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Mythology

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  28,593 ratings  ·  1,264 reviews
Since its original publication by Little, Brown and Company in 1942, Edith Hamilton's Mythology has sold millions of copies throughout the world and established itself as a perennial bestseller in its various available formats: hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, and e-book. Mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the ...more
Hardcover, 497 pages
Published January 30th 1942 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1942)
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Lori Pletka I just wanted to add to Emily's (excellent) answer. It's *like* the Bible in that is tells the stories of the Greco-Roman gods, much like the…moreI just wanted to add to Emily's (excellent) answer. It's *like* the Bible in that is tells the stories of the Greco-Roman gods, much like the Christian Bible contains stories in both the Old and New Testaments. However, like Emily said, it opens with a break down of the gods, grouped together with similar gods. It gives their Greek and Roman names and elucidates the minor differences between the Greek stories and the Roman stories of each god.

The book then moves into stories/myths involving the gods. The stories are edited with comments to include (sometimes) where the story came from (e.g. Homer's earlier writings, etc.) and slight variances in the story that are the result of translations or just disagreements in the retellings throughout history.

I actually read the Percy Jackson series and realized just how little I knew of Greek mythology. This book is an excellent read if you want to brush up, or (like me) learn about it from the ground-up.

In short, once you read through the descriptions of the gods, it becomes more story-like (divided into chapters, etc.). Highly recommend. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K.D. Absolutely
"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
...more
David
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 (H
...more
Welwyn Katz
This book is very hard to classify. Doesn't the title make you think "World Mythology"? Well, if it did, you would be wrong. I bought this book, looking forward to (especially) a female viewpoint of comparative mythology from various different countries around the world. What I got was an extremely thorough set of retellings (with impeccably named sources) by Hamilton of virtually every classical (Greek and Roman) myth ever told), with the very strange inclusion of approximately 20 pages of Nors ...more
Jennifer
Sep 18, 2007 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students
Shelves: classics
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 arou
...more
Jessica
I remember reading this over and over when I was in high school, just for my own pleasure. Then I got to college, and took an actual mythology class, and the first thing the professor said was, "I hope you all haven't been reading junk like Edith Hamilton." What?! Well, most of his problem was with those bite-sized little rundowns of the myths, which is what I liked about it. It's a nice survey of Greek mythology, an introduction, if you will. There are a few inaccuracies, and she barely mention ...more
Janus Vielle (The Blair Book Project)
This book, aside from fairy tales, has introduced me to the world beyond our reach. I first had this book because back in high school, we were required to read it. I never really understood back then why it seemed that I was one of the few who enjoyed reading this and majority of our class despised having to be given the assignment to read it. I always found it entertaining. Well, the first few stories were a bit tedious but it was a foundation that helped me understand the other tales so it was ...more
Christopher
Feb 05, 2013 Christopher marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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 Z
...more
Mike
I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand, I didn't like the practice of Hamilton retelling only the myths that she enjoyed, rather than using the most wildly accepted version of the stories or combining the different stories into one retelling. I also didn't understand the point of the Norse mythology at the end, after more than ninety percent of the book was dedicated to Greek and Roman mythology - it was a little jarring, and very unnecessary. But on the other hand, the book wa ...more
Summer the bummer
Read this for English class. For greek-mythology lovers like me, it gave quite a good explanation of numerous myths and clarifies the big pictures of Norse, Roman, and Greek mythology. A bit too heavy to read in one sitting, but an excellent reference for fans of the genre. I wouldn't say this is a must-read, but definitely beneficial for a devoted reader.
Thomas
I love this classic collection of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology. It has many negatives, but I still have an affection for it because I read it during a formative period in my life. I find it relatively readable -- not true of most mythology guides written for adults.

Hamilton does a certain amount of commenting on the major sources from which she draws the myths. Therefore it's a great way to follow threads back through the actual sources; many other mythological guides don't reference their
...more
PurplyCookie
Edith Hamilton loved the ancient Western myths with an obvious passion--and this classic compendium is her tribute. Her "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. I still have that much worn, much loved paperback on my book shelves that later in life inspired me to read other myths of other times and places. ...more
Heid E.
This work gave me entry into the world of myth as a highschool student. My English teacher assigned it as a reference book to use when we were reading poetry and drama. Without it I would not have understood important references. But when I looked back at this book years later, having suggested it to a students, I realized that the versions of the myths Hamliton used were less complex, less gender-balanced, and less universal than the myths I had come to know through other sources. So, while I v ...more
Mohamed
Literature and poetry that are based on mythology are in abundance in pretty much every era, it is only the method of approaching the myth that differentiates the well writ and the mediocre. In this book, Hamilton is basically offering a collection of Greek mythology (and little Norse mythology) in a style that is similar to bed time stories. Only in her introduction and briefly within the myth itself does she offer deep insights or some sort of analysis.
However, this book was still an enjoyabl
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
This is a scholarly, but very readable presentation on Greek mythology. In fact, this story really added to my love of the Greek myths. It doesn't spare the reader the darker aspects, so be warned. I would give this book to a good reader of 8 or more years of age, if they were unfamiliar with the Greek myths. Probably would leave Bulfinch for an older reader.
Salymar
Since Elementary I am very fascinated on how things work on the the Greek times back when they we're really devoted with their Gods and Goddess.

I was expecting that this book would made my day boring as ever...but It didn't. :)
It's OSM - AWESOME
Sarah
I've always loved mythological stories..So when I first obtained this book, I was so happy I started reading it right away.

I got to say Greek Gods are Freaks..Love their stories and all but My God they are just like children with a lot of power !!

Even Athena whom I've always admired came out as a Damn kid throwing a tantrum some times..
Specially in the judgment of Paris that led to the Trojan war..
and I don't want to even start with Zeus and Hera...Seriously they are Hilarious..It is amazing to
...more
Jackie
Mythology Comes Alive!
Edith has a way of breathing the myths into life while not being overly long. I loved it the first time I read it. I was 14 at the time and every night I'd read more and let the stories come alive in my mind. It was a great experience.
In some ways, it's responsible for setting me down a fantasy path in my reading tastes.

Upon re-reading it recently for the third time, I didn't find it as full of life as I did as a teenager. But I think it's me, not the writing, as my tastes
...more
Mark
I have never read, or even seen, a book quite so straightforward, compact, and simply written that brings together the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans (even a little Norse mythology thrown in).

I picked up this book for some beach reading. (I imagine that sounds strange, but I don't read novels very often.) As I expected, it was dry in parts and entertaining in other parts. Overall, I can't imagine getting a better introduction to the subject. I feel much better prepared to read the o
...more
Liz
When I started reading this book I found it really interesting and I couldn't put it down. But then as I read on I became bored. It became apparent that I was reading a book, re-telling the tales from other books/scrolls/parchments...whatever. It would be like reading a book that re-tells the plot of movies...I've tried to read those kind of books in the past and they kill me with boredom.

I managed to finish the book because I love Greek Mythology and have read Homer and Sophocles in the past a
...more
Victoria
It is important to first note that Hamilton's Mythology is a good friend of mine. Within the past four years, we've spent a lot of time together. Essentially a textbook for two classes that I've taken (Latin and Classical Civilizations), and the required text for a multitude of contests and competitions that I've participated in, I know the classical myths in Mythology inside and out, and have quite a bit of affection for them.

This book serves its purpose well- it gives a good introduction a
...more
Yair Bezalel
An amazing collection and excellent primer to read before diving into the classics themselves. Miss Hamilton gives a sampling of the major (and notable minor) myths of greek and roman (derivative) mythology. The stories themselves are wonderful and are told in a simultaneously simple but profoundly descriptive way (along with hamilton's dry wit every now and again.

The section detailing norse mythology at the end of the collection feels a bit tacked on. It's definitely fascinating but gives no m
...more
Jazzmin
When I hear "mythology", I think of how, because of this book, I have suffered greatly. Yet, I learned a great deal of information. When I finished this book recently, I felt like I'd just taken in about a lifetime of brainpower. I mean the sun's power could not have zapped me more than this book did. Useful, I'm not sure, but informing, definitely. I would only, and I mean only, recommend this to someone who either has nothing better to do with their time or who is absolutely obsessed with the ...more
Brandi
May 11, 2012 Brandi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone, but especially those who liked Percy Jackson

Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series got me hooked on Greek mythology.

Or I thought I was hooked, until I picked up Mythology.

This is the best guide to mythology I could have found. After the first hundred pages, I knew stories behind every single god or goddess. Edith Hamilton has made me feel like an expert in Greek mythology.

Don't miss this book! I especially recommend the stories about Apollo, Hermes, the twins Castor and Pollux, Artemis' ill-fated pursuers, and the love story between Cupid an
...more
Ainur
Apr 08, 2015 Ainur rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who interested in Greek mythology
I recommend this book to anyone who want to know more about Greek mythology. I’ve been looking for books about Greek mythology. Just a brief, short, stories about the Greek gods and goddesses. even the early heroes. And this book is perfect. There are also short stories about the Norse Gods. Though a bit confusing sometimes because some names are not that different. I find the Greeks very creative to be able to create such stories about their Gods. Though some traits are kind of ridiculous to be ...more
Tim
My battered old copy of this book has been around - it may have been required reading for my father back in high school. Anyway, I finally got around to reading it - and the odd thing is that I should have read it years ago. In fact this should have been required reading in my high school, and also in freshman English in college. Because the stories here are referred to so much in literature, the names of the gods and lovers and warriors herein ring down through the centuries with such frequency ...more
Dave Maddock
Hamilton has created an enjoyable survey of Greco-Roman mythology which is also a useful reference for when you bump up against a mythological allusion in another book which goes over your head. I've been reading this in little chunks over the past few months, which I think is the best way to tackle it. As I neared the end where the stories get shorter and less important I began reading larger chunks at a time which got tedious and repetitive.

The final section introduces Norse mythology and felt
...more
Kim
I've read about 1/2 of this before the library called and demanded it back. I saw it at B&N so I'll pick it up and keep it for future references to make me look smarter.
Ailani Bonilla
I think this book is amazing because it gives me the information I need to understand my other books. I was thrilled to learn more about how there was 12 main Olympian gods. I didn't know if Zeus was the father of them or if most started out as demigods. I also like how it tells a story about the hero or god because it explains how they became this or how they became famous. MY favorite story was the one where Odysseus tricked polyphemus and he his crew escaped before they could get killed. I w ...more
Blake Charlton
she takes all the "objectionable content" out. what's a greek myth w/o objectionable content?
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  • Bulfinch's Mythology
  • Classical Mythology
  • The Greek Myths
  • The Gods of the Greeks
  • D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths
  • Parallel Myths
  • The Dictionary of Classical Mythology
  • Don't Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned
  • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology: An A-Z Guide to the Myths and Legends of the Ancient World
  • Primitive Mythology (The Masks of God, #1)
  • Mythology
  • American Indian Myths and Legends (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
  • The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
  • Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
  • The Children of Odin: The Book of Northern Myths
  • Myths of the Greeks and Romans
  • The Norse Myths
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Edith Hamilton, an educator, writer and a historian, was born August 12, 1867 in Dresden, Germany, of American parents and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.A. Her father began teaching her Latin when she was seven years old and soon added Greek, French and German to her curriculum. Hamilton's education continued at Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut and at Bryn Mawr College near Ph ...more
More about Edith Hamilton...
The Greek Way The Roman Way The Echo of Greece Witness to the Truth: Christ and His Interpreters The Greek Way/The Roman Way, 2 Vols in 1

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