THE TWELVE OLYMPIANS, originally published in 1952, gives a new account of the twelve chief gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece, and of the myths and gay stories told about them, which, recounted and referred to again and again in prose and poetry, are woven closely into the world’s greatest literature.
Dr. Seltman points out that the high entertainment value of these myths should not be allowed to conceal the fact that these deities were Realities, not only to the Greeks but also to the early Christians, who believed in them as bad gods or demons. He shows the weaknesses in the religious framework of Greek Paganism, which, lacking a professional priesthood and an orthodox dogma, ultimately faded away, even though, judged by the customs and standards of the time, it was a moral, benevolent and humanist faith. He explains also the Greek attitude to sex and nudity, particularly in connection with athletics. A chapter is devoted to each deity, and there is a final chapter describing Mount Olympus, the legendary home of the gods.
The book will be of great value to students; but its easy style will commend it equally to general readers who may lack the background of a classical education. The author firmly believes that knowledge of the Ancient Greek faith in the Twelve Olympians can contribute to the troubled world of today, which still hungers for humanism.
The volume is illustrated with photogravure reproductions of statues and vase-paintings, including several little known except to the expert; there is also a map.