Su Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E.M. Berens
Silver footed, fair haired Thetis, Ares the God of War, Nike the Goddess of Victory, The Furies and The Muses, Zeus the presiding deity of the Universe and the magical, mysterious Olympus, are some of the amazing, mythical Greek and Roman deities you'll encounter in this book.
Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by EM Berens was originally intended for young readers. Written in an easy and light style, the author attempts to bring the pantheon of gods into a comprehensible format. He organizes them into different dynasties and chronologies to make it easier for the reader to understand the labyrinthine relationships and connections between the various gods, heroes, minor divinities, mythical figures and legendary creatures.
Greek and Roman legends form the base of all European art, literature and civilization itself. Since the advent of Christianity, the so called Pagan religion which dominated all of Europe for thousands of years were eclipsed but the study of the Classics as part of the education in Greek and Latin kept them alive. Today there's hardly a serious student of English or art who does not encounter some reference to an ancient Greek or Roman myth or deity somewhere in literature and the Western languages. A visit to any of the museums or classical art galleries in Europe would be one that's filled with allusions and depictions of Greek or Roman legends.
For modern day readers, the book is a mine of information about the lineage of the gods, forms of worship, festivals and temples devoted to them. It is interestingly chronicled, right from the primordial legend of Uranus and Gaia to the Creation of the Earth, through the dynasties of the Gods, heroes and divinities of the Night and the Sea, right up to the Trojan War where the Gods played a most important role in the destiny of humans. The section on temples and worship is especially interesting for students of archeology and history. It also includes statues, augurs, soothsayers, temple architecture, altars, priests and sacrifices.
The extensive footnotes and author's notes for each chapter add value and interest while the charming illustrations make it attractive for younger readers. Anyone who is interested in exploring the ancient legends of two of the oldest Western civilizations would certainly find Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E.M. Berens a source of hours of reading pleasure and a valuable addition to their bookshelf.