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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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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Tinny Sound Made it Very Difficult to Listen To

I'll come back and edit my review once I've finished, but I noticed a tinny sound partway through the second lecture and now it's all I can hear. I am continuing to listen but it's significantly decreasing my ability to enjoy the story and thought others should be aware.

6 people found this helpful

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Very good starting point

Stories are important to the human condition. This lecture series covering a wide variety of mythological stories from all over the world was like sipping from an ocean. just enough to whet your appetite for more information. Some myths we are familiar with, others not so much.
I highly recommend this to understand other cultures and histories.

6 people found this helpful

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An informative book for anyone interested in religion.

I learned a great deal about my own religion, Christianity It gives one s new prospective on the Old Testament.

4 people found this helpful

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Myth or Folk Tale

I enjoyed this it was very easy lisyening with the different lecturers. An overview of world myth that opens the door for further study.

4 people found this helpful

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Great material, inconsistent presentation

Contains a wealth of information that would be very hard to find independently, however I'm disappointed that the Africa section was allowed to be included as-is. I was particularly keen on learning about African myths, as this is the area of which I have the least knowledge, but the narrator/lecturer made it incredibly painful to listen to this section. False starts, corrections begun in the middle of words, stumbling and poor timing make this section sound like a grade school presentation. I ended up skipping several lectures rather than try to piece together the info provided. All other sections narrated ably.

3 people found this helpful

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Great Book

Well researched and structured. The author’s transitions between topics are flawless making it very easy to follow. #Audible1

6 people found this helpful

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Great Purchase With Credits

I believe its a bit expensive to buy them as is, but the huge amount of content that you can get with a single Credit with this is amazing! Highly recommend to get started with the great stories and literature of mankind.

2 people found this helpful

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Effective Collaboration

This course is actually a compendium of five lecture series - each consisting of twelve half-hour lectures - organized regionally (European, Asian/Middle Eastern - including Egypt, African, Far Eastern/Australasian, and N/S American). Each series is fairly complete (if occasionally cursory) and is meant to both review the contents of the stories as told and to draw out the underlying allegorical/philosophical message(s) intended. The result is praiseworthy.
As in any collection, some lectures are excellent, some are "adequate", and a few are actually not useful (even confusing) - but the overall quality of this course is "outstanding". 'Great Mythologies Of The World' compares favorably to courses that I have taken in University.

To be certain, one of the most notable areas of variability is in the delivery: Professors Kathryn McClymond, Julius H. Bailey, Robert André LaFleur, and Grant L. Voth were all given commendable technical support from Audible Originals Inc, but were also obviously instructed to read with careful diction and more slowly than they normally would (I found setting playback speed at 1.10X was required to restore a more "natural" delivery). Unfortunately, speeding the playback doesn't correct for all of the deficiencies - the overenunciation persists, for example.. but for some lecturers more than others (McClymond is brilliant - while Bailey is awful at this). Inconsistency thus plagues the recording somewhat.

Taken altogether, the advantages of the multi-lecturer approach outweigh the drawbacks. This audiocourse rates a solid 8 stars out of 10. I can unreservedly recommend it to listeners looking for an edifying, wide-reaching (if perhaps introductory) exploration of mythology from multiple cultures.

NOTE:
• The project includes a lecture laying out the best discussion of the Biblical Book of Job that I have ever read
• The appended PDF is incredibly helpful
• I was fortunate enough to get this product included with my subscription (undoubtedly coloring my review). But even were Audible to ask for a Credit, I judge that it would be worth it

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  • C.
  • 2021-12-29

Great for expanding beyond the stories we know

Growing up in the west, I've heard most of the Greek/Roman stories, but this helped solidify and clarify those myths, then the other lectures about myths from the other parts of the world were just as interesting and informative, very well done.

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Great lectures on various cultures and their myths

Really enjoyed this series of lectures... Except for the African myths section. I was very interested in this body of myths, but the lecturer was absolute trash. He makes so many errors, and stumbles so often over what he's saying, it's hard to imagine that this is the best version recorded. I was almost tempted to skip the whole section, it was so bad and distracting.

All of the other lecturers did a fine job, and overall I'd still recommend this lecture series.

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  • khilsati
  • 2017-03-28

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!

124 people found this helpful

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  • Rafał
  • 2019-07-23

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.

118 people found this helpful

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  • beth m plum
  • 2019-06-26

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.

117 people found this helpful

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  • Marcus A. Sasiadek
  • 2019-08-22

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.

102 people found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 2016-03-16

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.

178 people found this helpful

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  • Jane S
  • 2017-09-04

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!!

36 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 2015-12-03

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.

309 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-05-23

Inaccurate and not in-depth

The lectures give no new insight into the material and is often inaccurate. It’s rarely give sources and differing accounts. Maybe okay for some completely new to all mythology and folktales, but it’s inaccurates would not recommend it to even beginners.
Gave up on it once the lecturer claimed that Freya was Odin’s wife, with no explanation of how she and Frigg(Odin’s actual wife in most sources) might be combined or if she was described as his wife in this particular source. Also the giants name not being known and no mention of the giant’s horse???

13 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Alfredo
  • 2017-09-13

Treated subject matter like it was a joke

Myths were very serious to those people who relied on them to explain their world. The presenters attitude was something akin to can you believe some people used to believe this stuff? I would have expected the presenters to spend much more time developing the historical and environmental context in which these myths helped people explain their world and cope. It wasn't a joke to them.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Bridget
  • 2017-04-26

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.

88 people found this helpful