W.V. Harris

W.V. Harris is Shepherd Professor of History at Columbia.

Murder Most Mythic

W.V. Harris, 23 May 1996

How do myths evolve? The question has received less attention than one might think, there being a tendency among myth-scholars to treat the stories they deal with as given and fixed, even though everyone knows in theory that stories told in pre-literate and semi-literate societies are, to say the least, liable to change. What one needs are cases in which successive stages of a myth can be documented, and that – if T.P. Wiseman’s enthralling new book is right – is exactly what the foundation myth of Rome has to offer.’

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences