The Mycenaean Origin of Greek Mythology
by Martin P. Nilsson
[1932, Copyright not renewed]
This is a study of the origins of classical Greek mythology in the Mycenaean era, which preceded the era of Homer, Hesiod and the dramatists by several hundred years, separated by a dark age. In the 19th century, the 'Comparative' school explained Greek mythology in terms of parallels with other mythologies such as the Celtic, Germanic and Indian. This was counterpoised by a 'Euhemerist' school, which tried to find historical basis for all mythological incidents. Nilsson, who wrote in the mid-20th century, steered between these two schools, instead looking for historic and prehistoric evidence for the evolution of the Greek mythological cycles, particularly attempting to match up archaeological evidence of Mycenaean occupation with localized myths such as the Theseus, the Thebes myths, Heracles and Mount Olympus.
Chapter III. Heracles