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The Percy Jackson books heavily re-tell/paraphrase/rely on Ancient Greek myths.

If one makes an assumption that it's best to read the original myth before the Percy Jackson text using it, what is the minimal set of mythology that needs to be read before the 5 books of Percy Jackson and the Olympians?

E.g., you clearly must read a whole of Odyssey (especially for book #2), Hercules myths (for book #3, at least), the story of Perseus (Percy's namesake, and Medusa is mentioned in Book #1), and the story of Theseus for book #4.

But do you need any of the Iliad? Aesop? Oresteia?

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  • According to the (former) CHB wiki... Every book follows Percy Jackson's adventures in his point of view . Each book is loosely based on a different Greek hero's adventures. The first is based on Perseus' heroics. The second is based on Odysseus' story, The Odyssey. The third, on Hercules', the fourth, on Theseus', and the last, on Achilles'. I don't know where they hit that from, though.
    – Mithical
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 4:09

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You don't really have to read any myths as the books do a pretty good job at explaining them. However, Percy Jackson's Greek Gods and Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes show the majority of the myths referenced in the series.

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  • Could you be a bit more specific as to what the Greek myths that the book are based on actually are, as per the question's title? Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 1:23
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    @N_Soong All of them, essentially. There are 10 main books and several short stories, so pretty much every main Greek myth and many minor ones are at least referenced.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 1:29

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