Subject: Re: Graves’ “Greek Myths”
From: datapacrat@gmail.com (Daniel Boese)
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 11:27:28 +0000 (UTC)
Message-Id: <e2afj0$da0$1@pyramid.sjgames.com>
Newsgroups: sjgames.chatter

On Fri, 21 Apr 2006 03:25:31 -0700, wren ng thornton
<phreelance_spam@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Daniel Boese wrote:

> > Should I simply go back to reading my copies of Robert Graves’
> > “The Greek Myths” and imagining a world where the island of
> > Sicily used to be a giant?
> Depends, what do you think of “The Greek Myths”? I haven’t read my
> copy in years.

Well, let’s see…

* A surprising amount of the first book seems to be taken up with
relatively dull “So-and-so ravished such-and-such, murdered her
father, and died in this-and-that a fashion”, in what seems to be a
parallel to the Old Testament’s “A begat B, who begat C”. (On the
other hand, it makes me want to put the whole thing into a digital
family-tree format – or possibly a Greek-Myth-Only Wikipedia. I’d also
like to see a globe-display program like GoogleEarth or NASA’s World
Wind annotated with all the place-names mentioned.) Now that I think
about it, though, many of the more memorable Greek myths are also of
this sort, only with the gods themselves instead of mortals (ie,
Zeus’s various amorous adventures).

* I like his bibliographic references; I’ve already skimmed some of
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, but now I have a whole library of texts to look
for and enjoy if I can find decent translations – and given that
they’re all well into the public domain 🙂 , most of them should be

* As far as I can tell, Graves makes a better poet than a historian. I
appreciate his efforts in collating and translating all the myths in
their various versions… but I’m extremely hesitant to accept any of
what he says about myths as poeticized history without some other

Thank you for your time,

Daniel Boese, aka DataPacRat
“Why should I believe that?”

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