With its vast world, a great deal of mythical creatures and engrossing myths about Olympian gods and Titans, it is surely easy to be captivated by Greek mythology at the very first glance. Where should you start though? What book should you read? There is certainly a great number of resources to choose from and that is where we come to the rescue. Here is our handpicked list of 10 best Greek mythology books written by mythology experts from around the world.
Table of Contents
1. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, 75th Anniversary Illustrated Edition by Edith Hamilton
As the bestseller in its category, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes is the first book you should check out.
The book, which is now being published as a special edition with illustrations for its 75th anniversary, is considered a masterpiece on mythology in general. That is to say, it covers not only Greek mythology but also Roman and Norse mythologies.
From Trojan War to Oddyseus’ journey, from Odin’s search for knowledge to Ragnarok, from the myth of Jupiter and the bee to the story of Apollo and Cassandra, you will find many incredible tales in E. Hamilton’s book to quench your thirst for mythology. It is available in e-book (Kindle), paperback, mass market paperback, hardcover and MP3/audiobook formats.
2.National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters by Donna Jo Napoli
Brought to you by National Geographic Books program, Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters by the award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli is another great choice to read all about Greek mythology.
Napoli’s vivid story-telling complemented with the talented illustrator, Christina Balit’s amazing artworks makes the tales of gods, goddesses, heroes and monsters come to life in a unique way.
In addition to that, National Geographic’s embellishments on the book like sidebars for all characters in the tales link them to cultures, history, geography and even constellations making everything easier to comprehend for both children and adults. The book also has a map and a family tree turning it into the perfect guide for your journey into the world of ancient Greeks.
3.Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry & Legends of Charlemagne by Thomas Bulfinch (Modern Library)
Written in three parts by the American writer Thomas Bulfinch more than one hundred fifty years ago, Bulfinch’s Mythology is another great choice if you are looking for the best Greek mythology books.
Bulfinch’s Mythology, initially authored in three parts as The Age of Fable (1855), The Age of Chivalry (1858) and Legends of Charlemagne, also known as Romance of the Middle Ages(1863), was compiled into a single book and published in 1881, fourteen years after the author’s death.
For almost a century, Bulfinch’s Mythology was one of the most popular books published in the United States while also being considered the standard for classical mythology works.
Still in print more than a century and a half later, it is a true gem for all mythology enthusiasts as it covers Greek, Norse and Celtic mythologies and many tales from around the world, including Oriental fables.
From Robin Hood, Beowulf, tales of Thor’s adventures to Zeus, Hera and all the other Olympian gods, the love story of Pygmalion and Galatea and the Trojan War, Bulfinch’s Mythology will astound you with its depth and lively narrative that includes the author’s commentary and quotes on the stories by his fellow writers.
4.The Complete World of Greek Mythology by Richard Buxton
British author Richard Buxton’s The Complete World of Greek Mythology is the next item in our list of books about Greek mythology.
With its “Contexts, Sources, Meanings” chapter acting as a guide for the readers, the book is comprised of various chapters telling the story of creation, the origin of gods, the first humans and the tales of Greek heroes.
While “A Landscape of Myths” chapter helps placing the myths within geographical context, “Greek Myths after the Greeks” chapter gives us a historical insight about how those ancient myths were retold by Romans and others up until the twenty-first century.
Amazing retelling of Greek myths complemented with two hundred and fifty astounding illustrations, box features and genealogical tables, makes Buxton’s book a real treasure to be read by all Greek mythology enthusiasts whether you are a beginner or not.
5.Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin
Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by the classics expert and bestselling author Bernard Evslin is another great book you should check out if you are interested in Greek mythology.
The book, which was translated into several languages and sold more than ten million copies, tells us of Greek myths and fables as well as the stories of the Greek gods, demigods and heroes.
With “Mythology Becomes Language” chapter, it also provides us with insight into how certain words in modern languages were derived from Greek myths while “Recommended Reading” chapter will help you pick the next book in your journey through the world of ancient Greeks.