Thomas Bulfinch's compendium of Greek, Norse and Anglo-Saxon myths and legends offers superb insight into the origins, themes and contexts of ancient stories.
This edition unites all volumes into a single, overarching text perfect for referencing, and inclusive of a lengthy, comprehensive glossary. Bulfinch's Mythology is a crucial text for enthusiasts of ancient myths and lore, as well as students and teachers of classics or ancient literature. It offers a well-researched, literate and comprehensive narration upon legends both renowned and obscure, with insight into the cultures and societies which birthed these stories plentiful.
After introducing the premise of the work, Bulfinch delves sequentially into the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. We witness adventures and follies of various Gods of the Greek pantheon, while mythic peoples such as the Myrmidons and beasts like the Chimaera and the Sphinx also appear.
Following a brief appearance of the Egyptian deities and Eastern myths originating from the Indian subcontinent, Bulfinch turns his focus upon the Nordic myths of antiquity. Valhalla and the Gods conceived by the Norse peoples are examined in depth, with the emergence of Thor and the origin of the Elves particular highlights.
A large portion of this work concerns the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. All the famous characters of Arthurian lore are present; Lancelot, Merlin, Queen Guinevere (Guenever), Tristham and Isolde, Percival and others make their due appearance. The famous quest for the Holy Grail - or Sangreal - forms a lengthy part of this section.
Following the Arthurian myths, Bulfinch turns to the Mabinogeon - the earliest Medieval prose writings of the British Isles. Traced to the 12th and 13th centuries, these stories concern the origins of the British people, the famed Lady of the Fountain, and other aspects of chivalric society.
The book concludes with the legends of Charlemagne, where we learn how the various invasions and battles the ancient Frankish king partook in were mythologised and romanticised. Aspects of mythic lore, such as the appearance of Orcs and magical enchanting, offer a profound look into the development of these legends.
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