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Publisher's Summary

The deep-seated origins and wide-reaching lessons of ancient myths built the foundation for our modern legacies. Explore the mythologies of Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Learn what makes these stories so important, distinctive, and able to withstand the test of time. Discover how, despite geographical implausibilities, many myths from across the oceans share themes, morals, and archetypes.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about Great Mythologies of the World

Average Customer Ratings
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Starts out GREAT then fizzles

The first third of this book which covers Greek Italian Irish Norsk mythology is awesome - I could listen to author, academic and narrator Kathryn McClymond all day - her knowledge and the way she draws the listener is worth purchasing this audio book for. BUT . . . the listener is then challenged with an American narrator whose inflections and false excitement was so over the top I had to fast forward thru the African mythology to the Asian section. For anyone interested in learning about mythology, I would definitely recommend this audiobook.

4 people found this helpful

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Suffers from lack of direction

Overload of information you'll never remember. Lack of analysis. Suffers from lack of direction and structure. Narration was okay.

2 people found this helpful

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Broad range of stories and explanations

fantastic learning! was great to hear about myths from across the world and be able to put together common topics and even similarly described creatures.

3 people found this helpful

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Listen to which ever mythology you like!!!

The chapters are labelled and so you can jump to myths from any part of the world whenever you like it. The content is excellent, some stories are (by necessity) familiar, others not so much. Falling asleep to story so worn out, every bare thread is visible; or hopping on to a new one on a new road trip - this book is a joy!

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Click Bait

Seemed to be more about feminism and social justice than the books title...2 to three chapters in and no myths ..just some narrator mouthing off about myths

1 person found this helpful

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  • khilsati
  • 28-03-2017

Amazing Course!

This course is one of the best audio book I ever listened to! It will take you from the myths of ancient Europe, turn south to Africa then East to reach China, Korea, Japan and the Pacific islands, to ends perfectly with the Native Americans myths. Incredible and fascinating.

However, I have to point out like many other reviews that the performance in part 2 is bad. The speaker's talk is with a very monotone voice while stuttering and hesitating all the time. The way the lesson is built is also problematic for a better understanding. This decrease the interest of the African myths, which is a bummer.

That being said, the 3 others parts are amazing, and this class should be mandatory to everybody on Audible!

97 people found this helpful

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  • beth m plum
  • 26-06-2019

Intersectionality gone awry

Intersectionality at its very worst. Bad traits exhibited by the goddesses is stereotypical while bad traits exhibited by gods...well no disclaimer. Instead of taking the time to try and explain why the gods and goddesses of certain mythologies exhibited such extreme personality traits and how that reflects on the societies that created them the lecturer just virtue signaled. Is this what is promoted as a good education these days? Yikes.

52 people found this helpful

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  • Rafał
  • 23-07-2019

Great Blog of the unaccomplished author

The lectures are chock full of inaccuracies both about the myths presented, and about the historical background she tries to provide for them. The author never admits her biases, and at one point (in the chapter about Job) admits to pushing her own agenda in the lectures. Beware: these are not objective presentations of the myths and their interpretations across the scholars. These lectures are ramblings of a woman who doesn't hesitate to tweak the details to her liking, or simply provide only hers interpretation of a myth. The noise also hasn't been removed, so enjoy your tinnitus.

47 people found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 16-03-2016

mostly awesome

The sections on European, Asian, and Native American mys were awesome. I could tell that the scholars had really spent a significant amount of time to organize the lectures into a cohesive and comprehensible course. The section on African myths needs development - I liked what I learned of the stories, themselves, but the course was significantly lacking in organization and attempting to connect the themes into larger issues of relevance. my favorite section was on Native American myths. It was obvious that the scholar had spent a lifetime researching and teaching these stories. The way these were presented stands in marked contrast to the these-are-some-cool-things-I've learned-about approach of the African myths.

166 people found this helpful

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  • Jane S
  • 04-09-2017

Uneven but overall excellent.

The first third was by far the best; she is an excellent reader. The "Africa" section failed to engage me. But the "American" section that ended the series had me involved again. How much our schools do not teach us!!

33 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 03-12-2015

Three Fantastic Lecturers, + one iffy one.

Multi-lecturer courses are always prone to fluctuations in quality… But 3 out of 4 ain't bad!

Kathryn McClymond covers the myths of ancient Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. Her lectures are fantastic, offering a good balance of storytelling and interpretation. She tells the stories, then uses them to construct a coherent cosmology of each culture, so you get a sense of their view of the real world and of the cosmos. It's also nice to have a woman's perspective on this stuff; history is still so male dominated, and she calls due attention to the sexism inherent in a lot of the myths, and what it says about the relevant culture.

After her, Julius Bailey, who covers African myths, is a letdown. African myth is a huge subject, so his task is difficult. But he chooses to organize his myths by topic, NOT by culture, so it's impossible to get that sense of a coherent cosmology for any one culture. He's also not a good orator; he trips over the emphasis of every third sentence.

Andre LaFleur's lectures on Asian and Pacific myths picks things right up again though. He provides a good balance of story and interpretation, and he steers clear of the typical pitfalls of a white guy teaching "foreign" cultures -- avoiding essentialism, or romanticizing the role of Westerners in documenting the material, for instance.

Grant Voth's lectures on Native American myths are some of the best of the pack, even though -- according to his CV in the PDF -- he doesn't seem to have any formal experience with the topic. His task is like Bailey's, but he organizes his lectures by broad regions wherein there is a common mythic tradition (with variations), and so it's possible to get a sense of each culture -- or family of cultures, if you will -- and their cosmology.

All in all, I recommend it -- you're bound to learn a lot.

298 people found this helpful

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  • Marcus A. Sasiadek
  • 22-08-2019

Very Feminism Centric

Every 10 minutes, the speaker bring up "feminism". She cites Paris Hilton and the show the "The Good Wife". I paid for a class on mythology and want to learn about the past. But instead the focus is making mythology very modern day. Very disappointing.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Bridget
  • 26-04-2017

What about the Norse

This was a great course spending hours on European, African, Asian, Australia, Oceania, and the Americas myths, religions, and cultures. Sadly the Norse barely get a mention by a scholar who is very adept in Greek and Roman myth obviously knows little about the Norse religion or culture. It was exceptionally disappointing, there are many great scholars who teach Norse myth that could have been used.

80 people found this helpful

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  • SAMA
  • 18-01-2016

Great mythologies by great professors

I found this volume very informative and entertaining. The only issue is a minor one, and that it doesn't explain where each mythological character stands among their own mythology, pantheon, or bestiary. This is easily solved by buying specific courses for mythologies that catch your interest.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Michael G. Jones
  • 27-10-2015

Good material.

The material was interesting, but one of the lecturers (the second one, lecturing on the myths of Africa) was so difficult to listen to I almost abandoned the whole lecture.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 15-08-2016

Worth Getting if You're Interested in Mythology

What did you like most about Great Mythologies of the World?

This audiobook is a great overview of world mythology. It contains lectures (of around 30-40 minutes long) on mythology from Greece, Rome, The Norse, The Bible, Egypt, Celtic Ireland, The Middle East, The Far East, Africa and The Americas.

Prior to this course I knew very little about mythology. I am keen to learn more about mythology and religion at the moment because I want to increase my mythological and religious literacy so that I am better placed to appreciate some of the great works of world literature. I have learnt much from this course. I particularly enjoyed learning about Western mythology because I mostly read Western Literature. I also enjoyed learning about the similarities and differences between one culture and another.

I have listened to 30ish different courses from The Great Courses now, and my favorite courses multiple times. I don't like to be a hater but the lecturer on African Mythology really seemed out of his depth (I honestly wondered if he was standing in for someone else). The other professors spoke confidently, as though they were talking to a group without any notes, yet still managing to be methodical and enthralling. Professor Bailey was obviously reading word for word from a script. He constantly got words mixed up and his regular mid-clause pauses were very off-putting.

Additionally, the structure of the African lectures was poor; whereas the other professors expanded of the myths by giving historical, political and cultural contexts and exploring the possible interpretations and the implications of the myths, Professor Bailey seemed to change the subject every 2 minutes, seemingly hellbent on getting through all of the African Myths ever created with far too little time for building the context, interpretation, and the impact the myth had on the various cultures of Africa. Consequently, after the third or forth lecture from him, I had to hop over to The Far East.

I still got about a days worth of good lectures, and overall I am happy with that. If you want to learn more about the various heroes, ancient gods and how the various ancient peoples of the world came up with explanations for the big questions then this is for you.

19 people found this helpful

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  • s. vandemeulebroucke
  • 07-02-2018

Let’s you down towards the end

Any additional comments?

The content is very interesting, although some myths get more attention with context (past and present) from the writers. However, when it gets to the series on African myths the whole thing becomes quite painful to listen and one’s perseverance is put to the test. Which is a shame as I’m very interested in the subject. The narration is an abomination and quite frankly I don’t understand why they just didn’t record those bits again. Not only the narrator’s story telling is monotonous and monotone (funny when delivery a topic which relies on story telling!) but he literally shambles all the way through. The listener then starts to anticipate the next time the narrator will drip over and stops paying attention to the story. As soon as one relaxes into it again, he trips again. Why didn’t the producer just have him read again with more fluidity? I’m so disappointed...

16 people found this helpful

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  • romeo2u2001
  • 17-02-2020

An interesting retelling of history, culture and myth

I really enjoyed the narration from each of the lecturers who really paint a vivid picture of how rich and important story telling is to all cultures around the world. I feel that even though it really is informative and diverse, I still feel that some really important mythology was left out. That of the Central Asians, Mongolians, Slavs and Siberians are the ones most noticeably missing and I really was looking forward to retelling of these. Nonetheless, what we are given is extremely detailed and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Joe
  • 06-05-2020

Not really what it says on the tin

Very interesting from a philosophical point of view, but really it should be called "condensed mythologies and a philosophical interruption of"

2 people found this helpful

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  • Guðrún Pétursdóttir
  • 08-03-2019

Recommend it for anyone curious about mythology.

Loved it although it is only a introduction to world mythology it is a good jumping of point into further studies or just for someone wanting to learn about mythology beyond the Greek and Roman. A part I wished had been a bit shorter and more emphasis put on other European myths such as the Sàmi culture and their myths or more about the Celts. Another thing there is not enough about the middle and southern America myths, lumping them together in one part might have been a mistake. But the professors are knowledgeable about their subjects and all of them great storytellers which is crucial for this type of lectures. I only wished they were longer. And because there are a few them there is bit of a repetition about what myth is and it's function, but that might not be such a bad thing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-02-2017

some sections are better th an others

I found some sections were just stories with little context. Other sections were excellent, but the bad were very poor, hence the rating.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Clay Baker
  • 09-02-2017

Great

But sometimes wish it would go into more detail about some of the myths, or tell them fuller. Some of the myths were amazing!

2 people found this helpful

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  • RachelRay
  • 11-08-2020

Really entertaining and educational.

Great entertaining reader/lecturer. One criticism though, re. Irish mythology, It's pronounced Coo-CULL-aan. (Sorry but that was painful on the ears 😂)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Roxana
  • 17-02-2018

not well prepared

if you don't know the stories already it is hard to follow. not really worth it and the lecturers prepared their presentations assuming I had a booklet with all that info and I had general knowledge of everything they say

2 people found this helpful

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  • Brett Hinsley
  • 25-07-2020

Great courses but sometimes you can lose yourself

Great courses but sometimes you can lose yourself in the information, it’s one of those books you’re constantly return to the lectures again and again. Mythology fo Greece, Rome, The Norse, The Bible, Egypt, Celtic Ireland, The Middle East, The Far East, Africa and The Americas. Very keen to understand stand and learn the historical information regarding Mythology and this course certainly broadens your horizons

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