Picture of author.

Edith Hamilton (1) (1867–1963)

Author of Mythology

For other authors named Edith Hamilton, see the disambiguation page.

18+ Works 19,173 Members 121 Reviews 1 Favorited

Works by Edith Hamilton

Associated Works

The Trojan Women (0415) — Translator, some editions — 681 copies
Readings on Homer (1997) — Contributor — 15 copies
Readings on Sophocles (1996) — Contributor — 8 copies


(2,346) ancient (116) Ancient Greece (262) ancient history (228) Ancient Rome (89) antiquity (59) classic (144) classical (62) classical studies (50) classics (395) culture (47) Edith Hamilton (58) fantasy (81) fiction (335) folklore (126) gods (62) Greece (352) Greek (346) Greek History (94) Greek literature (61) Greek mythology (335) history (872) literature (187) myth (149) myths (107) non-fiction (724) Norse (110) Norse mythology (141) own (95) paperback (85) philosophy (107) read (134) reference (325) religion (249) Roman (140) Roman History (53) Roman mythology (120) Rome (175) to-read (432) unread (95)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Hamilton, Edith
Date of death
Burial location
Cove Cemetery, Hadlyme, Connecticut, USA
Dresden, Saxony
Place of death
Washington, D.C., USA
Places of residence
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
New York, New York, USA
Washington, DC, USA
Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA
Bryn Mawr College (BA|MA|1894)
University of Leipzig
University of Munich
Reid, Doris Fielding (companion)
Hamilton, Alice (sister)
Hamilton, Margaret (sister)
Hamilton, Norah (sister)
Hamilton, Arthur (brother)
Reid, Dorian F. (son)
Bryn Mawr School for Girls
Awards and honors
National Institute of Arts and Letters (1955)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (1957)
National Achievement Award (1951)
Golden Cross of the Order of Benefaction (1957)
Short biography
Edith Hamilton was born in Dresden, Saxony (present-day Germany) to American parents. She grew up on an estate in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the eldest of five children in an intellectual family. Her father taught her Latin at the age of seven and Greek at eight, and she became an avid reader of Greek and Roman literature. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a master's degree in classics in 1894, and with her sister Alice, spent a year at the University of Leipzig and the University of Munich. In 1896, they returned to the USA, and Edith began her career as an educator. She was named headmistress of the new Bryn Mawr School, a private college preparatory school for girls in Baltimore, Maryland. She remained in that position for 26 years. In 1922, she retired to devote herself to her classical studies and writing. This began her second career as author, the one for which she is best known today. Miss Hamilton was 62 years old when her first book, The Greek Way, was published in 1930. It was an immediate success, and was followed by further books such as The Roman Way (1932), Mythology (1942), The Great Age of Greek Literature (1943), and The Echo of Greece (1957). These writings made Miss Hamilton one of the most renowned classicists of her era. Critics acclaimed her works for their lively and engaging interpretations of ancient cultures, and the power of her writing. She was described as the classical scholar who brought the Golden Age of Greek life and thought into clear and brilliant focus.



These myths were meant to explain reality, a primordial science. Stories that were meant to provide a lesson on how to behave. To provide warnings against making some choices. The later authors of these myths did not think much of the priests to the gods temples. For it was the poet who had a connection with the gods. With the rise of rationality and reason, the gods were made in the image of the people rather than beings with no resemblance of reality. There were monsters which took on no real shape, as these monsters were meant to provide the challenge for the heroes to overcome.

Although the gods were radiant and immortal, they were not omnipotent. Their behavior was not righteous. Their behavior was unscrupulous. A lack of understanding between right and wrong. They were fickle with their favor, and used their power arbitrarily. Few were generally friends of human kind, for they were generally harmful or undependable. Better for humans to make do without them. Heroes themselves were generally the offspring of the gods, who had more power than normal humans, but also their own more powerful flaws.

The stories are usually told about the interactions between the heroes and the gods. But it was not the gods that created the universe. The first parents were heaven and earth. Their children were the Titans. The gods were the children of the Titans.

The myths provided are shortened versions of the original long stories. The author put in a lot of effort going through various ancient sources, to construct a more consistent version of the stories.

The myths are primarily Greek. As the author notes, the Roman’s lacked their own, and were influenced by Greek culture. Romans took on the Greek gods into their own pantheon, and changed their names to Roman equivalents. Romans did add some myths, and also favored different gods than the Greeks.

There is also very little on Norse mythology, which stands in contrast to the Greek mythology. As the author claims, not much has survived of the Norse texts.
… (more)
Eugene_Kernes | 87 other reviews | Jun 4, 2024 |
Excellent source for reference! Also, this 75th Anniversary Edition is a beautifully crafted book from the dust cover, to the art to the fonts - it has been a joy to read!
s_carr | 87 other reviews | Feb 25, 2024 |
An excellent resource on wrongly representing foreign cultures. I may refer back to it if I want to know what not to do.
Aidan767 | 19 other reviews | Feb 1, 2024 |
Before Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, there was Edith Hamilton's version of the myths. This book was meant to be an introduction to the myths - of Roman, Greek, and Norse. This book was part of my high school English class. Required reading to be discussed and tested and I was happy to have this book.

This book was my first introduction to myths. I had not read anything about them in the past as I held no interest in them. They held no interest and certainly were not needed in the three years of high school. This book was placed in my hands during one-afternoon class and told that this would be the subject for the next six weeks.

You know from previous entries that I do not play well when I am told that I have to read a book and that has always held true even in high school. In high school, I fell in love with not only history but with the mythology of all cultures and religions. This book was meant to be an introduction to these worlds, a reference, and short stories packaged nicely into a book.

This is the book that introduced me to one of my favorite myths - Hades and Persephone.

This book has since opened doors to other more detailed books on myths and their stories. Because of this book, I am thankful for it. I am thankful that I did not write this book off as something forced but something to enjoy. I will keep coming back to this book each time I want just a little nostalgia.
… (more)
Revengelyne | 87 other reviews | Apr 29, 2023 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by

Charts & Graphs