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Konstantin Bespalov
Konstantin Bespalov

Mythology by Edith Hamilton: A Cultural Phenomenon that Shaped Western Civilization

Mythology by Edith Hamilton: A Timeless Classic

If you are a fan of Greek, Roman, and Norse myths, you have probably heard of Mythology by Edith Hamilton, one of the most popular and influential books on mythology ever written. But if you haven't read it yet, you are missing out on a treasure trove of stories that have shaped Western culture and inspired human creativity for centuries.

mythology edith hamilton ebook free download


In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Mythology by Edith Hamilton, including its origins, contents, illustrations, impact, legacy, benefits, and challenges. We will also show you how you can download this classic book for free as an ebook and enjoy it on your favorite device.

So buckle up and get ready for a journey into the enchanting world of mythology with Edith Hamilton as your guide!

The Origins and Contents of Mythology by Edith Hamilton

Edith Hamilton was born in 1867 in Dresden, Germany, to American parents who were interested in classical education. She grew up reading Greek and Latin texts and developed a passion for ancient cultures and languages. She became a teacher and a headmistress at a girls' school in Baltimore, where she encouraged her students to study classical literature.

In 1930, she retired from teaching and devoted herself to writing books on ancient history and mythology. Her most famous work was Mythology, which she published in 1942 when she was 75 years old. She wrote it as a response to the lack of accessible and accurate books on mythology for modern readers. She wanted to present the myths as they were told by the ancient poets and storytellers, without adding her own interpretations or opinions.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton is divided into seven parts:

  • Part One: The Gods, The Creation, and The Earliest Heroes. This part introduces the main gods and goddesses of Greek mythology, such as Zeus, Hera, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Ares, Hermes, Dionysus, Demeter, Hestia, Hephaestus, Poseidon, Hades, Persephone, Eros, Pan, etc. It also explains how the world and mankind were created according to different versions of the myth. Finally, it tells the stories of some of the earliest heroes who interacted with the gods or fought against monsters or giants.

  • Part Two: Stories of Love and Adventure. This part focuses on some of the most famous love stories and adventures in Greek mythology, such as Cupid and Psyche, Pygmalion and Galatea, Orpheus and Eurydice, Pyramus and Thisbe, Ceyx and Alcyone, Baucis and Philemon, Endymion, Daphne, Alpheus and Arethusa, etc. It also narrates the quest of the Golden Fleece by Jason and the Argonauts, and the four great adventures of Perseus, Theseus, Hercules, and Atalanta.

  • Part Three: The Great Heroes before the Trojan War. This part covers the stories of the most famous heroes who lived before the Trojan War, such as Perseus, who killed Medusa and rescued Andromeda; Theseus, who slew the Minotaur and became the king of Athens; Hercules, who performed the twelve labors and became a god; and Atalanta, who was the fastest runner and the best hunter among men.

  • Part Four: The Heroes of the Trojan War. This part recounts the epic saga of the Trojan War, which lasted for ten years and involved many heroes, gods, and goddesses. It begins with the judgment of Paris, who awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite and caused the abduction of Helen by Paris from her husband Menelaus. It then describes the main events and battles of the war, such as the sacrifice of Iphigenia, the duel of Achilles and Hector, the death of Patroclus, the wooden horse, etc. It also follows the adventures of Odysseus and Aeneas after the fall of Troy.

  • Part Five: The Great Families of Mythology. This part explores the tragic destinies of three royal families that were cursed by the gods or by their own actions: the House of Atreus, which included Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Orestes, Electra, Iphigenia, etc.; the House of Thebes, which included Oedipus, Jocasta, Antigone, Creon, etc.; and the House of Athens, which included Aegeus, Medea, Theseus, Phaedra, Hippolytus, etc.

  • Part Six: The Less Important Myths. This part collects some of the less known or less important myths that were not included in the previous parts. They are arranged alphabetically by name and include Midas, Narcissus, Echo, Arachne, Niobe, Daedalus and Icarus, Bellerophon and Pegasus, Sisyphus, Tantalus, Prometheus, Pandora, etc.

  • Part Seven: The Mythology of the Norsemen. This part introduces the mythology of the Norsemen or Vikings, who lived in Scandinavia and other parts of Northern Europe. It explains their cosmology, their gods and goddesses such as Odin, Thor, Loki, Freya, etc., their heroes such as Sigurd, Beowulf, etc., and their myths such as Ragnarok, Valhalla, etc.

As you can see, Mythology by Edith Hamilton covers a wide range of myths from different cultures and times. It is a comprehensive and fascinating book that will keep you entertained and informed for hours.

The Illustrations and Design of Mythology by Edith Hamilton

Mythology by Edith Hamilton is not only a great book to read, but also a beautiful book to look at. In 2017, to celebrate its 75th anniversary, Little, Brown and Company published a deluxe hardcover edition that features stunning illustrations and design by Jim Tierney.

Jim Tierney is an award-winning illustrator and designer who has worked on many books, magazines, posters, etc. He is also a fan of mythology and Edith Hamilton's book. He said in an interview:

"I grew up reading Edith Hamilton's Mythology. I loved how she made these ancient stories feel so alive and relevant. As I got older I began to appreciate it even more for how she distilled a huge amount of source material into one cohesive narrative."

For this edition, he created 10 full-color illustrations that depict some of the most iconic scenes from the book, such as Zeus holding his thunderbolt, Cupid kissing Psyche, Hercules fighting the Nemean lion, Odysseus escaping from Polyphemus, etc. He also designed a striking cover that features a golden apple with a snake wrapped around it, symbolizing the cause of the Trojan War. He used a combination of traditional and digital techniques to create his artworks.

Besides the illustrations, this edition also has other features that make it a collector's item. It has a ribbon bookmark, stamping, and a slipcase with a die-cut window that reveals the cover. It also has an introduction by Jim Tierney and a foreword by the author's niece, Doris Fielding Reid.

This edition is a perfect gift for anyone who loves mythology and art. It is a rare opportunity to own a piece of history and beauty that will last for generations.

The Impact and Legacy of Mythology by Edith Hamilton

Mythology by Edith Hamilton is not only a classic book, but also a cultural phenomenon. Since its publication in 1942, it has sold millions of copies worldwide and has been translated into many languages. It has been used as a textbook in schools and colleges, as a reference in libraries and museums, and as a source of inspiration in literature and art.

Many famous writers, artists, and scholars have acknowledged the influence of Mythology by Edith Hamilton on their work. For example:

  • J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, said that she read Mythology by Edith Hamilton when she was eight years old and that it sparked her interest in magic and fantasy.

  • Rick Riordan, the author of the Percy Jackson series, said that he read Mythology by Edith Hamilton when he was in middle school and that it helped him create his own modern versions of the Greek myths.

  • Neil Gaiman, the author of American Gods and Norse Mythology, said that he read Mythology by Edith Hamilton when he was a teenager and that it made him want to write stories about gods and heroes.

  • Stephen Fry, the author of Mythos and Heroes, said that he read Mythology by Edith Hamilton when he was a child and that it gave him a lifelong love of mythology.

  • Mary Renault, the author of The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea, said that she read Mythology by Edith Hamilton when she was a young woman and that it inspired her to write historical novels based on the myths of ancient Greece.

  • Joseph Campbell, the author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth, said that he read Mythology by Edith Hamilton when he was in college and that it influenced his studies of comparative mythology and religion.

These are just some examples of the many people who have been touched by Mythology by Edith Hamilton. The book has also been adapted into various media forms, such as movies, TV shows, comics, games, etc. Some examples are:

  • Clash of the Titans, a 1981 movie and a 2010 remake that tell the story of Perseus and his quest to save Andromeda from the Kraken.

  • Hercules, a 1997 animated movie by Disney that tells the story of Hercules and his journey to become a true hero.

  • Troy, a 2004 movie that tells the story of the Trojan War and its main characters, such as Achilles, Hector, Paris, Helen, etc.

  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians, a series of books by Rick Riordan and movies that tell the story of Percy Jackson, a modern-day demigod who goes on adventures with his friends to stop the evil plans of the Titans.

  • God of War, a series of video games that tell the story of Kratos, a Spartan warrior who becomes the God of War and battles against various gods and monsters from Greek mythology.

  • Lore Olympus, a webcomic by Rachel Smythe that tells the story of Hades and Persephone in a modern setting with colorful illustrations and humor.

As you can see, Mythology by Edith Hamilton has left an indelible mark on our culture and imagination. It is a book that transcends time and space and connects us with our ancient roots and universal themes.

The Benefits and Challenges of Reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton

Reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton can bring you many benefits. For example:

  • It can enrich your knowledge. By reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton, you can learn about the myths that have shaped Western civilization and culture. You can also discover the similarities and differences between the myths of different cultures and times. You can also find out the meanings and origins of many words, phrases, names, places, etc. that are derived from mythology.

  • It can stimulate your imagination. By reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton, you can enter a world of wonder and magic where anything is possible. You can meet gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, monsters and creatures, who have amazing powers and personalities. You can also witness epic battles, tragic romances, clever tricks, and moral dilemmas that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

  • It can enhance your appreciation of mythology. By reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton, you can enjoy the beauty and artistry of the ancient poets and storytellers who created these myths. You can also appreciate the illustrations and design of the book that bring these myths to life. You can also appreciate the impact and legacy of the book that has inspired generations of readers, writers, artists, and scholars.

However, reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton can also pose some challenges. For example:

  • It can be confusing. Because Mythology by Edith Hamilton covers a lot of myths from different cultures and times, it can be hard to keep track of all the names, events, relationships, etc. that are involved. It can also be confusing to follow the different versions or variations of the same myth that are presented.

  • It can be outdated. Because Mythology by Edith Hamilton was written in 1942, it may not reflect the latest research or discoveries on mythology. It may also contain some errors or inaccuracies that have been corrected or revised by later scholars. It may also use some language or expressions that are no longer appropriate or acceptable today.

  • It can be incomplete. Because Mythology by Edith Hamilton is not a comprehensive or exhaustive book on mythology, it may not include some myths or aspects of mythology that are important or interesting to you. It may also omit some details or explanations that you may want to know more about.

Therefore, if you want to read Mythology by Edith Hamilton, you should be prepared to face these challenges and overcome them. Here are some tips and resources that can help you:

  • Use a glossary or a dictionary. If you encounter a word or a name that you don't know or understand, you can use a glossary or a dictionary to look it up. You can find a glossary at the end of Mythology by Edith Hamilton that explains some of the terms and names used in the book. You can also use an online dictionary such as Merriam-Webster or that can provide definitions and pronunciations.

  • Use a map or a chart. If you want to visualize the locations or the relationships of the characters or events in the myths, you can use a map or a chart to help you. You can find a map of ancient Greece at the beginning of Mythology by Edith Hamilton that shows some of the places mentioned in the book. You can also use an online map such as Google Maps or OpenStreetMap that can show you more details and features. You can also find a chart of the gods and goddesses at the end of Mythology by Edith Hamilton that shows their names, symbols, domains, etc. You can also use an online chart such as or that can show you more information and images.

://">Goodreads or Amazon that provides ratings and comments from other readers.

  • Use a guide or a companion. If you want to learn more or go deeper into the book or a specific myth, you can use a guide or a companion to help you. You can find a guide to Mythology by Edith Hamilton at LitCharts or GradeSaver that provides themes, symbols, quotes, questions, etc. You can also find a companion to Mythology by Edith Hamilton at Amazon or Barnes & Noble that provides additional information and insights.

By using these tips and resources, you can make your reading experience more enjoyable and rewarding. You can also discover new perspectives and connections that will enrich your understanding and appreciation of mythology.

How to Download Mythology by Edith Hamilton for Free

Now that you know everything about Mythology by Edith Hamilton, you may be wondering how you can download it for free as an ebook and enjoy it on your favorite device. Well, we have good news for you: it is possible and easy!

All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  • Go to the Internet Archive website. The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that provides free access to millions of books, movies, music, software, etc. that are in the public domain or have been donated by their owners. You can find the website at

  • Search for Mythology by Edith Hamilton. On the homepage of the website, you will see a search bar where you can type the title of the book or the name of the author. You can also use filters such as media type, language, date, etc. to narrow down your search results.

  • Select the edition you want. Once you have found the book you are looking for, you will see a list of different editions and formats that are available. You can choose the one that suits your preferences and needs. For example, you can choose the 75th anniversary edition with illustrations by Jim Tierney if you want a more visual and artistic experience.

  • Download the ebook file. After you have selected the edition you want, you will see a page with more details and options. You will see a download button that will allow you to download the ebook file in various formats such as PDF, EPUB, MOBI, etc. You can choose the format that is compatible with your device and software.

  • Transfer the ebook file to your device. Once you have downloaded the ebook file to your computer, you can transfer it to your device using a USB cable or a wireless connection. You can also use an online service such as Send Anywhere or Dropbox to upload and download the file.

  • Open the ebook file on your device. After you have transferred the ebook file to your device, you can open it using an ebook reader app such as Kindle, Google Play Books, Moon+ Reader, etc. You can also use a web browser app such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc. to open the file.

And that's it! You have successfully downloaded Mythology by Edith Hamilton for free as an ebook and you can enjoy it on your device anytime and anywhere. You can also share it with your friends and family who may be interested in mythology.

We hope you have found this article helpful and informative. We also hope you have fun reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton and discovering the amazing stories of gods and heroes that have captivated generations of readers.


In conclusion, Mythology by Edith Hamilton is a timeless classic that offers a comprehensive and fascinating introduction to the myths of Greek, Roman, and Norse cultures. It is a book that has influenced and inspired many people in various fields and media. It is also a book that can enrich your knowledge, imagination, and appreciation of mythology. And it is a book that you can download for free as an ebook and enjoy on your


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