Greek Mythology is a dense and fascinating topic for study. It’s difficult to find accurate sources to tell the true story of Greek Mythology and the family of myths passed down for thousands of years–we’ve collected the best sources for you below.
The Greeks used Gods, Heroes, and monsters to describe supernatural events and other events answers didn’t yet exist for–science at the earliest ages.
Gods, Heroes, and monsters were used in storytelling for drama and for developing morals; similar to the stories in the Bible, crafted by many–over years; a guide on how to live a good life.
When lighting lit up the sky, it wasn’t a natural occurrence, lighting was Zeus–the God of the sky–in a bout of rage demonstrating his power, throwing bolts of lighting down to earth from Olympus; the heaven in the sky.
When Volcanos erupted, Hades–god of the underworld–was angry, and spew molten rock from his domain thousands of miles below the earth where the dead rule.
Mythology is one of the oldest forms of storytelling.
Beyond explaining natural events, mythology was also used to tell stories, establish moral-rules through story, and used for classic entertainment through storytelling.
There wasn’t any room for cowards during the great ages of man.
Most people who are interested in Greek Mythology hold many incorrect beliefs–for example; Ares, the God of War, was rarely mentioned in Greek Mythology and was seen as a nuance more than a hero. His sister, Athena; routinely needed to save him. Athena was the goddess of wisdom; she saved Ares because Ares craved battle without thought; rushing into skirmishes headfirst to his own demise.
Learning about Greek Mythology from Books
If you can’t visit Greece and see the history of Greek Mytholog, the next best way to learn about Greek Mythology is through reading; books from the past, and the present.
Museums are excellent for learning about Greek Mythology, but aren’t accessible to everyone like books are.
Greek Mythology Textbooks
Textbooks are the best books to use for learning Greek Mythology; they’re included below in the present books section.
The history of Mythology is excruciatingly complex, and difficult to compile for traditional authors; textbooks build off current knowledge and continue building with new knowledge in future editions.
Textbooks below can be purchased, rented, or torrented; but we don’t recommend that option. Since textbooks are so expensive, renting isn’t a bad option.
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If you rent a textbook, take as many notes as possible using Evernote. Extract the valuable information so you don’t need to buy the textbook or rent it again.
You can try audiobooks too; here’s a deal for two free audiobooks.
Greek Mythology books written during the mythological ages are difficult to read; no one spoke English, and translating from early Greek, or other languages that died many years ago, prove difficult reading experiences.
Below are the best books on Greek Mythology from the past and present.
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The Best Present Day Greek Mythology Books
Books written in the modern era that help illuminate what Greek Mythology is. Modern Greek Mythology books are easier to read but fail to capture the soul of ancient life.
Greek Mythology Book 1 | Mythology
Edith Hamilton’s book, Mythology, is the best book on Mythology besides classic textbooks. Mythology retells ancient myths you’re familiar with, like Hercules, or Medusa; Mythology goes beyond the Greek Myths and explores Norse Mythology, and, the Roman version of the Greek myths too.
The Romans weren’t creative. Instead, Romans were utilitarian, and objective-oriented where the Greeks exhibited a taste for art and wonder. Athens, Greece comes to mind. The Romans copied the Greek gods but gave them different names. For example: Ares, in Roman, is Mars; like the red planet.
Mythology is a beautiful book for many reasons. One of Mythology’s true indicators of greatness is the sheer depth of topic covered in the book. Nearly all Western Myth is crammed into one, 400 page book. Works like King Midas, Jason and the Golden Fleece; Edith Hamilton published Mythology in 1942 and dedicated most of her life to her obsession on ancient culture and story. Years later, Mythology is as relevant as ever.
Greek Mythology Book 2 | Treasure of Greek Mythology
Donna Jo Napoli
Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback | Audiobook
Treasury of Greek Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli is the best-selling Children’s Greek Mythology book on Amazon. Also, the book is backed by National Geographic. So there’s that.
While researching books for this list, we found many of the books were for a younger age group or written for kids entirely.. It’s not clear why, but we have an plausible explanation; child-imagination understands the story of Greek Mythology; adult imagination doesn’t. The stories of Greek Mythology are outlandish and, stray from following a clear plot.
Treasury of Greek Mythology is a pure childrens’ book, but, makes a nice coffee table book or casual resource; a picture book, that illustrates the Greek Gods in a warm, friendly light; although the Greeks really viewed the Gods as an annoyance, interfering with daily life, fighting within the family tree like a Kardashian reality show.
Speaking of the Kardashians, stop looking at photos of girls you don’t know.
Greek Mythology Book 3 | D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback | Audiobook
Daulaires’ book of Greek Myths is a children’s book with beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations; great for kids who need a little more than words to hold their attention, and, great for adults who appreciate art or who aren’t vapid readers. Yet. Everyone should read these books in their lifetime.
The Illustrations are the hook for Daulaires’ book on Greek Mythology. They’re beautiful. The book, though; isn’t a difficult read or rich with detail. Most adults will find the prose without substance. Save this book for the kids.
Caution: The kindle version of Daulaires’ book on Greek Mythology has formatting complaints.
Greek Mythology Book 4 | Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
Kindle | Paperback | Audiobook
Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths is the best-selling book from this list; unless you count the Iliad; but that book is ancient. HGMGM (Heroes Gods Monsters Greek Myths) has sold many copies because the book-format is easy for anyone to understand.
Greek Mythology is convoluted and difficult to understand. Bernard Evslin retells classic stories with simple words, written for a younger audience but still relevant to any age. HGMGM was, and still is, a resource for grade-school education on the subject of Greek Mythology.
HGMGM is old but not outdated. This book is a good starter but you’ll want to read other, more detailed books from this list too.
Greek Mythology Book 5 |100 Characters from Classical Mythology
Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback
100 characters from Greek Mythology–written by Malcom day–is a reference book you can also read front to back.
As the title says, this book highlights 100 characters from Greek Mythology; Zeus, Perseus, Poseidon; the monsters, and the very titans who built the earth or gave humanity fire.
Many universal emotions run through the pages of this book, like the emotions running through each Myth; the Greek gods are problematic, dramatic, and troublesome–more nuisance than necessary.
The Greek God of Wine, dionysus, was the most celebrated god. His status as favorite among the people could be because of the massive amount of wine consumed by the population.
Each god, or hero, has a few pages written about them, and sit, somewhere, in a family tree of Myth, monsters, and heroes. 100 Characters has illustrations, too.
Greek Mythology Book 6 | Classical Mythology 11th Edition
Classical Mythology, and the remaining books in the Best Modern-day Greek Mythology list are textbooks; skip to the Best Mythology books from the past if textbooks aren’t for you. Scroll further for more.
Classical Mythology is one of, if not the longest running Mythology textbook to exist, on the 11th edition now.
Classical Mythology is a full-color textbook that translates original Greek Myths from their parent language into modern English. Classical Mythology teaches beyond Greek Myth and takes on many aspects of Greek culture including the views of many philosophers from the school of Stoicism and other schools of philosophy during the time.
Classical Mythology is expensive, but contains the most information and the newest knowledge.
Greek Mythology Book 7 | Classical Myth 8th Edition
Barry B Powell.
Classical Myth is a Mythology textbook containing illustrations, original texts from Myths, translations, and examples of the impact of Greek Mythology & drama on the arts of modern society; film-making, dance, literature.
Barry B. Powell is a master of Greek Mythology and wrote many books on the subject, both fiction and non-fiction. His books are often used in the college classroom, and he’s translating Homer’s Odyssey himself; one of the oldest books in the world, featured below in the books from the past.
Classical Myth is a good textbook choice because Barry B. Is an expert and writes with a passionate prose only a true savant of Mythology can.
The Best Greek Mythology books from the past
Books on the theme of Greek Mythology and classic epics from the golden age of man.
Greek Mythology Book 8 | Iliad
Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback | Audible
The Iliad, written by Homer–a poet– hundreds of years before Christ, is an epic story of the Ten Year Trojan war and the heroic arc of Odysseus; and is the first book in the duo of the Iliad and the Odyssey; Homer’s more famous book.
The Iliad was translated many times. This edition by Caroline Alexander is the best rated translation of the Iliad.
The Iliad is a grand story, copied, and reinvented hundreds of thousands of times since it’s creation long ago. Most modern books follow a traditional heroes arc; The Heroes journey, as Campbell would say.
Greek Mythology Book 9 | The Odyssey
Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback | Audiobook
The Odyssey is the most famous book from Greek, Western culture. It’s the second-oldest book from western literature in existence.
The Odyssey takes place after the end of the ten-year-long Trojan war. Odysseus, travels back home to Greece, but, the journey takes ten-years and multiple obstacles, monsters, and tragedies await him on his journey.
The Odyssey is famous for its deep, rich, and creative story that still holds up today.
Odysseus is clever, strong, and confident; he faces impossible monsters like the Cyclops, and the Sirens of the sea. Yet, even standing before impossible obstacles, Odysseus finds a way to preserver using his wits and Andreian spirit.
The Odyssey is one of the greatest texts ever written.
Greek Mythology Book 10 | Metamorphoses
Kindle | Paperback | Library Binding
Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a 15-book epic, similar to the epic written by Homer containing the Iliad and the Odyssey. Each book has a different theme, and each theme is its own, self-contained world influencing many great artists over thousands of years–Shakespeare included.
Metamorphoses doesn’t fit into one genre because each book is so different in meaning and story arch. Metamorphoses is reserved for individuals who are patient enough to take the time needed to comprehend each sentence, translated through multiple languages and evolutions of the English language.
Metamorphoses is a worthwhile read but requires time and patience for full-effect.
Greek Mythology Book 11 | The Epic Of Gilgamesh *Bonus*
Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback
The Epic of Gilgamesh is not a Greek Mythology book; The Epic of Gilgamesh comes from ancient Mesopotamia, and is considered the oldest surviving text known to man.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story about Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild-man who becomes civilized after a romp with a prostitute, then, loses to Gilgamesh in a contest of strength; later, the two embark on a massive journey worthy of two heroes.
The original epic was written across 12 stone tablets and was published around 2100 BC.
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A serious omission from your wonderful list. is Stephen Fry’s MYTHOS, which is one of the best – and fun! – books I have read on this topic. In fact, I feel it would make a terrific textbook for young folks who sometimes are reluctant to explore this area.
Thank you for your listings and choices. Each seems so inviting and unique. I just offer Stephen Fry just FYI.