Cover image for Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman mythology
Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman mythology
Dixon-Kennedy, Mike, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [1998]

Physical Description:
xv, 370 pages ; 26 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library BL715 .D56 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



"Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology" presents over 1,400 comprehensive A-Z entries of the myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome. The entries are cross-referenced where appropriate, and an extensive bibliography is provided. Entries include Heracles and Alexander the Great, and geographical features such as the islands of the Blessed and Dardanelles. An unusual feature of this dictionary is the inclusion of astronomical data, linking the myths and legends to the celestial objects named after them. Diverse characters and events from related traditions--Greco-Egyptian, Roman-Celtic, and more--round out the volume.

Students of classical Greek and Roman traditions, librarians, and general readers will turn to this volume again and again for authoritative information on the myths and legends of these ancient cultures.

Author Notes

Mike Dixon-Kennedy is a professional writer.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

These are formidable one-man compilations, with the flaws inherent in such compilations but with some genuine virtues as well. Dixon-Kennedy is the author of several other books on similar topics, including European Myth and Legend: An A^-Z of People and Places [RBB Ja 1 & 15 98]. Both of these new volumes are in dictionary format. Mythological, legendary, and historical characters get entries ranging from a few lines to several double-columned pages. The ethnic or national origin of each entry is noted, whether Greek or Roman or Greco-Roman, Russian, Slavic, or Tatar. Entry headwords include variant spellings, and see also references guide the reader to related entries. The Greco-Roman volume has more than 1,400 entries and also includes a brief essay on Greek civilization, a bibliography, a chronology, and a list of Roman emperors. It has many entries not found elsewhere (e.g., Bellatrix, Vegoia). A unique feature is its inclusion of astronomical information about constellations representing mythological figures. Appended to the 900 or so entries in the Russian and Slavic volume are a very brief glossary, a table of transliteration from Cyrillic to Latin letters, a list of Russian rulers, and a topic finder, in addition to a bibliography. The essay on Baba Yaga is longer and more informative than any of those in general folklore dictionaries. There are some omissions, such as a lack of an entry in the Russian and Slavic volume for Alexander Nevsky, who is both a legend and a real man and is discussed within other entries. In both volumes, birth and death dates are provided inconsistently for historical figures. The Greco-Roman volume could have used a map of the Greco-Roman world. Although it may not be a first choice for smaller libraries because of its lack of illustrations, maps, and genealogical charts, the Greco-Roman volume will complement the numerous similar works found in larger public and academic library reference collection. The Russian and Slavic volume should find a wider audience, since there is no comparable reference work.

Library Journal Review

These two volumes of Greek and Roman mythology cover essentially the same material, though each contains some information the other does not. Dixon-Kennedys Encyclopedia is relatively easy to read. Entries, in ready-reference format, are short and to the point. Cross references are given, though they are not extensive. Readers will use this as a quick reference source only, leading them to more in-depth searching as their interest dictates. Dixon-Kennedy (European Myth & Legend, Blandford, 1997) does not offer citations for each entry because he has restricted his research citations to four volumes: Robert Gravess two-volume The Greek Myths, Homers Iliad and Odyssey, and Virgils Aeneid. All other information, he states in his preface, comes from original personal research. Nonetheless, he includes an extensive bibliography of works that contain essential information to some degree or another. The Cassell Dictionary generally has more extensive entries. Citations are given with each entry, and cross references are included within the text in small capital letters. More resources have been cited in the text, but the bibliography is not quite as extensive as that in the Encyclopedia. This volume includes pictures and photographs, which the other does not, as well as references within entries to the mythological influence on art, literature, and culture. British scholar March also quotes often from classical poets and playwrights where appropriate. In general, the Cassell Dictionary is more scholarly in both content and appearance, while the Encyclopedia is more accessible to younger students. Either is an acceptable addition, depending on the needs of the collection.Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-In more than 1400 entries, this guide covers the major gods and heroes, many minor figures, and even some historical figures and places. Unfortunately, the text is sometimes confusing, marred by syntactic tangles and clumsy wording. Some content errors exist (e.g., Hellenic for Hellenistic, Phintias for Phidias), together with inadequate cross-referencing (e.g., between "Trojan Horse" and "Wooden Horse," neither referencing the other). There is no way to tell which names in a given entry have their own individual entries. The preface asserts that "...practice and common sense will lead to the correct pronunciation" of Greek names, end of subject. The orientation is not literary: there is no distinction between the Iliadic and Odyssean portrayal of Odysseus, between the Underworld of the Odyssey and that of the Aeneid, no mention of scholarly debate over Virgil's Augustan agenda, and not enough detail in the description of Odysseus's or Aeneas's narratives. Such weaknesses reduce the value of what is a most thorough and helpful guide. There is an extensive bibliography (missing Piero Boitani, Roberto Calasso, Brooks Otis), and the appendixes give chronologies of ancient Greece, Rome, and Roman emperors.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Dixon-Kennedy's intention in writing this resource is to provide direct and reliable information about the major and some minor characters in the myths and legends of the Greeks and Romans. The author has based the entries on Homer, Virgil, and Robert Graves's Greek Myths, adding his own interpretations to many accounts. Curiously, he provides at the beginning an overview of Greek civilization but not of Roman. Entries range in length from a few sentences to several columns and include pronunciation, origin of the name, and variant spellings. In some entries, brief historical and cultural explanations are provided as well as cross-references to other entries. There are no illustrations. The Roman entries are quite succinct, especially compared to Pierre Grimal's Concise Dictionary of Classical Mythology (CH, Mar'91). Recommended for secondary school students and lower-division undergraduates. M. C. Su Pennsylvania State University, Altoona Campus

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