Gods and Other Odd Creatures

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Author: Rose R Williams   Illustrator: James Hillyer Estes
Product Code: 0812
ISBN: 978-0-9779808-1-9
Pages: 140
Availability: In stock.
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A tongue-in-cheek but scholarly-grounded survey of Greek and Roman mythology, Gods and Other Odd Creatures offers some unique features. It begins with a careful comparison of the twelve great Olympians of the Greeks and the twelve Di Consentes of the Romans. They are generally considered equivalent but there are differences—in fact, they are not even exactly the same twelve. Ceres, for example, is a member of the Di Consentes, while Demeter is not an Olympian. The book discusses how the Romans group the gods differently than do the Greeks. For example, the Roman gods tend to fall into triads that have triple temples. Some of these triads are patrician, some plebeian, and their duties and the like are not quite the same as those of their Greek counterparts. Some important Roman gods have no Greek counterparts. The last part of the book is a detailed study of the two cultures' temples and festivals, which tell so much about a society and its worship. Throughout the book, Williams stresses the ancient attitude toward divinity, which was very differnt from the modern one. Excerpts from Cicero and other ancient writers commenting on the gods document the ancient attitude.


Special Features

  • Discussion of Greek vs. Roman deities
  • Citation of Greek and Roman sources about the gods
  • Explanation of Greek and Roman religious festivals
  • Descriptions of key Greek and Roman temples
  • Eleven original black and white drawings
  • Notes, index, and bibliography

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Reviews

Review by: Sharon Kazmierski, Classical Outlook - December 1, 2008

After you have hooked your students into The Lightening Thief and Shadow Thieves series (both by Percy Williams), they are sure to want to know even more about the Greek and Roman gods. Fortunately, lon-time veteran Latin teacher Rose Williams also believes that the Greek and Roman dieties were anything but dull. Fans of her previous books Once Upon the Tiber and The Lighter Side of the Dark Ages will be thrilled to know that Rose's latest book, Gods and Other Odd Creatures, is now available.


Rose begins her book by asserting that "classical mythology should not be approached with . . . deadly seriousness." The Greeks and the Romans were not afraid to make a little fun of their dieities—and neither is Rose. Her scintillating wit and clever parlance enliven this survey of classical gods, temples, and festivals, Rose's wry observations convey the "amused and toleranmt attitude" that the ancients maintained toward their gods. At the same time, this book is jam-packed wiht information. Like Rose's other books, Gods and Other Odd Creatures is quite enjoyable to read, while covering some heavy-duty subject matter that could be deadly dull in less capable hands. This book can definitely be read for pleasure, but will also serve as a handy, introductory reference to the Greek and Roman divinities, religious life, and customs.


A unique feature of Gods and Other Odd Creatures is how Rose has organized it, so that students can compare the Greeks' twelve Olympians with the twelve Roman Di Consentes. Too often, perhaps, middle and high school students have the impression that the Greek and the Roman gods are exactly alike but called by different names. Rose carefully compares and contrasts them, never losing sight of the fact that these are the mythologies of two different cultures which appear identical at first glance, but need to be understood in the context of their own societies. Rose also follows this format in the subsequent sections dealing with temples and relligious festivals."


—Sharon Kazmierski
The Classical Outlook
Volume 85, Number 2 Winter 2008

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