A Conversation with Philip Freeman, author of Oh My Gods. May 31, 2012.
When I was a child the stories of the gods and heros of ancient Greece and Rome were just that—stories. Isolated incidents that didn’t seem to have anything of much importance to say and certainly no connection to one another. Mind you they were fun and exciting, but there was no connective tissue. I guess it didn’t really matter if there was or wasn’t any linkage. It wasn’t until I started doing my radio program, Graffiti, and really immersing myself in them that I began to see a connection—to see there was something “generational” about the stories. I finally saw the light when I read about the blind seer Tiresias. At first it didn’t hit me but then I realized that he kept showing up in different places at different times. He seemed to be always present. When I finally did a show about him I came across something that told me he was involved in the seven generations of Thebes. Seven generations! That’s when I realized there was a coherence to the myths…a timeline of sorts. Tom Stone did the same thing in his book Zeus. He tracked the chronology of the tales through the “biography” of the god.
Philip Freeman not only gives you a sense of coherence to the tales he also gives you the complete versions of them. His chapter on the Trojan War takes you from the golden apple right through the last bloody killing and through the escape of Aeneas to Menelaus and Helen boarding the ship for the return voyage to Sparta. Great stuff told well.