Mythology by Edith Hamilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this book as a Junior in High School as part of an English literature class. It was one of the books that fired up my imagination and influenced me when playing Dungeons and Dragons. Recently, I finished the first 5 books of the Percy Jackson series, this brought back a lot of memories of reading this book and being enthralled by the gods and heroes of Greek mythology, so I decided it was time to reread it.
I gave this book 5 stars because of the nostalgia factor, I just have too many good memories of this book to be unbiased about it. I love these stories, the ancient Greeks had imaginations like no other, their religion had colorful characters doing outlandish things. Every hero was the greatest hero of his time, every woman was so beautiful some god or another fell in love with her and wars were fought as much by gods as they were by men. Reading this book, it becomes clear how the ancient Greeks defined the "Heroes Journey" trope and how influential they are even in the modern age, these stories are told over and over again, being given new spins and alternate points of view.
Having said all that, I have to say Edith Hamilton did take a rather dry, analytical approach to retelling these stories. I am sure much of this had to do with the source material being handed down orally for a thousand years before being written down in Greek or Latin and then translated a dozen times after that. None the less, this is a good read and an imporant part of everyones cultural education.
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