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Sònia González [La Cuchu] , Jaime Moreno Delgado

100 Myths. Gods, Heroes and Legendary Creatures [100 Mitos. Dioses, Héroes y Criaturas Legendarias]

YEAR: 2019

COUNTRY: Spain

Cateogry icon

Title of the work

100 Myths. Gods, Heroes and Legendary Creatures [100 Mitos. Dioses, Héroes y Criaturas Legendarias]

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Spain

Original Language

Spanish

First Edition Date

2019

First Edition Details

Jaime Moreno Delgado, 100 Mitos. Dioses, Héroes y Criaturas Legendarias. Ill., Sonia Gonzalez, Spain: RBA Molino, 2019, 224 pp.

ISBN

9788427216365

Genre

Chapter book*
Illustrated works

Target Audience

Children

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Lisa Dunbar Solas, independent researcher, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1: nkemlekedan@yahoo.com 

Female portrait

Sònia González [La Cuchu] (Illustrator)

Sònia González is a Spanish art director, educator and illustrator, professionally known as La Cuchu.  As she notes on her website, Cuchu is her alter ego, just in the way that Spiderman is Peter Parker’s. 

She has a degree in Pedagogy from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and has worked as a special education educator within the Spanish mainstream system for much of her professional life. Her interest in drawing was partially inspired by working with children with autism spectrum disorder. In a recent interview for the current project, she noted, ‘ (…) my drawings helped us a lot with communication (trans. by L. Dunbar).’ Over time, she has developed her unique artistic style. Her background in Education continues to inform her illustration process. As she highlighted in the interview, when developing illustrations, she always tries to give it ‘a pedagogical and studied character (trans. L. Dunbar).’ This is also reflected in the projects she selects. For example, she recently illustrated, Cuentos cortos de emociones en el cole (2021), written by Pedro Maria García Franco. The book aims to help children identify, acknowledge and discuss their emotions. 

She has illustrated books for a range of publishers. Seven years ago, she published her first book with Penguin/ Random House. Since then, Sònia has illustrated books for LaGalera, Beascoa, Scholastic, Edebé, Vicens Vives, Museu Marítim de Barcelona, among others.


Sources:

Soniacuchu.wixsite.com (no loger available, accessed October 8, 2021).:

LinkedIn profile (accessed: October 8, 2021).



Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, independent researcher, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au

Questionnaire

1. What is your background? How did you come to work with children's books?

I have a degree in pedagogy and most of my working life was spent as an educator of special education children in ordinary school. When working especially with children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) my drawings helped us a lot for communication. Over time I decided to carry out my drawings further and published my first book with Penguin Random house 7 years ago. Since then it has become my main work and that is why I always try to give illustration a pedagogical and studied character.


2. What drew you to writing/working with Classical Antiquity and what challenges did you face in selecting, representing, or adapting particular myths or stories?

The truth is that at home we have always liked classical antiquity, Greek myths, Norse myths ... When the editor offered to work on Greek mythology. 100 neither more nor less I could not refuse ... at home they would not have forgiven me.


3. Why do you think classical / ancient myths, history, and literature continue to resonate with young audiences?

Otherwise they wouldn't be classics! The classics always have that timelessness that they are capable of adapting to any time in reality. They tell us about the basics, the primitive, the essential of humanity, stories of love, war, jealousy, courage, fear ... these are things that make us human and that is why we identify and recognize ourselves even though centuries go by.


4. Do you have a background in classical education (Latin or Greek at school or classes at the University?) What sources are you using? Scholarly work? Wikipedia? Are there any books that made an impact on you in this respect? 

In high school I studied Latin and Greek but at a very basic level. Regarding the references, I am from the old school … I like to go to the library to take out books and see everything they have first… illustrations, engravings… stories… obviously I also have my digital visual references but I try to avoid Wikipedia because it is information too obvious, I think that the previous work of gathering information and looking for images that not everyone finds is what makes a project so wonderful ... you always find documents that you didn't even know existed.

In my city library I found a small self-published book from a local school, where the children drew the most relevant Greek myths. I found it super interesting to see the vision that children themselves had of myths and that helped a lot to see what approach I had to give to my illustrations, after all, my art is for them. It turned out to be a crucial document for my work despite not being very "official".


5. Did you think about how Classical Antiquity would translate for young readers, especially in Spain?

The truth is that I was interested in how to make classical literature visually attractive for children and not seem outdated ... I don't know if I have succeeded.


6. How concerned were you with ‘accuracy’ or ‘fidelity’ to the original?  (another way of saying that might be—that I think writers are often more ‘faithful’ to originals in adapting its spirit rather than being tied down at the level of detail—is this something you thought about?).

Above all, I am concerned about being subtle. There are very cruel myths ... How do you draw Zeus transforming into a swan to deceive a maiden, or monsters that devour parts of people ... If you analyse them well ... they are harsh, cruel ... but you have to find a way to represent them to soften the harshness of the text ...


7. Are you planning any further forays into classical material?

No, but I would love for Nordic myths to fall into my hands… I love the children's Nordic style, cold, stylized and geometric… it would be a great challenge, and surely hilarious!


Prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, independent researcher, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Male portrait

Jaime Moreno Delgado (Author)

Jaime Moreno Delgado is a Spanish author and proofreader. He graduated from a degree in Classical Philology at the Unversidad de Barcelona. While completing his studies, he learnt how to read classical texts in Greek and Latin. Previously, he has worked as a proofreader for RBA Molino, an imprint of Random publishing, Spain. He published his first book in Catalan called Viu les Maleses amb l’Alícia i l’Orisos, which recites the adventures of a girl in ancient Iberian times before the Roman conquest. 

Moreno is currently in the process of completing and publishing a novel set in Ancient Roman Barcelona.


Source:

The interview with the author (see below).


Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, independent researcher, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au

Questionnaire

1. What is your background? How did you come to work with children's books?

In 2018 I published my first story. It recounted the adventures of a girl in the time of the ancient Iberians, the inhabitants of a large area of the Iberian Peninsula before the arrival of the Romans. It was the beginning of a collection of three stories about the history of the city of Montcada i Reixac (Barcelona, Spain). The book, written in Catalan, is titled Viu les Maleses amb l’Alícia i l’Orisos.


2. What drew you to writing/working with Classical Antiquity and what challenges did you face in selecting, representing, or adapting particular myths or stories?

In 2018, the publishing house Molino, for which I worked as a proofreader, proposed the project of collecting the one hundred main myths of ancient Greece. The biggest problem was to summarise each myth on a single page, as the material is so abundant and varied.


3. Why do you think classical / ancient myths, history, and literature continue to resonate with young audiences?

Myths continue to attract because they are beautiful and deeply human stories. In addition, they deal with topics such as love, loneliness, justice (or injustice) and the weaknesses of human beings. On the other hand, their knowledge is part of our culture, as they are present in numerous paintings, statues, buildings... Even in language, as when we speak of narcissism.

On the 29 October 2021, by email correspondence with L. Dunbar, Moreno Delgado explained his comment, ‘Incluso en el lenguaje, como cuando hablamos de narcasisimo’, adding that:

I wanted to say that mythology is even present at times in our everyday language. To say that someone is a "narcissist" means that he is someone who considers himself the best at something (beauty, intelligence), and the word leads us to the myth of Narcissus, who, upon seeing himself reflected in the water, fell in love with himself. In Spanish the use of these words (narcissism, narcissistic) can be found in numerous texts and articles.

In Spanish there are more everyday uses of words related to mythology, such as "chimera". Apart from designating a mythological animal, the word also, according to the dictionary, means: That which is proposed to the imagination as possible or true, not being it.

For example, you could say, "Your idea is a pipe dream."


4. Do you have a background in classical education (Latin or Greek at school or classes at the University?) What sources are you using? Scholarly work? Wikipedia? Are there any books that made an impact on you in this respect? 

At university I graduated in Classical Philology. For the book, I used the classic texts. That is, the Latin and Greek texts in which a specific myth is spoken of (Homer, Apollodorus, Higinus, tragics...). Wikipedia helped me to find some sources and passages, but above all, Pierre Grimal's dictionary of myths was good for me.


5. Did you think about how Classicasl Antiquity would translate for young readers, especially in Spain?

Yes. It was necessary to write the texts in a clear and understandable way. In addition, I made an effort so that the reader knew all the words and concepts used. Since many of them have never had contact with the classical world, one could not take anything for granted.


6. How concerned were you with ‘accuracy’ or ‘fidelity’ to the original?  (another way of saying that might be — that I think writers are often more ‘faithful’ to originals in adapting its spirit rather than being tied down at the level of detail — is this something you thought about?).

The advantage of writing about myths is that there are often several versions of them. Among the sources, I chose the one that I thought was best. I respected the sources to the maximum, but, if necessary, I made up dialogues or scenes to better present the myth. I do think that you have to be very faithful to the sources and the old writers, but they can be adapted. For example, in the case of Daphne I removed the sexual charge from the episode, since we were dealing with children.


7. Are you planning any further forays into classical material?

Yes. Now I have written a short novel set in ancient Roman Barcelona. It is aimed at young audiences and I am contacting publishers to see if they are interested in publishing it.


Prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, independent researcher, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Summary

100 Mitos is a compilation of 100 classical myths and legends for children. The book is divided into three parts called Gods and Titans (Dioses y titanes), Heroes, Demi-gods and Humans (Héroes, semidioses y humanos), and Legendary Creatures (Criaturas legendarias). 

In Dioses y Titanes, the stories included relate to the following characters, places and events: Aphrodite (Afrodita); Apollo (Apolo), Ares; Artemis (Ártemis); Asclepius (Asclepio); Athena (Atenea); Atlas; Charon (Caronte); Cybele (Cibeles); Circe; Cronus (Cronos); Demeter (Deméter); Deucalion and Pyrrha (Deucalión y Pirra); Dionysus (Dionisio); Aeolus (Eolo); Eos; Eris; Eros; Gaia (Gea); Hades; Hebe; Hecate (Hécate); Hephaestus (Hefesto); Hera; Hermes; Hestia; Iris; Morpheus (Morfeo); Pan; Persephone (Perséfone); Poseidon (Poseidón); Prometheus (Prometeo); Selene; and, Zeus.

In the second part, Héroes, Semidioses y humanos, the myths related to the following places, characters and events are: Actaeon (Acteón); Amazon (Amazonas); Andromeda (Andrómeda); Achilles (Aquiles); Arachne (Aracne); Bellerophon (Belerofronte); Daphne (Dafne); Danae (Dánae); Dioscuri; (Dioscuros); Echo (Eco); Euridice (Euridice); Europe (Europa); Ganymede (Ganimedes); Helen of Troy (Helena de Troya); Heracles; Hesperides (Hespérides); Icarus (Ícaro); Jason (Jasón); Leda; the Lotus Eaters (Lotófagos); Medea; Narcissus (Narciso); Nymphs (Ninfas); Odysseus (Odiseo); Orpheus (Orfeo); Pandora; Paris; Pasiphae (Pasifae); Penelope (Penélope); Perseus (Perseo); Sisyphus (Sísifo); Theseus (Teseo); and, Tiresias. 

In the final part, Criaturas legendarias, the following characters portrayed in classical myths are included: Amaltea; Stymphalian birds (Aves de Estínfalo); Basilisk (Basilisco); Charybdis (Caribdis); Centaurs (Centauros); Cerberus (Cerbero); Cyclops (Ciclopes); Erinyes (Erinias); Sphinx (Esfinge); Galatea; Geryon (Gerión); Harpies (Harpías); Hydra of Lerna (Hidra de Lerna); Hippocampi (Hipocampos); the Erymanthus Boar (Jabalí de Erimanto); the Nemean Lion (León de Nemea); Medusa; Minotaur (Minotauro); Moiras; Muses (Musas); Orion (Orión); Pegasus (Pegaso); Piton (Pitón); Polyphemus (Polifemo); Proteus (Proteo); Satyrs (Sátiros); Mermaids (Sirenas); Talos; Typhoon (Tifón); Cretan Bull (Toro de Creta); and, the Mares of Diomedes (Yeguas de Diomedes).

Each story is summarised and supported by a full-page colour illustration. Meanwhile, additional information regarding the places, characters, and cultural and historical context is included in a small text box beneath the main summary. There is a short introduction and a colour map of the Mediterranean, which outlines the geographical origin of the main characters in the book’s front matter. At the back of the book, a genealogy is included, demonstrating the relationships between characters, where applicable.

Analysis

100 Mitos is a colourful and entertaining book, which serves as an introduction to the diverse and complex nature of classical myths and legends for readers. As Moreno (p. 11) explains to the reader in the book’s introduction, they afford us a glimpse into the classical world and this is because they are based on lived experienced and historical events, such as the Trojan War. Meanwhile, the stories represent and reflect ancient Greek and Roman relationships with their deities and Nature. As he (p. 11) writes, for example, ‘a sound in the forest could signify that a nymph was perhaps observing what a human was doing in their domain (translated by L. Dunbar).’ 

Significantly, in the appropriate places, Moreno highlights to the reader how the classical world has influenced modern culture. For example, he (p. 170) contextualises the Spanish expression ‘entre Escila y Caribdis’ (‘between Scylla and Charybdis’), which is derived from Odysseus’s encounter with two sea monsters, Scylla and Charybdis, as narrated in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. Odysseus was forced to pass between them on his return journey home after the Trojan War. Moreno (p. 170) explains that the expression ‘(…) means that someone is forced to choose between two very bad options (trans. by L. Dunbar).’ 

Moreno and González have thoughtfully crafted the book, considering especially the diverse needs and capacities of the targeted modern audience. As Moreno explained in his interview for the current project, he felt it was necessary to ‘write the texts in a clear and understandable way (translated L. Dunbar).’ He took into consideration that for many readers this would be their first introduction to the classical world, and with that in mind, he made a concerted effort to ensure that they would understand the terminology used. 

Moreno’s careful consideration is particularly evident when dealing with sensitive topics, such as sex and rape, which are represented in the classical stories. In some cases, particular details and/or behaviours were removed, as they were considered inappropriate for the targeted audience. For example, when writing the story of Daphne, Moreno omitted ‘the sexual charge from the episode’ (see interview and also p. 96). Meanwhile, he utilised an indirect approach to the topic of rape, as represented in Persephone’s story, for example. It is important to highlight at this point that this act in the Classical world was conceptually differently; abduction without the legal consent of a girl or woman’s father could constitute rape in the ancient Greek world (Chrystal 2016, 78). Moreno explains Persephone’s abduction in light of modern customs to the reader, noting that Hades was in love with Persephone and ‘(…) instead of a romantic marriage proposal, he could not think of anything other than to kidnap her and take her to the sad underworld in which he reigned.’ The word ‘rape’ is not used. A similar approach is adopted for Zeus’ seduction of Leda (see p. 122). 

Significantly, González supported Moreno’s approach by adopting a colourful and ‘subtle’ illustration style, which is visually appealing. Her style also seems to be the outcome of deep negotiation between the nature of modern readers and the complex and at times, graphic nature of the classical myths. As González shared in her interview, she was concerned about making the illustrations relatable. In addition to drawing on key Spanish texts, such as the Pierre Grimal's (1996) The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, she was also inspired by an unofficial version of classical mythology that she located in her city library (Interview with L. Dunbar, 2021). This book includes illustrations created by children. As she explained in her interview, they allowed her to see children’s ‘vision’ of the stories. At the same time, González contemplated deeply on how to portray the more deal brutal dimensions of some myths. As she pondered in the interview, ‘There are very cruel myths ... How do you draw Zeus transforming into a swan to deceive a maiden, or monsters that devour parts of people… ? [sic] (translated by L. Dunbar).’ In the end, she adopted an indirect visual method to represent such events. In the case of Zeus’ seduction of Leda, for example, the stylised maiden is depicted sitting on a lotus leaf on a fine day, gently touching Zeus as the swan on the neck (see p. 123). 

It is important to highlight that the indirect approach utilised to portray sensitive and graphic themes in 100 Mitos contrasts with other contemporary readings and representations of the myths, such as Navarro’s El Gran Libro de la Mitología (2019). This variation may reflect how authors reconciled issues, such as maintaining fidelity to the classical texts, their role as a storyteller and the capacities of their targeted audience. El Gran Libro de la Mitologia, for example, maintains a close reading of the original texts, with Navarro acting as a trained guide and interpreter for an audience. When compared with 100 Mitos, the book seems best suited for a slightly older audience, namely, young adults. Notably, during his interview, Moreno reflected on his role as a storyteller. He first stated that in his opinion, adapting myths for a modern reader does not compromise fidelity, especially considering there are multiple versions from the classical period to consult (Interview with L. Dunbar, 2021). Furthermore, he feels that is at the discretion of the storyteller to adapt the myth for its context. Ultimately, one of Moreno and González’s main intentions was to make the stories relatable, while demonstrating respect for the original sources and they achieve this.

100 Mitos is a comprehensive, informative and fun introduction to classical mythology for readers. It encourages them to begin exploring the classical world through mythology and also reflect on its influence on our modern culture. The book has been crafted with careful consideration of its contemporary audience, presenting these important stories in a modern and relatable way.

Further Reading

Chrystal, Paul, In Bed with The Ancient Greeks, Amberley, Gloucestershire, 2016. 

Grimal, Pierre, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, Oxford, Blackwell, 1996.

Navarro Durán, Rosa, El Gran Libro de la Mitología, Spain: Montana, 2019. 

Yellow cloud
Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

100 Myths. Gods, Heroes and Legendary Creatures [100 Mitos. Dioses, Héroes y Criaturas Legendarias]

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Spain

Original Language

Spanish

First Edition Date

2019

First Edition Details

Jaime Moreno Delgado, 100 Mitos. Dioses, Héroes y Criaturas Legendarias. Ill., Sonia Gonzalez, Spain: RBA Molino, 2019, 224 pp.

ISBN

9788427216365

Genre

Chapter book*
Illustrated works

Target Audience

Children

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Lisa Dunbar Solas, independent researcher, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1: nkemlekedan@yahoo.com 

Female portrait

Sònia González [La Cuchu] (Illustrator)

Sònia González is a Spanish art director, educator and illustrator, professionally known as La Cuchu.  As she notes on her website, Cuchu is her alter ego, just in the way that Spiderman is Peter Parker’s. 

She has a degree in Pedagogy from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and has worked as a special education educator within the Spanish mainstream system for much of her professional life. Her interest in drawing was partially inspired by working with children with autism spectrum disorder. In a recent interview for the current project, she noted, ‘ (…) my drawings helped us a lot with communication (trans. by L. Dunbar).’ Over time, she has developed her unique artistic style. Her background in Education continues to inform her illustration process. As she highlighted in the interview, when developing illustrations, she always tries to give it ‘a pedagogical and studied character (trans. L. Dunbar).’ This is also reflected in the projects she selects. For example, she recently illustrated, Cuentos cortos de emociones en el cole (2021), written by Pedro Maria García Franco. The book aims to help children identify, acknowledge and discuss their emotions. 

She has illustrated books for a range of publishers. Seven years ago, she published her first book with Penguin/ Random House. Since then, Sònia has illustrated books for LaGalera, Beascoa, Scholastic, Edebé, Vicens Vives, Museu Marítim de Barcelona, among others.


Sources:

Soniacuchu.wixsite.com (no loger available, accessed October 8, 2021).:

LinkedIn profile (accessed: October 8, 2021).



Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, independent researcher, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Male portrait

Jaime Moreno Delgado (Author)

Jaime Moreno Delgado is a Spanish author and proofreader. He graduated from a degree in Classical Philology at the Unversidad de Barcelona. While completing his studies, he learnt how to read classical texts in Greek and Latin. Previously, he has worked as a proofreader for RBA Molino, an imprint of Random publishing, Spain. He published his first book in Catalan called Viu les Maleses amb l’Alícia i l’Orisos, which recites the adventures of a girl in ancient Iberian times before the Roman conquest. 

Moreno is currently in the process of completing and publishing a novel set in Ancient Roman Barcelona.


Source:

The interview with the author (see below).


Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, independent researcher, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Summary

100 Mitos is a compilation of 100 classical myths and legends for children. The book is divided into three parts called Gods and Titans (Dioses y titanes), Heroes, Demi-gods and Humans (Héroes, semidioses y humanos), and Legendary Creatures (Criaturas legendarias). 

In Dioses y Titanes, the stories included relate to the following characters, places and events: Aphrodite (Afrodita); Apollo (Apolo), Ares; Artemis (Ártemis); Asclepius (Asclepio); Athena (Atenea); Atlas; Charon (Caronte); Cybele (Cibeles); Circe; Cronus (Cronos); Demeter (Deméter); Deucalion and Pyrrha (Deucalión y Pirra); Dionysus (Dionisio); Aeolus (Eolo); Eos; Eris; Eros; Gaia (Gea); Hades; Hebe; Hecate (Hécate); Hephaestus (Hefesto); Hera; Hermes; Hestia; Iris; Morpheus (Morfeo); Pan; Persephone (Perséfone); Poseidon (Poseidón); Prometheus (Prometeo); Selene; and, Zeus.

In the second part, Héroes, Semidioses y humanos, the myths related to the following places, characters and events are: Actaeon (Acteón); Amazon (Amazonas); Andromeda (Andrómeda); Achilles (Aquiles); Arachne (Aracne); Bellerophon (Belerofronte); Daphne (Dafne); Danae (Dánae); Dioscuri; (Dioscuros); Echo (Eco); Euridice (Euridice); Europe (Europa); Ganymede (Ganimedes); Helen of Troy (Helena de Troya); Heracles; Hesperides (Hespérides); Icarus (Ícaro); Jason (Jasón); Leda; the Lotus Eaters (Lotófagos); Medea; Narcissus (Narciso); Nymphs (Ninfas); Odysseus (Odiseo); Orpheus (Orfeo); Pandora; Paris; Pasiphae (Pasifae); Penelope (Penélope); Perseus (Perseo); Sisyphus (Sísifo); Theseus (Teseo); and, Tiresias. 

In the final part, Criaturas legendarias, the following characters portrayed in classical myths are included: Amaltea; Stymphalian birds (Aves de Estínfalo); Basilisk (Basilisco); Charybdis (Caribdis); Centaurs (Centauros); Cerberus (Cerbero); Cyclops (Ciclopes); Erinyes (Erinias); Sphinx (Esfinge); Galatea; Geryon (Gerión); Harpies (Harpías); Hydra of Lerna (Hidra de Lerna); Hippocampi (Hipocampos); the Erymanthus Boar (Jabalí de Erimanto); the Nemean Lion (León de Nemea); Medusa; Minotaur (Minotauro); Moiras; Muses (Musas); Orion (Orión); Pegasus (Pegaso); Piton (Pitón); Polyphemus (Polifemo); Proteus (Proteo); Satyrs (Sátiros); Mermaids (Sirenas); Talos; Typhoon (Tifón); Cretan Bull (Toro de Creta); and, the Mares of Diomedes (Yeguas de Diomedes).

Each story is summarised and supported by a full-page colour illustration. Meanwhile, additional information regarding the places, characters, and cultural and historical context is included in a small text box beneath the main summary. There is a short introduction and a colour map of the Mediterranean, which outlines the geographical origin of the main characters in the book’s front matter. At the back of the book, a genealogy is included, demonstrating the relationships between characters, where applicable.

Analysis

100 Mitos is a colourful and entertaining book, which serves as an introduction to the diverse and complex nature of classical myths and legends for readers. As Moreno (p. 11) explains to the reader in the book’s introduction, they afford us a glimpse into the classical world and this is because they are based on lived experienced and historical events, such as the Trojan War. Meanwhile, the stories represent and reflect ancient Greek and Roman relationships with their deities and Nature. As he (p. 11) writes, for example, ‘a sound in the forest could signify that a nymph was perhaps observing what a human was doing in their domain (translated by L. Dunbar).’ 

Significantly, in the appropriate places, Moreno highlights to the reader how the classical world has influenced modern culture. For example, he (p. 170) contextualises the Spanish expression ‘entre Escila y Caribdis’ (‘between Scylla and Charybdis’), which is derived from Odysseus’s encounter with two sea monsters, Scylla and Charybdis, as narrated in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. Odysseus was forced to pass between them on his return journey home after the Trojan War. Moreno (p. 170) explains that the expression ‘(…) means that someone is forced to choose between two very bad options (trans. by L. Dunbar).’ 

Moreno and González have thoughtfully crafted the book, considering especially the diverse needs and capacities of the targeted modern audience. As Moreno explained in his interview for the current project, he felt it was necessary to ‘write the texts in a clear and understandable way (translated L. Dunbar).’ He took into consideration that for many readers this would be their first introduction to the classical world, and with that in mind, he made a concerted effort to ensure that they would understand the terminology used. 

Moreno’s careful consideration is particularly evident when dealing with sensitive topics, such as sex and rape, which are represented in the classical stories. In some cases, particular details and/or behaviours were removed, as they were considered inappropriate for the targeted audience. For example, when writing the story of Daphne, Moreno omitted ‘the sexual charge from the episode’ (see interview and also p. 96). Meanwhile, he utilised an indirect approach to the topic of rape, as represented in Persephone’s story, for example. It is important to highlight at this point that this act in the Classical world was conceptually differently; abduction without the legal consent of a girl or woman’s father could constitute rape in the ancient Greek world (Chrystal 2016, 78). Moreno explains Persephone’s abduction in light of modern customs to the reader, noting that Hades was in love with Persephone and ‘(…) instead of a romantic marriage proposal, he could not think of anything other than to kidnap her and take her to the sad underworld in which he reigned.’ The word ‘rape’ is not used. A similar approach is adopted for Zeus’ seduction of Leda (see p. 122). 

Significantly, González supported Moreno’s approach by adopting a colourful and ‘subtle’ illustration style, which is visually appealing. Her style also seems to be the outcome of deep negotiation between the nature of modern readers and the complex and at times, graphic nature of the classical myths. As González shared in her interview, she was concerned about making the illustrations relatable. In addition to drawing on key Spanish texts, such as the Pierre Grimal's (1996) The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, she was also inspired by an unofficial version of classical mythology that she located in her city library (Interview with L. Dunbar, 2021). This book includes illustrations created by children. As she explained in her interview, they allowed her to see children’s ‘vision’ of the stories. At the same time, González contemplated deeply on how to portray the more deal brutal dimensions of some myths. As she pondered in the interview, ‘There are very cruel myths ... How do you draw Zeus transforming into a swan to deceive a maiden, or monsters that devour parts of people… ? [sic] (translated by L. Dunbar).’ In the end, she adopted an indirect visual method to represent such events. In the case of Zeus’ seduction of Leda, for example, the stylised maiden is depicted sitting on a lotus leaf on a fine day, gently touching Zeus as the swan on the neck (see p. 123). 

It is important to highlight that the indirect approach utilised to portray sensitive and graphic themes in 100 Mitos contrasts with other contemporary readings and representations of the myths, such as Navarro’s El Gran Libro de la Mitología (2019). This variation may reflect how authors reconciled issues, such as maintaining fidelity to the classical texts, their role as a storyteller and the capacities of their targeted audience. El Gran Libro de la Mitologia, for example, maintains a close reading of the original texts, with Navarro acting as a trained guide and interpreter for an audience. When compared with 100 Mitos, the book seems best suited for a slightly older audience, namely, young adults. Notably, during his interview, Moreno reflected on his role as a storyteller. He first stated that in his opinion, adapting myths for a modern reader does not compromise fidelity, especially considering there are multiple versions from the classical period to consult (Interview with L. Dunbar, 2021). Furthermore, he feels that is at the discretion of the storyteller to adapt the myth for its context. Ultimately, one of Moreno and González’s main intentions was to make the stories relatable, while demonstrating respect for the original sources and they achieve this.

100 Mitos is a comprehensive, informative and fun introduction to classical mythology for readers. It encourages them to begin exploring the classical world through mythology and also reflect on its influence on our modern culture. The book has been crafted with careful consideration of its contemporary audience, presenting these important stories in a modern and relatable way.

Further Reading

Chrystal, Paul, In Bed with The Ancient Greeks, Amberley, Gloucestershire, 2016. 

Grimal, Pierre, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, Oxford, Blackwell, 1996.

Navarro Durán, Rosa, El Gran Libro de la Mitología, Spain: Montana, 2019. 

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