Tag Archives: Hesiod

The Gods of the Greeks

The Gods of the Greeks by Carl Kerényi, a 2004 paperback reprint from Thames & Hudson, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Carl Kerényi The Gods of the Greeks from Thames & Hudson

“Drawing on a wealth of sources, from Hesiod to Pausanias and from the Orphic Hymns to Proclus, Professor Kerényi provides a clear and scholarly exposition of all the most important Greek myths. After a brief introduction, the complex genealogies of the gods lead him from the begettings of the Titans and from Aphrodite under all her titles and aspects, to Apollo, Hermes and the reign of Zeus, touching upon the affairs of Pan, nymphs, satyrs, cosmogonies and the birth of mankind, until he reaches the ineffable mysteries of Dionysos. The lively and highly readable narrative is complemented by an appendix of detailed references to all the original texts and a fine selection of illustrations taken from vase paintings.” — back cover


Sexual Ambivalence

Sexual Ambivalence: Androgyny and Hermaphroditism in Graeco-Roman Antiquity by Luc Brisson, translated by Janet Lloyd, a 2002 paperback from University of California Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Luc Brisson Janet Lloyd Sexual Ambivalence from University of California Press

“This fascinating book collects and translates most of the extant Graeco-Roman writing on human beings, divinities, animals, and other creatures who were both female and male. Luc Brisson provides a commentary that situates this rich source material within its historical and intellectual contexts. These selections—from mythological, philosophical, historical, and anecdotal sources—describe cases of either simultaneous dual sexuality, as in androgyny and hermaphroditism, or successive dual sexuality, as in the case of Tiresias (the blind Theban prophet), which are found through the whole span of Graeco-Roman antiquity. Sexual Ambivalence is an invaluable sourcebook that gathers this suggestive, yet hard to find, material in one convenient place.

In addition to including such familiar sources as the myth of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus as told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Aristophanes’s myth of the origin of the sexes and sexuality in Plato’s Symposium, Brisson also discusses cosmogonic mythology in Hesiodic poetry, the Orphic Rhapsodies, Gnosticism, the Hermetic Corpus, and the so-called Chaldean Oracles. He presents the manifold variants of the myth of Tiresias, as well as many other sources.

These ancient stories deepen our awareness of how strongly the polarity of sexuality colors our entire perception of the world and are profoundly relevant to our thinking today.” — back cover