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Mythology (Back Bay books) Paperback – 3 Feb 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Paperback, 3 Feb 2000
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; New edition edition (3 Feb. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316341516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316341516
  • ASIN: 0316341517
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.8 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


One of the great teachers and scholars of our time (WALL STREET JOURNAL)

No one in modern times has shown us more vividly than Edith Hamilton 'the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome (NEW YORK TIMES)

Book Description

Classic tales of gods and heroes from Greek, Roman and Norse mythology.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 7 Mar. 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Edith Hamilton's 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. In our Western culture, the term 'mythology' is most often equated with these tales, and this book, first written 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 this text one used in 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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book as a ten year old- a hand me down from an uncle interested in classical literature and history. It was instantly captivating, fleshing out popular myths I already knew the basics of and introducing me to new ones.
This is definatly a long overdue re-print and comes complete with the original black and white illustrations by a certain Steele Savage. Great name and great art work! They fully capture the style and grace of Greek mythology.
Hamilton- a former teacher- is a good communicator and this comes across in the text which is neither long winded or prone to skipping on detail. All the action, adventure, monsters, gods, romance and tradgedy are here in spades. The tales of Jason and the Argonauts, Theseus and the Minotaur, versions of the Oddyssey (Ullyses) and the Illiad, Perseus and the gorgon's head and the trials of Herakles (Hercules) are all present and correct with many other minor legends given space. However, the section on Norse mythology feels superflous and rather dissapointing for anyone looking for a good catalogue of myths from that genre. This is primarally a classical mythology book and it's bulk is devoted to the stories from Ancient Greece and Rome.
Charts and an index are included to help piece the chronology and relationships in the stories together but I suspect most people will be happy reading this from cover to cover.
Basically this is a must for anyone, even younger readers, who want a highly readable and engrossing collection of myths. As an introduction it is very good indeed.
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Format: School & Library Binding
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.
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