Wondering if there are any documents that document the Greek or Roman mythologies in a way similar to the bible, in that it acts as a comprehensive resource for all the knowledge about it. Maybe Metamorphosis is an example, I am not sure. Also, I am not talking about the Greek form of the Bible. I am instead just asking about Greek or Roman mythology documentation in ancient sources, what some good resources are.

  • 1
    The position that the Bible is "comprehensive" is very much a protestant position, which isn't necessarily shared by other denominations (see the Catholic and Orthodox insistence on the importance of Church tradition). In my experience the Classical world was much closer to the Catholic and Orthodox position than to the Protestant sola scriptura position
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


In terms of comprehensiveness, the Bibliotheca of (Pseudo-)Apollodorus (text) is probably the best single work for Greek mythology.

Older sources, such as Homer, Hesiod, lyric poets (e.g. Pindar) and playwrights (e.g. Sophocles) are all important sources of myths, but each work usually deals with a single myth rather than a documentation of myths. For example, Homer's Iliad deals only with the Trojan War, in fact only a certain period of time in the middle of the war; whereas the Bibliotheca summarizes the story in a few paragraphs (epitome, 3-4).

However, in antiquity, the knowledge of the myths would have been common knowledge from oral tradition, but Homer and other authors were studied and quoted as texts (oral or written), so in that respect they are more similar to the Bible.

I know of no similar prose work for Roman mythology, but Ovid's Metamorphoses is more comprehensive than the early Greek sources were. However, Virgil's Aeneid, though not by any means a compilation of myths, was studies in schools, alongside Homer (cf. Confessions 1.8).

  • Actually both the Iliad and the Odyssey contain significant digressions describing other myths. Still they are not "comprehensive". The Bibliotheca is a very nice suggestion
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 11:06
  • Wondering where a copy of the "original"-ish Greek or Latin of the Bibliotheca can be found. Not sure if this is it, or perhaps this.
    – Lance
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 19:25
  • 1
    @LancePollard perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/… or search here archive.org/search.php?query=bibliotheca%20apollodorus
    – b a
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 20:18

One would have to start with the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, the Theogony by Hesiod and the Aeneid by Virgil, in addition to the aforementioned Metamorphosis by Ovid.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.