The Best Mythology Books Beyond the Greeks

Jordanna Max Brodsky Author Of The Wolf in the Whale
By Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Books I Picked & Why

The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes (Translated By Jackson Crawford)

By Jackson Crawford, Unknown

The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes (Translated By Jackson Crawford)

Why this book?

The most compelling original source material for the Norse myths is a collection of anonymous poems known as the Poetic Edda. Based on a 13th-century Icelandic transcription of ancient oral legends, the Poetic Edda includes the creation myths of the Ash Tree and the Frost Giants, the adventures of Thor and Loki, and many other lesser-known Norse tales. Jackson Crawford’s translation manages the difficult task of making the stories understandable while capturing the rhythm and beauty of the original poems.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Unikkaaqtuat: An Introduction to Inuit Myths and Legends

By Neil Christopher

Unikkaaqtuat: An Introduction to Inuit Myths and Legends

Why this book?

Living high in the world’s Arctic regions, Inuit civilization remained largely free of European influences until the twentieth century, allowing its traditions to remain relatively intact into the modern era. Like the Norse, Inuit are a people of wolves and sea monsters and giants. But while the Norse focus mainly on male gods and supernatural warriors, Inuit legends are full of female deities and resourceful humans, making for an arguably more relatable and compelling mythology. Neil Christopher’s immensely readable compendium of Inuit myths is a great introduction to this vibrant tradition.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

By Richard H. Wilkinson

The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

Why this book?

For many fans of Greek myths, Egypt is the next logical stop on a journey to a broader understanding of world mythology. As a culture which influenced both the Hellenistic and Judeo-Christian world, Egypt’s stories inform our understanding of other Western traditions. And the mania for mummies and pyramids means outstanding examples of Egyptian artifacts await in museums across the world, helping make the ancient tales come alive. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt makes for a fantastic introduction into the world of Ra, Isis, and Osiris.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Gilgamesh (Translated By Stanley Lombardo)

By Stanley Lombardo, Unknown

Gilgamesh (Translated By Stanley Lombardo)

Why this book?

Unlike the Homerian epics, Gilgamesh has been studied by scholars since only the late 19th century. (David Damrosch’s The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh details its fascinating discovery among a box of cuneiform shards in the British Museum.) Yet this Babylonian epic predates the Odyssey by over a millennium and relates a hero’s journey even more formidable. While Odysseus just wants to get back home, Gilgamesh seeks immortality itself. Bloody battles with giants, marathon sex with goddesses, heartbreaking love between two men, and the universal human quest to reconcile ourselves with death—Gilgamesh has it all.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Oxford Companion to World Mythology

By David Leeming

Oxford Companion to World Mythology

Why this book?

The Oxford Companion is an encyclopedia, not a narrative, but I love that it includes stories from the Bible, the Quran, and other sacred texts alongside fantastical legends that span the globe. The line between myth and religion is, after all, largely subjective. King David, the nymph Daphne, and the Dayak myths of Borneo all share the same page. For those of us seeking inspiration in myth, the Oxford Companion offers ideas from Abraham to Ziusudra.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists