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Agaliha
May 4th, 2008, 11:29 PM
THE LITTLE BOOKS
OF MODERN KNOWLEDGE

MYTHS OF
GREECE AND ROME

BY
JANE HARRISON, LL.D., LITT.D.

CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE GERMAN ARCH∆OLOGICAL INSTITUTE, SOMETIME FELLOW AND STAFF LECTURER OF NEWNHAM COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK
DOUBLEDAY, DORAN & COMPANY, INC.
1928


Scanned at sacred-texts.com, September 2006. Proofed and formatted by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was not renewed in a timely fashion at the US Copyright Office, as required by law at the time. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies.


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This short review of the Greek pantheon (alas, there is little about Rome), is part of a series of inexpensive adult education books published during the 1920s. The author, Jane Harrison, was one of the most prominent classicists of the era; so this is a bit like hiring a French chef to cook up a big mess of pommes frites. Besides being a respected academic, Harrison influenced many of the 20th century neo-Pagans and Goddess theorists.

Harrison is making a point here: Greek mythology was not the static pageant that we learned in school, or read in Bulfinch. It did not spring forth fully formed, but evolved out of a set of ancient local deities. She proposes that the Greek goddesses emerged from native Pelasgian tutelary spirits, and much of the male pantheon was imposed by Indo-Europeans. Her analysis of the evolution of the attributes of the god Poseidon as originating from a Minoan bull god is speculative but intriguing. Whether Harrison was correct or not, her reexamination of this subject which has been covered so many times is refreshing.