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Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their myths in the epic age of Homer Hardcover – 4 Sep 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713999802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713999808
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 741,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'It is, literally, a wonderful story' -- Elizabeth Speller, Sunday Times

'The book is full of wit and suspense' -- Mary Beard, Financial Times

'a beautiful evocation of a tantalising world ... Travelling Heroes is a tour de force' -- Roland Smith, Literary Review

'a dazzling journey through the Mediterranean world of the 8th century BC' -- Richard Miles, Sunday Telegraph

'reads as grippingly as any thriller ... ultimate proof of Lane Fox's inimitable remarkable powers of resurrectionism' -- Tom Holland, Spectator

Review

'a dazzling journey through the Mediterranean world of the 8th century BC'

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have just finished this long book, and it was not until a few pages from the end that I began to grasp the destination towards which the enormously detailed text was travelling. I think that Robin Lane Fox is saying that the different myths mentioned in the works of (a) Homer and (b) Hesiod are accounted for by the influence or not of different groups of itinerant Greeks, and middle eastern traders, crucially contact (or not) with eighth century BC travelling Euboeans.He also wishes to refute the views of some scholars who in his opinion have overemphasised the influence of middle eastern narratives on Homer, and for this he makes an apparently convincing case.

The first half of the book covers the archaeological evidence for Euboean journeys in two parts of the Mediterranean world,in the east around the Asian coast near Cyprus, and in the west, towards the Italian coast and in particular the islands of Sicily and Ischia. The next major section deals with myth, and I personally found this extremely interesting in itself, though it was rather like starting another book entirely, despite some references to the first section. Finally, Lane Fox discusses Homer and Hesiod's use of myth, ending with a very interesting postscript about the dating of Homer.

The book contains over 130 pages of notes and bibliography, put together from a wide range of international scholarship published in many languages, such as befits a highly academic work. However, as I read the Penguin popular edition, I would have valued the addition of a shorter bibliography of readily available works in English.

It is not long since I re-read the Iliad and the Odyssey, but I have to confess to never having read more than extracts from Hesiod.
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Format: Paperback
The perfect companion for all ancient history enthusiasts is the ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Travelling Heroes is an excellent book. Insightful, very detailed, brilliantly-investigated, and yet readily accessible to any reader. A fascinating study of the ancient Mediterranean world. The basis for a recent TV prog., the book's much better than the televised version (IMHO). RLF's theory is the Euboeans took Greek myths to the wider Med., and argues his case very well - much better than could be compressed into the limited time of a TV rendition.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in Greek history and literature.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This a fascinating attempt to bring together traditional analysis of the Homeric texts with up-to-date regional archaeology connecting early Greek civilisation with its neighbours.

The texts left to us by most Eastern Mediterranean cultures (e.g. Egyptian, Hittite, Assyrian, Biblical, classical Greek) are strikingly self-centered, so connecting up, say, late Bronze Age Greek and Assyrian places and events is not easy. Nor do many textual experts go looking at pottery evidence for cultural spread to back up their cultural explorations. Finally, RLF manages to do all this without getting embroiled in the rumbling controversies about absolute dates in the centuries leading up to 1000 BC. It is not an especially easy read - mainly the complexity of the subject matter, partly the style - but for anyone interested in these matters it is highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good history of the period immediately after the Greek dark age. Well worth a read
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Format: Paperback
As a layman interested in all areas of ancient Greek culture I saw this and bought it without hesitation. Lane Fox's reputation is such that he needs no words from me but I must say this was a disappointment. It seems neither to be detailed or focused enough to satisfy academic readers or concise or dramatic enough to interest the general reader. Several times I asked myself what exactly is this book about? I still don't know. The discussion of what physical phenomenon or travel contacts may have led the Greeks to formulate the myths they did surely deserves a more gripping treatment.
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