Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes Info

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The world-renowned classic that has enthralled and delighted
millions of readers with its timeless tales of gods and
heroes.
Edith 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 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 for art, literature and culture inquiry--from Freud's Oedipus
complex to Wagner's Ring Cycle of operas to Eugene O'Neill's Mourning
Becomes Electra.

Both a reference text for scholars of all
ages and a book to simply enjoy, Mythology is a classic not to be
missed.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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43920 Ratings

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes:

4

Jul 12, 2019

4 Stars

Wow. So this took me almost a full year to get through.



And no, I'm not actually joking (shocking, I know). GR says I started this in August....of 2018.



But what can I say.

Aside from the fact that I am probably just too dumb and too uncultured to truly enjoy this thing to it's full capacity...I'm also not a pretentious asshole who is going to pretend I lurved it to pieces just to look smart. (And no, I am not suggesting anyone who says they love this is a liar. One of my BBF GR buds 4 Stars

Wow. So this took me almost a full year to get through.



And no, I'm not actually joking (shocking, I know). GR says I started this in August....of 2018.



But what can I say.

Aside from the fact that I am probably just too dumb and too uncultured to truly enjoy this thing to it's full capacity...I'm also not a pretentious asshole who is going to pretend I lurved it to pieces just to look smart. (And no, I am not suggesting anyone who says they love this is a liar. One of my BBF GR buds Ana O really does love this. But she's also way smarter and more interesting than me, so there's that).

Don't get me wrong though, I really enjoyed the book as a whole - especially the stunning artwork, as I'm a sucker for pretty pictures - but not gonna lie, I got confused by all the names and incest and relationships a lot. And I am one of those people who will flip back to the family tree or index pages to refresh my memory - which is probably one of the many reasons why it took me so long to read this.

But I digress.

I love that I read this, because it definitely taught me that a lot of things I thought I knew about mythology was totally incorrect. But that's what happens when you trust the accuracy of Hollywood, Marvel, and Percy Jackson as applied to REAL mythology.

My bad.

I also love knowing that I now have this beautiful book on my shelves for future reference. So I consider this a win and I'm glad I thoughtfully read every page instead of rushing through it. Thanks Ana for the recommendation. ...more
4

Jul 12, 2019

4 Stars

Wow. So this took me almost a full year to get through.



And no, I'm not actually joking (shocking, I know). GR says I started this in August....of 2018.



But what can I say.

Aside from the fact that I am probably just too dumb and too uncultured to truly enjoy this thing to it's full capacity...I'm also not a pretentious asshole who is going to pretend I lurved it to pieces just to look smart. (And no, I am not suggesting anyone who says they love this is a liar. One of my BBF GR buds 4 Stars

Wow. So this took me almost a full year to get through.



And no, I'm not actually joking (shocking, I know). GR says I started this in August....of 2018.



But what can I say.

Aside from the fact that I am probably just too dumb and too uncultured to truly enjoy this thing to it's full capacity...I'm also not a pretentious asshole who is going to pretend I lurved it to pieces just to look smart. (And no, I am not suggesting anyone who says they love this is a liar. One of my BBF GR buds Ana O really does love this. But she's also way smarter and more interesting than me, so there's that).

Don't get me wrong though, I really enjoyed the book as a whole - especially the stunning artwork, as I'm a sucker for pretty pictures - but not gonna lie, I got confused by all the names and incest and relationships a lot. And I am one of those people who will flip back to the family tree or index pages to refresh my memory - which is probably one of the many reasons why it took me so long to read this.

But I digress.

I love that I read this, because it definitely taught me that a lot of things I thought I knew about mythology was totally incorrect. But that's what happens when you trust the accuracy of Hollywood, Marvel, and Percy Jackson as applied to REAL mythology.

My bad.

I also love knowing that I now have this beautiful book on my shelves for future reference. So I consider this a win and I'm glad I thoughtfully read every page instead of rushing through it. Thanks Ana for the recommendation. ...more
5

Feb 02, 2018

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









P.S. These beautiful photos aren't mine! ;)
5

Feb 02, 2018

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









P.S. These beautiful photos aren't mine! ;)
3

Oct 31, 2008

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 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, more 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 more 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. ...more
3

Oct 31, 2008

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 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, more 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 more 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. ...more
4

Sep 07, 2019

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Edith Hamilton
Edith 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 Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Edith Hamilton
Edith 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.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفتم ماه سپتامبر سال 2008 میلادی
عنوان: س‍ی‍ری‌ در اس‍اطی‍ر ی‍ون‍ان‌ و رم‌؛ ن‍ویسنده‌: ادی‍ت‌ ه‍م‍ی‍ل‍ت‍ون‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: ع‍ب‍دال‍ح‍س‍ی‍ن‌ ش‍ری‍ف‍ی‍ان‌؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌: اس‍اطی‍ر، 1376 در 442 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1387؛ در 438 ص؛ چاپ چهارم در 440 ص؛ شابک: 9789645960122؛ موضوع: اساطیر یونان و رم - سده 20 م
عنوان: اس‍طوره‌ه‍ای‌ ی‍ون‍ان‌ و روم‌؛ نویسنده: ادی‍ت‌ ه‍م‍ی‍ل‍ت‍ون‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: ح‍س‍ن‌ ق‍ائ‍م‌م‍ق‍ام‍ی‌؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌: ش‍ه‍ر ک‍ت‍اب‌، ه‍رم‍س‌ (ک‍ی‍م‍ی‍ا)، 1379؛ در 461 ص؛ شابک: 9647100019؛
عنوان: افسانه های بی زمان؛ نویسنده: ادی‍ت‌ ه‍م‍ی‍ل‍ت‍ون‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: پريرخ صنيعی؛

مقدمه مترجم بانو پریرخ صنیعی: کتاب «افسانه های بی زمان» یکی از کتابهای درسی دانشکده ی زبان و ادبیات انگلیسی دماوند بود، که در آن تحصیل میکردم. در کلاسها روی همه ی کتاب های ادبی به خصوص این کتاب بحث میشد و من همیشه از مفاهیم گیرای آن که در لفافه ی افسانه بیان میشد، لذت میبردم. اغلب بین عقاید پیشینیان و انسانهای امروز شباهتهایی مییافتم. امید به آینده و اینکه هر پدیده ای علتی و هر عملی عکس العملی دارد، برایم جالب بود. از همان زمان ( سال 1355 هجری خورشیدی ) بعضی از داستانهای کتاب را ترجمه میکردم و در دوره های ادبی که با دوستان داشتم، میخواندم. کم کم باتشویق آنان و خواست خودم، تصمیم گرفتم همه ی کتاب را ترجمه کنم. اما، انجام کار چیزی و چاپ آن چیزی دیگر بود. از سال 1369 هجری خورشیدی که تصمیم جدی به چاپ گرفتم، مدتها در نشر گردون، نشر شیوا و نشر مرغ آمین در انتظار چاپ ماند، تا سرانجام در سال 1386 هجری خورشیدی به لطف نشر روشنگران به چاپ رسید. اسامی شخصیتهای اسطوره ای برای همگونی از جلد اول دائره المعارف استاد عبدالحسین مصاحب استخراج شده است. به طور کلی اسامی با سه تلفظ در کتاب آمده است. یونانی، رومی و لاتین. در ترجمه ی آن به فارسی سعی شده اسامی به نوعی که بیشتر در فارسی مصطلح است، نوشته شود. ترجمه ی کتاب را به همسرم، دخترانم و پسرم (روزبه مهرورز) که از کودکی شیفته داستانهای اسطوره ای ایران و جهان بوده و نقاشیهایش اغلب در همین زمینه است، تقدیم میکنم.»؛ پریرخ صنیعی. پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی ...more
4

Sep 07, 2019

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Edith Hamilton
Edith 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 Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Edith Hamilton
Edith 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.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفتم ماه سپتامبر سال 2008 میلادی
عنوان: س‍ی‍ری‌ در اس‍اطی‍ر ی‍ون‍ان‌ و رم‌؛ ن‍ویسنده‌: ادی‍ت‌ ه‍م‍ی‍ل‍ت‍ون‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: ع‍ب‍دال‍ح‍س‍ی‍ن‌ ش‍ری‍ف‍ی‍ان‌؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌: اس‍اطی‍ر، 1376 در 442 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1387؛ در 438 ص؛ چاپ چهارم در 440 ص؛ شابک: 9789645960122؛ موضوع: اساطیر یونان و رم - سده 20 م
عنوان: اس‍طوره‌ه‍ای‌ ی‍ون‍ان‌ و روم‌؛ نویسنده: ادی‍ت‌ ه‍م‍ی‍ل‍ت‍ون‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: ح‍س‍ن‌ ق‍ائ‍م‌م‍ق‍ام‍ی‌؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌: ش‍ه‍ر ک‍ت‍اب‌، ه‍رم‍س‌ (ک‍ی‍م‍ی‍ا)، 1379؛ در 461 ص؛ شابک: 9647100019؛
عنوان: افسانه های بی زمان؛ نویسنده: ادی‍ت‌ ه‍م‍ی‍ل‍ت‍ون‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: پريرخ صنيعی؛

مقدمه مترجم بانو پریرخ صنیعی: کتاب «افسانه های بی زمان» یکی از کتابهای درسی دانشکده ی زبان و ادبیات انگلیسی دماوند بود، که در آن تحصیل میکردم. در کلاسها روی همه ی کتاب های ادبی به خصوص این کتاب بحث میشد و من همیشه از مفاهیم گیرای آن که در لفافه ی افسانه بیان میشد، لذت میبردم. اغلب بین عقاید پیشینیان و انسانهای امروز شباهتهایی مییافتم. امید به آینده و اینکه هر پدیده ای علتی و هر عملی عکس العملی دارد، برایم جالب بود. از همان زمان ( سال 1355 هجری خورشیدی ) بعضی از داستانهای کتاب را ترجمه میکردم و در دوره های ادبی که با دوستان داشتم، میخواندم. کم کم باتشویق آنان و خواست خودم، تصمیم گرفتم همه ی کتاب را ترجمه کنم. اما، انجام کار چیزی و چاپ آن چیزی دیگر بود. از سال 1369 هجری خورشیدی که تصمیم جدی به چاپ گرفتم، مدتها در نشر گردون، نشر شیوا و نشر مرغ آمین در انتظار چاپ ماند، تا سرانجام در سال 1386 هجری خورشیدی به لطف نشر روشنگران به چاپ رسید. اسامی شخصیتهای اسطوره ای برای همگونی از جلد اول دائره المعارف استاد عبدالحسین مصاحب استخراج شده است. به طور کلی اسامی با سه تلفظ در کتاب آمده است. یونانی، رومی و لاتین. در ترجمه ی آن به فارسی سعی شده اسامی به نوعی که بیشتر در فارسی مصطلح است، نوشته شود. ترجمه ی کتاب را به همسرم، دخترانم و پسرم (روزبه مهرورز) که از کودکی شیفته داستانهای اسطوره ای ایران و جهان بوده و نقاشیهایش اغلب در همین زمینه است، تقدیم میکنم.»؛ پریرخ صنیعی. پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی ...more
4

Feb 08, 2018

Edith Hamilton may have written Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes more 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 Edith Hamilton may have written Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes more 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 more 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! ...more
4

Feb 08, 2018

Edith Hamilton may have written Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes more 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 Edith Hamilton may have written Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes more 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 more 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! ...more
4

Aug 23, 2009

"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 "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!


...more
4

Aug 23, 2009

"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 "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!


...more
4

May 17, 2019

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 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 more about mythology in general, this is the book for you.


Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥ ...more
4

May 17, 2019

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 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 more about mythology in general, this is the book for you.


Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥ ...more
3

Aug 07, 2016

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 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 Baltimore. 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 more than Bulfinch's Mythology but as it is ... alas). It is a shame since the writing style was much more engaging but it wouldn't be right to rate it any higher.

...more
3

Aug 07, 2016

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 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 Baltimore. 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 more than Bulfinch's Mythology but as it is ... alas). It is a shame since the writing style was much more engaging but it wouldn't be right to rate it any higher.

...more
5

Mar 01, 2019

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 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 Atreus


I 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 more (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 more 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 Mythology

Part One: The Gods, the Creation, and the Earliest Heroes

1. 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 Gods

2. The Two Great Gods of Earth
- Demeter (Ceres)
- Dionysus or Bacchus

3. How the World and Mankind WereCreated

4. The Earliest Heroes
- Prometheus and Io
- Europa
- The Cyclops Polyphemus
- Flower Myths: Narcissus, Hyacinth, Adonis

Part Two: Stories of Love and Adventure

5. Cupid and Psyche

6. Eight Brief Tales of Lovers
- Pyramus and Thisbe
- Orpheus and Eurydice
- Ceyx and Alcyone
- Pygmalion and Galatea
- Baucis and Philemon
- Endymion
- Daphne
- Alpheus and Arethusa

7. The Quest of the Golden Fleece

8. Four Great Adventures
- Phaethon
- Pegasus and Bellerophon
- Otus and Ephialtes
- Daedalus

Part Three: The Great Heroes Before the Trojan War

9. Perseus

10. Theseus

11. Hercules

12. Atalanta

Part Four: The Heroes of the Trojan War

13. The Trojan War
- Prologue The Judgement of Paris
- The Trojan War

14. The Fall of Troy

15. The Adventures of Odysseus

16. The Adventures of Aeneas
- Part One: From Troy to Italy
- Part Two: The Descent Into the Lower World
- Part Three: The War in Italy

Part Five: The Great Families of Mythology

17. The House of Atreus
- Tantalus and Niobe
- Agamemnon and His Children
- Iphigenia among the Taurians

18. The Royal House of Thebes
- Cadmus and His Children
- Oedipus
- Antigone
- The Seven against Thebes

19. The Royal House of Athens
- Cecrops
- Procne and Philomena
- Procris and Cephalus
- Orithyia and Boreas
- Creusa and Ion

Part Six: The Less Important Myths
20. Midas - and Others
- Midas
- Aesulapius
- The Danaeds
- Glaucus and Scylla
- Erysichthon
- Pomona and Vertmnus

21. Brief Myths Arranged Alphabetically

Part Seven: The Mythology of the Norsemen

Introduction to Norse Mythology

22. The Stories of Signy and Sigurd

23. The Norse Gods
- The Creation
- The Norse Wisdom

GENEALOGICAL 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)]



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Previous review: March Violets
Next review: West-Running Brook
Older review: We Were the Mulvaneys

Previous library review: The Sleepwalkers A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe
Next library review: The Dreamtime Book Australian Aboriginal myths in paintings by Ainslie Roberts ...more
5

Mar 01, 2019

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 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 Atreus


I 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 more (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 more 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 Mythology

Part One: The Gods, the Creation, and the Earliest Heroes

1. 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 Gods

2. The Two Great Gods of Earth
- Demeter (Ceres)
- Dionysus or Bacchus

3. How the World and Mankind WereCreated

4. The Earliest Heroes
- Prometheus and Io
- Europa
- The Cyclops Polyphemus
- Flower Myths: Narcissus, Hyacinth, Adonis

Part Two: Stories of Love and Adventure

5. Cupid and Psyche

6. Eight Brief Tales of Lovers
- Pyramus and Thisbe
- Orpheus and Eurydice
- Ceyx and Alcyone
- Pygmalion and Galatea
- Baucis and Philemon
- Endymion
- Daphne
- Alpheus and Arethusa

7. The Quest of the Golden Fleece

8. Four Great Adventures
- Phaethon
- Pegasus and Bellerophon
- Otus and Ephialtes
- Daedalus

Part Three: The Great Heroes Before the Trojan War

9. Perseus

10. Theseus

11. Hercules

12. Atalanta

Part Four: The Heroes of the Trojan War

13. The Trojan War
- Prologue The Judgement of Paris
- The Trojan War

14. The Fall of Troy

15. The Adventures of Odysseus

16. The Adventures of Aeneas
- Part One: From Troy to Italy
- Part Two: The Descent Into the Lower World
- Part Three: The War in Italy

Part Five: The Great Families of Mythology

17. The House of Atreus
- Tantalus and Niobe
- Agamemnon and His Children
- Iphigenia among the Taurians

18. The Royal House of Thebes
- Cadmus and His Children
- Oedipus
- Antigone
- The Seven against Thebes

19. The Royal House of Athens
- Cecrops
- Procne and Philomena
- Procris and Cephalus
- Orithyia and Boreas
- Creusa and Ion

Part Six: The Less Important Myths
20. Midas - and Others
- Midas
- Aesulapius
- The Danaeds
- Glaucus and Scylla
- Erysichthon
- Pomona and Vertmnus

21. Brief Myths Arranged Alphabetically

Part Seven: The Mythology of the Norsemen

Introduction to Norse Mythology

22. The Stories of Signy and Sigurd

23. The Norse Gods
- The Creation
- The Norse Wisdom

GENEALOGICAL 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)]



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Previous library review: The Sleepwalkers A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe
Next library review: The Dreamtime Book Australian Aboriginal myths in paintings by Ainslie Roberts ...more
4

Feb 22, 2019

This is one of those books you hear about and then buy in a used bookstore and it languishes on your bookshelves for years until you finally pick it up, and then you just end up thinking to yourself, why didn't I pick this up sooner? Only, it's also one of those books that really works better as a reference than as a book you sit down and read from cover to cover. I read this book over the course of most of February, in bits and pieces, and it worked well that way.

This book is a classic for a This is one of those books you hear about and then buy in a used bookstore and it languishes on your bookshelves for years until you finally pick it up, and then you just end up thinking to yourself, why didn't I pick this up sooner? Only, it's also one of those books that really works better as a reference than as a book you sit down and read from cover to cover. I read this book over the course of most of February, in bits and pieces, and it worked well that way.

This book is a classic for a reason. It's at once a primer on world mythology and a pretty exhausting compendium of pretty much any myth or godlike figure you'd want to know about (with an emphasis on western mythologies, which is a bit of a shame; I would have liked to see what Hamilton would have had to say about eastern myths, or African ones). But my favorite bits were actually her little insights here and there into how the mythology was influenced by the historical culture of the times. I loved when she took little digs at historical writers, like Sophocles or Pliny or whoever. There was this one guy, whose name I'm forgetting at the moment, whom you can tell she just despised, but was too polite to say. And this dude lived 2,000 years or more before she did! Hilarious.

She spends the most time on Greek mythology; it seems to be her favorite. And she made the claim in one of the intros that the Greeks' mythology was different from the others, because reasons. At that point I was like, okay lady, but maybe its just your favorite and you're kind of biased.

Anyway, definitely a valuable book to have on my shelves.

Read Harder Challenge 2019: A book of mythology or folklore. ...more
4

Feb 22, 2019

This is one of those books you hear about and then buy in a used bookstore and it languishes on your bookshelves for years until you finally pick it up, and then you just end up thinking to yourself, why didn't I pick this up sooner? Only, it's also one of those books that really works better as a reference than as a book you sit down and read from cover to cover. I read this book over the course of most of February, in bits and pieces, and it worked well that way.

This book is a classic for a This is one of those books you hear about and then buy in a used bookstore and it languishes on your bookshelves for years until you finally pick it up, and then you just end up thinking to yourself, why didn't I pick this up sooner? Only, it's also one of those books that really works better as a reference than as a book you sit down and read from cover to cover. I read this book over the course of most of February, in bits and pieces, and it worked well that way.

This book is a classic for a reason. It's at once a primer on world mythology and a pretty exhausting compendium of pretty much any myth or godlike figure you'd want to know about (with an emphasis on western mythologies, which is a bit of a shame; I would have liked to see what Hamilton would have had to say about eastern myths, or African ones). But my favorite bits were actually her little insights here and there into how the mythology was influenced by the historical culture of the times. I loved when she took little digs at historical writers, like Sophocles or Pliny or whoever. There was this one guy, whose name I'm forgetting at the moment, whom you can tell she just despised, but was too polite to say. And this dude lived 2,000 years or more before she did! Hilarious.

She spends the most time on Greek mythology; it seems to be her favorite. And she made the claim in one of the intros that the Greeks' mythology was different from the others, because reasons. At that point I was like, okay lady, but maybe its just your favorite and you're kind of biased.

Anyway, definitely a valuable book to have on my shelves.

Read Harder Challenge 2019: A book of mythology or folklore. ...more
5

May 25, 2019

I was happy to have the recommendation of Edith Hamilton's Mythology from my Goodreads friend, Beverly about a year ago, when I was looking for a book that would help me understand this subject better. There is a lot of information which I preferred to read a little at a time which took almost a year to finish. Do I remember all in this book? You got to be kidding, I remember the basics and it has already helped in my classic reads when these figures show up and if my memory fails, I can look I was happy to have the recommendation of Edith Hamilton's Mythology from my Goodreads friend, Beverly about a year ago, when I was looking for a book that would help me understand this subject better. There is a lot of information which I preferred to read a little at a time which took almost a year to finish. Do I remember all in this book? You got to be kidding, I remember the basics and it has already helped in my classic reads when these figures show up and if my memory fails, I can look here as a reference. I found zero errors in this Kindle edition.

Worthy of the time to read especially for those not familiar with mythology. ...more
5

May 25, 2019

I was happy to have the recommendation of Edith Hamilton's Mythology from my Goodreads friend, Beverly about a year ago, when I was looking for a book that would help me understand this subject better. There is a lot of information which I preferred to read a little at a time which took almost a year to finish. Do I remember all in this book? You got to be kidding, I remember the basics and it has already helped in my classic reads when these figures show up and if my memory fails, I can look I was happy to have the recommendation of Edith Hamilton's Mythology from my Goodreads friend, Beverly about a year ago, when I was looking for a book that would help me understand this subject better. There is a lot of information which I preferred to read a little at a time which took almost a year to finish. Do I remember all in this book? You got to be kidding, I remember the basics and it has already helped in my classic reads when these figures show up and if my memory fails, I can look here as a reference. I found zero errors in this Kindle edition.

Worthy of the time to read especially for those not familiar with mythology. ...more
0

Nov 04, 2012

Only made it to page 180, but someday I'll finish it. In the meantime, some paintings of a few myths I did read:


John William Waterhouse, Echo and Narcissus, in which Echo (who can only echo what other people say) fails to save Narcissus from drowning himself while admiring his own wonderful visage.



Francisco de Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son, in which the titan Saturn eats all his children so that they won't be the death of him.



Peter Paul Rubens, Leda and the Swan, in which a woman is raped by Only made it to page 180, but someday I'll finish it. In the meantime, some paintings of a few myths I did read:


John William Waterhouse, Echo and Narcissus, in which Echo (who can only echo what other people say) fails to save Narcissus from drowning himself while admiring his own wonderful visage.



Francisco de Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son, in which the titan Saturn eats all his children so that they won't be the death of him.



Peter Paul Rubens, Leda and the Swan, in which a woman is raped by Zeus in the form of a swan.



Amphora depicting Odysseus and his men blinding the Cyclopean Polyphemus, c. 660 BCE. ...more
0

Nov 04, 2012

Only made it to page 180, but someday I'll finish it. In the meantime, some paintings of a few myths I did read:


John William Waterhouse, Echo and Narcissus, in which Echo (who can only echo what other people say) fails to save Narcissus from drowning himself while admiring his own wonderful visage.



Francisco de Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son, in which the titan Saturn eats all his children so that they won't be the death of him.



Peter Paul Rubens, Leda and the Swan, in which a woman is raped by Only made it to page 180, but someday I'll finish it. In the meantime, some paintings of a few myths I did read:


John William Waterhouse, Echo and Narcissus, in which Echo (who can only echo what other people say) fails to save Narcissus from drowning himself while admiring his own wonderful visage.



Francisco de Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son, in which the titan Saturn eats all his children so that they won't be the death of him.



Peter Paul Rubens, Leda and the Swan, in which a woman is raped by Zeus in the form of a swan.



Amphora depicting Odysseus and his men blinding the Cyclopean Polyphemus, c. 660 BCE. ...more
5

Sep 17, 2007

I believe, deep in my heart, that everyone who has attended high school in the past twenty to thirty years or so (in the United States, at least) owned a ratty, most likely used copy of this work at one time or another. This book has been on the required reading list of so many schools that nearly everyone has seen it, owned it, and opened it at least twice.

This is one only two such books I still have, 15 years out of high school: this and Strunk and White. This is a good book to have lying I believe, deep in my heart, that everyone who has attended high school in the past twenty to thirty years or so (in the United States, at least) owned a ratty, most likely used copy of this work at one time or another. This book has been on the required reading list of so many schools that nearly everyone has seen it, owned it, and opened it at least twice.

This is one only two such books I still have, 15 years out of high school: this and Strunk and White. This is a good book to have lying around the house, not because you need it every day, but because it is a great reference for things like settling family bets and cheating on the brown questions in Trivial Pursuit. Dig it out of the boxes in your basement sometime, under the term paper from freshman comp, and have a look over it. It really is a great reference guide to ancient mythos, it's easily accessible, and well written. Generations of high school teachers can't be all THAT wrong.

Well, except maybe for making us all read Moby Dick. ...more

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