Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry

Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece

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...

Title:Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece
Author:
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Edition Language:English

Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece Reviews

  • 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

    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).

  • Lo

    This is so exciting! Greek mythology AND Stephen Fry?!? If only it were possible to pre-order, but it looks like the release is coming in early November. Woohoo!

    Edit: It's available to pre-order in the UK from a few sources, for Nov 2 release, but still nothing in the US. If anyone finds it from a US seller, please drop me a comment.

    Edit2: It's out now on Amazon.co.uk, but still not available from Amazon in the US. UK reviews are mixed, not great. The audiobook (read by Stephen Fry!) is on Audib

    This is so exciting! Greek mythology AND Stephen Fry?!? If only it were possible to pre-order, but it looks like the release is coming in early November. Woohoo!

    Edit: It's available to pre-order in the UK from a few sources, for Nov 2 release, but still nothing in the US. If anyone finds it from a US seller, please drop me a comment.

    Edit2: It's out now on Amazon.co.uk, but still not available from Amazon in the US. UK reviews are mixed, not great. The audiobook (read by Stephen Fry!) is on Audible, but I'm not allowed to download it in the US. Alas! My local library has never heard of it.

    I'll continue to update if I find any new information!

  • Joy

    My review on: Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry.

    I really enjoyed this book, the story telling was great and had me smiling; you could feel Stephen Fry personality within the book. I also enjoyed the footnotes; yes you read right, even the footnotes. I did read this on my Kindle, but I enjoyed it that much, I’ve got myself a Hardback copy just in case something happens to my Kindle. So that must tell you something? The writing is floorless, how it’s been put togeth

    My review on: Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry.

    I really enjoyed this book, the story telling was great and had me smiling; you could feel Stephen Fry personality within the book. I also enjoyed the footnotes; yes you read right, even the footnotes. I did read this on my Kindle, but I enjoyed it that much, I’ve got myself a Hardback copy just in case something happens to my Kindle. So that must tell you something? The writing is floorless, how it’s been put together and set out was well done also. I’ll be looking forward to a re-read of it and I already know I’ll enjoy it just the same.

    If you want an exciting way to read how Zeus came to being, his marriage to Hera, while finding out how the world came to be in Greek Myth. This book is for you, truly it is. It really covers almost everything without over complicating it; this is a storybook, not a study book for Ancient Greece degree. You are meant to have your feet up with a mug of coco and enjoy the retelling of the Greek Gods, while you cannot help but laugh, at what both Gods and Human got up too.

  • Henna

    Who's more perfect for retelling the Greek myths than witty Stephen Fry? No one, as Mythos was brilliant retelling of the Greek myths: from the beginning of the world when there was only Chaos, through the First Order, the Second Order, the Third Order (which is the Olympians), and through the creation of mankind and their Golden and Silver Ages. Mythos does not retell the later ages, including the Age of Heroes, so you won't meet Herakles, Achilles or Odyssey here. Now I just wish Fry will make

    Who's more perfect for retelling the Greek myths than witty Stephen Fry? No one, as Mythos was brilliant retelling of the Greek myths: from the beginning of the world when there was only Chaos, through the First Order, the Second Order, the Third Order (which is the Olympians), and through the creation of mankind and their Golden and Silver Ages. Mythos does not retell the later ages, including the Age of Heroes, so you won't meet Herakles, Achilles or Odyssey here. Now I just wish Fry will make this a series and retell the later ages of the Greek myths, too!

    Stephen Fry's narrative makes the myths of Ancient Greece flow like no other. Absolutely entertaining! I loved Mythos, and I highly recommend it for everyone - it doesn't matter if you're meeting the Greek gods first time or if you're seasoned, this will be entertaining read.

  • Rach

    The absolutely excellent Stephen Fry has done it again ladies and gentlemen!

    Having never studied Classics and knowing very little about Greek Mythology (aside what Disney’s Hercules taught me) I was excited to pick this book up and give it a go. It’s something i’m so interested in, having visited Greece and the ancient world several times- and being massively into art and sculpture- and honestly- if you’re a total Greek Myths novice- this one is a solid choice.

    The first thing is, that Stephen Fr

    The absolutely excellent Stephen Fry has done it again ladies and gentlemen!

    Having never studied Classics and knowing very little about Greek Mythology (aside what Disney’s Hercules taught me) I was excited to pick this book up and give it a go. It’s something i’m so interested in, having visited Greece and the ancient world several times- and being massively into art and sculpture- and honestly- if you’re a total Greek Myths novice- this one is a solid choice.

    The first thing is, that Stephen Fry is a bloody national treasure. He writes so beautifully and never allows you to feel stupid or patronized by what he’s saying. There’s enough academia and research in this book to allow you to actually learn something, but he’s also witty and finds the humour in several fairly gory stories.

    The book is in short- a retelling of the classics from Gaia, Kronos and the conception of man- to Pandora, Hades, Prometheus and Pygmallion.

    You can read the rest of my review here:

  • 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!

  • Andrea

    Once again, a BIG FAT THANK YOU to my awesome friend Bubu who send me this book via audible. THANK YOU!!! <3

    Anyways.

    Once again, a BIG FAT THANK YOU to my awesome friend Bubu who send me this book via audible. THANK YOU!!! <3

    Anyways.

    I guess you have to love this approach to enjoy this book. I certainly know enough people who want their myth with a heavy dose of judgement and "and the lesson we learn from this...", but I happen to be the exact opposite. I absolutely adored the way Fry spun stories from (sometimes) familiar stories, the way he makes them come alive without beating you about the head with a deeper meaning that you have to find.

    That being said, I absolutely LOVED immersing myself in Fry's version of (way too few, if you ask me) Greek myths. Some I knew, some where new to me. But they all fascinated me. And the way he wrote it really did make me wonder about the people who came up with these myths to begin with! That's the thing I love most about his way with words.

    He had me glued to the page/phone, chuckling, crying, sighing, and rolling my eyes at the follies of mortals and gods alike. I had the immense pleasure of both reading it AND listening to Fry read it himself. I couldn't possible say which I loved more though :)

  • Anne

    This books takes it's reader back to the 'Greek version' of the 'Big Bang'/ 'Creation'! We are introduced to the Gods of ancient Greece, and the morals who worship them! Stephen Fry, is an amazing storyteller! He writes in away that has the reader feeling like they are being transported back to the times of the Titans, the Cyclops, the Immortals (Gods), like Zeus, Apollo,Ares,Cronus, Artimis, Athena, Aphorodite, Hera, Hestia, etc! And let's not forget the nymphs, etc!

    Unlike some books about the

    This books takes it's reader back to the 'Greek version' of the 'Big Bang'/ 'Creation'! We are introduced to the Gods of ancient Greece, and the morals who worship them! Stephen Fry, is an amazing storyteller! He writes in away that has the reader feeling like they are being transported back to the times of the Titans, the Cyclops, the Immortals (Gods), like Zeus, Apollo,Ares,Cronus, Artimis, Athena, Aphorodite, Hera, Hestia, etc! And let's not forget the nymphs, etc!

    Unlike some books about the ancient Greek Gods that at times can be some what of a yawn, Stephen Fry, adds some humour, and a more relatable view to these ancient Myths!

    I found this book hard to put down at times!

  • Chris

    This was a great retelling of these tales from Greek Mythology in a nice readable format, with minimal academic distraction (footnotes sometime excepting).

    The humorous asides and some of the modern culturally colloquial context used made an otherwise scarily remote (ancient even) set of stories attainable.

    The journalistic nature of the text means It reads more like a series of short stories than a novel or even a factual biography.

    This work would make for an excellent audio book, as I could jus

    This was a great retelling of these tales from Greek Mythology in a nice readable format, with minimal academic distraction (footnotes sometime excepting).

    The humorous asides and some of the modern culturally colloquial context used made an otherwise scarily remote (ancient even) set of stories attainable.

    The journalistic nature of the text means It reads more like a series of short stories than a novel or even a factual biography.

    This work would make for an excellent audio book, as I could just hear Stephen Fry's voice over and to get the most enjoyment from this I think that should be in the head of the reader.

  • Koda Whitney

    This retelling of the Greek myths achieved something unexpected - it made me interested in Greek history and mythology. This was quite an achievement given my classics degree left me completely uninterested in all things Greek.

    Fry’s retelling began a little shakily and I found myself wishing Neil Gaiman had been doing the telling in a similar style to his Norse Mythology. But by the end of Midas legend I was left craving more. If you’re interested in Mythology or just interested in some grand ta

    This retelling of the Greek myths achieved something unexpected - it made me interested in Greek history and mythology. This was quite an achievement given my classics degree left me completely uninterested in all things Greek.

    Fry’s retelling began a little shakily and I found myself wishing Neil Gaiman had been doing the telling in a similar style to his Norse Mythology. But by the end of Midas legend I was left craving more. If you’re interested in Mythology or just interested in some grand tales of gods and men, then this book is for you.

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