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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Hello again Greg,

I've been thinking about Greek mythology and the little glimpses we've seen of how it fits into the Gargoyles Universe (and hungering for more, of course! ;) ) I've gotten to wondering what books you've read about it, and which ones you liked the most? You've mentioned several times your particular fondness for Theseus (the bastard), and you and Todd have had conversations about favorite Arthurian books. Is Theseus your only favorite character in Greek Mythology, or are there any others?

I myself was first introduced to Greek myths as a child with the D'Aulaires book. I next read Edith Hamilton's book. Since then I've read bits and pieces of many books on the subject, but I've only read a few tragedies and the Odyssey from start to finish (I found the Odyssey pretty boring, at least in translation). So I guess I can't really say I have any favorite book on the subject.

Oddly, my favorite source for Greek Mythology I've used so far is not a book, but a website, www.theoi.com. (This will sound like an advert but I ~love~ this website) It's a very thorough collection of research and information about the Greek gods. It must have every god, spirit, monster, or giant ever, no matter how obscure. Perhaps this sounds strange (I hope it isn't presumptuous), but if you're ever looking for a great source about Greek Mythology for research, I think you'd find this website very useful.

What I like most about theoi is that it gives information in the form of quotes (translated of course) from lots of ancient texts, and provides all the different versions of each story and genealogy. Different ancient writers told different versions of the myths, and had different ideas about who was the son/daughter of who, but most print sources I've read only provide the most common version of each myth, or the one or two versions preferred by the author. So this is a source in which the information is minimally interpreted, so to speak, by intervening minds.

The big downside of this website is that it has almost no information about the heros and mortals, and even less information from archaeology. The webmaster is only just starting to add hero information. (I myself find gods much more interesting than heros, so I don't particularly mind). However, for the gods the information is excellent.

Greg responds...

Theseus is my favorite character in Greek Mythology. I'll admit to having a fondness for bastards (in the literal sense) in literature/mythology. I'm fascinated with the archetype and its variations. Also the parallelism between Arthur and Theseus are quite startling to me.

The D'Aulaires' book is indeed one of my ALL TIME favorite books. Same with their book on Norse Gods & Giants. I still use both as a reference. Although I'm not generally a fan of Cliff Notes, I'll admit that their "Mythology" booklet is a VERY handy reference. I also have Robert Graves two volume book(s) on Greek Mythology, which has(have) been very useful. I've got a couple of geneology chart type books. But they're at home, and I'm at the office, and I don't remember the names of the authors or their exact titles at this moment. I've also read both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Probably liked 'em better than you did. A lot probably depends on which translation you read, I suppose. I might also recommend Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage, a cool sci-fi take o the Odyssey.

I'm semi-familiar with theoi.com. I've used it on occasion. Though I guess I still prefer my books.

Response recorded on October 30, 2007