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Author Topic: Books on Mythology  (Read 9390 times)
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« Topic Start: March 18, 2011, 04:25:32 am »

Hi guys, as you know I'm all new to paganism.  I am looking to read up on the dieties and I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a good book.

I am currently reading Mythology for Dummies to get me started.  I've heard The Dummies books are good. So I'll start with it and hopefully it will give me good background knowledge of all the dieties before I move on to a heavier book.

Have you guys any books you could reccommend me?

Thanks, RainDrop
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« Reply #1: March 18, 2011, 05:49:53 am »


The Dummies books are generally awesome. So are Complete Idiot books. You could do well to read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Mythology and The Complete Idiot's Guide to World Mythology, before you decide to go deeper on any particular pantheon.
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« Reply #2: March 18, 2011, 05:04:29 pm »

 I've heard The Dummies books are good. So I'll start with it and hopefully it will give me good background knowledge of all the dieties before I move on to a heavier book.

I can't comment on the Dummies books regarding mythology etc but bare in mind that each book is usually written by a different author and some do, in fact, suck. Always check out reviews on amazon etc before taking a book to heart. Critical thinking is key. I know I've read at least one dummies book on finance that was soooo wrong. Just a friendly warning Smiley
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« Reply #3: March 18, 2011, 07:20:38 pm »

Have you guys any books you could reccommend me?

Here is a thread that is about understanding mythology and folklore, there were some great resources shared... not necessarily about gods and goddesses, and not necessarily books, but worth checking into: http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=11623.0 The Foamy Custard site linked in that thread can't be recommended highly enough.

For a general introduction to different pantheons, there are sites like http://www.godchecker.com/ and http://pantheon.org/ -- this might spark some interest in a particular pantheon or some specific gods/goddesses that you can research in more detail.

You will find that the SIGs often have one or more threads for resources for the mythology and lore of that particular SIG (Kemetic, Celtic, etc) -- so you might want to see what is recommended there.
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« Reply #4: March 19, 2011, 03:17:10 am »

I can't comment on the Dummies books regarding mythology etc but bare in mind that each book is usually written by a different author and some do, in fact, suck. Always check out reviews on amazon etc before taking a book to heart. Critical thinking is key. I know I've read at least one dummies book on finance that was soooo wrong. Just a friendly warning Smiley

Hey Asch, thanks for the warning. Smiley  But don't worry. I already checked out the book on amazon but there was only 1 review.  They said it was good, so I took their word for it and checked it out.

Collinsky, thanks for the links, I'll check those out too.

I found this website: http://www.greek-gods.info. And it seems pretty decent to me. I was wondering what y'all thought about it and if you happen to know of any other websites on roman, kemetic and other mythologies?!

Thanks for your help,
RainDrop
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« Reply #5: March 19, 2011, 06:20:06 pm »

I found this website: http://www.greek-gods.info. And it seems pretty decent to me. I was wondering what y'all thought about it and if you happen to know of any other websites on roman, kemetic and other mythologies?!

A bit overly simplistic, though it doesn't look too appalling for an intro site. I would recommend http://www.theoi.com over any other site I've ever seen on Greek mythology- and if anyone tries to tell me that a better site exists, I call shenanigans (at least until I've had a chance to thoroughly check it for myself).  (If you're at all interested in greek myth, you'll likely spend a substantial bit of time there.)

As for Roman, Hmmm...Okay, so here's the thing, a lot of what is thought of as Roman mythology is actually Greek mythology with Roman names. There are some Roman myths, but not a lot. I don't really know good resources offhand, but you might try http://novaroma.org

Believe it or not, in my experience, wikipedia articles usually aren't that bad- at least, they've always been pretty good with respect to the ones that I actually know enough about to be able to say "Yeah, that's good" or "No, that's a load of horse pucky".
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« Reply #6: March 19, 2011, 07:20:44 pm »

Here is a thread that is about understanding mythology and folklore, there were some great resources shared... not necessarily about gods and goddesses, and not necessarily books, but worth checking into: http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=11623.0 The Foamy Custard site linked in that thread can't be recommended highly enough.

For a general introduction to different pantheons, there are sites like http://www.godchecker.com/ and http://pantheon.org/ -- this might spark some interest in a particular pantheon or some specific gods/goddesses that you can research in more detail.

You will find that the SIGs often have one or more threads for resources for the mythology and lore of that particular SIG (Kemetic, Celtic, etc) -- so you might want to see what is recommended there.

Not a huge fan of Godchecker. Some of the entries are fine, but I get annoyed when they sum a deity up with a few witty sentences.
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« Reply #7: March 19, 2011, 08:50:07 pm »

Not a huge fan of Godchecker. Some of the entries are fine, but I get annoyed when they sum a deity up with a few witty sentences.

I agree.  It's better as a humor site for those who are already somewhat knowledgeable about mythology instead of someone who is just starting to learn.
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« Reply #8: March 19, 2011, 09:50:17 pm »

I agree.  It's better as a humor site for those who are already somewhat knowledgeable about mythology instead of someone who is just starting to learn.

I retract the suggestion.  Smiley It was one of the sites I remember perusing when I was first starting as a Pagan, and I found it helpful, but I wasn't entirely new to mythology so maybe that helped. I can definitely see that it may not be in general a useful starting out site.
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« Reply #9: March 20, 2011, 02:30:54 pm »

I agree.  It's better as a humor site for those who are already somewhat knowledgeable about mythology instead of someone who is just starting to learn.

additionally, some of its information is downright wrong- or was last I looked at it, which has been quite a while.

*took a look* Yeah, still is- Apollo, god of ploughing and animal welfare? They imply that he killed Cassandra, not cursed her. Zeus is nothing but a skirt-chaser (literally, hat's all the entry talks about, barely mentions anything else. Completely changed the story of Hermes theft of Apollo's cattle (and makes it look like that's all there is to Hermes)

...just a few examples.

It seems to pick one or two details about each god and caricature them. (Personally, I don't even really fund the humor to be at all funny. Too many puns, and the writing style just irritates me. But that's me and it wouldn't bug me so much if they were at least doing it with decent information and a better writing style.)

/soapbox
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« Reply #10: March 20, 2011, 03:12:12 pm »

Have you guys any books you could reccommend me?
I was actually out with my wife at our local Outlet shopping centre, and strolled into a bargain book store where a found a descent small book called World Mythology under Parragon. It was only £3, and published this year. I skipped to the Celtic section to see if it was legit, and it indeed is, with recent up to date info. I'd recommend that for a reasonable universal source, if you don't have anything else specific in mind. 
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« Reply #11: March 20, 2011, 05:55:20 pm »

I was actually out with my wife at our local Outlet shopping centre, and strolled into a bargain book store where a found a descent small book called World Mythology under Parragon. It was only £3, and published this year. I skipped to the Celtic section to see if it was legit, and it indeed is, with recent up to date info. I'd recommend that for a reasonable universal source, if you don't have anything else specific in mind. 

Thanks UlsterYank. Just goes to show that you never know what you might find if you look hard enough.  I'll keep a look out in the local bargain book store to see if I can find anything.

Also thanks for the tip-off about God Checker guys.  I had seen it before. I'll know to stay away from it.

RainDrop
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« Reply #12: March 21, 2011, 09:47:53 am »

I agree.  It's better as a humor site for those who are already somewhat knowledgeable about mythology instead of someone who is just starting to learn.
<nod> I'll often include it when making recommendations, because it can be useful for getting a "feel" for a deity in a way that more academic and/or more conventionally reverent material sometimes doesn't quite pull off.  But I do wish it didn't play fast and loose with facts as much as it does - even being a humor site doesn't justify that, since there's plenty of meat for its brand of wit in the authentic mythos-es (what is the plural of "mythos"?).

Sunflower
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« Reply #13: March 21, 2011, 09:59:36 am »

I was actually out with my wife at our local Outlet shopping centre, and strolled into a bargain book store where a found a descent small book called World Mythology under Parragon. It was only £3, and published this year. I skipped to the Celtic section to see if it was legit, and it indeed is, with recent up to date info. I'd recommend that for a reasonable universal source, if you don't have anything else specific in mind. 
A consultation with Amazon suggests that this is the latest edition of the Arthur Cotterell book (though if I'm remembering correctly that I have an earlier edition - I can't check since I'm half a continent away from my library at the moment - I wouldn't call it "small"; that part of your post makes me wonder if it might be something else, perhaps an abridged pocket-size edition since both title and publisher match up).  It's good to know that, apparently and if it is the same, Cotterell is not only re-released regularly but revised.

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« Reply #14: March 21, 2011, 10:19:51 am »

Have you guys any books you could reccommend me?
For classical (Greek and Roman) mythology, I'm very fond of The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology (aka Crowell's Handbook of Classical Mythology and, apparently, Collins Dictionary of Classical Mythology - each named for its publisher, hence the variations) by Edward Tripp.  I don't know if it gets revisions to go with its reprintings, but that's somewhat less of an issue for the Greek/Roman material.

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