Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their myths in the epic age of Homer

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Penguin UK, Sep 4, 2008 - History - 528 pages

This remarkable and daringly original book proposes a new way of thinking about the Greeks and their myths in the age of the great Homeric hymns. It combines a lifetime's familiarity with Greek literature and history with the latest archeological discoveries and the author's own journeys to the main sites in the story to describe how particular Greeks of the eighth century BC travelled east and west around the Mediterranean, and how their extraordinary journeys shaped their ideas of their gods and heroes. It gathers together stories and echoes from many different ancient cultures, not just the Greek - Assyria, Egypt, the Phoenician traders - and ranges from Mesopotamia to the Rio Tinto at Huelva in modern Portugal. Its central point is the Jebel Aqra, the great mountain on the north Syrian coast which Robin Lane Fox dubs 'the southern Olympus', and around which much of the action of the book turns.

Robin Lane Fox rejects the fashionable view of Homer and his near-contemporary Hesiod as poets who owed a direct debt to texts and poems from the near East, and by following the trail of the Greek travellers shows that they were, rather, in debt to their own countrymen. With characteristic flair he reveals how these travellers, progenitors of tales which have inspired writers and historians for thousands of years, understood the world before the beginnings of philosophy and western thought.


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User Review  - dchaikin - LibraryThing

66. Travelling Heroes : In the Epic Age of Homer by Robin Lane Fox published: 2008 format: 419 page paperback (plus 80 page bibliography/index) acquired: July from Half Price Books read: Oct 20 - Nov ... Read full review

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User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

A study of the relationship between Hesiod and Homer, dating Hesiod as a bit earlier and Homer as 780 BCE. This sort of thing sometimes allows me to deepen my thoughts about the origins of Greek literature and the interrelations of the ancient world. Readable Read full review


List of Maps
PART ONE Heras Flight 1 Heras Flight
From China to Cadiz
Travelling Heroes
PART TWO East and West
Home and Away
Travelling Settlers
Lost in Translation
A Travelling Prophet
Travelling Lovers
A Travelling Mountain
The Great Castrator
Travelling Monsters
Basecamp to Battlefield

Up to Unqi
Potamoi Karon
Beyond Ithaca
Monkey Islands
Back on Euboea
PART THREE Travelling Myths
Finding Neverland
The View from Ascra
Just So Stories
List of Illustrations

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About the author (2008)

Robin Lane Fox is our most widely-read historian of the ancient Greek world. He was born in 1946 and educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of New College, Oxford, and a University Reader in Ancient History. His other books include Alexander the Great, Pagans and Christians, The Unauthorized Version and The Classical World. He was historical advisor to Oliver Stone on the making of the film Alexander, and as the gardening correspondent of the Financial Times is author of the longest running column of any kind in a British newspaper.

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