealing. He seamlessly weaves in references to pop culture, literature and music (modern and classic) and modern politics, explains linguistic roots as well as the naming of many a constellation and elements and therefore gives a detailed but never boring lesson about why the Greek myths matter so much, even to this day. In doing so, he gives us a history of ourselves, where we come from, what shaped us. We start at the beginning, the creation myth (from Chaos to order) and then move on to the Titans. From there, it's only a small step to Zeus and his siblings overthrowing their parental generation and establishing/ruling Olympus and Hades, after which we humans are created. After that, the fun really begins! We are being introduced to the muses (after one of which - Thalia - I was named), monsters, heroes, gods, demi-gods, nymphs, centaurs, satyrs and all the rest that make up this colorful and vivid world. We learn about family relations, rewards and punishments (often it isn't even clear what is what). We learn about the comical stuff as much as about the drama, the wonderful stories as much as the horrible ones. Naturally, it will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever heard a Greek myth that most catastrophes are started by the Olympians getting up to no good (often in form of raping an immortal of some kind or a man or a women - female and male gods alike were quite indifferent to whether or not you wanted to be their consorts). The message clearly being that as a mortal you could only lose (even rape victims were the blamed parties and got punished by other, jealous, gods). What is the most interesting and satisfying aspect about this, however, is how timeless these stories are and how much they still translate to modern problems (believe it or not, the rape or seduction was often only the beginning, setting the stage to a whole world of other plots). I guess we haven't evolved all that much after all. Neil Gaiman was asked, after the publication of his book about Norse myths, if he would do another one about a different pantheon and he declined, saying that the Norse mythology was where his heart lay and any work about any other would therefore not be adequate. I firmly believe it's the same with Stephen Fry and Greek mythology (although greedy little bookworm as I am, I do want moremoremore). I cannot recommend this book enough as it is as vibrant as the Greek pantheon itself and Fry is not only very knowledgeable in the myths themselves but also in languages (that were greatly influenced by these myths) and history in general and you can feel the author's passion for these myths, his enthusiasm therefore being infectious. Moreover, he has a unique way of knowing just when and how to make you laugh, giving the overall retelling a lightness despite the heaviness of some stories. I am both enchanted and delighted and would even recommend this book before one of the classic sources like Bullfinch (in fact, I hope very much that THIS will also become one such classic over time).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    The most fun and entertaining book I've read in a very long time. Loved it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Luffy

    I'm happy to say that Fry's comforting, relaxed, and vibrant voice echoes through the entire book, even for those chapters reserved for humans, mainly. I know the author is very intelligent, and has never been accused of being a narcissist. Name dropping aside, I thought the book was far from committing the most wanton of sins, that is patronising. The tales of the Gods were unleashed by Stephen Fry on my unsuspecting mind. Imagine if he turned his talents to Hindu gods, or Inuit ones. The potent I'm happy to say that Fry's comforting, relaxed, and vibrant voice echoes through the entire book, even for those chapters reserved for humans, mainly. I know the author is very intelligent, and has never been accused of being a narcissist. Name dropping aside, I thought the book was far from committing the most wanton of sins, that is patronising. The tales of the Gods were unleashed by Stephen Fry on my unsuspecting mind. Imagine if he turned his talents to Hindu gods, or Inuit ones. The potential is there and the possibilities almost endless. Mythos is the kind of book that can be translated very well in all languages. I won't be surprised if heathens around the world would revive Greek myths and worship the Gods. These Gods are very human like. Just as bloodthirsty as the Abrahamic one, but with more sides to their cunning hearts. I learned a lot, it turned out I knew next to nothing about the minor adventures of these Olympians and Titans.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    4.5** So lucky to have found this book in the local library. Stephen Fry does a brilliant job of recounting the Greek myths- through describing the tales of gods, goddesses and creatures alike. This was a very informational read and I was able to build my knowledge on Greek myths and uncover more tales. Stephen Fry writes the book in such a way that it is not dry or boring (unlike some other informational books) and you can easily follow the myths and use your imagination. His writing can be rath 4.5** So lucky to have found this book in the local library. Stephen Fry does a brilliant job of recounting the Greek myths- through describing the tales of gods, goddesses and creatures alike. This was a very informational read and I was able to build my knowledge on Greek myths and uncover more tales. Stephen Fry writes the book in such a way that it is not dry or boring (unlike some other informational books) and you can easily follow the myths and use your imagination. His writing can be rather comical with his commentaries running throughout the book, and this just makes the book more captivating! He talks about most of the gods and their stories, as well as metamorphoses (which I loved!). His book contains all the Gods in their selfish and arrogant ways and the consequences this has on the people they meet. This book included some of my favourite myths, for example, I have always been intrigued by the story of Hades and Persephone. It was great to also be introduced to the Furies (I love the underworld and was especially curious of them). It was also great to learn more about the story of Arachne. Not only does he write about the myths but he also includes footnotes which provide extra information. For example, how some words are still used today, or how they were derived from Greek myth. Overall this was a very comprehensive read and fulfilled my curiosity of learning more about the Greek myths. I loved learning about the Greek myths when I was a child, and now as an adult, it is fantastic to read a book which reinforces this curiosity!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This was the perfect book to read over a very sunny and hot Bank Holiday. Covering the dawn of the Gods, through the golden and silver ages, this discusses a wide range of stories told in the usual Fry wit. It’s incredibly informative and well planned out, told in a more structured chronological order than I’m normally use to with these stories. And I’ve read a lot of these stories. There’s nothing new here if you’ve delved into Greek mythology, but I enjoyed Fry's take on them - and I really li This was the perfect book to read over a very sunny and hot Bank Holiday. Covering the dawn of the Gods, through the golden and silver ages, this discusses a wide range of stories told in the usual Fry wit. It’s incredibly informative and well planned out, told in a more structured chronological order than I’m normally use to with these stories. And I’ve read a lot of these stories. There’s nothing new here if you’ve delved into Greek mythology, but I enjoyed Fry's take on them - and I really liked the little addendums of information littered throughout that enhanced my knowledge of the Greeks and their language and lore. My favourite stories have always been those about hubris, or pride, and here we get a whole chapter dedicated to the various ways the Gods have punished those mere mortals who dare to challenge them, such as Arachne the great weaver and Marsyas the ill fated satyr. The stories are told in such a laid back way, that it’s easy for those familiar, and those who are new to the stories, to equally enjoy them. The Gods are described in such a colourful, fun way, that their distinct personalities leap from the pages and allowed me to fall in love with them all over again. If anything, this lacked the luscious tales of the later period dedicated to the great heroes of Odysseus, Perseus, Jason etc. I hope that Fry writes another volume to include these at some point because they for me really embody the overall epic feel of the Greek stories. However, this certainly has its place amongst other retellings.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Netta

    It is regrettable that Stephen Fry's talent to be effortlessly snobbish in a very appealing, charmingly British way, does absolutely no good to the subject of his book. The main problem with this book is that Fry's retelling of the myths of Ancient Greece is exactly what the title promises – it is the retelling of the myths of Ancient Greece with some supposedly witty (but more often irrelevant) remarks which can be easily omitted. The question is: Do we actually need one more retelling of Greek It is regrettable that Stephen Fry's talent to be effortlessly snobbish in a very appealing, charmingly British way, does absolutely no good to the subject of his book. The main problem with this book is that Fry's retelling of the myths of Ancient Greece is exactly what the title promises – it is the retelling of the myths of Ancient Greece with some supposedly witty (but more often irrelevant) remarks which can be easily omitted. The question is: Do we actually need one more retelling of Greek myths? No. Are we in desperate need of Fry's comments on well-known, beloved stories? The answer is, I'm afraid, no. While Neil Gaiman, writing his Norse Mythology tried to make it look like a comforting fairy tale, Fry simply retold what, I daresay, has already been told rather nicely.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nat K

    "Gods are nothing if not capricious." A riot of characters and colour burst from these pages. I cannot pretend to be any the wiser about Greek mythology, because, let's face it, there's a cast of thousands involved. And it's hard to keep track of them all. But I had a hell of a good time reading this. Wonderful escapism! In his imitable style, Stephen Fry brings to life the dawn of time, when gods and goddesses ruled the earth, heavens, seas & sky. He tells us about the squabbles, the jealousi "Gods are nothing if not capricious." A riot of characters and colour burst from these pages. I cannot pretend to be any the wiser about Greek mythology, because, let's face it, there's a cast of thousands involved. And it's hard to keep track of them all. But I had a hell of a good time reading this. Wonderful escapism! In his imitable style, Stephen Fry brings to life the dawn of time, when gods and goddesses ruled the earth, heavens, seas & sky. He tells us about the squabbles, the jealousies, the lusts. Just like humans, but with an eeny bit more power. He makes them real and relatable. Kind of like if Apollo and Zeus were living next door. It was fascinating to find that there are so many words we use everyday which are derived from the name of a powerful being or royal being or their offspring (think ocean, typhoon, electron,hygiene, cosmos, panacea, tantalized). There are scenes of violence & unspeakable acts of cruelty. Likewise sweet, sweet love. My favourite chapter was the one describing the creation of humankind. Basically, Zeus was "bored". As he said to his good mate Prometheus "... you have absolutely no idea how boring it is to be a god in a complete and finished world... I am cosmically lonely. Is this how it's going to be forever and ever now?" The solution? Zeus asks Prometheus to create a new race, modelled out of clay in the likeness of the gods "A subservient, adoring race of little miniatures." Unfortunately Zeus accidentally squashes some of the newly created statuettes, which is why we don't have green, violet or cobalt blue persons amongst us. Shame, but there you go. Even gods stuff up sometimes. I also loved the tale of "Echo", who revelled in love and found joy in other's finding love. "It delighted her to ease the path of lovers everywhere." Sadly for Echo, her naïveté led her to unwittingly life to Zeus' wife Hera, who was busy having another tryst. In revenge, Hera took away Echo's power of speech "You will have no power to reply except to repeat the last thing which has been said to you." This is where echo (echo...echo...) comes from. Darn Zeus, bit of an all round bad boy. Stand back ladies and gents. I cannot begin to imagine how much effort went into writing this, there's so much information in this book. There are oodles of "fun facts" and more weighty matters revealed via footnotes. I learnt so much! From serious information to the humorous and whimsical. To top it all off, all of this is done without the book turning into a massive academic yawn. This book is FUN. You can tell Stephen Fry had a blast writing it. His wit, humour & intelligence shine through. Thoroughly readable and immensely enjoyable. I can't recommend it enough. Go on, go and hang with the gods for a while 🎉

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    As always, Stephen Fry proves to be a wonderful narrator, bringing life, humour, and modernity into these age old stories. Certainly, Jeremy Kyle's show has nothing on the incessant sexual escapades, jealousy, deceit, love, and revenge that fuel the tales, which are essentially one long list of who had sex with who and what children were born of it. Sometimes listening to it in big chunks was almost too much, it is perhaps a book best dipped into so that each mini story has a greater impact- oth As always, Stephen Fry proves to be a wonderful narrator, bringing life, humour, and modernity into these age old stories. Certainly, Jeremy Kyle's show has nothing on the incessant sexual escapades, jealousy, deceit, love, and revenge that fuel the tales, which are essentially one long list of who had sex with who and what children were born of it. Sometimes listening to it in big chunks was almost too much, it is perhaps a book best dipped into so that each mini story has a greater impact- otherwise there are moments when you think to yourself: oh, another young girl tricked/stolen/turned into an animal/taken against her will? Looking at you particularly Zeus. Hera, are you still bitter, hun? Perhaps you should spend more time dealing with your husband than the poor women who can't escape him. And if you're the kind of young man who can stop traffic, best believe you'll end up dead. Or a flower. Anyway, it's a great resource, accessible and amusing. It's not exhaustive, there are plenty of big names who didn't make it into this cut, but Fry does well with the stories he includes, making everyone from Gods to nymphs that bit more understandable. Apart from Zeus, seriously, that guy...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    The lesson that repeats and repeats throughout the story of man. Don’t mess with the gods. Don’t trust the gods. Don’t anger the gods. Don’t barter with the gods. Don’t compete with the gods. Leave the gods well alone. Treat all blessings as a curse and all promises as a trap. Above all, never insult a god. Ever. Stephen Fry’s dry, sardonic wit and wicked humour shines through every page, particularly the pseudo-archaic banter between the Gods and Goddesses, which is perhaps what someone already The lesson that repeats and repeats throughout the story of man. Don’t mess with the gods. Don’t trust the gods. Don’t anger the gods. Don’t barter with the gods. Don’t compete with the gods. Leave the gods well alone. Treat all blessings as a curse and all promises as a trap. Above all, never insult a god. Ever. Stephen Fry’s dry, sardonic wit and wicked humour shines through every page, particularly the pseudo-archaic banter between the Gods and Goddesses, which is perhaps what someone already familiar with the origins and the many misdeeds of the Mount Olympus dwellers, as well as with Fry’s personal love for the subject, looks for in this book. If you read the afterword, you will know - before making any such comments - that his aim was not to interpret or explain the myths, only to tell them, breathing new life into these well-known characters and making the stories downright funny. I think it is this is an absolute treasure of a book and I hope Stephen Fry will delight us more in the future with his unequalled gift for storytelling!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jaya

    It is always such a joy to listen to Fry. If only I had the likes of him during my undergrad days I wouldn’t run to the hills at the merest mention of anything mythological and mostly Greek (& Roman) at that! (my knowledge of Indian mythology is rudimentary, Egyptian abysmal and Norse, non existent) Anyway, it took me almost an entire month to finish this book. It's best enjoyed in small doses, a few tales a times imho to avoid being overwhelmed or bored by the nature of the tales. Am glad t It is always such a joy to listen to Fry. If only I had the likes of him during my undergrad days I wouldn’t run to the hills at the merest mention of anything mythological and mostly Greek (& Roman) at that! (my knowledge of Indian mythology is rudimentary, Egyptian abysmal and Norse, non existent) Anyway, it took me almost an entire month to finish this book. It's best enjoyed in small doses, a few tales a times imho to avoid being overwhelmed or bored by the nature of the tales. Am glad to have not given up on this one, and the credit for that mainly goes to the author/narrator.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I must have been around 8 when I first read The Legends of the Olympus and fell in love with Greek mythology. I reread it at least 3 times afterwards and remains one of my favorite books to this very day. Stephen Fry’s retelling of these myths is just as good as the original, if not better. It is limited to the gods (heroes’ tales are not included) but much more detailed than the version I read. I never really thought about how many of today’s vocabulary are derived from the names in these myths I must have been around 8 when I first read The Legends of the Olympus and fell in love with Greek mythology. I reread it at least 3 times afterwards and remains one of my favorite books to this very day. Stephen Fry’s retelling of these myths is just as good as the original, if not better. It is limited to the gods (heroes’ tales are not included) but much more detailed than the version I read. I never really thought about how many of today’s vocabulary are derived from the names in these myths – I always took them for granted, even if it's obvious. But Fry does an amazing job explaining them – either in the stories or in the footnotes. However, without his hilarious approach it would have been just another book about the Greek myths, even if more complex than others. But the way he chose to tell the stories is just brilliant. Whatever the truth, science today agrees that everything is destined to return to Chaos. It calls this inevitable fate entropy: part of the great cycle from Chaos to order and back again to Chaos. Your trousers began as chaotic atoms that somehow coalesced into matter that ordered itself over aeons into a living substance that slowly evolved into a cotton plant that was woven into the handsome stuff that sheathes your lovely legs. In time you will abandon your trousers – not now, I hope – and they will rot down in a landfill or be burned. In either case their matter will at length be set free to become part of the atmosphere of the planet. And when the sun explodes and takes every particle of this world with it, including the ingredients of your trousers, all the constituent atoms will return to cold Chaos. And what is true for your trousers is of course true for you. The seeding of Gaia gave us meaning, a germination of thought into shape. Seminal semantic semiology from the semen of the sky. Remember Tartarus was a primordial being too, who was born out of Chaos at the same time as Gaia. So when she approached him, they greeted each other as family members will. ‘Gaia, you’ve put on weight.’ ‘You look a mess, Tartarus.’ ‘What the hell do you want down here?’ ‘Shut up for once and I’ll tell you …’ ‘Suppose,’ said Zeus, ‘suppose I were to start a new race.’[…] They should be shaped in our image, anatomically correct in every detail, but on a smaller scale. Then we could animate them, give them life, replicate them and release them into nature to see what happens.’ Prometheus pondered this idea. ‘Would we engage with them, speak to them, move about with them?’ ‘That would be exactly the point. To have an intelligent – well, semi-intelligent – species to praise and worship us, to play with us and amuse us. A subservient, adoring race of little miniatures.’ ‘Male and female?’ ‘Oh, good heavens no, just male. You can imagine what Hera would say otherwise …’ Zeus stroked his beard, thought hard and came up with what he believed was a masterstroke. He transformed Io into a cow, a beautiful plump young heifer with shivering flanks and large, gentle eyes. If he hid her in a field Hera would never spot her and he could visit her whenever he liked. Or so he imagined. When lust descends, discretion, common sense and wisdom fly off and what may seem cunning concealment to one in the grip of passion looks like transparently clumsy idiocy to everyone else. Hera knew her husband all too well. Once his libidinous propensities were aroused there would be no taming them. I can’t recommend this book enough – you’ll have a lovely time reading it. PS: when I first read the legends, in my edition there is a picture of François Gérard’s painting Psyché et l'Amour, exhibited at Louvre. It became my goal to see that painting with my own eyes. And here it is my childhood dream come true when I was 15:

  15. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    Where did it all start? Stephen Fry, in his delightful voice, tells of the beginning of the world and the birth of all the Greek gods and goddesses. The original gods were the sky the sea, the ocean, the earth and many more natural spirits. Much later came the most familiar gods, who were Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Venus, Mars and so on. The Greeks had gods with human emotions exactly the same as the Greeks themselves. The gods were created in their image. No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives a Where did it all start? Stephen Fry, in his delightful voice, tells of the beginning of the world and the birth of all the Greek gods and goddesses. The original gods were the sky the sea, the ocean, the earth and many more natural spirits. Much later came the most familiar gods, who were Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Venus, Mars and so on. The Greeks had gods with human emotions exactly the same as the Greeks themselves. The gods were created in their image. No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly and brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses. They are like us, only more so - their actions and adventures are scrawled across the heavens above. All the major stories that we may remember are re-told in loving detail; The War between the Titans and the Gods, Prometheus stealing fire from the heaven of Olympus to give to mankind and also teaching many other civilizing ideas, Pandora and her box of troubles, The golden apples that would start the Trojan war, How Zeus, who was not the first god, became lord of all the Gods, The Greek version of the Flood, The many god-descended kings, queens, and heros who all had Zeus as their father, How the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus, reacted to all his offspring from people and lesser goddesses, Heracles (Hercules) destined to fight on the side of the Gods and save them from the Titans, was still hated by Hera. We learn of many creatures; nymphs, centaurs, satyrs, naiads, dryads and more. Legendary heros and real mortals are brought to life. Stephen Fry speaks to us in his rich, fluent tone. He gives many interesting asides on stories and often translates old language into modern day idioms that we can understand. I have always liked the Greek mythology. My favorite actor/reader is Stephen Fry. To have both in one is simply marvelous. Enjoy!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    Finished it! Still hated it. I just couldn't bear the structure nor style of prose that Fry chose to use. I'm much more partial to a classical style or a beautiful lyrical style when it comes to relating Greek myths. This had neither. And since I've read extensively about Greek mythology over the years this just didn't add anything new to the subject for me. HELLO FIRST ONE STAR OF THE YEAR. ------ Nah. Not gonna DNF this one. The desire to read it in totality and then get to trash it and rate it Finished it! Still hated it. I just couldn't bear the structure nor style of prose that Fry chose to use. I'm much more partial to a classical style or a beautiful lyrical style when it comes to relating Greek myths. This had neither. And since I've read extensively about Greek mythology over the years this just didn't add anything new to the subject for me. HELLO FIRST ONE STAR OF THE YEAR. ------ Nah. Not gonna DNF this one. The desire to read it in totality and then get to trash it and rate it lowly is gonna spur me on. FRY YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT ME.... Yes I'm a ridiculous human.... ------- First DNF of the year. Can't tolerate the choices Fry is making with his narration. Rather an omniscient style that comes off as smug and almost patronising but also utterly obvious in the insipid jokes and redundant commentary. And then to add insult to injury he intersperses the book with the most puerile dialogue between the characters. I love the Greek myths. I've read so many varying retellings over the years that I've thoroughly enjoyed and kept in my heart. But this sorry mess??? Ugh no. Can't even be bothered to stick with this even for the joy of one star rant.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karina Read

    I loved Mythos, and Fry’s narration was superb. What makes it different from all the other Greek/Roman mythology books that I have collected over the years is the coherent chronology that Fry has achieved. By placing all the stories in context and in a timeline, the personalities and actions of the gods suddenly made sense to me. I’d often struggled to remember who was who’s relation previously but I found Mythos wonderfully easy to follow and lose myself in. I immensely enjoyed all of his aside I loved Mythos, and Fry’s narration was superb. What makes it different from all the other Greek/Roman mythology books that I have collected over the years is the coherent chronology that Fry has achieved. By placing all the stories in context and in a timeline, the personalities and actions of the gods suddenly made sense to me. I’d often struggled to remember who was who’s relation previously but I found Mythos wonderfully easy to follow and lose myself in. I immensely enjoyed all of his asides that link a certain story or name to contemporary society and the personal touches he adds. I’ve learned so much in an unpatronising and fun way. What a great way to keep the myths alive. This will definitely be a book I read again and again. An extremely enjoyable reading experience all round. The only reason I can’t give this the full 5 stars is that I cannot call this my definitive Greek mythology collection as it is missing some key stories that I was looking forward to learning more about (Icarus, Theseus, Jason, Heracles, The Iliad, The Oddessey etc..). Fry does explain at the end that had he included *all* the stories, the book would be so large that it would be unreadable. Which I totally understand, but I shall keep my fingers crossed for a part 2...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    3.5 stars I love fantasy and mythical tales and I adore Stephen Fry (who's audio narration was pitch perfect). I have also always wanted to read / understand the different Greek myths, and this seemed the perfect opportunity. I found it very interesting to learn the relationship between these myths and the English language, and just how much of an influence these stories still have on us today. There were a few tales that stood out, and these were the longer stories that actually felt like proper s 3.5 stars I love fantasy and mythical tales and I adore Stephen Fry (who's audio narration was pitch perfect). I have also always wanted to read / understand the different Greek myths, and this seemed the perfect opportunity. I found it very interesting to learn the relationship between these myths and the English language, and just how much of an influence these stories still have on us today. There were a few tales that stood out, and these were the longer stories that actually felt like proper stories, not just anecdotes. Eros and Psyche – I am not one for love stories but this was such an enchanting tale. A mix between Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Sisyphus and Thanatos – how could l not love the story of Sisyphus fooling Death not once but TWICE and for his clever tricks he got punished for all eternity pushing up a boulder that will never reach the top. And my word Zeus just could not keep his junk in his pants, could he? No wonder his wife Hera was so grumpy all the time. There are so many gods, demi-gods, nymphs, furies, and humans to keep track of. It felt a little overwhelming. The end note explaining that the author did by no means include ALL the Greek myths had me wondering just how many there actually are? So although my rating is not extremely high, this is a book that I will probably listen to again so I can absorb a little more the 2nd time around.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Collin

    Stephen Fry is such an amazing orator that I could listen to him describing paint dry. Having said that, I have never actually read any of his written work. I shouldn’t have worried, he writes as beautifully as he talks, eloquent and entertaining. He truly has a gift with entertaining, regardless the topic. I don’t think you have to love the Greek myths to enjoy this book as its strength comes from Fry’s wit, humour and gift of the gab. Fry does not attempt to compete with the plethora of mythol Stephen Fry is such an amazing orator that I could listen to him describing paint dry. Having said that, I have never actually read any of his written work. I shouldn’t have worried, he writes as beautifully as he talks, eloquent and entertaining. He truly has a gift with entertaining, regardless the topic. I don’t think you have to love the Greek myths to enjoy this book as its strength comes from Fry’s wit, humour and gift of the gab. Fry does not attempt to compete with the plethora of mythology books whose number seems to exceed the myriad number of myths themselves. No, if you are looking for a more comprehensive, more complete listing of the myths than I would recommend something like THE GREEK MYTHS by Robert Graves. Fry seems to focus more on the genesis of the Gods and how they came to be. The Titans and their war with Zeus and his Olympians who eventually win the titanic struggle to rule all. I believe that Fry’s goal with this book is to kindle interest, plant the seed of desire within the reader to delve deeper into the mythological world, Even though Fry limits himself mainly to the Olympians and a small number of myths this is in no way a criticism of the book. Fry’s humour seems to course through the entire book and it truly is a humorous, immensely enjoyable read, bringing a smile to my face on numerous occasions. 4 Stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    At a time when other children had their mothers reading "Sleeping Beauty" and "Little Red Riding Hood" to them, my father was telling me the story of the abduction of Persephone with his own adornments (I particularly liked the squirrels wondering why she was picking flowers instead of nuts). I bring this up so you understand that I was exposed to the Greek myths at a young age. Once I was able to read I got my hands on Bullfinch's Mythology and Robert Graves rather interesting two volume offerin At a time when other children had their mothers reading "Sleeping Beauty" and "Little Red Riding Hood" to them, my father was telling me the story of the abduction of Persephone with his own adornments (I particularly liked the squirrels wondering why she was picking flowers instead of nuts). I bring this up so you understand that I was exposed to the Greek myths at a young age. Once I was able to read I got my hands on Bullfinch's Mythology and Robert Graves rather interesting two volume offering. Stephen Fry now sits, in my mind, with these giants of Greek mythology. His retelling of many of the stories, especially the origins of the gods, is simply delightful. His love for the subject just shines through, and he has a deft hand with gentle sarcastic observances and natty oneliners. If I have to pick a favourite story it would have to be the birth of Hermes. And not just because Hermes has always been my favourite. I now have a question for Stephen. When is he going to retell the Iliad?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    This book is truly fantastic. I have always found the mythology of Ancient Greece fascinating, but it's also always been a pretty confusing mixture of madness and mayhem. Fry has collated many of these myths into one book and he has also added chronology which makes reading through the stories make a lot more sense, and shows us many of the relationships between the Gods and how these were formed. I definitely think this is one of the best examples of the Mythology, very readable and easy to enj This book is truly fantastic. I have always found the mythology of Ancient Greece fascinating, but it's also always been a pretty confusing mixture of madness and mayhem. Fry has collated many of these myths into one book and he has also added chronology which makes reading through the stories make a lot more sense, and shows us many of the relationships between the Gods and how these were formed. I definitely think this is one of the best examples of the Mythology, very readable and easy to enjoy with the addition of Fry's humour and wit alongside the stories. I would highly recommend this and I listened to the audio which is narrated by Fry. He does a brilliant job and I was pleased to discover that there is a second companion book 'Heroes' which is out today to read! I've just downloaded that too of course! Highly recommended, 5*s

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lena K.

    The Greeks created gods in their image, and that is why I love Greek mythology so much. The gods are just like humans, for better and for worse. They scheme, they cheat, they punish, but they also love, help and are compassionate. The stories of Ancient Greece have accompanied me since childhood, when I’ve first read the version for kids, and they accompany me still, after reading the original works of Homer, Hesiod, Ovid and others. Stephen Fry’s retelling of the most famous myths was great and i The Greeks created gods in their image, and that is why I love Greek mythology so much. The gods are just like humans, for better and for worse. They scheme, they cheat, they punish, but they also love, help and are compassionate. The stories of Ancient Greece have accompanied me since childhood, when I’ve first read the version for kids, and they accompany me still, after reading the original works of Homer, Hesiod, Ovid and others. Stephen Fry’s retelling of the most famous myths was great and it’s a nice place to start if you’re new to Greek Mythology. It’s short, it’s funny and it’s well written and explained. It may bore you a bit if you’re already familiar with the myths, but I actually enjoyed it nonetheless. It was like meeting old friends – Prometheus and his love of humanity, Sisyphus and his wit, Athena (my favorite), and all the other gods, titans, nymphs, monsters and heroes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Adam Garwood

    ‘Mythos’ is a retelling of a selection of Greek myths and legends with Stephen Fry’s witty, sometimes self-indulgent, panache. Informative and fun, the narrative interlaces modern cultural references into the text, highlighting the influence of the stories on the present day. The writing is very accessible, so no prior knowledge of Greek mythology is required. I read a paperback copy, but wish I’d listened to the audiobook, as I imagine Stephen Fry’s spoken voice would have added even more to t ‘Mythos’ is a retelling of a selection of Greek myths and legends with Stephen Fry’s witty, sometimes self-indulgent, panache. Informative and fun, the narrative interlaces modern cultural references into the text, highlighting the influence of the stories on the present day. The writing is very accessible, so no prior knowledge of Greek mythology is required. I read a paperback copy, but wish I’d listened to the audiobook, as I imagine Stephen Fry’s spoken voice would have added even more to the experience. It is a brilliantly researched and structured book written by a gifted communicator, but I fall short of giving it five stars as I, not the author, lacked passion for the subject matter.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    I love Greek Mythology or any mythology at that. This is a great collection of retellings but in Frys perfect storytelling mixed with his intellect and wit. If you enjoyed Gaimans Norse novel this will be 100% your thing. Has a little more depth to it than Gaimans and some personal touches which maked this a perfect read from start to finish.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheese

    The history of greek mythology told in a long long story. This is the audio book and it was a challenge to finish, but interesting nonetheless. Stephen Fry is faultless in his narration.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    I imagine many members of GR will have some knowledge of the Greek myths, even if like mine it is (or was) fragmentary. I heard or read a few of these stories when I was a child - Persephone and the Underworld; Pandora’s Box, Arachne; Echo and Narcissus; King Midas, to name some. The version of Arachne’s story that is presented here was different from the one I remember, but I suppose many of these tales circulate in different forms. The is a longish book at 400+ pages, but as Stephen Fry says in I imagine many members of GR will have some knowledge of the Greek myths, even if like mine it is (or was) fragmentary. I heard or read a few of these stories when I was a child - Persephone and the Underworld; Pandora’s Box, Arachne; Echo and Narcissus; King Midas, to name some. The version of Arachne’s story that is presented here was different from the one I remember, but I suppose many of these tales circulate in different forms. The is a longish book at 400+ pages, but as Stephen Fry says in his Foreward, the book “begins at the beginning, but it does not end at the end.” It stops before the Age of Heroes and therefore doesn’t cover Perseus, Jason, Herakles, the Trojan War etc. To have included them would have simply made the book too long. The stories are retold in a pleasing and humorous fashion, and I definitely feel a lot more educated having read them. Although I liked the book well enough, I wasn’t altogether absorbed by it. Many of the stories have a similar feel to them. Randy gods and goddesses “seducing” mortals, usually with catastrophic consequences for the latter; or gods playing cruel tricks on humans; or punishing humans for challenging them. Unlike in the Abrahamic religions, the Greeks never saw their deities as just or merciful. On the contrary, it’s probably fair to describe the Greek Gods as cruel and vindictive, well suited perhaps to the world they ruled. With his well-known love of language, Stephen Fry also highlights where the myths have given rise to modern day words and expressions in English. I quite enjoyed this aspect, and found myself saying things like “Ah, so that’s where we got ‘tantalised’ from!” Anyway, for the next few months I intend to drop references to the Greek myths as often as possible in conversations with friends and colleagues, to show off how knowledgeable I have become.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karolina

    An absolutely fantastic read ❤ including the footnotes! An absolutely fantastic read ❤️ including the footnotes!

  28. 4 out of 5

    *Thea 'Wookiee'sMama' Wilson*

    This was such a fun read, a little tough on the brain with all the notes and appendixes (all nicely hyperlinked up so you never lose your place in the ebook edition, the physical version may end up being a little more difficult!) but you can tell a mile off that the wonderful Stephen Fry had a hand in this work. I read the whole book with his voice in my head, only Fry would use some of those big words in places where little ones would do just as well but that's him all over of course and the wh This was such a fun read, a little tough on the brain with all the notes and appendixes (all nicely hyperlinked up so you never lose your place in the ebook edition, the physical version may end up being a little more difficult!) but you can tell a mile off that the wonderful Stephen Fry had a hand in this work. I read the whole book with his voice in my head, only Fry would use some of those big words in places where little ones would do just as well but that's him all over of course and the whole thing is nearly threaded through with his excellent sense of humour which only adds a lovely quirk to all the myths and legends inside. You can see the love he has for the myths he retells and it easily rubs off onto the reader like Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology did. If you're a fan of mythology and/or Stephen Fry then this is a MUST read and that goes for those that loved Gaiman's mythology book too as it's in the same kind of vein and I completely adore both books!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Crane

    An entertaining and interesting book about ancient Greek mythology written in a style that is recognisable as Stephen Fry (if you've ever watched him on QI). Originally, I had been looking for a book on ancient Greek mythology that was written in a modern way and would be both easy to understand and fluid and I think this book fulfilled those criteria. I had read books on Ulysses (Odysseus I think he's also known as), Theseus, Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts and Perseus as well as seeing a few An entertaining and interesting book about ancient Greek mythology written in a style that is recognisable as Stephen Fry (if you've ever watched him on QI). Originally, I had been looking for a book on ancient Greek mythology that was written in a modern way and would be both easy to understand and fluid and I think this book fulfilled those criteria. I had read books on Ulysses (Odysseus I think he's also known as), Theseus, Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts and Perseus as well as seeing a few films about said characters (although they are not really covered in this book because as Fry mentions you would need several books to tell their stories) and so wanted to find a book that tells other myths such as the creation of the Greek Gods, the Titans and some of the less well known characters in Greek myth such as Prometheus, Sisyphus, Persephone, but because I am not a classics scholar I didn't really feel that I would particularly enjoy reading translated ancient texts so this book was just about right and ideal for what I wanted. Fry does use some complicated words (although he'd probably recommend I use a dictionary) but I still found this to be, on the whole, easily understandable, a great read and it ticked all the boxes for what I was looking for. Fry's writing style is (as I'd imagine the man himself to be) charming, intelligent and informative with a sense of wit and of course there are plenty of footnotes as he adds extra bits of information as he tells the stories. Also, he does add a sources section at the end of the book for those who wish to delve further which I think is an excellent idea. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest about ancient Greek mythology (although not sure if it's ideal for children), especially if you want to learn about the Greek Gods, the Titans and the many myths and stories associated with them but rather than using this as a definitive guide it should be seen as an entry point to a fascinating subject.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jake Selvaraja

    This was by far the easiest 5 stars I have had the pleasure to give in quite a while. It is one of the very few books I would read again. Mythos is fascinating from start to finish. I have attempted to get into numerous mythology books before (yes even Edith Hamilton) and struggled. Stephen Fry has made these captivating stories into a very readable and even hilarious style. He has made each God not only memorable, but also much easier to obtain a deeper insight into what each God stands for. He This was by far the easiest 5 stars I have had the pleasure to give in quite a while. It is one of the very few books I would read again. Mythos is fascinating from start to finish. I have attempted to get into numerous mythology books before (yes even Edith Hamilton) and struggled. Stephen Fry has made these captivating stories into a very readable and even hilarious style. He has made each God not only memorable, but also much easier to obtain a deeper insight into what each God stands for. He does not pull any punches or wrap any stories in bubble-wrap, the vengeful wrath of each God is explained in full detail, yet he still manages to put the typical Fry charisma into each one. One thing I was not prepared for when starting this book is the vast amount I would learn from it. Not just the stories but where words linking with different stories originate. I found myself constantly telling people the stories of where certain words came from, or even just how certain words relate to the stories, even if they were words before the myths. This included little interesting stories over time that have been lost in translation to this day such as Pandora's jar. These are the type of facts I thrive off and I believe anyone reading them would love them too. Due to the amount of Greek myths there are, Fry could not put all of them in this book. I only see that as a glimmer of hope that there will be a second. Stephen Fry, take a bow, then write the second book! Brilliant.

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