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Bulfinch's Mythology

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  11,522 ratings  ·  284 reviews
For almost a century and a half, Bulfinch's Mythology has been the text by which the great tales of the gods and goddesses, Greek and Roman antiquity; Scandinavian, Celtic, and Oriental fables and myths; and the age of chivalry have been known.
        The stories are divided into three sections: The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes (first published in 1855); The
Paperback, 862 pages
Published August 11th 1998 by Modern Library (first published 1855)
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Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's take a moment to not only acknowledge this work itself but also its very own history and author.

Thomas Bulfinch (1769 - 1867) was the son of Charles Bulfinch who was the first American architect (meaning the first man to be born on American soil to ever make architecture his profession), Commissioner of Public Building, and who built amongst others the United States Capitol rotunda, the Massachusetts State House, the University Hall at Harvard University and the Massachusetts General Hospi
Oct 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
Have problems distinguishing Perseus from Theseus? Can't tell a Titan from an Olympian? Do those mythology questions on Jeopardy leave you stumped? Could mythology be your Achilles heel?

If your knowledge of Greek mythology is derived primarily from Saturday morning cartoons, then maybe it's time for a refresher course. Yes, I know - life is busy, and you have philosophical objections to the dominance accorded the Greeks where mythology is concerned. Too bad. That argument may be theoretically so
If anyone thinks this is a completely comprehensive look at the mythos of the Greeks, the Norse, the Celtic, the Arthurian, the Crusades, or the Middle Ages, then you're part-way correct. It is pretty comprehensive. At least by my eye. But it's more comprehensive for the Greeks, the Arthurian legends, and the time of Charlemagne than anything else.

In fact, other than the quick and dirty tellings of the the Greek gods and heroes, with christian sensibilities intact and morals gently glossing over
Myths and legends from around the world.

The stories of gods and heros from Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Near East, the Far East, Scandinavia and Britain.
King Arthur and his knights.
The Mabinogeon.
Legends of Charlemagne.

I mostly use this book for research when I am reading another book which mentions a little known god or a heroic action set in the distant past.


Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone, reviewed, america
Damn. Bulfinch's Mythology. About as classic as you can get. The early Victorian (hence highly bowdlerized and edited) version of classical Greek and Roman ideas about their then gods and goddesses. I'm sure you'll expect an erudite and telling critique of this all too proper version of stories that in the beginning (and for a very good while thereafter) were about as improper as improper could be. Well, the worse for you, friend.

A very long time ago, when I and my now long-time spouse were you
BAM Endlessly Booked
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: myths, own
I feel like I really accomplished something having read Bulfinch. This particular book collected fables, chivalry, and Charlemagne. I set out expecting Fable to be my favorite section as I have been a devotee of Greek mythology since grade school, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading the exploits of Charlemagne's Knights. The tales of King Arthur's court were a bit much to wade through, lots of Welsh. Sadly the movie Excalibur will always influence my ideas of that period. ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is less a book but a compendium of tales. I loved it since it had all the tales from all over the world. But the writing is a it dry and the book is huge so be prepared. The edition I had was very dense as well so that made is slower to get through. Still a classic and I love going back and skimming through tales I forgot I about.
Timothy Boyd
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I know it's huge but this is an excellent reference book. All you need to know for the basics in most mythologies. Very recommended ...more
Oct 06, 2008 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings on this book. I bought it to read because I heard it was a good resource to get caught up on Greek myths before my Literature GRE and I read a bit more than half of the book before giving up on it (p. 468). While I really liked the excerpts from literature used when explaining the various gods and goddesses and other mythological characters, I did not like the structure of the book. It was in no sort of coherent order. I also did not like the comment by the author at the be ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
Having heard about 'Bulfinch's Mythology' since childhood I finally broke down, purchased the cheap Modern Library edition containing all three volumes at a local mall and read the thing. Unsurprisingly, it was a bit of a disappointment, Bulfinch not being a scholar and his versions of the stories being mostly 19th century reworkings of particular texts popular in his time. For someone interested only in understanding some of the major Western myths, epics and legends well enough to catch refere ...more
Ghost of the Library
once upon a time...oh no wait, thats Disney...

Bulfinch's book is a longtime classic, must read, essential blah blah blah on myths and legends that yours truly, as a former English Lit major always somehow managed to avoid..till now that is.
Having grown on bedtimes stories from Greece and Italy the first half of this book was, lets put it this way, old news to me.
He deals first and foremost with Greek and Roman legends, fascinating as always indeed, but of which i knew about 85% sooo, lets skip t
This was not a fun mythology read. I kind of liked it, but I'm just glad I finished the whole thing. Keep in mind this book was published in the late 1800s and keep in mind this is not about all kinds of mythology. If you have an interest in Greco-Roman (mostly Roman) mythology, King Author, and Charlemagne you might enjoy this, but even I found Bulfinch's writing tedious. It's worth the read, but it's dated compared to some modern mythology books.

At times this book tries to cover other types of
Jan 29, 2020 marked it as to-read
*sees review slamming this book because author is a Christian imposing his moral views on pagan myths*
*hits Want to Read*
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading this aloud once per week took a long time. It’s dense. It wasn’t loved, but it was enjoyable, enlightening, and entertaining.
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this many, many moons ago, back when the world was young and the gods still walked the Earth. I speak, of course, of the 1980s. Back then, I read it as a kind of primer on mythology. Bulfinch goes to a lot of effort to reference more contemporary (to him) writers ranging from Milton to Eliot, but it wasn't until this reread that I realized this book is meant to be a primer in literature, allusion and symbols rather than simply an overview of Greek mythology. As such, it serves as a ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of mythology and legends in my 30+ years on Earth. I've read D'aulaire's illustrated classics and Edith Hamilton. It doesn't matter if it's Greek, Roman, or even Norse. I find all of it interesting and fascinating. In fact, my wife is the same way. We hope to pass on this love of mythology to our son, so we are buying him mythology books at an early age, so that when he is old enough to appreciate them, they'll be ready and waiting for him. One book we recently added to our colle ...more
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's actually a collection of three books Bullfinch published in the first half of the 19th Century. The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and The Legends of Charlemagne. The Age of Fable is predominantly concerned with retelling the ancient Greek myths (with shorter nods to Norse and other mythologies), all based on poems of the time but spun into condensed prose. Many of the stories were familiar, some were new or different than I knew, but all were told so well by Bullfinch, who had quite th ...more
M.G. Bianco
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The graphic is misleading, as I did not read all three volumes that make up Bullfinch's Mythology, I only read the Age of Fables--his account of Greek and Roman mythology. The book starts out with the creation account and concludes with an exploration of the realms of the dead as told by Virgil in his account of Aeneas. Between them, are the various hero stories and othes.

Bullfinch's telling of the stories is traditional and thorough. One of the things I most like about it was his quoting of lat
Jonathan Winegar
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
This book seems like a great starting point for people interested in Greek Myths, Charlemange/Chivalry and Norse Myths.

I already knew all the Greek Myths so I skipped through them quickly.

The Charlemange and Chivalry section was interesting. It had historical info on knights and their lives. He also has the legend of King Arthur.

The Norse myths were the most interesting for me. It can be difficult to find good sources on the gods of Asgard. Reading about Thor is always awesome.

There is a story w
Carson Volk
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Authurian Legends and Greek Mythology
When I came across Easton Press publications, I was thrilled. Being a full-time student, I have champagne tastes on a beer budget, as they say. So, of course, I was drooling over the gorgeous leather-bound books with real gold etchings and the highest quality paper I'd ever seen. Then, I saw the beauty of it all: monthly payments. Now, I could easily get myself in trouble here as I tend to splurge far too much, but I practiced restraint and purchased only this beautiful set of myths and fables b ...more
Andre Piucci
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The tales, though not to be trusted for their facts, are worthy of all credit as pictures of manners; and it is beginning to be held that the manners and modes of thinking of an age are a more important part of its history than the conflicts of its peoples, generally leading to no result." ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
A very nice collection of myths. I especially enjoyed learning some new ones from the Middle Ages for King Arthur, and the Charlemagne ones. The Greek myths are also nicely explained.

Really, just a nice collection that goes into a little detail and I definitely recommend it to myth fans.
Gerhard Venter
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No home should be without it.
Crystal Pacific
I got this from my uncle for Christmas last year. I was so happy because I LOVE Greek and Roman mythology (mostly Greek) and this is FULL of it.
"For mythology is the handmaid of literature; and literature is one of the best allies of virtue and promoters of happiness." pg. 1 (Introduction)

"A wandering life best suits the free heart of a poet." Pg. 158

"Seven wealthy towns contend for Homer dead, Through which the living Homer begged his bread. [Smyrna, Rhodes, Scio, Colophon, Salamis, Argos and Athens.]". pg. 233

"The Bards were an essential part of the Druidical hierarchy...The Bards were supposed to be endowed with powers equal to insp
Elliott Bignell
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bulfinch has attracted a deal of criticism for the bowdlerisation of his myths, a charge which he admits in advance in his introduction. Such was the intellectual climate in Victorian-era America. I cannot transmit the accusation here as I am simply not so familiar with the myths, and the latter two books concerning Arthur and Charlemagne were mostly entirely new to me. All I can therefore say is that this was mostly a thumping good, and fascinating, read. The flaws as I perceived them were an o ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
While a very ambitious work, Bulfinch's Mythology didn't quite live up to my expectations. Assembling it was clearly a major undertaking, but the spotty coverage and uninspiring presentation hinder the overall quality of the work.

The book starts off fairly strongly, with an exhaustive chronicle of Greek mythology. Here Bulfinch's enthusiasm for the topic is clearly visible. Not only does he relate the stories, but he also points out allusions to the characters and themes to them in literature a
Jerome Peterson
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By Thomas Bulfinch
November 4, 2013

“The justly famous Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch contains three volumes the contents of which are retained in this abridgment for the student and general reader. “

The Age of Fable: The gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome, as well as the mythology of Germanic tribes, England, and the Near East.

The Legend of Charlemagne: Accounts of the reign of the first great French Emperor, his wars, and conquests.

The Age of Chivalry: King Arthur and his court, Launcelot and G
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
For almost a century and a half, Bulfinch's Mythology has been the text by which the great tales of the gods and goddesses, Greek and Roman antiquity; Scandinavian, Celtic, and Oriental fables and myths; and the age of chivalry have been known.
The stories are divided into three sections: The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes (first published in 1855); The Age of Chivalry (1858), which contains King Arthur and His Knights, The Mabinogeon, and The Knights of English History; and Legends
I was a little disappointed to discover that this edition cuts out all but the myths from cultures besides Greek and Roman, which I'd really looked forward to, and there were some other edits to cut out "superfluous" material, that isn't really superfluous to people who are trying to study the myths. But I paid $1.50 for it at a book sale, so I'll take it and be grateful.

I found it odd that Bulfinch uses primarily the Roman names for the gods and goddesses, rather than the more commonly known G
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Thomas Bulfinch was an American writer born in Newton, Massachusetts, best known for the book Bulfinch's Mythology. ...more

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