The genesis of this book was the 2008 Cheltenham Literary Festival and a battle with Mary Beard over the relative merits of the Greeks and Romans. Edith won the debate and resolved to take a break from academic books and write something for a wider audience, a book that might help pay her children’s university tuition fees.
Her enthusiasm for the subject started early. Most eight year olds were reading the Beano when Edith first became interested in the ancient Greeks.
The Greeks were seagoing. The Ancient Greek words for ship and mind were almost identical and they anthropomorphised their vessels. To understand the Greeks you have to appreciate how important the water is to Greek civilisation. In Greek mythology many of the heroes are sea captains and great swimmers. The Odyssey is a prime example. Greek myths are also unlike any others with their stories about the raw pursuit of power and influence.
Edith claimed to be nervous but a more animated, enthused and confident classicist would be hard to imagine.