Songs on Bronze is the first major retelling of Greek mythology in half a century; a set of lively, racy, dramatic versions of the great myths, which, in a multicultural society, are recognized more than ever as stories without equal.
Most of us would like to know the Greek myths better than we do, and books like Seamus Heaney's Beowulf have demonstrated the power of ancient texts to enchant and enthrall us. And yet the modern translations of the Greek myths have sought to instruct, to edify, or to impart a personal philosophy. Songs on Bronze is different. With this book, Nigel Spivey--a young Cambridge classicist and rising star as a documentary host--gives us the Greek myths as the spellbinding stories they are. In bold, sensuous prose, he tells of Demeter and Persephone, of Jason and the Argonauts, of the wrath of Achilles and the travels of Odysseus, of Oedipus's crime and Orpheus's excursion into the underworld. In his hands, these stories are revealed anew as outsize tales of love and strife, of secret compacts and open rivalries, of lust and desire.
Songs on Bronze is a fresh revision of the classics that is likely to become a classic in its own right.
Nigel Spivey is the author of The Ancient Olympics: A History, among other books. A professor of classics at Cambridge, Spivey, born in 1958, will be the host of a forthcoming public-television documentary about the origins of art and how it defines us as human.
The Greek myths as we know them were told for men by men. Yet they were the culmination of a long oral tradition in which both men and women shared. Using extant ancient literary sources as her guide, including the works of Homer, Aeschylus, Euripides and Apollodorus, Jane Cahill reconstructs the stories as they might have been told to women by women. These are stories of wronged women, inspired women, determined women, tender women. Medusa tells how it is to know that one look at her face will turn a man to stone, to be hated and feared all the time. Jocasta, Queen of Thebes, confesses her love for the young man who came to save her city from the Sphinx—her son, Oedipus.
Each story is accompanied by extensive notes which discuss the ancient sources, explain relevant Greek concepts and customs, and serve as a guide to further reading.
Arguably the greatest Greek lyric poet, Pindar (518-438 B. C.) was a controversial figure in fifth-century Greece - a conservative Boiotian aristocrat who studied in Athens and a writer on physical prowess whose interest in the Games was largely philosophical. Pindar's Epinician Odes - choral songs extolling victories in the Games at Olympia, Delphi, Nemea and Korinth - cover the whole spectrum of the Greek moral order, from earthly competition to fate and mythology. But in C. M. Bowra's clear translation his one central image stands out - the successful athlete transformed and transfigured by the power of the gods.
Translated with an introduction by C. M. Bowra.
'Nothing can harm a good man either in life or after death'
The trial and condemnation of Socrates on charges of heresy and corrupting young minds is a defining moment in the history of classical Athens. In tracing these events through four dialogues, Plato also developed his own philosophy of a life guided by self-responsibility. Euthyphro finds Socrates outside the court-house, debating the nature of piety, while the Apology is his robust rebuttal of the charges against him. In the Crito, awaiting execution in prison, Socrates counters the arguments of friends urging him to escape. Finally, in the Phaedo, he is shown calmly confident in the face of death.
Translated by HUGH TREDENNICK and HAROLD TARRANT with an Introduction and notes by HAROLD TARRANT