15 Best‌ ‌Greek‌ ‌Mythology‌ ‌Books‌ ‌

Greek mythology has been around for centuries. These myths have shaped our understanding of the world and continue to captivate us today. There are so many different myths, some more popular than others.

What is a Greek myth?

Before we start our list, let’s go over what Greek myths are. The word myth simply means “a traditional story.” However, this definition doesn’t do Greek mythology justice. ‌

Greek myths are more than just stories; they are the embodiment of ancient beliefs. We can trace Greek mythology back to about 2000 BCE when Homer wrote his two epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey. These works only make up a small slice of Greek mythology; they are often referred to as the “Greek epic.”

What is it about Greek myths that has attracted us to them down the ages?

For example, why do we find Greek mythology books so fascinating? Well, one reason might be that many of the myths are about conflicts between gods and mortals. Another reason could be because these stories are full of larger-than-life characters like Zeus with his godly powers. Yet another reason is that most of the stories have a moral message to them. ‌

Greek mythology books are great at weaving together the mythical with the practical, while also offering up life lessons along the way. The highlights of Greek mythology include tales about heroes like Hercules and Jason, but also myths about gods such as Apollo and Zeus.

But what are the best Greek mythology books?
This article will give you a list of 15 great books about Greek myths- some old classics, some modern retellings, and all worth reading! ‌ ‌

Enjoy your journey into these ancient tales that helped shape Western civilization. ‌‌ ‌Ready? Let’s dive in!

List of Top 14 Best Books Greek‌ ‌Mythology‌


1. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton

$10.00
$8.49
Amazon.com
as of May 25, 2022 3:06 am

Edith Hamilton’s Mythology is a classic. First published in 1942, it has been printed many times since then and is one of the most popular books about Greek myths. In this book, you will find all the traditional tales about Hercules, Zeus, Athena, and other well-known figures. This book does not include every single myth ever told but covers the best and most important ones. Edith Hamilton was a classicist and her writing is detailed and academic- it will give you all the information you need to understand Greek mythology without dumbing it down. ‌

edith hamilton’s mythology Talks about ancient Greece and ancient greeks myths. This is one of the most read greek mythology book.   

After reading this book, you will learn about:

The creation of the world The early gods & heroes Zeus’ reign in Olympos And more!
This book is the perfect gateway to Greek mythology. ‌‌ ‌2. Greek Myths by Roger Lancelyn Green.

2. The Complete World of Greek Mythology by Richard Buxton

$39.95
$25.00
Amazon.com
as of May 25, 2022 3:06 am

Here is another Greek mythology book, if reading Hamilton’s book whetted your appetite for Greek mythology and you want to know more, then The Complete World of Greek Mythology is the perfect next read. Not only does it cover all the major myths, but it also tells lesser-known tales such as the myth of Prometheus and Pandora’s box.

Buxton was a classics scholar who knew his material well. As you progress through the book, he tells more and more obscure myths which might not be as famous but are just as interesting to read about. ‌

The book also has chapters on cults & rituals, literary references of Greek mythology, and art inspired by mythological themes. This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn more about the depth and diversity of Greek mythology. ‌

After reading this book, you will learn about:

Epic heroes like Heracles and Odysseus Myths about the Underworld The god’s Aphrodite & Athena And more!

3. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

$25.00
Amazon.com
as of May 25, 2022 3:06 am

If you are looking for a fun read that doesn’t skimp on the details then D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths is the perfect book. This retells many classical myths but in an older style which makes it feel like less of a history lesson and more like storytelling.

The illustrations are also great they bring the story to life and can even be used as a reference to understand some of the more obscure symbols in the text. ‌

After reading this book, you will learn about:

The origin stories of many Greek figures Why Zeus was angry with Prometheus Deities like Aphrodite, Apollo & Ares And more! It is a must read greek meythology book.

4. The Iliad by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles

$20.00
$12.99
Amazon.com
as of May 25, 2022 3:06 am

Of course, no list of Greek mythology books would be complete without including The Iliad. This epic poem tells the story of the siege of Troy, which is one part of the Trojan War cycle. Homer’s writing dates back to 800 BC but it still feels fresh today.

The Iliad was written for an oral audience that needed to hear a good story. This is why it has so many different characters which fly in and out of the action, something modern audiences might find disorienting at first. But once you get used to Homer’s style, this turns into one of the best adventure stories ever told! ‌

After reading this book, you will learn about:

The Trojan War Why Achilles is angry with Agamemnon The death of Patroclus And greek religion! ‌

5. The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles

$19.00
$10.99
Amazon.com
as of May 25, 2022 3:06 am

Composed in the same era as The Iliad, The Odyssey has a very different tone. Instead of portraying war, it is about one man’s journey home after the Trojan War which takes place over ten years.

This gives it more time to explore its protagonist Odysseus’ adventures and how he outwits everyone who comes across him on his way back to Ithaca.

Homer’s writing is also more metaphorical than The Iliad which will leave you wondering what each symbol means and how it relates to the overall narrative. ‌

After reading this book, you will learn about:

The trials of Odysseus & Telemachus Why Odysseus is so smart. Also, you will learn about the suitors who want to marry Penelope, Odysseus’ wife. It’s our best recommended Greek Mythology book. 

6. Theogony by Hesiod, translated by M.L. West

Many of the myths told in The Iliad and The Odyssey come from Hesiod’s Theogony. This is a much shorter book that focuses on the origin stories of various Greek deities and how they came to rule over Olympus, their home.

Hesiod was seen as an authority on these matters so his version of the stories became more popular than other versions which were also circulating at the time. ‌

After reading this book, you will learn about:

The twelve Olympian gods Why Zeus is powerful, and other deities like Poseidon The birth of Athena, Apollo & Artemis.

7. The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus, translated by Robin Hard

Here is another book that focuses on the origins of Classic Greek mythology. However, this version is written by an anonymous author who lived during the 2nd century AD. This means it is also much longer than Hesiod’s Theogony with over 20 volumes.

Even though they are in English, the language used in these stories can be hard to follow at times due to how old it sounds. So don’t be too discouraged if you find yourself re-reading passages when you first pick up The Library of Greek Mythology! ‌

After reading this book, you will learn about:

This book will help you understand many of the Greek myths in The Iliad and The Odyssey. It is a great reference book that you can pull out when you have a Homer Homer question!

8. Greek Religion by Walter Burkert

$25.49
$44.95
as of May 25, 2022 3:06 am
Amazon.com

This is a very different kind of mythology book. It looks at how ancient Greek religion was practiced, why it evolved & how it changed the cultures that adopted it into their own beliefs.

Even though this book isn’t about individual myths, you can still learn about them by following how they are presented in various cults and the roles they play in each one. ‌

This book focuses on poems that were written to honor the gods and goddesses during ritual practices. Theogony, Works & Days, Shield of Heracles, Elegies by Hesiod.

This is a great analysis of some of these ancient myths by a modern author who writes about how they reflect the situations in which they were composed & why they remain so popular today! ‌ Although not about Greek mythology per se, Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius is highly recommended if you want to read another similar story from that era.

It tells an account about Apollonius who travels from Greece to India where he becomes one of the foremost Hindu philosophers after converting to their religion!

After reading this book, you will learn about:

A good book to read if you want to see how the ancient myths translated into contemporary works of art! ‌

It is also highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand the rituals which were part of daily life for many people living under Greek rule. ‌ These are some other books on Greek mythology that deserve credit! The introduction of Alexander Pope’s translation of Homer’s Iliad hymns to the Greek Gods.

And it also discusses the Greek myths retold by other poets and authors which provided additional inspiration for The Iliad and The Odyssey.

9. The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology by Pierre Grimal

This last book is also one that you can use in combination with the titles above. This one is a dictionary that provides succinct explanations about different ancient Greek & Roman deities, heroes, and other divine beings!

If you are stumped on how to accurately portray something in your story, this is the best resource to have when looking things up so you don’t get them wrong! ‌

After reading this book, you will learn about: ‌

Gods of Olympus like Zeus Nymphs like Calypso Giants like Typhon Monsters like Scylla Goddess of love like Aphrodite Goddesses of warlike Enyo Heroes Tragic heroes like Oedipus & Pyramus Heroic deeds like the Argonauts. Our recommended Greek Mythology book. 

10. Myth and Philosophy: A Contest of Truths by Lawrence J. Hatab

We already know that the Greeks didn’t believe in their myths as literal truths. But more importantly, they used them to represent deeper philosophical truths about life and society.

This book discusses how these ancient stories were a way for people living during those times to explore the question of “What does it mean to live a good human life?”

It also describes how some of these stories still have profound relevance today despite being so old because we can easily identify with them! ‌

After reading this book, you will learn about: ‌ In Greek, the word mythos refers to words that carry special meaning.

Many great philosophers from Plato & Aristotle down have been inspired by Greek mythology! A better translation for mythos would be “a story with a purpose.”

It also discusses how these stories can inspire us to live better lives even if not all of them are totally accurate descriptions of the past.

After reading this book, you will learn about: ‌

A good book to read if you want to see how the ancient myths translated into contemporary works of art! Although not about Greek mythology per se, Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius is highly recommended if you want to read another similar story from that era.

If you are stumped on how to accurately portray something in your story, this is the best resource to have when looking things up so you don’t get them wrong!

11. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is a story about Achilles, one of the most famous Greek heroes in history!

It also discusses how these stories can inspire us to live better lives even if not all of them are accurate descriptions of the past.

It tells an account about Apollo who travels from Greece to India where he becomes one of the foremost Hindu philosophers after converting to their religion!

If you are stumped on how to accurately portray something in your story, this is the best resource to have when looking things up so you don’t get them wrong!

After reading this book, you will learn about: ‌

A good book to read if you want to see how the ancient myths translated into contemporary works of art! Although not about Greek mythology per se, Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius is highly recommended if you want to read another similar story from that era. Our recommended Greek Mythology book.

12. Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch

This is a collection of ancient Greek and Roman myths compiled by the famous American writer Thomas Bulfinch. ‌

It discusses how these stories can inspire us to live better lives even if not all of them are accurate descriptions of the past.

A good book to read if you want to see how the ancient myths translated into contemporary works of art! Although not about Greek mythology per se, Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius is highly recommended if you want to read another similar story from that era.

After reading this book, you will learn about: ‌

In Greek, the word mythos refers to words that carry special meaning. Many great philosophers from Plato & Aristotle down have been inspired by Greek mythology!

A better translation for mythos would be “a story with a purpose.” It also discusses how these stories can inspire us to live better lives even if not all of them are totally accurate descriptions of the past.

It tells an account about Apollo who travels from Greece to India where he becomes one of the foremost Hindu philosophers after converting to their religion!

13. Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline B. Cooney

Goddess of Yesterday is a novel by Caroline B. Cooney based on the Trojan War from Greek mythology. It was first published in 2002 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.

The book was won ALA Notable Children’s book for older readers in 2003.

When she was only twelve years old, Cassandra foresaw her horrific death. Her premonition is ignored by her arrogant father, King Priam of Troy. Still, the child is proven right when tragedy befalls the kingdom and an angered Achilles slays all of Troy’s young men.

Only Cassandra and her twin brother, Helenus, are left alive. They escape the city by disguising themselves as beggars and joining a band of homeless travelers heading for Greece on the trail of Helenus’s lover, Hermione.

14. The Trojan War by Barry Strauss

$13.29
$18.00
as of May 25, 2022 3:06 am
Amazon.com

The Trojan War is a novel by American classicist and academician Barry Strauss on the Trojan War. It was first published in 2006 by Simon & Schuster Inc.

The book was recommended by the New York Times Book Review editor Susan Chira, who called it “a fast-paced retelling of one of the best-known stories in world literature.” A review published on hellnotes.com said that the novel is “the best historical fiction I’ve ever read” and “far more interesting than Homer’s

It follows the women involved in Troy’s demise, and the author said about it: “I wanted to write a novel that was not just a retelling of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, but also one that dealt with Troy’s fall from the Trojan point of view. After all, Homer doesn’t give us any female characters to sympathize with except Helen, who is sometimes thought to be a mythical character. So I came up with the idea of telling the story from the point of view of Briseis, Achilles’s war prize whom he keeps as a slave after killing her husband and brothers.”

15. The Greek Myths: 1 & 2 by Robert Graves

The Greek Myths: 1 & 2 is a compilation of mythological stories mostly from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Apollodorus Library written by Robert Graves.

It was first released in 1955 as The Greek Myths, one volume with illustrations by Robin Waterfield, published by Penguin Books.

A two-volume edition was released in 1992 with illustrations by Alan E. Cober, published by Penguin Books.

The work has been highly praised, including “This is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the myths of ancient Greece” (Booklist), and The Greek Myths “has become a classic compendium” (American Reference Books Annual).

It is the source of several well-known stories, such as those of Medusa and Cerberus.

Best‌ ‌Greek‌ ‌mythology‌ ‌books:‌ ‌A‌ ‌roundup

This sums up all of the must-read books on Greek mythology by some of the most talented authors and storytellers we have today! These are great examples to use when writing your own stories about Greek mythology, so take note of how they each showed the use of these myths in their works.

If you need these books now, click on the links below to buy them online.

FAQs

Why should I read about Greek mythology?

Greek mythology is the main source of our primary school technology. It contains a ton of useful information for writers, which you can utilize in your works. Greek Mythology explained  many of the things we see around us today such as:

• The Sun, Moon, and Stars
• The Greek God
• The days of the week are named after gods/goddesses
• Many holidays come from Greek mythology too!

What are the best Greek mythology books?

There are many great stories to be found in Greek myths, so take note of these must-read books on this topic! Among these are some of the best Greek mythology books you will be able to find.

You don’t think it hinders the narrative that the gods can always decide the outcome?

The gods do not ensure a happy ending, as they can also affect the outcome through their powers of will. In some instances, even with their presence, the ending turns out to be tragic.

What is a pantheon?

A pantheon is a group of gods who share similar characteristics and traits. They are often tied to the same area, such as Greece or Rome.

What is the difference between Olympus and Mount Olympus?

Olympus is the name that refers to the mountain where the Greek gods reside. Mount Olympus, on the other hand, is its American counterpart which signifies a mountain located in Washington state.

Why are Zeus and Jupiter treated differently?

Zeus has become more popular in modern culture due to his role within pop culture; whereas Jupiter was chosen as the main planet to represent our solar system.

Who are some of the deities in Greek Mythology?

Some of the major deities in Greek classical mythology are Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Hades, Apollo, Aphrodite, and Hera.

Best Greek Mythology Books: Final Thoughts

This article has provided a roundup of some of the best ancient myths about Greek mythology books to read. From there, you can see how authors have taken this topic and created their own stories based on what is known about it. Whether your interest in reading about Greek mythology comes from pop culture or other sources, there are many great pieces for you to enjoy!

 If you like the list of Our recommended Greek Mythology books., why not share it with friends? Also, which books would you add to this list? Let us know below in the comment section!

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