If you’ve ever wondered what hundreds of years of history and mythology might sound like if it were being re-examined by a 30-something millennial with a penchant for cursing and a feminist attitude, then you are likely to be entertained by Liv Albert’s podcast "Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby!"
Liv enjoys diving deep into stories that have been sugarcoated or treated with kid gloves over the ages, and we were delighted when she agreed to share her list of Top 5 Gods and Goddesses as an enticement check out more great myths in The Mythology Book!
Read on for Liv’s fresh take on just a few of the legends you will encounter in the book.
Aphrodite is the goddess of love, but did you know that, ironically enough, she absolutely hated her husband, Hephaestus? Zeus made her marry him, and she never really came around to the guy, instead choosing to bounce around between other men who caught her fancy. Notably, Aphrodite really preferred to "spend her time" with another of the Olympians, Ares. Once, Hephaestus used the sun god, Helios, to catch them in the act with entertaining and disastrous results.
Of course Odysseus is famous for his Odyssey, but did you know just how prone to trouble he was? I mean, what is the likelihood that one man on one trip would encounter giants, a man-eating cyclops, actual cannibals, an angry sun god, a trip to the Underworld, a witch who can change people into pigs (!!), and a nymph who did her darndest to keep him on her island? No doubt this helps to explain why, when he finally returned home, he brutally murdered everyone standing in his way. Myths don’t always have happy endings!
Cadmus is a lesser-known hero who really deserves his due: he travelled to Greece in search of his sister who'd been kidnapped by Zeus, but ended up following a cow and planting some dragon teeth in order to found a major city instead! Oh, there’s more! He brought the Greeks the alphabet—and if that weren’t enough, he married a goddess named Harmonia, who was the daughter of Aphrodite (remember the aforementioned tryst with Ares?). None of this ever happens to mortals.
Sure, you think you know the story of Medusa, but have you even read Ovid? There's so much more to this woman, cursed by Athena for something that was 100% not her fault, trying her hardest not to hurt anyone with her curse. But what happens? That jerk Perseus comes along and she's forced to protect herself and ultimately gets herself killed. But good news! Her children survived (even if both Pegasus the flying horse and a guy named Chrysaor were born from the stump of her severed head), which made things very awkward for Perseus.
What is there not to say about Zeus? King of the gods, sure, but he was also father to most of them because of his absolutely disturbing libido. How does one deity have so many god, nymph, and demi-god children? By not remotely caring about the bonds of marriage, that's how! Pro-tip: take a look at how many children he had with his very famous wife, Hera—queen of the gods. Spoiler alert: it's just a small fraction of his total offspring.
Liv Albert is the one woman behind the one-woman podcast "Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby!" She tells stories from Greek and Roman mythology in an honest, accessible, and entertaining way. Just like you’ve read here, but longer, and in your ears. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.