Posts tagged ‘mythology’

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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PINT-SIZED MYTHOLOGY

Greek Mythology: The complete guide to Greek Mythology, Ancient Greece, Greek Gods, Zeus, Hercules, Titans, and more!

Written by Nick Plesiotis

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That title is quite a mouthful! This kindle book will give the reader a bird’s eye view of Greek mythology, its history, and a few examples. Greek myths have been around since approximately 900 B.C. They played an extraordinary role in the growth of politics, religion, and social life of the ancient world. Much of our modern day literature reflects their influence.

The author divides the Greek mythological world into three periods: the age of the Gods, the age of Gods and Mortals, and the Age of Heroes. He explains the ancient Greek religion and gives a brief summary of the gods and their equivalents in later Roman mythology. Then Plesiotis goes into detail about some of the more popular heroes like Hercules and the twelve labors he was forced to perform. One chapter explores the Trojan War and the famous Trojan horse ploy used to defeat the Spartans. Prometheus is a Titan who was particularly close to mankind. The author describes how this Titan bestowed the gifts of fire, husbandry, and metalwork upon man.

This twenty some odd page digital book is my no means a definitive guide, but is a great reference for a middle grade school report or introduction to further exploration of Greek and Roman mythology. It would have benefited from a few illustrations to accompany the stories, but I would still recommend this book as a well-written clear reference guide for children and adults age eight and up who have an interest in the subject.

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DISASTER IN THE DISTANCE

Sweetly The Dragon Dreams

Written by David Farland

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Novella is a a combination of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and technology rolled into one. The humans have lived for more than 100,000 years under the subjugation of a superior alien species. As the story opens, a young human girl named Tallori is gathering damselflies as an offering for the goddess known as the Holy Mistress. Humans must bring these offerings to the palace where the resplendent being resides with her skraals. When Tallori finds a dragon’s skull, she alerts her drunken father, Angar who gossips about his good fortune. Meantime Anduval who is gifted with four brains and favored by the holy maiden, is ordered to retrieve the dragon’s head. Angar has already split it with an axe; the magical lights from it arise, and Anduval catches and is blinded by one of them. The Holy Mistress realizes than an attack by the enemy is imminent and the entire kingdom is put to work to build a worldship on which to escape. The Holy Mistress urges Anduval to bring Tallori to the palace; he treats her as his sister, but Tallori falls in love with him. As the Holy Mistress prepares to give birth to her chrysalis, the kingdom struggles to put their escape plan into effect.

The plot is amazingly well developed considering the length of the tale; readers get a good taste of the characters. At the end of the story, I wanted still wanted more. Though this type of story is not my preferred genre, I felt compelled to read it cover to cover in one sitting. There are some veiled sexual references, but nothing objectionable for teen readers. Recommended for sci-fi, tech geeks, and even fans of romance.

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REALITY OR ILLUSION?

Young Plato and the Cave

Written and illustrated by F.A. Chekki

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This is a wonderful and innovative book for children in middle grades and older. It serves as an introduction to one of Plato’s works, The Allegory of the Cave, as well as a bird’s eye view of ancient Greece and its importance to the Western world today.

At the beginning of the book, the reader meets the philosopher Socrates and his student, Aristotle just finishing a lesson. Portraits of Socrates and Aristotle are given as well as thumbnails of the poem which has Plato visiting the oracle in the cave to discern its mystery. Side by side with the allegorical tale, the author presents what he calls, “Bites” of Greek knowledge. These include the government of Athens, Mount Olympus and its gods, the Library of Alexandria, Greek education, the Oracle of Delphi, notions of Arete, and Greek architecture, Greek theater, art, religion, and geography. These small bites pack an abundance of material on each page.

The black and white pencil drawings of the allegorical tale are combined with humor to contrast nicely with the colorful photos of sculpture, paintings, and Greek artifacts. Students are introduced to a plethora of subjects in an easily digestible format. Teachers have an unlimited field of possibilities when using this book as jump off point of discussion for history, literature, philosophy, government, art and science. Any child age nine and older should be able to find an area of interest for further exploration. As a historian, I was impressed by the succinct but pithy descriptions and the well balanced text. Highly recommended to parents, librarians, teachers and budding scholars who want to learn about ancient Greece in a nutshell! I am confident that most readers will be encouraged to explore to learn more.

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