Myths of Greece and Rome
by Jane Harrison
This short review of the Greek pantheon (alas, there is little about Rome), is part of a series of inexpensive adult education books published during the 1920s. The author, Jane Harrison, was one of the most prominent classicists of the era; so this is a bit like hiring a French chef to cook up a big mess of pommes frites. Besides being a respected academic, Harrison influenced many of the 20th century neo-Pagans and Goddess theorists.
Harrison is making a point here: Greek mythology was not the static pageant that we learned in school, or read in Bulfinch. It did not spring forth fully formed, but evolved out of a set of ancient local deities. She proposes that the Greek goddesses emerged from native Pelasgian tutelary spirits, and much of the male pantheon was imposed by Indo-Europeans. Her analysis of the evolution of the attributes of the god Poseidon as originating from a Minoan bull god is speculative but intriguing. Whether Harrison was correct or not, her reexamination of this subject which has been covered so many times is refreshing.