The Bull from the Sea { Free } ☆ Mary Renault – PDF & eBook

10 thoughts on “The Bull from the Sea

  1. says:

    45 starsMary Renault’s The Bull from the Sea takes up where The King Must Die left off and continues the legendary story of Theseus and his kingship of Attica There are some differences between this volume and its predecessor most notably in the fact that the scope of this tale is much broader Whereas the first volume concentrated primarily on Theseus’ youth and time in the bull ring of Crete and covered the time involved in a fair amount of detail this volume is much a précis of many events covering a much wider range of time Important events and periods are singled out however and expanded upon with than enough detail to satisfy I never had the sense that the tale was in any way rushed or incomplete and the broader scope perhaps allowed for a elegiac tone to the novel which is appropriate given the ending to Theseus’ tale This is a memoir giving the wider story of Theseus’ kingship and deeds after the defining moment of his youth has passed Even though this memoir comes from the hand voice? of Theseus himself and is often told very much in overview I was impressed with the way in which secondary characters came to life For example with only a chapter seen from Theseus’ POV and the things he is able to glean from implication we learn a lot about the entire youth and development of his son Hippolytos Theseus’ great friend Pirithoos his wives Hippolyta and Phaedra and his other son Akama are also all very well depicted even when painted with minimal brush strokes Another thing that struck me with Renault’s Theseus saga and this volume in particular was the deft way in which many other legends and tales from ancient Greece were woven into the fabric of his tale without taking anything from the tale being told but also without detracting from their own importance These include the legend of the famous bard Orpheus the tragedy of the king Oedipus the existence of the Centaurs and the apparently contradictory traditions of both their training of the heirs of kings and almost bestial gluttony and lust the tale of Jason’s uest for the Golden Fleece and even echoes of the coming Trojan War in a cameo by the young hero Achilles As with The King Must Die Renault is able to retain the mythic stature of these stories while making them much ‘realistic’For all of the many events that make up the career of Theseus Renault tells a tight tale woven deftly with nary a thread left astray We very much see him here as Theseus the King as opposed to Theseus the wandering hero though the latter is never wholly absent from his nature or actions and we see him constantly trying to live according to the guiding principle of his life learned in first trials of his youth “To stand for the people before the gods that is kingship Power by itself is the bronze without the gold” Despite the fact that he is a heroic figure whose deeds may often seem larger than life he is also a man whose ultimate tragedy is born of the foibles of his own human nature In the end Theseus comes to learn perhaps too late that all of his choices and actions along with the fate he has willingly embraced have a price “Fate and will will and fate like earth and sky bringing forth the grain together; and which the bread tastes of no man knows” The taste may be bitter at the end but the sweet was no less great and is ultimately not erased by his tale’s conclusionHighly recommendedAlso posted at Shelf Inflicted

  2. says:

    This story is a retelling of the life of mythological hero Theseus after his return from the Minoan palace of Knossos His adventures leading up this this book are covered in the preuel The King Must Diet This novel follows his later uests his friendship with Pirithous and his liaison with Hippolyta and marriage to Phaedra The story begins shortly after Theseus' triumphant return from Knossos and his inheritance of the kingdom of Athens which now has become the dominate military power of the region Now the Minoan kingdom is paying tribute to Athens instead of the other way around If this story has any historicity it would have occurred circa 12th century BC when Minoan dominance endedIn many ways Theseus starts out being a wise ruler deserving of the title founding hero of Athens However he partakes in some not so prudent behavior which perhaps makes the story interesting by leading to the tragic failure reuired of Classical Greek drama He finds a new friend Pirithous and with him learns the joy of going off to distant lands to be a pirate view spoiler Apparently it's OK to steal things as long as it's from people who live in distant lands I guess that's the rationale behind colonialism in recent times Ever heard of the Doctrine of Discovery? hide spoiler

  3. says:

    The House of the Axe has fallenTheseus returns to inherit the kingdom of Athens in this myth turned to life The triumphant return to AthensIt was dolphin weather when I sailed into Piraeus with my comrades of the Cretan bull ring Knossos had fallen which time out of mind had ruled the seas The smoke of the burning Labyrinth still clung to our clothes and hairI sprung ashore and grasped both hands full of Attic earth It stuck to my palms as if it loved me Then I saw the staring people not greeting us but calling each other to see the Cretan strangers No Cretan overlords no Cretan taxes“Look we are back Yes every one of us; look there is your son No the Cretans will not chase us there is no Minos now The House of the Ax has fallen We fought a great battle there after the earthuake Theseus killed the heir the Minotauros We are free And there is no Cretan tribute any The King is dead long live the King The father of Theseus feeling that his time had come leapt to his death from the towerI buried my father richly on the slope of the Hill of Ares with the other kings His tomb was lined with dressed stone the nailheads wrought with flowers and gilded His offerings of food and drink stood in fine painted ware on stands inlaid with ivory I had a high and splendid death cart made and wrapped him in a great hanging worked with lions He had enamelled coffers his richest dagger and sword two great gold rings and his state necklace When the mound was heaped above the dome I offered eight bulls upon it and a war stallion for him to ride in the lands below As the blood sank into the earth the women keened his dirge and praised him As king Theseus must now protect his people from all dangers as he unites his growing kingdomsBut as he also wants adventures he travels the world stealing gold capturing an princess fighting the Kentaurs defeating the northern Scythian invaders marrying the princess of Crete and sowing the seeds of his own destruction Reality turned to Myth to Legends We see the man who made the myth His spirit later returned to the plains of Marathon where the Greeks defeated the invading Persians While poets and writers still sing his praise Theseus lives on with all of usEnjoy

  4. says:

    Two and a half stars which will be shown as threeI previously expressed deep concern about Mary Renault's internalised misogyny in my reviews of Renault's Theseus novelsWhile finding them brilliantly researched and evocative I also considered them to be permeated by scorn for women to the point where I was concerned that the author seemed almost to collude in Theseus various acts of brutality towards women ie his contemplated rape of 'Persephone' the matriarchal ueen his his smugness about his destruction of matriarchy his brutal threats to his aging father's war prize for snuggling up against him etcHowever over on the discussion thread my view was changed by a reasoned and perceptive response from the reviewer Caroline GalweyI am now willing to concede that I have previously done Mary Renault some injustice in assuming her attitude towards Theseus to be one of authorial approval Her portrayal is almost certainly fairly ironic and whilst in life Renault did not sympathise with women in general and saw herself as an honourary man she probably did her best in these novels to be objective than I have previously concededOf course at that time the view that the overthrow of matriarchy by patriarchy was an undeniably good thing was universally accepted Theseus' belief that a society characterised by the rape and oppression of women was infinitely preferable to one where one man voluntarily gave himself over as a bloody sacrifice would be unuestioned It is to Renault's credit in fact that she was able to portray Theseus' as being finally so brutalised by his patriarchal assumptionsSo following my discussion with that reviewer I will just say that these books are interesting brilliantly researched vivid and evocative; but the reader should be aware that Renault even though writing within the ethos of her time almost certainly did NOT intend Theseus to be seen as a role model and he is portrayed fairly ironically if in my opinion with a little too much admirationI did find the relationship of the Apostate with Theseus redolent of Stockhom Syndrome In fact I found her emotional surrender to a patriarch redolent of the sort of sentimental stuff of the worst examples of porn for women as is for that matter the briefly sketched in relationship of Theseus to his war prize in 'The King Must Die' She did not seem to me at all credible as a woman who had been raised solely among women Probably again this had to do with the lack of understanding of sex roles in Reynault's era which would assume that a woman who is not like a stereotypical 'female' woman must be like a manAlso I found Theseus' murder of Phaedra not only disgustingly cowardly I assume he is meant to know this himself but highly inept for an expert at unarmed combat As someone who was once a martial arts expert myself I know that he could have used the painless almost instantaneous strangle ie cutting off blood to the brain rather than that yuk seemingly ineffectual choke tht he uses ie cutting of the air to the lungs I wonder the author lapsed so on her research there Overall though as critics comment there is something unfinished and unsatisfactory about the whole story as if Renault had lost interest in the project

  5. says:

    The combination of scholarship and imagination continues the story begun in Renault's earlier novel The King Must Die Once again she brings a rich vitality to the ancient Greece we thought we knew from age weathered works of art and myths reinterpreted by later tellings This was an age when a man was old by 40 and to live beyond 70 was almost unthinkable No wonder the few octogenarians were considered sages both blessed and cursed Familiar figures an aged Jason and blind Oedipus cross Theseus' path An ancient crone said to have served King Kekrops the founder of Athens forewarns cryptically of a bull from the sea A carefree Achilles presages the war to come and attests to Theseus' grim comment “Man born of woman cannot outrun fate” p236Theseus has brought his bull dancers home to Athens but no one lives happily ever after They miss the adrenaline rush of the ring the camaraderie of their team the display of their hard won skill and the celebrity bestowed by the crowd It is this abrupt lack of purpose that attests to the adage “you can't go home again” Not for the first time Theseus is forced to contemplate the riddle of mortality as he buries his father Aigeus “What is it like there in the fields of Hades where sun does not rise or set nor seasons alter? Nor do men change; for where change is life is and these who are only shadows of lives past must keep forever the shape of their earthly selves whatever they made of them when they walked in daylight Need the gods judge us further? Surely that is sentence enough to live with ourselves and to remember” p11 From our modern vantage point we might view ancient Greece as static; to the people who lived there was constant change from the unfathomable hands of contentious gods from the constant pull between fate and will from the restless longing for purpose All of these forces play out in Theseus' life A marriage to Phaedra is the necessary conseuence of the unification of Attica; his need for the bright flame of adventure brings him to shores of the s and a pure bond both sensual and psychological with Hippolyta These events are wrapped in the veil of Mystery Theseus' mother a priestess of Artemus foresees his fate Hippolyta alone divines meaning from the augury of Apollo Phaedra is tainted like her sister Ariadne There is a sadness when we recall the innocent she was as a child shedding tears when she thought Theseus had died in the bull ring There is grim justice in the Greek idea of consent “I will not offer my death to strangers like Oedipus of Thebes Let Father Poseidon have it to keep against my people's need There will be a time as my dream foretold In the dream they had no king with them maybe he would not make the offering They knew me and cried my name Some harper had brought it down to them While the bard sings and the child remembers I shall not perish from off the Rock” p238I must admit that I enjoyed The King Must Die than this book and readers should definitely read that book first It lays down an emotional foundation that the mere recap of events cannot capture I also found the love passages between Theseus and Hippolyta overly drawn out For these reasons alone I have given the book four stars instead of five

  6. says:

    In her seuel to The King Must Die Mary Renault completes her fictional retelling of the legend of Theseus Greek hero bull leaper mythical son of Poseidon ruler of Athens In the way of larger than life heroes he comes to downfall and death It is almost enough to make one give up hope in our dreams to either be heroesheroines or be saved by themThen again he had adventure danger pleasure even love In this latter part of his life he returns from Crete puts his glorious bull leaper days behind him and tries to settle down and be a good King He does well he makes his kingdom just and he prospersTheseus is a high energy restless dude though and likes to go off with his pirate friends During one of those adventures he meets his female counterpoint Hippolyta Although she is sworn to the goddess she gives it all up to go with him and be the love of his lifeMeanwhile for political reasons Theseus must wed Cretan princess Phaedra to whom he was earlier betrothed He has a son by each woman It does not turn out wellOne of the central themes of both novels is the conflict between those who worshipped the Earth Mother a matriarchal belief system and those who saw their Kings as intermediaries between humans and the Sky Gods Theseus is the King who thwarts the Earth Mother traditions of old and brings about full patriarchy in GreeceAs any good feminist scholar knows this is the age old battle of the sexes lost by women long long ago Whether or not the result has been or ever will be good for the people of Earth it makes for great tales The Legend of Theseus is one of them and Mary Renault tells it extremely well

  7. says:

    Note As I also said when I reviewed The King Must Die pagans act like pagans in this book If you've read Suetonius you should be fineA while back I posted a review of a historical fiction book that just didn’t work I am happy to have something now to compare it to in order to show how historical fiction ought to work The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault is excellent Last year I read The King Must Die which told the story of the legendary Theseus growing up as a young man in Troizen learning of his true identity as prince of Athens and going off to fight in the labyrinth of King Minos as a bull leaper The Bull from the Sea picks up from the exact point at which The King Must Die left off and continues the story of Theseus through his many adventures and all the way up through his death Hint it’s been foreshadowed continually since the first bookWhat makes The Bull from the Sea a greater book than Helen of Troy? Both take place sometime in the 1200s BC during the Mycenaean Age both deal with legendary characters and events and both are trying to bring a touch of realism to their respective stories However the Mary Renault fully enters into the worldview and culture of the Mycenaean time period There are no jarring moments when modern sensibilities clash with ancient ideas There are no politically correct characters who seem far too contemporary with today to fit into an ancient context Interestingly this very fact which I believe to be the book’s greatest strength is one of the things some reviewers have criticized Some say that the book is misogynistic because it depicts women in a negative light or it depicts Theseus treating women badly As for the first accusation those who make it really need to understand how free indirect speech works in a novel For those who make the second accusation that Theseus treats women badly I respond “Of course he does” Aside from the oddball Spartans and their oddness developed at a much later date than this story takes place the Greeks were very demeaning toward women Plato’s modest suggestion in The Republic that women have the same sort of souls as men was shocking in the 5th century BC Should we expect Theseus to be a perfect gentleman in the 13th century BC? Overall the best way to present these cultural differences is to enter into them for the sake of the writing and avoid authorial asides and censures Good readers will appreciate the immersion into another culture while still being able to objectively discern whether they should want to imitate that cultureWhat is covered in this story? Theseus becomes a pirate he meets centaurs spelled phonetically as “kentaurs” in this book he fights the priestess Hippolyta and wins her hand and he contracts an official and disastrous marriage with Phaedra All the stories in the legend are transformed here Renault has a way to taking mythical elements and making them realistic without robbing them of their wonder The kentaurs for example are not half menhalf horse; they are a primitive and wild people living in the mountains like cavemen who have a way with horses and who possess an amazing knowledge of natural medicines and poisons far surpassing those of the Hellenic physiciansThe gods in these stories may or may not exist Renault doesn’t go the route of having shiny bearded men in togas and everything that happens in the story could conceivably be explained without the gods However being sucked into the story it’s not hard to see why everyone believes in the gods It’s a fun uestion to play with as you read “Do the gods really exist in this fictional world or not?”Finally there are a number of great cameos in the story Theseus meets Iphigenia and Oedipus at Colonus Theseus’s friend Pirithous tells him the story of Jason and the uest for the golden fleece Achilles and Patroclus even make a brief appearance near the end of the story as the story closes shortly before the Trojan War would beginTo summarize If you are a fan of Greek mythology or of any well written historical fiction I highly recommend The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault55 stars

  8. says:

    Book 2 of this retelling and interpretation of the Theseus myth carries on immediately after his return from Crete and the suicide of his father who thought he had been killed Theseus has to get to grips with the various problems inherent on taking over as king some of which have been caused by his father's reluctance to deal with a powerful sadistic local chieftain the mythological Procrustes Theseus soon proves to the doubting barons that he is a strong and decisive ruler and he goes on to lead a successful war against his father's brothers and their kin who had previously attacked Athens on a number of occasionsOn the personal side things do not run so smoothly He is aware that he should marry and produce legitimate sons to succeed him yet he is reluctant to commit himself Eventually he settles on Phaedra whom he met when she was a child while he was a bulldancer on Crete The younger sister of Ariadne whom he left on Nexos when it became clear she had the 'bad blood' that full out worship of the Goddess represents she had taken part in the Maened frenzy in which the local King was sacrificed Phaedra is now a sedate young Cretan matron He puts off the marriage even though he has arranged that she stay on Crete because she would lose her royal status there if she left Instead driven by a restless spirit he goes roving on ships with his friend Prince Pirithoos and indulges in piracyOn one of his trips he meets and eventually defeats in a fight Hippolyta King of the Moon Maidens of Artemis for whom he forms a deep and instant devotion Despite her upbringing she reciprocates his love and eventually they have a son Hippolytus But he also has to marry Phaedra He has a son by her also Acamus a typically Cretan boy rather than the tall Helene young man that Hippolytus grows into He intends Hippolytus despite his illegitimacy to inherit his rule of Athens and the other countries now under Athens' rule apart from Crete which could go to Acamus who is rather easy going and not much of a warrior But things don't turn out according to planThis book is rather bitty and disjointed than volume one Certain characters are sketched such as Hippolyta their son his wife and other son and his friend Pirrithoos Theseus contends with various difficulties such as the hostility to Hippolyta who continues to dress in men's clothing and ride and hunt he has a beautiful sword made for her too The prevailing attitudes to women mean that the senior nobles and the serving women both view her with suspicion the men because her reverence of the goddess Artemis reminds them of Medea who was the close companion of his father and whom they suspected of wanting to bring back the Mother worship complete with king sacrifice and the women because Theseus has elevated her to his soul companion and common law wife and no longer sleeps around plus he favours her son above theirs As foreshadowed from as far back as a couple of mentions in passing in volume 1 things end in tragedy as usually happens in Greek mythologyAs before Renault has a different slant on the mythical elements For example the Kentaurs as they are called here are not half horse and half man but a type of wild man possibly Neanderthals who have a close bond with horses and live a basic outdoor existence As in book 1 various other myths are worked in including mentions of Jason and a cameo appearance by Achilles Because there are uite long periods when nothing basically happens in the myth these are summarised briefly and as they consist mostly of Theseus going on pirate expeditions that is no bad thingThe attitudes to women continue to be problematic but this follows the cultural norms of the time To some extent Theseus overcomes these in his relationship with Hippolyta but he continues to treat other women including his wife as people whose opinions don't matter to his undoing and that of his elder son His likeable characteristic is his championing of underdogs and belief that a king is a protector of his people and stands between them and the god mainly Poseidon but others with the ultimate role if reuired of self sacrificeBecause of the episodic character of this book which perhaps suffered from such a large stretch of Theseus life being packed into one novel I didn't enjoy this as much as book 1 I also found it not altogether credible that Hippolyta so uickly falls for Theseus and renounces her old life For those reasons I rate it at 3 stars overall

  9. says:

    As in this book's preuel we are thrown right into the middle of the action from the word go but because The Bull from the Sea is a seuel to The King Must Die as readers we find our feet immediately having read the events of The King Must Die and knowing instantly the situation in which Theseus finds himself Once again the book is told in first person from Theseus' point of view clearly he is recollecting his own past but nothing is given away about how events will eventually unfoldThe plot arc is less obvious here than the classic coming of age tale which characterised The King Must Die but in a way The Bull from the Sea follows the coming of age tale in reverse Having won his place as king of Athens Theseus as an adult must lay down its laws and governance and as a young man encounters Oedipus in an echo of what he himself will become and also finds bond friends in Pirithoos and Hippolyta However as he grows older events fall out of Theseus' control The triumphant heroic epic of the first half of Theseus' life covered in The King Must Die is mirrored by the second half of his life and turns into a tragic epic Again this cannot be put down entirely to Mary Renault but the legend of Theseus itself however Renault highlights these stark contrasts well and The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea are very comparable in this wayThere's not much new to say about the uality of writing in this seuel since it matches the high standards of the first book On the historical accuracy front Renault is as ever extremely good considering that she was writing in 1962 with only the historical and archaeological knowledge of that time Renault addresses the fantastical elements of the Theseus myth with realistic and plausible interpretations too which is no easy task Renault understood her subject intimately and brings Theseus and the Bronze Age Aegean absolutely to life As a reader I was sucked into the world she created on the page and at times forgot that I wasn't right by Theseus' side through all his adventures There was never a single dull moment and Renault hits each and every note perfectly not once falling down in terms of literary uality Thoughtful clever gripping A true classic Highly recommended to anyone who is interested in ancient history

  10. says:

    My introduction to Mary Renault was The King Must Die the first of two novels about Theseus it was actually assigned reading in high school What impressed me so much there was how she took a figure out of myth and grounded him historically After that I uickly gobbled up all of Renault's works of historical fiction set in Ancient Greece The two novels about Theseus and the trilogy centered on Alexander the Great are undoubtedly her most famous of those eight novelsThis book is the seuel to The King Must Die It's no less remarkable in taking the bare bones of myth and giving it flesh transporting you into the world of the past and making Theseus credible as a person who lived and breathed and not some fantastic figure If I enjoyed this less well it's definitely the melancholy work The King Must Die was about Theseus the hero and it's a great adventure story This one well is Greek tragedy than Greek myth and after falling in love with Theseus in the first book it's sad to read of his undoing I'd still name this one of the best works of historical fiction I've ever read one that cemented my love of historical fiction and fed a hunger to learn about Ancient Greece

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The Bull from the Sea

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read à PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Í Mary Renault

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  • Paperback
  • 336
  • The Bull from the Sea
  • Mary Renault
  • English
  • 20 June 2018
  • 9780099463535

About the Author: Mary Renault

Mary Renault was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece In addition to vivid fictional portrayals of Theseus Socrates Plato and Alexander the Great she wrote a non fiction biography of AlexanderHer historical novels are all set in ancient Greece They include a pair of novels about the mythological hero Theseus and a trilogy about the career of Alexander