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Classic myth and legend by Robert Hope Moncrieff - PDF ebook

Classic myth and legend

Classic myth and legend



This volume deals with the famous legendary fictions of Ancient Greece, that have furnished so many themes and allusions to modern authors. 

The origin of those stories and the nature of their mythological or dubiously historical personages are dealt with in an Introduction which, it is hoped, will not too much try the reader's patience. 

The stories themselves are presented in simple outline, illustrated here and there by purple passages from our own poets; and, in the end, it has seemed best to give a few legends in the shape of the noble verse that has embalmed them for us. One difficulty requires to be got over by way of compromise. In our time the tendency is to return to the Greek names of gods and heroes who came to be better known under a Latinized dis- guise during the dark ages that copied the literature of Rome while neglecting that of Greece. 

As a rule, then, transliterated Greek names have been used; yet in some cases, those characters are so familiar in another spelling, that it seems pedantry to call Hercules Heracles^ and Pollux Polydeuces, or wholly to proscribe such current names as Bacchus and Cupid. If it comes to that, we must remember that the Hellenes knew themselves as Greeks no more than the Germans accept our alias for their Deutsch nationality. Not a few classic names, indeed, have become so well naturalized among us that we talk glibly enough of tantalizingly of a rhadamanthine judgment, of bacchanalian revels, of herculean labors, as of sons of Mars and smiles of Venus. 

Yet classic names and attributes are sometimes handled with more confidence than dis- crimination: it is not unusual, for instance, to catch hasty journalists pouring scorn upon the " Cassandras " of the opposite party, in manifest ignorance how poor Cassandra's prophecies came too true, to the undoing of those who would not mind them. " Naught so tedious as a twice-told tale ", remarked one eminent hero of ancient fiction; but these stories, though so often told, in such varied forms, may still bear retelling for readers un- acquainted with the original versions. 
Author: Robert Hope Moncrieff
Publisher - London: Blackie

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