The deities of the ancient world — from the famous denizens of Olympus to anonymous river nymphs and sea monsters — come to life in the pages of this classic guide. Richly readable, informative, and colorful, it is drawn mostly from the great epics of Homer and the works of Apollodoros, an Athenian scholar of the second century B.C. Not only does it define the myths in terms of their influence on Western literature, it also depicts the role of the deities in everyday life, from the earliest tribal rites to the grand festivals at the height of Graeco-Roman civilization. Each of the primary and minor gods receives an individual chapter that recounts both the Greek origins and the later Roman adaptation. Profiles of less-familiar figures from the ancient pantheon include the Dioscuri, better known as Castor and Pollux, the patrons of athletes and sailors; Aesculapius, the god of health and healing; Rhea, the mother of the gods; and Pan, the frolicsome woodlands god. No finer survey of classical mythology exists than this instructive and entertaining guide to the gods.