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Paperback Mythology Book

ISBN: 0316223336

ISBN13: 9780316223331

Mythology

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Mythology is my favorite!

I love the whole book itself!

amazing source for mythology

this book is perfect for fans of myths or people looking to explore legends. its is organized into concise sections so its easy to find what you're looking for - perfect for reference! my book came worn but still in great condition

God and heroes

Edith Hamilton's very popular 'Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes' is a very basic, very popular and very good text for the introduction of Greek and Roman mythology. This book by Hamilton, simply entitled 'Mythology' is an expansion of the material in the shorter book. Largely, however, it is a repetition of the same material. In our Western culture, the term 'mythology' is most often equated with these tales, and Hamilton, first writing before World War II, has helped to reinforce that equation with the current generations of readers.Those looking for the mythological stories of other cultures will be disappointed -- with the exception of a brief section on Norse mythology at the end (about five percent of the entire volume), it covers nothing outside the Greek and Roman pantheons. Of course, part of the difficulty of approaching mythology of other cultures is that, in many instances, it is not mythology to them; or, in the case of mythology, one needs a firmer grounding in the culture and religious aspects of that culture before the mythology becomes accessible.Hamilton (raised, as I was astonished to discover, in Indiana, where I currently reside) studied at Bryn Mawr, and had a distinguished teacher career in addition to writing this useful text. Hamilton's writing is not complicated and very easy to follow -- this has made her texts selected often for high school and undergraduate courses in Greek and Roman mythology, more frequently perhaps than any other text produced in this century. Hamilton begins the text with an essay giving an overview of what mythology is, and what the purpose of it was. 'Through it,' she wrote, 'we can retrace the path from civilised man who lives so far from nature, to man who lived in close companionship with nature; and the real interest of the myths is that they lead us back to a time when the world was young and people had a connection with the earth, with trees and seas and flowers and hills, unlike anything we ourselves can feel.'She proceeds with a brief history of the development of Greek mythology, the origins of the stories lost in the mists of time. She tells of the influences of Greek thought on subsequent developments in thought and religion: 'Saint Paul said the invisible must be understood by the visible. That was not a Hebrew idea, it was Greek.' Unlike most religious constructs, the Greek mythological world tried to make sense of the greater life of the universe in terms that were very human indeed, with a minimum of mystery. 'The terrifying irrational has no place in classical mythology.'This is not to say, of course, that there were not terrible stories and fantastic creatures -- indeed, the mythological stories are full of them -- Gorgons and hydras and chimaeras dire. But these are mostly metaphorical (and were understood as such), and primarily used for a hero to be made (this same idea has pervaded to the most recent Mission Impossible movie). Hamilton proceeds after this essay

Timeless Tales of the Gods and Heroes of Classical Mythology

Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" tell the "Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes" of classical mythology and this volume, first written in 1942, is now a timeless classic itself. This was the first book of mythology that I ever read and it is still the best. When Hamilton retells the love story of Cupid and Psyche or the tragedy of Agamemnon and his children, she does so with a full sense of what it meant when first told by Apuleius or Aeschylus. These are not children's tales, but the heroic legends and religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks. Furthermore, the illustrations by Steele Savage have the elegance of wood block prints, which, for all I know, is exactly what they are. I appreciate Hamilton's choice to avoid relying on Ovid, for while the "Metamorphoses" is the most comprehensive ancient text dealing with the classical myths, Ovid is an unbeliever. For Hamilton the writings of Homer, Hesiod and Pindar are more abbreviated in terms of providing details for the myths, but at least they take the tales seriously. Another strength of the book is how she organizes the myths in her seven parts: (1) Covers the complete pantheon of deities, including the lesser gods of Olympus and Earth and the later Roman additions, as well as the earliest heroes. (2) Retells the various tales of love, between mortals and the gods or each other, along with the Quest for the Golden Fleece and other early heroic adventures. (3) Focuses specifically on the greatest heroes, Perseus, Theseus and Hercules, with Atalanta thrown in the mix in a curious but understandable editorial decision by Hamilton. (4) Puts together Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid into a giant epic stretching from the Judgment of Paris to the founding of Roman, with the Odyssey and the tragedies of Euripides. (5) Tells about the great mythological families, namely the House of Atreus (Agamemnon), the Royal House of Thebes (Oedipus and Antigone), and the Royal House of Athens. (6) Covers all of the lesser myths, most notably Midas. (7) Goes off in a new direction, providing a very brief introduction to Norse mythology that seems woefully inadequate given the comprehensive compilation of classical mythology that precedes it. I looked over other possibilities as a basic textbook for my Classical Greek & Roman Mythology course (I know, it sounds redundant and repetitive to me too), but I selected this one as my basic text. If you want analysis of these myths, then you certainly want to look elsewhere. But if you want a solid retelling of virtually every tale of classical mythology, then Edith Hamilton's volume is still at the top of the list as far as I concerned.

Edith Hamilton's classic introduction to classical mythology

Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" tell the "Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes" of classical mythology and this volume, first written in 1942, is now a timeless classic itself. This was the first book of mythology that I ever read and it is still the best. When Hamilton retells the love story of Cupid and Psyche or the tragedy of Agamemnon and his children, she does so with a full sense of what it meant when first told by Apuleius or Aeschylus. These are not children's tales, but the heroic legends and religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks. Furthermore, the illustrations by Steele Savage have the elegance of wood block prints, which, for all I know, is exactly what they are. I appreciate Hamilton's choice to avoid relying on Ovid, for while the "Metamorphoses" is the most comprehensive ancient text dealing with the classical myths, Ovid is an unbeliever. For Hamilton the writings of Homer, Hesiod and Pindar are more abbreviated in terms of providing details for the myths, but at least they take the tales seriously. Another strength of the book is how she organizes the myths in her seven parts: (1) Covers the complete pantheon of deities, including the lesser gods of Olympus and Earth and the later Roman additions, as well as the earliest heroes. (2) Retells the various tales of love, between mortals and the gods or each other, along with the Quest for the Golden Fleece and other early heroic adventures. (3) Focuses specifically on the greatest heroes, Perseus, Theseus and Hercules, with Atalanta thrown in the mix in a curious but understandable editorial decision by Hamilton. (4) Puts together Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid into a giant epic stretching from the Judgment of Paris to the founding of Roman, with the Odyssey and the tragedies of Euripides. (5) Tells about the great mythological families, namely the House of Atreus (Agamemnon), the Royal House of Thebes (Oedipus and Antigone), and the Royal House of Athens. (6) Covers all of the lesser myths, most notably Midas. (7) Goes off in a new direction, providing a very brief introduction to Norse mythology that seems woefully inadequate given the comprehensive compilation of classical mythology that precedes it. I looked over other possibilities as a basic textbook for an introductory mythology course, but I keep coming back to this one. If you want analysis of these myths, then you certainly want to look elsewhere. But if you want a solid retelling of virtually every tale of classical mythology, then Edith Hamilton's volume is still at the top of the list.

All You'll Likely Need

"Mythology" covers all the major and most minor Greek, Norse and Roman gods, goddesses, stories and locales. Edith Hamilton makes no pretenses that this is all there is to say on mythology, but she gives a reader a fine start. Hamilton puts them into sensible structures so beginners can learn in a context which are easy to understand. She provides major section titles helping readers get straight to the required story, like "Stories of Love and Adventure" You'll find "Cupid and Psyche" as a chapter. Chapters are named mostly by story like, "The Trojan War." She quotes from the sources, so the reader knows how it is she got her information. Character-driven in format, readers can look up a name, find the subtitle with that name, and read why that character matters. She writes narratively, sounding a little like "Cliff's Notes." This is a good thing, because the poetry from which these myths are drawn can be overwhelming. Nicely organized is the geneological table section. It looks like a family tree, in a English royalty kind of way. As a writer, I use it for a quick reference guide. I usually only need a few nuggets of information, and she gives me plenty. I first acquired it high school, using it to get out of those tough jams when I did not understand books like "The Odyssey," by Homer. More than mere reference, "Mythology" is good reading for no other purpose than serendipitous curiosity. I fully recommend it. Anthony Trendl editor, HungarianBookstore.com

A must read. Couldn't put it down.

I have been trying to find a good book to tell the great stories of ancient mythology and this did it. It was a wonderful book for anyone. Even if you are not really into mythology this would be and interesting book since it is part of history. After reading this book, it enhanced my love for mythology and I am now on a mythology binge, reading Homer's Odessey and Iliad. It is a definate must read
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