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This book is considered as a classic for a reason And I just wanted to say that this edition is GORGEOUS Please, BUY IT I promise that it ll look as AMAZING on your shelves as it does on mine D Edith Hamilton may have written Mythology Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes than a half century ago and she may have been fairly ancient when she did so, but she still put out one seriously readable book Hamilton took from the best sources to cobble together slick summaries of all your old time myth favorites Before giving each mythical story s highlights, she details the different writers who created a version of it and explains the qualities of the best ones Sometimes she berates the lesser attempts and I appreciated the balance, especially since she explains her critique Now having said, I have to note the caveat that this is not a scholarly work This is a summary, a boiling down, a sugar coating of a topic that frankly could have been presented in a much academic, dry manner I m glad it wasn t These are not cursory run throughs They re full of detail and color The main issue with a book with that title is that you expect a wide ranging survey of the topic This, however, is almost entirely about the Greek Myths The Roman versions are only mentioned, because the Romans stole their myths wholesale from the Greeks Aside from that, we get a very superficial mention of the Norse myths that takes up maybe the last 5% of the book Nothing else in all the rest of humanity is even slightly touched upon Disappointing But if you want an easy, fun read on the Greek stuff, this is the book for you This is the second in a series of six reviews focusing on books about Greek mythology The books included in this comparative evaluation are Bulfinch s Mythology Modern Library Paperback Edition, 2004 Mythology by Edith Hamilton originally published in 1942 Back Bay Books edition of 1998 The Greek Myths by Robert Graves Penguin Books combined edition, 1992 Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece by Gustav Schwab Pantheon Books, copyright 1946 Don t Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth C Davis Harper Collins, 2005 Myths of the Ancient Greeks by Richard P Martin New American Library, 2003 Goodreads is not really set up to handle comparative reviews smoothly, so the discussion is split across the six book reviews Thus, I ve tried to evaluate each book on its own particular merits, and also give some idea of how it stacks up relative to the others I based the comparative evaluation on three main general criteria readability, accuracy, and scope breadth and depth of coverage I also looked at how each book handled two particular examples the life of Hercules and the story of Philomela and Procne More details about the comparison can be found in the introduction to the first review Bulfinch evaluation One of the problems in this whole undertaking is that some of the books on the list are acknowledged to be classics , which makes it harder to review them objectively You end up second guessing yourself maybe the classic status is causing you to be unduly deferential Or maybe you re overcompensating by being too mean.One thing became clear to me as I read these books Although the myths remain unchanged, the way that we think about them has evolved considerably over the last 150 years This is one reason why the bowdlerized myths presented to us by Bulfinch, in which each story is rendered moribund by being stripped of all reference to sex, violence, or any hint of unpleasantness, are so unsatisfactory to a 21st century reader Fortunately, Edith Hamilton is no prude Her enthusiasm for the stories in Mythology is evident throughout the book At times, she comes across as a woman on a mission her conviction about the importance of these myths in Western culture is so passionate that she is determined to spread the message to a broader audience She is scrupulous about identifying her source materials on this point Bulfinch is, sadly, dilettante than scholar She knows how to structure a narrative Her prose is clear and reasonably accessible slightly dated, but largely unburdened by archaic language or academic jargon Mythology even comes with a bunch of nifty illustrations, done by someone with the improbable name of Steele Savage with a great fondness for winged horses, apparently Though her first book wasn t published until she was in her sixties, her work achieved great popular success Book of the Month Club selection in 1957, honorary citizenship of Athens, a highly laudatory obit in the New York Times when she finally died at age 95 what s not to love To sum up the points in its favor Hamilton does well on the three basic criteria accessibility, credibility, extent of coverage the writing is clear, she is commendably rigorous about sourcing, and there are no glaring gaps in the extent of coverage Both of my test myths were covered well the story of Procne and Philomela particularly so The family trees for the major Gods and important families of mortals are a really useful feature.I wish that I liked Mythology better But I have no great love for this book That 3rd star was given only because I felt obliged to acknowledge her superiority to Bulfinch But, for me, the book has an inescapable Reader s Digest feel to it Yeah, the writing is clear It s adequate, but never than that it never takes off, even in those obvious places where you think it must I know this is an unfair comparison, but earlier in the month I had been reading Oscar Wilde s stories for children, as well as some of Kipling s poetry, and I kept waiting for Hamilton to dazzle me, even just a little bit But she never did And those nifty illustrations Cheesy beyond belief It s not just the over representation of winged steeds, there s also way too much use of the threatening dark thundercloud effect, and the human figures are invariably depicted as shrieking heavenward as they shake their evidently double jointed limbs in panic Finally, it should be noted that Hamilton s retelling of the Greek myths is based solely on her study of the classical literature she had never been to Greece, and had no archaeological experience Examination of myth from an anthropological or psychological perspective is also absent There is about a page of rambling prose in the introduction in which the words myth , religion and Nature appear together prominently, but no coherent thesis is advanced Sometimes Hamilton is opinionated to a fault Intelligence did not figure largely in anything he did and was often conspicuously absent about Hercules The terrifying irrational has no place in classical mythology Magic is almost nonexistent Ghosts never appear on earth in any Greek story I don t really mind if she disses Hercules, but her gratuitous dissing of my boy Ovid really didn t win her any points All in all, reading Mythology was not as much fun as I had expected I m not sure that it deserves to be considered a true classic. Mythology Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Edith HamiltonEdith Hamilton s Mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths that are the keystone of Western culture the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present We meet the Greek gods on Olympus and Norse gods in Valhalla We follow the drama of the Trojan War and the wanderings of Odysseus We hear the tales of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Cupid and Psyche, and mighty King Midas We discover the origins of the names of the constellations And we recognize reference points for countless works of art, literature, and cultural inquiry from Freud s Oedipus complex to Wagner s Ring Cycle of operas to Eugene O Neill s Mourning Becomes Electra Praised throughout the world for its authority and lucidity, Mythology is Edith Hamilton s masterpiece the standard by which all other books on mythology are measured 2008 1376 442 1387 438 440 9789645960122 20 1379 461 9647100019 1355 1369 1386 4 stars Basically, this gif sums up most of Greek mythology Not even kidding a little bit.Anyways, mythology is always something I was interested in and loved, it s in so much of our everyday life still in the stories we tell and our history I know most of my real life friends read this in the 10th grade, but my class read The Odyssey only and I ve always meant to get to this book but didn t until now.I listened to the audio of this book during my work commutes, and I liked it because it was a bunch of stories so I didn t have to keep track of a lot Many stories were familiar, some I had heard different versions and some I had never heard Hamilton, while not indulging in graphic details, does not shy away from some of the harsher aspects of these stories and I found myself making faces while listening I also really liked how Hamilton told the reader her sources on where she got these stories from and if from different writers, how many years apart they were.I was a history major in college, so this was fascinating to me I get that it s not for everyone, but if you want to learn about mythology in general, this is the book for you.Follow me on Facebook Blog Instagram Twitter This book makes me feel smarter, says my GR friend in her review of this book I worked the same for me.Greek, Roman and Norse mythologies are so old because they have been in existence thousands and thousands of years even before Christ was born No wonder that many literary works have been based on them Even the names of the planets and the stars Even the names of my, mortal as they are, relatives and friends I have a nephew by a cousin in Canada whose name is Hector but he does not write stories as his passion is on computers In the island where I grew up, there was a boy named Apollo who was naked the whole day that I could see his wang dangling while we played and he oftentimes cried when he lost in our games and I thought that, while reading this book, he did not even have a slight semblance of the Greek god he was named after Along Roxas Boulevard, there is a niteclub called Athena where I bring company male visitors if they are giving me hints that they would like to see naked dancing Filipinas Well, I am just trying to be a gracious hospitable host allowing my foreigner friends happy during their visit But I think that none of those girls exhibit wisdom, reason and chastity that are the virtues of the goddess their place of work was named after Maybe their frequent ordering of ladies drink while they reason that they are thirsty can be considered as wisdom, but please pardon me if I don t comment about chastity.My favorite part is the Trojan War I know, I know I have not read Homer s The Iliad and I am ashamed Prior to reading this book, I thought that Troy is Brad Pitt This book taught me that Troy was a city and Brad Pitt s name in the movie should have been Achilles I was also amazed to learn that Perseus was really the one who severed Medusa s snake decorated head just like in Rick Rioldan s Percy Jackson and the Olympian s The Lightning Thief So, Rioldan really stuck to the myth after all.Hamilton s re telling of those old myths is considerably interesting I just can t remember all those hard to pronounce many names However, the knowledge that I got reading each story was really overwhelming This is really a book that needs to be read by everyone.Thank you, Atty Monique for recommending this book to me You re such a smart lady and I am happy to be your friend Let s buddy read Bulfinch soon .FREE PDF ☪ Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes ⚖ For Nearly Seventy Years Readers Have Chosen This Book Above All Others To Discover The Thrilling, Enchanting, And Fascinating World Of Western Mythology From Odysseus S Adventure Filled Journey To The Norse God Odin S Effort To Postpone The Final Day Of Doom, Edith Hamilton S Classic Collection Not Only Retells These Stories With Brilliant Clarity But Shows Us How The Ancients Saw Their Own Place In The World And How Their Themes Echo In Our Consciousness Today An Essential Part Of Every Home Library, Mythology Is The Definitive Volume For Anyone Who Wants To Know The Key Dramas, The Primary Characters, The Triumphs, Failures, Fears, And Hopes First Narrated Thousands Of Years Ago And Is Still Spellbinding To This DayEdith Hamilton Is The Acclaimed Author Of The Greek Way And The Roman Way, Which Have Been Read By Generations Of Readers Around The World She Was Made An Honorary Citizen Of Athens In Hm I declared August History Month and read, amongst various others, Bulfinch s Mythology of which I was quite disappointed In my research of his work and how it came to be I found a reference to this book by Edith Hamilton, who superseded Mr Bulfinch in most classrooms Thus I read this book in an attempt to find a better written encyclopedia Unfortunately, I did not succeed To clarify this book IS better written than the one by Mr Bulfinch One reason is that Edith Hamilton was a scholar She was born in Dresden in 1867 but grew up in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, where she also got her BA and MA degrees for which she won the Mary E Garrett European Fellowship Her father had begun teaching her Latin, then French, German, and Greek when she was only 7 years old which probably was a factor in her interests later and her great scholarly success In 1895 she moved back to Germany with her sister to study humanities and classics at the university of Munich the then centre of classical studies Edith Hamilton and her sister were among the first women to audit classes her sister published an autobiography detailing their life in Germany even Originally, her plan had been to earn a doctoral degree definitely not easy at the time but then she was persuaded to return to the US to become head of the recently opened Bryn Mawr Preparatory School for Girls in Balti She never completed her doctoral degree but she did become an inspiring and respected head of the school for twenty six years bringing new ideas to an old system.Only after retiring did she start to write books, which explains why this book was published only when she was 62 As she has said herself in some interviews, her passion was for the Greeks which definitely shows in this book and is my main criticism This book is advertised as a source on mythology in general, but it isn t The main body of work is about the Greeks, added to by Roman mythology which mostly is adapted Greek mythology if we re being honest Almost as an afterthought, she included only 20 pages of Norse mythology Nothing else is mentioned The Greek parts are written very well and the author s passion for the subject is clear throughout Moreover, she has a very clear structure missing a few myths nevertheless sigh All her knowledge came from classic literature she has never been to Greece, and never participated in archaeology Of course that isn t necessary in order to produce a good book but it shows that her views although she was a scholar were influenced and limited by the sources she read.While I was pleased to see that Hamilton had included the Volsunga saga in the chapter about Norse mythology in many books it is replaced by the Nibelungenlied which was penned much later , she dismissed the saga by saying that the story is so well known thanks to the Nibelungenlied that the original can be told briefly and THAT is an absolute no go for me It s almost as bad as Bulfinch telling the readers which myths are Christian enough to be included and which had to be shortened changed for his genteel readers It is precisely the original stories I want to be told about or at least I want a thorough comparison Moreover, the one thing I expect at the very least from an encyclopedia of mythology is a good overview Such an overview MUST include immensely important classics like the Gilgamesh epos However, this book does not Other cultures aren t even referenced If she had titled her book correctly, I really wouldn t mind It s a nice book about the very much related mythology of the Greeks and the Romans However, I really need to point this out again this is supposed to be a comprehensive work of mythology as a whole Sorry, but this was just as disappointing as Mr Bulfinch s cuts and changes to myths which accounts for the low rating if there was a half star rating system here, it would get than Bulfinch s Mythology but as it is alas It is a shame since the writing style was much engaging but it wouldn t be right to rate it any higher. . Pindar in the early fifth century tells the tale about the feast Tantalus made the gods and protests that it is not true The punishment of Tantalus is described often, first in the Odyssey, from which I have taken it Amphion s story, and Niobe s, I have taken from Ovid, who alone tells them in full For Pelops winning the chariot race I have preferred Apollodorus, of the first or second century A.D., who gives the fullest account that has come down The story of Atreus and Thyestes crimes and all that followed is taken from Aeschylus Oresteia from the intro to chapter 17, The House of AtreusI was stressing out last night over trying to get a handle on the third part of Aeschylus Oresteia, The Eumenides I d started reading the introductory material by the translator, but it was so long, so involved almost as if it were a postmodern retelling of the play.What s displaying my ignorance here I was confused over the title of the play, and some of the main protagonists of the play, the Furies They are represented by a chorus, pursuing Orestes for his murder of his mother But where does the title come from I picked up some info somewhere in the edition I m reading, and finally realized that in the climactic section of the play the Furies are rebranded by Athena into the Eumenides a name that means Kindly Ones thus changing them from a group seeking revenge and retribution the old way that humans responded to murder to a group which provides a higher moral choice to human kind, through the institution of justice But before I let it go, I picked up Hamilton s book, and checked out the index entries for Eumenides 248 and Furies see Erinyes so to Erinyes, where among other entries was Orestes pursued by, 246 248 which closed the circle Those three pages were near the end of an eighteen page chapter on the House of Atreus As I started looking through this to get to my point I realized that this chapter told the story of this house in a illuminating way than the somewhat overly cerebral, mammoth introduction in my copy of Oresteia.So, I thought I d throw in these words about this quite wonderful book, most of which I ve never read in the decades that I ve owned it basically having used it as a reference book As hinted above, the book has a pretty detailed, and very useful, index There are drawings by Steele Savage, some full page in my Mentor edition of sometime after 1970, which was at the time the forty fourth printed of Hamilton s book, first printed in 1940 It is still in print.In the spoiler I ve put the table of contents If you check it out, you ll see the wonderful way that Hamilton has organized it And you ll see why the book isn t titled Greek Mythology view spoiler Introduction to Classical Myhtology The mythology of the Greeks The Greek and Roman Writers of MythologyPart One The Gods, the Creation, and the Earliest Heroes1 The Gods The Titans and the Twelve Great Olympians The Lesser Gods of Olympus The Gods of the Waters The Underworld The Lesser Gods of Earth The Roman Gods2 The Two Great Gods of Earth Demeter Ceres Dionysus or Bacchus3 How the World and Mankind WereCreated4 The Earliest Heroes Prometheus and Io Europa The Cyclops Polyphemus Flower Myths Narcissus, Hyacinth, AdonisPart Two Stories of Love and Adventure5 Cupid and Psyche6 Eight Brief Tales of Lovers Pyramus and Thisbe Orpheus and Eurydice Ceyx and Alcyone Pygmalion and Galatea Baucis and Philemon Endymion Daphne Alpheus and Arethusa7 The Quest of the Golden Fleece8 Four Great Adventures Phaethon Pegasus and Bellerophon Otus and Ephialtes DaedalusPart Three The Great Heroes Before the Trojan War9 Perseus10 Theseus11 Hercules12 AtalantaPart Four The Heroes of the Trojan War13 The Trojan War Prologue The Judgement of Paris The Trojan War14 The Fall of Troy15 The Adventures of Odysseus16 The Adventures of Aeneas Part OneFrom Troy to Italy Part TwoThe Descent Into the Lower World Part ThreeThe War in ItalyPart Five The Great Families of Mythology17 The House of Atreus Tantalus and Niobe Agamemnon and His Children Iphigenia among the Taurians18 The Royal House of Thebes Cadmus and His Children Oedipus Antigone The Seven against Thebes19 The Royal House of Athens Cecrops Procne and Philomena Procris and Cephalus Orithyia and Boreas Creusa and IonPart Six The Less Important Myths20 Midas and Others Midas Aesulapius The Danaeds Glaucus and Scylla Erysichthon Pomona and Vertmnus21 Brief Myths Arranged AlphabeticallyPart Seven The Mythology of the NorsemenIntroduction to Norse Mythology22 The Stories of Signy and Sigurd23 The Norse Gods The Creation The Norse WisdomGENEALOGICAL TABLES The Principle Gods Descendants of Prometheus Ancestors of Perseus and Hercules Ancestors of Achilles The House of Troy The Family of Helen of Troy The Royal House of Thebes and the Atreidae The House of Athens hide spoiler