The Book of Greek and Roman Folktales, Legends, and Myths

Front Cover
William Hansen
Princeton University Press, 2019 M10 29 - 584 pages

The first anthology to present the entire range of ancient Greek and Roman stories—from myths and fairy tales to jokes

Captured centaurs and satyrs, incompetent seers, people who suddenly change sex, a woman who remembers too much, a man who cannot laugh—these are just some of the colorful characters who feature in the unforgettable stories that ancient Greeks and Romans told in their daily lives. Together they created an incredibly rich body of popular oral stories that include, but range well beyond, mythology—from heroic legends, fairy tales, and fables to ghost stories, urban legends, and jokes. This unique anthology presents the largest collection of these tales ever assembled. Featuring nearly four hundred stories in authoritative and highly readable translations, this is the first book to offer a representative selection of the entire range of traditional classical storytelling. Complete with beautiful illustrations, this one-of-a-kind anthology will delight general readers as well as students of classics, fairy tales, and folklore.

 

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Contents

Introduction 1
1
The Kinds of Ancient Story 7
7
Kings and Princesses
47
The Treasury of Rhampsinitos
83
The Muses Appear to Archilochos
89
Athena Saves the Lindians
97
Contents 11 The Altar of the Vulture God
98
A Fortune in Water
99
Saved by Euripides
270
How Menander Composes His Plays
272
Ovids Worst Lines
273
Athletes
274
The First Marathon
275
The Origin of Nude Athletes
276
The Origin of Nude Trainers
278
Ageus the LongDistance Runner
279

The Rescue of Simonides
100
Lower Mythology
101
Rhoikos and the Nymph
103
The Great God Pan Is Dead
104
Bogies
105
ShapeChangers
108
The Empousa
110
Ghosts
112
Philinnion
113
The Last Princess at Troy
117
The Grateful Dead Man
118
Murder at the Inn
119
Letter from the Middle of the Earth
120
The Haunted House
121
The Haunted Baths
123
The Haunted Battlefield
124
The Hero of Temesa
125
Perianders Wife
127
Early WonderWorkers
128
Aristeas of Prokonnesos
129
Hermotimos of Klazomenai
131
Epimenides of Crete
132
Pherekydes of Syros
133
Pythagoras
134
Transmigration of Souls
135
Pythagoras Discerns a Friends Soul in a Dog
136
Empedokles Recalls His Earlier Lives
137
Magicians and Witches
138
A Woman Dies from Spells
139
The SoulDrawing Wand
140
Apollonios Cures a Plague
141
The Magicians Apprentice
143
Evil Landladies
144
Divination and Seers
145
The Acquisition of the Sibylline Oracles
146
What the Sibyl Wants
148
Cato on Soothsayers
150
Zeus Why Me?
152
Kleonymoss NearDeath Experience
153
Eurynooss NearDeath Experience
155
Jews Christians and Pagans
156
Miracles of Jesus
157
Paul and Barnabas Mistaken for Pagan Gods
159
The Discovery of the True Cross
160
The Last Delphic Oracle
162
You Have Won Galilean
163
The Murder of Hypatia
165
Chapter 3
167
Capture of a Centaur
168
Sightings of Mermen and Mermaids
169
The SelfSustaining Beast
170
In Love with a Statue
171
Animal Offspring
175
Male Parturition
176
Periodic Ecstasy
180
The Man Who Loses His Laugh
181
A Strange Tomb
182
The Lame Man and the Blind Man
183
Irony
184
A Parents Request
185
The Unbreakable Glass Bowl
186
The Grateful Dolphin
189
How Ophiteia Gets Its Name
191
Xanthipposs Dog
192
The Accidental Killing of a Cat
193
Children
194
The Children Play Priest
195
The Children Play War
197
Friends
198
Friends Unknown
200
Abauchass Choice
201
Rulers and Tyrants
202
Ismeniass Subterfuge
203
Queen for a Day
204
The Absentminded Emperor
205
The Golden Ax
206
The Judge of the Ants
207
Tarpeias Reward
208
The Cranes of Ibykos
209
An Eye for an Eye
210
The Trial of the Courtesan Phryne
211
The Problem of Dreamt Sex
212
The Disputed Child
214
Abusive Son of an Abusive Father
215
Chapter 4
216
The Dishonest Banker
217
The Joint Depositors
218
Aesop and the Figs
219
Never Heard Before
221
The Slaves Take Over
222
The Milesians Hold a Party
223
Saving Lampsakos
225
A Donkeys Shadow
226
The Hoax
227
Lovers and Seducers
228
The Affair of Ares and Aphrodite
229
Iphimedeia Desires Poseidon
233
Hippolytos and Phaidra
234
1
235
2
236
The Signal
237
The Widow of Ephesos
238
Sleeping with a God
240
The Pergamene Boy
243
Aesop and the Masters Wife
245
The Kings Trusted Friend
247
DreamLovers
251
The Astute Physician
253
Hero and Leander
254
Xanthos Who Longs for His Wife
256
Ariston and His Friends Wife
257
Olympians in the Bedroom
259
Chapter 5
260
Painter Fooled
261
The Sculptor Polykleitos
262
Helens Chalice
263
Lethal Iambics
264
More Lethal Iambics
265
A Singers Compensation
266
Pindars House
267
The Chorus of Aeschyluss Eumenides
268
I See a Weasel
269
Milon the Wrestler
280
Eumastas the Strongman
281
Theageness Statue
282
Poulydamas the Pancratiast
283
Kleomedes Runs Amok
284
Astylos Angers His Hometown
286
The Reluctant Dueler
287
Chapter 6
290
The Infant Plato on Mt Hymettos
291
Characterizations
292
Timon the Misanthrope
293
The Arrest of Theramenes
295
Socratess Hardihood
296
Socrates Ponders a Problem
297
Delivery
299
What Alexander Sleeps Upon
300
The Lamprey Pools
302
A Principled Man
303
Nero Fiddles
304
Where Would He Be Now?
306
The People of Akragas
307
A Spartan Mother
308
Alexander the Great Becomes a God
309
Delusion
310
MenekratesZeus Writes to King Philip
311
Philip Hosts Menekrates
312
Hannons Birds
313
The House Called Trireme
314
The Happy Shipowner
315
Memorable Words
316
Alter Ego
317
Life Is Like the Olympic Games
319
The Die Is Cast
320
Et tu Brute?
322
In Hoc Signo Vinces
323
Memorable Experiences
325
A Narrow Escape
326
The Great Fish
327
The Discovery of Archimedess Tomb
328
Summing Up and Last Words
329
Socrates
330
Theophrastoss Lament
331
Vespasians Last Words
332
Deaths
333
Aeschylus
334
Euripides
335
Philemon
336
Diogenes the Cynic
337
Zenon
338
Petronius Arbiter
340
Archimedes
342
Sages and Philosophers
344
Thales on Life and Death
346
Secundus the Silent Philosopher
347
Converting to Philosophy
348
Axiothea
349
Benefits and Perils of Philosophy
350
Diogenes on the Benefits of Philosophy
351
Protagorass Books Burned
352
The Philosophic Life
353
Thales and the Olive Presses
354
Aristipposs View
355
Diogenes and the Lantern
356
Alexanders Offer
357
Diogenes on Temple Theft
358
Watch Out
359
Monimos on Wealth
360
Plato Criticizes Diogenes
361
Diogenes on the Impossibility of Motion
362
The Entrance to Platos Classroom
363
The Worst Punishment
364
The Invention of Board Games
365
The Original Language
366
Thales Inscribes a Triangle in a Circle
367
Thales Predicts an Eclipse
368
Eureka
369
Happiness and Contentment
371
The Rock of Tantalos
373
The Sword of Damocles
374
King Midas
375
Wealth and Happiness
376
Water and a Loaf of Bread
378
The Happy Mute
380
On Drinking
382
On Behaving Like Animals
383
The Different Kinds of People
384
Aesopic Fables
385
The Dog with a Piece of Meat
386
The Raven with a Piece of Meat
387
The Ape with Important Ancestors
388
The Ant and the Cicada
389
The Lions Share
390
The Lion and the Mouse
391
The Transformed Weasel
392
The Tortoise That Wishes to Fly
393
The Astronomer
394
Here Is Rhodes
395
The Oak and the Reed
396
Short Fables
397
Chapter 8
398
Meletides
399
The Foolish Kymaians
400
The Foolish Abderites
401
Other Numskulls
402
Acquiring Sense
403
Seeing the Doctor
404
The Books
405
The Funeral
406
The Grateful Father
407
The Pillow
408
What Does It Taste Like?
409
Caesars Soldiers Sing
410
The Portent
411
The Deaf Judge
412
The Scythian
413
Uncomfortable Sleep
415
Ancient Terms
421
Bibliography
483
Ancient Sources
515
List of International Stories
521
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About the author (2019)

William Hansen is professor emeritus of classical studies and folklore at Indiana University, Bloomington, and one of the world's leading authorities on classical folklore. His books include Anthology of Ancient Greek Popular Literature.

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