Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by Panos Sakalakis.
Do you want to start reading about Greek myths and are you looking for the very best Greek Mythology Books of all time? This list contains amazing works of Greek tales and stories that you need to add to your bookshelf!
Best Greek Mythology Books of all time
I don’t go anywhere without a book. I love to read, especially about Greece and Greek Mythology. Greek Mythology has so much to offer and it is so much worth exploring, especially if you are traveling to Greece.
When my daughter started studying The Odyssey and The Iliad as part of her gymnasium school curriculum, I felt it was time to list my favorite works.
If you’re looking for these famous translated books or other famous works of Greek Mythology, this post is for you. I have compiled a fantastic list of translated and adapted famous mythology stories and collected works.
There are so many amazing tales in Greek Mythology and so many books dedicated to the subject. That makes it very hard to choose the best one to start. In order to make your life easier, we selected the 10 bestselling (Amazon 5 star-rated) Mythology Books for adults.
Greek Mythology stories origins
Greek mythology originates from the Ancient Greeks, who made up stories in ancient times. These stories were passed on word of mouth, from generation to generation. Although these are fantasies, they contain a lot of truths that are not myths but true stories.
The first known recorded Greek stories about the origin of heaven and earth occur in the 8th century BC. and were written by Hesiod. The Greek myths and sagas were collected and passed down by the famous Homer, who lived in the 8th or 9th century BC.
What Greek Mythology books should I read first?
If you want to learn more about Greek Mythology, it is best to start with some collected works about the subject. An abridged version of The Iliad and The Odyssey will also be a good start. These two Greek epics, are works of Homer and tell the story of the Trojan War and the Greek hero Odysseus.
Should you read The Iliad or The Odyssey first?
The Iliad was written first. That is why the events in the Odyssey are a direct consequence of what happens in The Iliad. So you could say that one should read The Iliad first. However, many people seem to find the Odyssey more accessible. In Greece, students in middle school start with The Odyssey. The Odyssey does tend to be easier because its plot is more action-packed and varied, so it might be a good choice to read first.
For more information and details of the selected books, click on the highlighted titles
10 Books about Greek Mythology
Poet Homer is well-known for his two classic epics: The Odyssey and The Iliad. The Odyssey tells the story of the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses) and his journey home to his island kingdom of Ithaca after the Trojan War. During his journey, he faces a series of perils and misadventures. He fights with serpents, magicians, and witches. Meanwhile, his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus are waiting for him at home. While an increasingly unruly crowd of suitors assume Odysseus is dead and wants Penelope’s hand and Odysseus’s vacant seat.
The Iliad focuses on the story and the heroes of the Trojan War. Timeless characters like Achilles, Patroclus, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Hector, Paris, Helen of Troy play an important role. The book takes place at near the end of the ten-year struggle, when the Greek leaders Achilles and Agamemnon are at odds. Both stories, The Iliad and The Odyssey, are major works of epic poetry. They belong to the oldest extant works of literature, and are certainly among the oldest to still be read and enjoyed by many.
In this volume, the two great epic poems of Greek literature, Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey come together in the masterful verse translations of poet Alexander Pope. Both works are essential pieces of Western literature. They are timeless works touching upon themes of honor, duty, and fate, that continue to find relevance for every generation. A must-have for every Classics fan.
The Theogony is a poem by Hesiod (8th – 7th century BC) describing the origins and genealogies of the Greek gods. It is one of the oldest pieces of literature from Ancient Greece. It provides a snapshot of what Greek literary and religious traditions during Hesiod’s lifetime were like. The Works and Days is about morality, justice, the virtues of a good life, and the place of humans in the universe. Presented in this work in a bilingual edition, Johnson’s translation takes care to preserve the structure of Hesiod’s lines and sentences, achieving a sonic and rhythmic balance that enables you to hear his music across the millennia!
Best Greek Mythology Books of all time: Demeter & Persephone: Greek Mythology Exposed (Greek Mythology Explained)
The Homeric Hymn to Demeter has been told for three thousand years. Today, it is still one of the most famous stories in Greek Mythology. It talks about the timeless acts of motherly love, the continual battle between parent and child, and the struggle of a girl becoming a woman. This book retells the myth of Demeter and Persephone. The secret rituals of Demeter’s cult will be explained, and the evolution of Persephone will become clear.
This book combines two important themes from Greek Mythology. Circe in Greek legend, a sorceress, the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and of the ocean nymph Perse. The Song of Achilles is a 2011 novel by Madeline Miller. It is an adaptation of Homer’s Iliad as told from the perspective of Patroclus. The novel follows Patroclus’ relationship with Achilles. It starts with their initial meeting until their exploits during the Trojan War. The Song of Achilles was awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2012.
The Orphic Hymns are a collection of 87 short religious poems. They are based on the beliefs of Orphism, a mystery cult or religious philosophy which claimed descent from the teachings of the mythical hero Orpheus. Orpheus taught a new religion that centered around the immortality of the human soul and its journey after death. Elements of the worship of Dionysus were fused with Orphic beliefs. That resulted in a powerful and illuminating new religion that found expression in the mystery cults. Practitioners of this new religion composed a great body of poetry, some of them translated in this book, accompanied by rich commentary.
This is classic bestseller has beautiful illustrations and will enchant fans of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology at all ages. Mythology has sold millions of copies throughout the world. It is a favorite because it covers the entire world of mythology. From Odysseus’s adventure-filled journey to the Norse god Odin. This deluxe, hardcover edition is fully-illustrated with specially commissioned art. It is a true collector’s item and one of the best Greek Mythology books of all time.
9. Classical Mythology A to Z: An Encyclopedia of Gods & Goddesses, Heroes & Heroines, Nymphs, Spirits, Monsters, and Places
Classical Mythology A-to-Z is a comprehensive guide to Greek and Roman mythology. The work is written by Annette Giesecke, a professor of Classics. It is a brilliant reference with clear explanations of every character in Greek Mythology. From the gods of Mount Olympus to the heroes of the Trojan War, and other mythical creatures. You will find more than 700 characters and places. Each definition includes cross-references to related characters, locations, and myths, as well their equivalent in Roman mythology and cult. (Classical Mythology A-to-Z was also written, designed, and illustrated to serve as an essential companion to the early mentioned Mythology.
10. Mythos (Ancient Greek Mythology Book for Adults, Modern Telling of Classical Greek Myths Book, Stephen Fry)
Legendary writer, actor, and comedian Stephen Fry has done a brilliant job retelling the Greek Myths. Mythos is a modern collection of Greek myths, stylishly retold. Fry transforms the adventures of Zeus and the Olympians into emotionally resonant and deeply funny stories. The book also features notes from the author, all with Fry’s distinctive wit, voice, and writing style. Connoisseurs of the Greek myths will appreciate this fresh-yet-reverential interpretation. And it is also suitable for newcomers to Greek Mythology.