Greek and Roman Mythology – Literary Masterlist

So, it’s no secret that I love Greek and Roman mythology.  I feel like I mention it about twice a week.  So I thought it would be fun to give you guys some mythology recommendations!  This initially started as just a list of books I’ve read and enjoyed, but then I felt weird excluding some notable ones that I’ve read and did not enjoy, and then I felt weird excluding some notable ones that I haven’t read at all, so basically this turned into a masterlist of any and all Greek and Roman mythology books that are on my radar.

A few notes before we continue!

This is decidedly NOT a comprehensive list.  I am not claiming to be citing every book that has ever been written about Greece.  That said, if you feel like there are any major ones I’ve left off the list, feel free to let me know!

Books which I have read include my star rating and a link to my review where applicable.  This list will be updated with each one I read.

For Greek plays, I am ONLY including ones that I have already read.  There are just too many to endeavor to list them all, and it’s tricky to nail down which the ‘main ones’ are.  Again, this list will be updated with the more I read.

For retellings, I am focusing on ADULT FICTION.  So, there will be no Rick Riordan and no YA romances on this list.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with these books, but if you google ‘Greek mythology retellings’ you will find Rick Riordan on every single list.  I’m hoping to focus on some more obscure ones that often get overlooked.

So, here we go, the list:

The Classics

  • Aesop: Aesop’s Fables
  • Apollodorus: The Library of Greek Mythology
  • Apollonius of Rhodes: The Argonautica
  • Aristotle: Poetics ★★★★☆
  • Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics
  • Herodotus: The Histories
  • Homer: The Iliad ★★★★★
  • Homer: The Odyssey ★★★☆☆
  • Hesiod: Theogony/Works and Days ★★★☆☆
  • Ovid: Heroides
  • Ovid: Metamorphoses ★★★★★
  • Plato: The Republic ★★★☆☆
  • Plutarch: On Sparta
  • Sappho: If Not, Winter (translated by Anne Carson) ★★★★☆
  • Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War
  • Vergil: The Aeneid ★★★★☆
  • Xenophon: The Persian Expedition

The Classics – Greek Theatre

  • Aeschylus: The Oresteia ★★★★☆
    • Agamemnon ★★★★☆
    • Libation Bearers ★★★☆☆
    • Eumenides ★★★★☆
  • Euripides: Alcestis ★★★☆☆
  • Euripides: The Bacchae ★★★★☆
  • Euripides: Iphigenia at Aulis ★★★★☆
  • Euripides: Medea ★★★★★
  • Euripides: The Trojan Women ★★★★★
  • Sophocles: Philoctetes ★★★☆☆
  • Sophocles: The Theban Plays ★★★★☆
    • Oedipus Rex ★★★★★
    • Oedipus at Colonus ★★★☆☆
    • Antigone ★★★★☆

Greek Mythology Overviews

  • Buxton, Richard: The Complete World of Greek Mythology
  • d’Aulaire, Ingri: D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths ★★★★★
  • Graves, Robert: The Greek Myths
  • Hamilton, Edith: Mythology
  • Various: xo Orpheus

Modern Retellings: adult fiction, literary fiction, poetry, plays

  • Anouilh, Jean: Antigone 
  • Albanese, Pauline: The Closed Doors
  • Atwood, Margaret: The Penelopiad ★★☆☆☆
  • Barker, Pat: The Silence of the Girls ★★★★★
  • Baricco, Alessandro: An Iliad 
  • Beutner, Katharine: Alcestis ★★★★☆
  • Brennan, Marie: Daughter of Necessity
  • Carson, Anne: Autobiography of Red ★★★★☆
  • Carson, Anne: Red Doc>
  • Cook, Elizabeth: Achilles 
  • Corona, Laurel: Penelope’s Daughter
  • Dillon, Patrick: Ithaca: A Novel of Homer’s Odyssey
  • Elyot, Amanda: The Memoirs of Helen of Troy
  • George, Margaret: Helen of Troy
  • Geras, Adele: Troy
  • Haynes, Natalie: The Children of Jocasta
  • Johnson, Daisy: Everything Under ★★★★☆
  • Le Guin, Ursula K.: Lavinia ★★★☆☆
  • Lewis, C.S.: Till We Have Faces ★★★★★
  • Lochhead, Liz: Medea
  • Logue, Christopher: War Music
  • Malouf, David: Ransom ★★★★☆
  • Mason, Zachary: The Lost Books of the Odyssey 
  • McCoullough, Colleen: The Song of Troy
  • Merlis, Mark: An Arrow’s Flight ★★★★★
  • Miller, Madeline: Circe ★★★☆☆
  • Miller, Madeline: The Song of Achilles ★★★★★
  • Oswald, Alice: Memorial
  • Peterson, Lisa & O’Hare, Denis: An Iliad ★★★★★
  • Phillips, Marie: Gods Behaving Badly
  • Renault, Mary: The King Must Die
  • Ruhl, Sarah: Eurydice ★★★☆☆
  • Shakespeare, William: Troilus and Cressida 
  • Shamsie, Kamila: Home Fire ★★★★☆
  • Shields, Sharma: The Cassandra
  • Smith, Ali: Girl Meets Boy
  • Smith, Ali: The Story of Antigone 
  • Tempest, Kate: Hold Your Own
  • Toibin, Colm: House of Names ★★★☆☆
  • Vann, David: Bright Air Black ★★★★★
  • Wolf, Christa: Cassandra 
  • Wolf, Christa: Medea ★★★★★

Historical Fiction About Ancient Greece & Real Life Classics Figures

  • Graves, Robert: Homer’s Daughter
  • Malouf, David: An Imaginary Life (Ovid) ★★★★☆
  • McCoullough, Colleen: The First Man in Rome
  • Renault, Mary: the Alexander the Great Trilogy
  • Renault, Mary: The Last of the Wine

Nonfiction

  • Alexander, Caroline: The War That Killed Achilles – currently reading/on hold
  • Burkert, Walter: Greek Religion
  • Hamilton, Edith: The Greek Way
  • Hughes, Bettany: Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore
  • Kagan, Donald: The Peloponnesian War
  • Wood, Michael: In Search of the Trojan War

Which of these books have you guys read and which ones do you want to read in the future?  And are there any other adult/literary mythology books that should be on my radar?  Comment and let me know!

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24 thoughts on “Greek and Roman Mythology – Literary Masterlist

    • Thanks! 🙂 I’ve been asked about this a couple of times now, I guess I should have included a bio in my post!

      It’s a combination of a lot of things – when I was younger I had a copy of d’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths (mentioned in this post) and I was obsessed with the stories which we were also learning about in school at the time, so I guess that started it. Then in high school I studied Latin pretty intensively for four years – we read a lot of Ovid and by the fourth year we were reading The Aeneid which will always be very dear to me because of how much I loved that class and teacher. And then in college I studied the Iliad, and the Aeneid again, and a few others, and then I graduated college and I started reading these books on my own, so I guess I liked that mythology was such a huge part of my academic life for so long even though I hadn’t actually majored in the classics. (I majored in Italian Lit which, ironically, I’m much less interested in for the most part.) Anyway, the stories themselves I just find so moving – I love feeling connected to a whole world and culture that existed thousands of years ago. Also it’s kind of a rabbit hole – the more mythology you read you realize just how much is out there, and it’s exciting to have a niche interest that has so much material to offer, and since I love the classics and contemporary literary fiction, I get the best of both worlds.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I wasn’t even going to make a point of being like THIS IS ONLY ADULT BOOKS but then when I was googling those lists the other night EVERYTHING WAS YA OR MIDDLE GRADE and i was like you know what…….. I AM NOT INCLUDING THESE my list is long enough already and Rick Riordan will do just fine without me

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, Rachel, thank you so much for this post, I’ll treasure it all my life! It’s filled with so many awesome books and some books that I had no idea about, but they sound wonderful and I just want to read them right now. I’ve added lots of those on my TBR, Autobiography of Red, Bright Air Black and Till We Have Faces are some that I feel I need to read right now! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you like it!!! ❤ I very highly recommend all three of those – they're all so different but each one of them completely wowed me. I just want to put my whole life on hold and do nothing but read mythology for a year or so. Even if I did that I probably still would hardly scratch the surface, but that's part of what I love so much about it – there's always more to discover!

      Liked by 1 person

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