August 13, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Books Set in Ancient Greece

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the bloggers of The Broke and the Bookish. Today we're discussing our top ten books that take place in a specific setting. I decided to focus on books that are set in Ancient Greece.

This hasn't received much attention on my blog, but I used to be a huge fan of Greek mythology. And I mean huge; my enjoyment of it bordered on obsession. Back in my ninth grade mythology unit, I knew more about the Greek myths being taught than our teacher. I own a couple books on Greek mythology (Edith Hamilton's Mythology is by far the best, which isn't really a surprise) and I used to read a TON of retellings and books that took place in Ancient Greece. For some reason that's died down over the past few years, so this week's list serves two purposes: I wanted to draw attention to some that I really loved, and also to target some that I really need to read soon.

The Classics  
Medea by Euripides  
The Odyssey by Homer
Metamorphoses by Ovid
The Oedipus Cycle by Sophocles

Classics to Read  
The Oresteia by Aeschylus
The Iliad by Homer


The Retellings

Retellings to Read

I realize this is more than ten picks, although to be fair I've only actually read eight of these books. But once I got started looking into books that take place in Ancient Greece, it was hard to stop myself. I want to read them all! Although for some reason I had a hard time finding many retellings of Ancient Greek history/mythology that don't revolve around the Trojan War. 

Do you have any suggestions to help me fill that void? Or any recommendations in general for other great stories that focus on this time period?
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Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. YAY for GREECE!! I just finished reading Kendare Blake's Antigoddess a few weeks ago and you need to check that one out, Amanda. Not set in Greece, but Blake has really gotten creative with retelling/ expanding on both The Iliad and The Odyssey:) Great picks!
    my TTT

  2. Oh man, I have a distinct memory of reading Troy by Adele Geras when I was in eighth grade or something. I was SO obsessed with it. I really want to reread it. Also, she has one called Ithaka, which I also am curious about.

    Did you read Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett? It wasn't amazing, but it was an interesting retelling.

    Oh, and, if you haven't read it, The Song of Achilles is a must read!

  3. Great list! I dont have a lot of good suggestions unfortunately, I'm a little out of the loop on Greek mythology but I used to love it!

  4. What a fun pick! You always do such interesting lists. I love ancient Greece. I'm a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series, which I don't think has even made it to Greece yet. And I read Antigoddess, which was pretty fascinating. But yours are all very traditional picks, which is awesome.

  5. Great pick for this topic. I studied Classics at school and was really obsessed with Ancient Greek literature. The Odyssey is among my favourite books, and Euripides' plays are excellent. And a good retelling is excellent as well. Have you read Helen of Troy by Margaret George? That's pretty good.


  6. My favorite author of novels set in ancient Greece is Mary Renault; if you've never read The King Must Die, do!!! It is my benchmark for historical fiction that reimagines myth.

  7. I love the topic you choose because I haven't read any of these books so it gives me a great place to start in Ancient Greece :) I love historical fiction but don't read much set that far into the past. Thanks for the great suggestions!

  8. You can't go wrong with Greek Mythology. I am writing some of these down for later when I need my Greek Mythology fix after finishing the next Percy Jackson book, House of Hades. :)

    Rachel @

  9. Wow, impressive and challenging list! I can't say I've read any of these -- although maybe I should. I always did love learning about Greek mythology in school.I didn't realize Marion Zimmer Bradley had a book on this topic -- I'll have to check it out!


  10. Great list! Of these, I've only read the Classics.

    My TTT.

  11. Shockingly, I haven't read any of these. I'm a huge fan of Odyssey and Mythology by...some famous author I can't I'll have to check these out for sure. Wonderful list, Amanda!

  12. I've only read Nobody's Princess out of all of these. I thought about joining an event earlier in the year where you could pick a classic and retellings... It might even be starting soon. But decided I wouldn't have the time available when it was going on. Still would like to read some more classics sometime though!

  13. What a great setting to have picked for this week's topic! I've always loved Ancient Greece and the mythology. I need to read some of these so thank you for sharing!


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