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I would like to learn more about mythology, but I'm unsure where to start. Could anyone recommend some good websites or books for me to take a look at?


Related meta discussion: Helping users with recomendations for sources

  • To the person who voted to close this question: if you felt that this wouldn't be a useful question, why didn't you say so in the meta discussion? – user62 Oct 8 '15 at 13:44
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    I didn't downvote, but perhaps the question is thought of as too broad? I wish the downvoters would speak up! – C. M. Weimer Oct 9 '15 at 5:12
  • I'll jump in and say that I do disagree with both the downvotes and the close votes. The question is good, and I think it's needed. Additionally, as has been noted, there is a meta question up, and it would be much more effective if people would bring up points there if they feel that this is off-topic. There haven't been any complaints on meta so far, only support, so I don't know why people are against this. Just my two cents. – HDE 226868 Oct 9 '15 at 21:11
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    @HDE226868 The assumption here (not just from you) that anyone who sees this thread on the main site would've previously kept abreast of discussions on meta, is inherently naïve. – Semaphore Oct 21 '15 at 6:44
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    @Semaphore fair. However, the main point here is that the downvoters and closevoters have not explained why they downvoted and close voted, either here or on the meta site. The meta post explains why I think this question is a necessary one, it was positively received, and as of yet no one has explained why they disagree with the rational for this question as specified in the meta post. I can't read people's minds, so I have no idea why people think this question is a bad one. Also, the meta post is linked in the body of the question, so people really should read it before they downvote. – user62 Oct 21 '15 at 15:44
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Welcome to the site, and welcome to the interesting world of mythology! Here are some resources for you to get started with.

By far the easiest way to learn more about mythology is to go to your local library and borrow one of their books about mythology. Don't worry about selecting the "right" source; just select a book that looks interesting to you. Remember, you are a beginner, therefore you don't know anything about mythology, and therefore any book will teach you something new.

However, we recognize that not everyone can or would like to browse a library, and therefore have created a list of both online and offline resources. This list is by no means exhaustive: its purpose is merely to introduce the reader to a variety of sources about mythology. Please do not be frightened by the amount of sources listed below: just choose a book or website that looks interesting and read it. These books and websites are all interesting, so don't worry about choosing the "wrong" one.

Note to the reader: online sources have an online marker next to them. Offline sources link to the corresponding page on worldcat.org, which will tell you whether the book is located in a library near you.

General Sources

Collections of myths

  1. Creation Stories from around the World -- online collection of creation myths from various cultures.
  2. Sacred-Texts.com -- an online database of translated myths and other sacred texts.
  3. World Mythology
  4. Oxford Companion to World Mythology
  5. Handbook of World Mythology
  6. Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation

Mythical Encyclopedias

  1. Encyclopedia Mythica -- an online encyclopedia about mythology.

Easier Texts

For younger readers and those who’d like a more lively presentation before tackling the originals.

  1. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths: illustrated, readable, and blunt.

  2. D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths: illustrated, readable, and blunt.

  3. The Greek Gods, by Evslin, Evslin, and Hoopes. Not a long book but easy to read, and the one which got me hooked on mythology in elementary school.

  4. The Adventures of Ulysses, Bernard Evslin: a highly readable and entertaining version of The Odyssey.

  5. The Norse Myths, Kevin Crossley-Holland, a readable and clear collection of some of the more important Norse myths.

I recommend anything by the D’Aulaires and the Evslins in general.

Mesopotamian Mythology

Translations of Myths

  1. An online translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh

  2. Sumerian Mythology: A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millennium B.C.

  3. The Electronic Corpus of Sumerian Literature: Narrative Works

Greek Mythology

Translations of Myths

  1. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey
  2. Hesiod's Theogony -- an online translation of the Greek creation myth.
  3. Homeric Hymns
  4. Pindar's Victory Odes
  5. Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica
  6. Pseudo-Apollodorus' Bibliotecha
  7. Ovid's Metamorphoses, plus a downloadable version here. A loosely-structured narrative poem covering many of the classic Greek myths.

Encyclopedias and Other Resources

  1. Timothy Gantz, Early Greek Myth
  2. Theoi -- an online encyclopedia of Greek gods, creatures, and myths.

Celtic Mythology

Translations of Myths

  1. The Four Branches of the Mabinogi: an online translation of a classic collection of myths.
  2. CELT-- a fantastic online database of literature.

Encyclopedias

  1. The Camelot Project -- an online encyclopedia of Arthurian myth and legend.

Norse Mythology

  1. Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs by John Lindow
  2. Dictionary of Northern Mythology by Rudolf Simek
  3. Cassell's Dictionary of Norse Myth & Legend by Andy Orchard
  4. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by

Encyclopedias

  1. Norse Mythology for Smart People -- an online encyclopedia.

Mesoamerican / Central American

  1. The Flayed God
  2. The Popol Vuh: translations exist online: you can choose between a literal translation and a less literal translation.

Mythological Theory (i.e. something other than Joseph Campbell)

  1. Sacred narrative, readings in the theory of myth
  2. Living Folklore, 2nd Edition: An Introduction to the Study of People and Their Traditions -- an introduction to the academic discipline of folklore, available online from JSTOR, and offline as a book.

Miscellaneous Sources

Blogs about Mythology

  1. Mythology Matters -- an online blog about mythology written by one of our own contributors.

Other Resources

  1. The New York Public Library's Recommended Mythology Links -- an online collection of high-quality websites about mythology.

Interesting Articles

  1. The autobiography of John (William) Bierhorst -- a short online autobiography of a man who translates native american myths for a living. It's a shortish and easy read.
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    If you want to edit this post for any reason, please do so! It's a community wiki for a reason. – user62 Oct 8 '15 at 14:29
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Here are some other sources for Greek and Egyptian myths:

THEOI.com for Greek mythology

Ancient Egypt Online for the Gods and Goddesses
Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
Ancient Egypt, the section on Pharaonic Religion

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If you are interested in Summerian mythology you can check out the Oracc Project here: Link to the Oracc Project

  • Good link but this is about Mesopotamia, not specifically Sumer. Difference is: Sumer was one of the region (south part of the Euphrates) of Mesopotamia. In Mesopotamia you find also Babylon and Akkad. – Gibet Nov 13 '16 at 8:37
  • Thanks, I wrote "Summerian" only because most of the Mesopotamian mythology was influenced by Sumer religion. However you're right. – Ging Nov 13 '16 at 15:19
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I recently read Kenneth Davis' book titled Don't Know Much About Mythology. Well compiled and a breezy read about various mythologies ranging from Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, with a sprinkling of Celtic, Indian, African, and Pacific(Australian) thrown in at the end.

Would be a good starter, before you venture into detailed texts.

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