ID obscure 1960s-70s youth Greek Mythology book?

I figure this is quite the longshot, but I’m wondering if anyone can help identify a specific Greek mythology book I had when young. I assume it was published in the late 60s-early 70s. The cover was quite distinctive. It had a bright orange background, with a dark centered image of (I believe) Hercules fighting a lion. Across the bottom and top of the cover were white crenellated bands.

I believe it was just called something like Legends of Greek Mythology. Each chapter was a different short version of a mythology story, with a black and white drawing of the story on the first page of each story.

Just taking a longshot and seeing if any of you have it on your shelf or remember this book.


It doesn’t have the crenellated bands or Hercules fighting a lion, but when people say distinctive looking book of greek myths, I jump straight to D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. The look inside feature lets you see lots of pages.

Edith Hamilton?;_ylt=AwrB8pS_mo9Y3BEARhaJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBsZ29xY3ZzBHNlYwNzZWFyY2gEc2xrA2J1dHRvbg--;_ylc=X1MDOTYwNjI4NTcEX3IDMgRhY3RuA2NsawRiY2sDOW1icDRjcGM4bGlhNyUyNmIlM0QzJTI2cyUzRDFlBGNzcmNwdmlkA3NmVjFORFk1TGpHYkx5Um1XSXJKUnd5WU1UYzBMZ0FBQUFBN0NjRDIEZnIDbWNhZmVlBGZyMgNzYS1ncARncHJpZANMY0VLNFRVQlJjdVVpX0guVVBFNlpBBG10ZXN0aWQDVUkwMSUzREIzMzc1BG5fc3VnZwMxMARvcmlnaW4DaW1hZ2VzLnNlYXJjaC55YWhvby5jb20EcG9zAzAEcHFzdHIDBHBxc3RybAMEcXN0cmwDMTUEcXVlcnkDZWRpdGggaGFtaWx0b24gBHRfc3RtcAMxNDg1ODA2MzI3BHZ0ZXN0aWQDQjMzNzU-?gprid=LcEK4TUBRcuUi_H.UPE6ZA&pvid=sfV1NDY5LjGbLyRmWIrJRwyYMTc0LgAAAAA7CcD2&p=edith+hamilton+&fr=mcafee&

I want to say that sounds like the first copy I had of Robert Graves’ The Greek Myths:

It summarizes the legends efficiently and artfully, but is hardly obscure; Graves also wrote I, Claudius. But there have been dozens of illustrated editions; trying Googling the title and look at the various covers and illustrations. It may trigger a memory.

Thanks, all.

To clarify, by “obscure” I just meant that this was a book I had a long time ago, and don’t remember much about other than the cover.

This is one I had as a child. Recently, my 25 yr-old said how much she enjoyed it as a child. But we lost it in one of our moves/purges.

Looked at the copy of Graves. The ToC does not look familiar. Nor is it D’Aulaire.

For some reason, I remember this book had the legend of Arachne, with a picture of a spider. I’d imagine it was aimed at the middle school reading level.

And no, it was not Edith Hamilton.

I had a book by the title of “Myths and Legends of the Ancient Greeks” that sounds similar, at least. Later, I found out that the book called Odysseus (at least) by his Roman name, Ulysses (I didn’t know better when I read it at first). I think I still have it, but it’s at the other residence.

That title sounds right. Haven’t been able to find one with the right cover/artwork, but the ToC looks like it could be right. Thanks for the possible lead!

Thanks for the help, guys. Found it!

The Graves is a very good treatment of the subject…but ya gotta read it with a few grains of salt, as he spends a lot of time thumping his “White Goddess” drum. Most of his primary text is very good, but watch it carefully when you get into the notes. The guy really was obsessed with his “one great idea” – and it isn’t all that great.

For an explanation of the Argosy, or the Odyssey, or Heracles’ labors, etc., top notch book!

I honestly can’t believe someone reading Graves as a kid and getting into Greek mythology. Graves’ book is too academic. It’s a good resource for looking up stuff (so are Karl Kerenyi’s books, by the way).

And you need to take it with more than a grain of salt. It’s not just his White Goddess stuff – Grave’s book on mythology is suffused with other questionable theses of his, like his iconotropaic theory that many myths are really due to misinterpretations of ancient artworks that really represent something else. Your confidence in this theory becomes lessened when you realize that these ancient artworks don’t actually exist anywhere – Graves just imagines them. (He recreates the one he thinks is responsible for the myth of Perseus and Medusa on the cover of The White Goddess) When your theory is this far removed from probity and reality, you really ought to explicitly label it for the speculative thing it is, but Graves doesn’t.
I can’t recall seeing any books on mythology that look exactly like the OP’s description. The closest I can come is John Pinsent’s Greek Mythology from the Paul Hamlyn series on World Mythology. It has an orange-and-black Hercules, but he’s fighting a sea monster, and there’s no frieze:

I heartily endorse Pinsent’s book, by the way, as I do all of the Hamlyn mythology books. They are well-researched and authoritative, if brief, and I think that including contemporary artwork depicting the myths adds materially to our understanding of them.

Fascinating- ignorance fought. I have not read Greek mythology with a critical eye, and didn’t know that Graves brought skeptical scholarship to his writings.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the Graves cover I refer to:

(There have been other covers, so I wanted to be clear). This, Graves claims, is the sort of thing responsible for the myth of Perseus. The image shown was misinterpreted by someone not “in the know” as Perseus stealing the Eye from the three Graiae, but it really represents Hermes receiving the Eye of Wisdom from the Triple Goddess. as I note, nothing like this bit of artwork has ever been found. So why should we believe Graves’ rather far-reaching theory on the basis of essentially no evidence?

I’m not wholly innocent in this – I have my own axe to grind. In my book I present a completely different theory of the origin of the myth of Perseus and the Graiae (not to mention the Gorgons and much else) that owes nothing at all to Hermes, the Triple Goddess, or imaginatively re-created artwork.
I’ve got that copy of the Pelican edition of Graves you refer to above, but the image on the cover is clearly the Farnese statue of Atlas holding up the Heavens. NASA astronomer Brad Schaefer wrote a paper about it

Thanks, Cal - I always respect and appreciate your scholarship here.

I have been looking for this book for years!!!
This was my favorite book since I was about 8. I lost it during my last move.
Thank you so much. I just ordered a copy. I wish I could find mine that I got back in the 70s.

I always enjoy reading book identification threads with a happy ending.