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Polybius boldly declared that 'now that all places have become accessible by land or sea, it is no longer appropriate to use poets and writers of myth as witnesses of the unknown' (4.40.2). And yet, in reality, the significance of myth did not diminish as the borders of the known world expanded. Storytelling was always an inextricable part of how the ancient Greeks understood their environment; mythic maps existed alongside new, more concrete, methods... more...

The Greek myths are characteristically fabulous; they are full of monsters, metamorphoses, and the supernatural. However, they could be told in other ways as well. This volume charts ancient dissatisfaction with the excesses of myth, and the various attempts to cut these stories down to size by explaining them as misunderstood accounts of actual events. In the hands of ancient rationalizers, the hybrid forms of the Centaurs become early horse-riders,... more...