Mythology is a genre that interests a vast number of people. There are Roman, Norse, Greek, and myths from different cultures and traditions. Out of all the myths, Greek Mythology has always interested me the most. I have grown up reading about Greek myths. The magnificence, splendor, and extravagance of Greek mythology keep me hooked on the books. The Greek Gods, Goddesses, Heroes, and monsters are all so enchanting.
Best Greek Mythology Books!
They draw you inside the mystical world of the ancient Greeks. It’s hard not to fall deeply in love with the myths and the folklore. Greek Mythology inspired every medium out there, not just novels and comics. For games, we have God of War (Series), Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Hades, etc. For movies, we have Troy, Percy Jackson (Film Series), Walt Disney’s Hercules (Animated Film), Blood of Zeus (Netflix), and much more.
There is also a connection that DC’s Wonder Woman is the biological daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta. Even in “Thor: Love and Thunder” movie, we have Zeus’s appearance. If you are interested in knowing more about “Thor” (Norse), we have the best Norse Mythology books here. We have plenty of greek mythological names, too, such as Hercules, Poseidon, Hades, Medusa, Minotaur, Centaur, Pegasus, etc.
There are plenty of free resources online to study about them. If you are addicted to Greek Mythology or are new to this magnetic world of the sagas from ancient Greece, this comprehensive list of books will help you read and learn about Greek mythology in leaps and bounds. You can read them in any order you want but always cover the basics first. They are available on Amazon and other popular websites.
1. The Iliad by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles
Robert Fagles was an award-winning translator. He won the Ralf Manheim Medal for translation. And in the year 1996, the American Academy of Arts and Literature presented the Academy Awards to Robert Fagles for his tremendous contribution. The Iliad by Homer is a treasure, and Robert Fagles has helped to make it accessible for everyone. Robert combined a contemporary element with the extravagance of The Iliad without harming its authenticity.
From ancient Greek contemporaries to modern writers, Homer’s work has inspired writers across generations and centuries. Homer’s Iliad is dated to the 9th century and covers the story of the dark period in the Trojan War. The protagonist of the story is Achilles. Achilles was one of the greatest war champions of the Greeks. On being humiliated by his leader Agamemnon, Achilles decided not to be a part of the war. He refused to fight.
However, after his close friend Patroclus’ murder, Achilles entered the battle with the motive of avenging his friend’s death. The Iliad shows us the magnificence of the great wars and the conflict between the Heros and the Gods. The book will help you to understand the tragedy caused by such wars and how the wars affected the domestic lives of people. If you are interested in Greek Mythology, Homer’s Iliad is a must-read book. I highly recommend Penguin’s Classic as it contains important notes by Bernard Knox, who was an English Classicist and author. You can get the book here! 📖
2. The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles
If you enjoyed reading the Iliad, you would love The Odyssey too. Homer was a great author and poet. His work has been a real inspiration for so many authors. Robert Fagles did a fantastic job translating Homer’s Odyssey and making it accessible for all of us. On the one hand, The Iliad is all about the greatness of the war and how the details of the battlefield, politics, and interpersonal relationships among the tremendous Greek characters. On the other hand, the Odyssey describes the everyday struggles and plights of man. It’s a humbling book that will touch the corners of your heart. You can get the book here! 📖
3. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite writers. She is brilliant in her craft, and I admire her genius. She makes women feel seen and heard through her work is inspiring. Her book The Penelopiad is no different. In this book, Atwood introduces us to Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. Penelope was also the cousin of Helen of Troy. Penelope is a character who has always been depicted as a typical wife, faithful in her duties to her husband. Odysseus left Penelope alone for twenty years while fighting in the Trojan War.
But Penelope was not a damsel in distress. Instead, Penelope channeled her inner hero and managed to survive alone even though several suitors were waiting for her. But when Odysseus returned, he was a man who had seen unspeakable things. He killed all of Penelope’s suitors, and in a horrific event, he murdered twelve of her maids. It was unfair, so you must read The Peneopiad by Margaret Atwood because she humanizes Penelope. In her retelling, Atwood takes a witty path toward solving this ancient mystery.
She is famous for her grasp of poetry, and with this book, she shines. Her writing style is contemporary, making it easy for us to read and understand. I would say Margaret Atwood has made this ancient story accessible to the mass. The Penelopiad is also strangely feminist. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants a different perspective on these old characters. Especially with Odysseus’ character, The Penelopiad is a beautiful book to shine a light on his character’s darkness. So, if you want to read and learn more about Greek mythology, The Penelopiad is a highly recommended book. You can get the book here! 📖
4. Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe by Madeline Miller is one of the most loved books. Especially amongst Millenials, Circe is a favorite. It’s primarily because Madeline Miller’s writing is simple, and the story flows effortlessly. Circe is an unputdownable book that’s set in the Greek Heroic Era. Once you pick up this book, you will have to finish it. So, stay away from this book at night because if you start it, you will have to pull an all-nighter to get to the end of the book. Circe was born in the house of Helios. She is the daughter of the Sun God, Titan Helios, and Perse.
However, even though Circe is born to such glorious parents, she doesn’t have their attributes. She is deemed unattractive, neither possessing her father’s powerful qualities nor her mother’s charm. However, Circe is not all that powerless. She possesses the power of witchcraft. Madeline Miller has done an exceptional job at making Circe a real story for young girls. Circe passes with flying colors when it comes to the book’s feminist theme, but it’s not written just for the sake of it. In a nutshell, Madeline Miller’s Circe is a treat to read, and every Greek Mythology buff must read it. You can get the book here! 📖
5. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
Gods behaving badly is Marie Phillips’ debut novel, and she won people’s hearts with her very first book. Let’s face it; Greek Mythology can get grim. Some events are just too unspeakable. However, with Gods behaving badly, Marie Phillips manages to combine comedy with myths. Now imagine what would happen if the Greek Gods lived amidst us in the twenty-first century. Sounds exciting, right? If yes, then you must read this book. Gods behaving badly is an exciting take on what it would be like if the twelve Gods of Olympus lived in a small London townhouse.
The book shows how none of the Gods are happy in their situation, and soon a big war erupts between them. Marie Phillips has done an incredible job making the book funny, thrilling, and unputdownable. If you have read many grim Greek mythology books lately, God behaving badly will be a cool palette change for you. I highly recommend it to everyone, especially those trying to read about Greek mythology but finding it a bit too overwhelming. You can get the book here! 📖
6. The Complete World of Greek Mythology by Richard Buxton
Most of us read Greek Mythology because it’s fun, exciting, and interestingly dark. However, suppose you are one of those rare beings who want to read about Greek Mythology for solid knowledge with academic goals set in their minds. In that case, you must read Richard Buxton’s masterpiece book, The Complete World of Greek Mythology. Richard Buxton is an expert in Greek Mythology, and it’s always a good idea to learn about a subject directly from an expert and guru.
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He is dedicated to working on Greek literature, and his knowledge of ancient religion and culture is a goldmine. The best part about Richard Buxton’s work is he focuses on the essence of myths and folklore. He wants his readers to understand the relevance and context of the sagas and what they meant for the hearers of the stories. The Complete World of Greek Mythology is a comprehensive book that entails family sagas, origins, myths, and much more. You will also find several illustrations, drawings, figures, tables, etc., that will help you to build a solid knowledge of Greek Mythology. You can get the book here! 📖
7. Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry is an incredibly talented human being, and his book Mythos has taken it to another level. For any Greek mythology buff, Mythos is a must-read. With Mythos, Stephen Fry has tried to retell as many Greek myths as would possibly fit in the book. It’s a collection of independent stories about different Gods. The selling point of this book is Stephen Fry’s humor. The book is so witty and fun. The best part about this book is that it’s enjoyable for people with extensive knowledge of Greek mythology and culture but also for those who are just starting to read and learn more about the myths. You can get the book here! 📖
8. Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters by Donna Jo Napoli
Treasure of Greek Mythology is a precious collaboration between the author Donna Jo Napoli and illustrator Christina Balit. Both these talented humans have won awards for their contributions to their fields. In this book, you will find tales of Aphrodite, Zeus, Apollo, Athena, Helen of Troy, Medusa, and many more Gods, Goddesses, and monsters. The writing in this book is beautifully lyrical. And when the tales are combined with Christina Balit’s mesmerizing Illustrations, this book becomes nothing but a delight.
People may consider this a children’s book, but everyone of different ages will enjoy Treasure of Greek Mythology equally. The book comes with enough information about all the characters and their relationship with one another that anyone with even the most basic knowledge of Greek Mythology will be able to enjoy this book. Overall, Treasure of Greek Mythology is a treasure for all mythology lovers, and every Greek mythology lover must add this book to their collection. You can get the book here! 📖
9. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire
Some books become a part of your life. When you think about your childhood or feel that gust of nostalgic air, you are reminded of certain books that are fundamental to your existence as a human being; they make you human, capable of capturing the essence of cultures, traditions, and myths. One such book is the D’Auulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire. Inside this book, you will find stories of the great Gods, Goddesses, Monsters, and Heroes from ancient Greece. There are also some great drawings alongside the captivating stories that make the stories come alive. It’s a treat for children as well as adults (young adults too). I highly recommend it if you are a Greek mythology fan and haven’t read this book yet. You can get the book here! 📖
10. Women and Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard
As many people must read some books as possible so the world can become a better place for everyone. Women and Power is one such book. Mary Beard has done a magnificent job of drawing parallels between the lives of modern women and the influential women from ancient Greece. Women are often told that they need not ever be loud. One must always behave like a lady, and the lady isn’t opinionated.
She doesn’t ask for power, doesn’t exude intelligence, and must always portray herself as shy, polite, and fragile. Mary Beard does an incredible job of showing how women were treated like lesser beings even in ancient times. We often discuss the gender-based pay gap and how women are not given the positions they deserve. In this book, Mary Beard shows how some of the great women from ancient greek were denied influential roles and functions just because of their gender.
It’s a breath of fresh air to read this book. Mary Beard also shares her personal experiences and encounters with sexism. It’s eye-opening and agonizing. But overall, it addresses the facts that most of us women must have felt while reading the great epics from Greek Mythology. It’s a unique read, and not many people will understand the depth of it, but if you are open to a different perspective, this is the book for you. You can get the book here! 📖
11. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton
Mythology by Edith Hamilton is an ancient book on Greek Mythology. It was published in the year 1942. It’s a classic book about the Greek Gods and Heroes. A lot of people have grown up reading this book. Now, this book is not just about Greek mythology. It covers elements of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology. It’s a book that an academic scholar can read as a reference textbook, and it can also be read by someone who wants to enjoy reading about mythology. You can get the book here! 📖
12. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s mother plays a significant part in Miller’s admiration for Achilles. Her mother read Homer’s Iliad when she was a child. I am envious of Miller. She got the best bedtime stories, I suppose. While Madeline listened to the Iliad, she grew a strange fondness for the character of Patroclus. The Song of Achilles is narrated from the perspective of Patroclus. Now, Achilles was the son of Thetis and Peleus. Thetis was a sea goddess, and Peleus was a king.
Achilles turned out to be solid and charming. Whoever met him could not get him out of their head. On the other hand, Patroclus was exiled to Phthia after he committed a shocking crime. He met Achilles in Phthia, and their story began. They grow feelings for one another and soon invite everyone’s wrath. Madeline Miller’s writing style is lucid and beautifully poetic. The Song of Achilles is one of the best adaptations of Homer’s Iliad, and I highly recommend it. You can get the book here! 📖
13. The Greek Myths: The Complete and Definitive Edition by Robert Graves
The Greek Myths by Robert Graves is an excellent book for those who want to read about Greek Mythology but don’t want to commit to reading a complete book. Inside this book, you will find different parts and chapters dedicated to various myths. You can pick a tale and read it separately. You don’t have to leaf through the whole book. In the table of contents, you will find the names of the myths so you can easily reach out to read the one that interests you the most. The chapters are also accessible and quick reads. They aren’t long, making them ideal for a beginner to read. You can get the book here! 📖
I hope you have already found the books you would add to your reading list. There is something for everyone here. You could be an advanced reader who has already read a lot about Greek Mythology, or you could be a complete newbie. No matter what, the above list is as wholesome and comprehensive as possible. I am so excited for you to pick the above books and have a gala time diving into the immersive experience of reading and learning about Greek Mythology.
Sneha Banerjee has been writing for half a decade now. She is also a professional copywriter and has worked for many businesses. She is a voracious reader, and her ultimate dream is to turn everyone into a reader.