Posts tagged ‘creation myths’

BACK TO THE SOURCE

Egyptian Mythology: A Fascinating Guide to Understanding the Gods, Goddesses, Monsters, and Mortals

Written by Matt Clayton

The author has written a series of books of ancient societal mythologies. In this book, he sets out to explore the Fertile Crescent, and ancient Egypt, in particular. Part One focuses on the myths associated with Isis, Osiris, Seth, and Horus. Clayton narrates in the third person, interspersed with imaginary dialogue between the gods. He moves on to the most popular creation stories. Clayton next weaves together how the gods and humans came to interact with each other.

In Part Two the author zeroes in on the darker sides of Egyptian religion discussing gods who inflicted chaos upon the world, specifically Apep the snake, and Seth the god of war and confusion. Part Three is the section focusing on what we know of the history of Egypt and the mortals who interacted with the gods to change it. Readers learn about Chancellor Imhotep and how he assisted the king in uniting Egypt. Clayton explores Amenhotep IV and the chaos that ensued over Ra and Aten, the sun gods. Then the story evolves to the reign of Ramesses and his struggles against the Hittite enemy. Finally, the reader is brought to the final stages of the Egyptian empire under Cleopatra and Roman rule.

Clayton packs a lot of information into this volume of fewer than one hundred pages. The author has done a good job in constructing an easy to follow narration of thousands of years of myth and history. Perfect choice for adults who would like a taste of the subject as well as for middle-grade students studying Egyptian history.

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GREEK MYTHS DEMYSTIFIED

GREEK GODS: Myths, Legends and Ancient History 3rd edition

Written by Roy Jackson

This book of fewer than 100 pages is one of the easiest to follow that I have read on the subject. As a history major, I spent lots of time incorporating related studies in religion, literature, and culture. Most writers approach the subject of Greek gods in a genealogical fashion. Jackson’s approach is to classify them into groups according to the roles they performed. While he logically begins with the primordial deities followed by creation myths and the Titans, he rapidly moves on to the more familiar names of the Olympian Pantheon and some of the well-known myths. Homer’s gods of the underworld familiar to readers of the Odyssey are discussed as well as the sea gods like Poseidon so integral to a nation of seafaring inhabitants. Many religions were tied to the agricultural gods, Demeter, and the Eleusinian Mysteries. Jackson discusses Aesculapius, the god of medicine, as well as winged and sea creatures like the Sphinx, Minotaur, and Chimera.

This book is perfect for children in the middle grades who are intrigued with the folklore but do not want or need unnecessary details. It gives a solid foundation for readers who will later be better prepared to graduate to reading the classics. Recommended for readers ages eight and older.

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