He was the vine, which is always pruned as nothing else that bears fruits; every branch cut away, only the bare stock left; through the winter a dead thing to look at. Like Persephone Dionysus died with the coming of the cold. Unlike her, his death was terrible: he was torn to pieces, in some stories by the Titans, in others by Heras orders. Echo and Narcissus, a myth from Ovid's Metamorphoses, revolves around a love stricken nymph Echo and a handsome Greek youth who fell in love with his own reflection. His beauty was so great, all the girls who saw him longed to be his, but he would have none of them. This was very hard, but hardest of all when Echo, too, with all the other maidens, loved Narcissus. Still she lives in places like that, and they say she has so wasted away with longing that only her voice now is left to her. So Narcissus went on his cruel way, a scorner of love. As Narcissus bent over a clear pool for a drink and saw there his own reflection, on the moment he fell in love with it. Where it had lain there was blooming a new and lovely flower, and they called it by his name, Narcissus. But those same unsteady hands that saved her betrayed her, too, for as she hung over him, ravished at the sight of him and unable to deny herself the bliss of filling her eyes with his beauty, some hot oil fell from the lamp upon his shoulder. Love cannot live where there is no trust, he said, and flew away. The God of Love! Orpheus and Eurydice Orpheus, the greatest musician that ever lived, and his love, the beautiful Eurydice. The tale of Orpheus and Eurydice proves that love is stronger than death. Where he first met and how he wooed the maiden he loved, Eurydice, we are not told, but it is clear that no maiden he wanted could have resisted the power of his song. Persephone and Hades Persephone, the lovely Goddess of Spring. Suddenly she caught sight of something quite new to her, a bloom more beautiful by far than any she had ever seen, a strange glory of a flower, a marvel to all, immortal gods and mortal men. Wondering she stretched out her hands to take the lovely plaything, but before she touched it a chasm opened in the earth and out of it coal-black horses sprang, drawing a chariot and driven by one who had a look of dark splendor, majestic and beautiful and terrible. As the two flew away from Crete the delight of this wonderful power went to the boys head. We've all heard stories of the invincible Achilles, brave Hector, cunning Odysseus, noble Priam, foolish Paris, beautiful Helen, gentle Andromache, greedy Agamemnon and violent Menelaus. The cause of this long-lasting fame was a war told of in one of the worlds greatest poems, the Iliad, and the cause of the war went back to a dispute between three jealous goddesses. The judgment of Paris Paris was chosen by Zeus to determine which of three goddesses was the most beautiful. Hera offered to make him king, Athena offered wisdom and victory in battle, Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. Of course all the goddesses wanted it, but in the end the choice was narrowed down to three: Aphrodite, Hera, and Pallas Athena. He told them to go to Mount Ida, near Troy, where the young prince Paris, also called Alexander, was keeping his fathers sheep. Paris, though a royal prince, was doing shepherds work because his father Priam, the King of Troy, had been warned that this prince would some day be the ruin of his country, and so had sent him away. Hera promised to make him Lord of Europe and Asia; Athena, that he would lead the Trojans to victory against the Greeks and lay Greece in ruins; Aphrodite, that the fairest woman in all the world should be his. Selene and Endymion Selene, the goddess of the moon, fell in love with the handsome shepherd Endymion. Wondrously beautiful he lies on the mountainside, motionless and remote as if in death, but warm and living, and night after night the Moon visits him and covers him with her kisses. She is said to have been Apollos first love. Her father, the river-god Peneus, was greatly tried because she refused all the handsome and eligible young men who wooed her. Apollo and his laurel shall be joined together wherever songs are sung and stories told. The beautiful shining-leaved tree seemed to nod its waving head as if in happy consent.
This is the second in a series of six reviews focusing on books about Greek mythology. The books included in this comparative evaluation are: Bulfinch's Mythology (Modern Library Paperback Edition, 2004) Mythology by Edith Hamilton (originally published in 1942; Back Bay Books edition of 1998) The Greek Myths by Robert Graves (Penguin Books combined edition, 1992) Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece by Gustav Schwab (Pantheon Books, copyright 1946) Don't Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth C. I based the comparative evaluation on three main general criteria - readability, accuracy, and scope (breadth and depth of coverage); I also looked at how each book handled two particular examples -- the life of Hercules and the story of Philomela and Procne. More details about the comparison can be found in the introduction to the first review: Bulfinch evaluation One of the problems in this whole undertaking is that some of the books on the list are acknowledged to be "classics", which makes it harder to review them objectively. This is one reason why the bowdlerized myths presented to us by Bulfinch, in which each story is rendered moribund by being stripped of all reference to sex, violence, or any hint of unpleasantness, are so unsatisfactory to a 21st century reader. Her enthusiasm for the stories in "Mythology" is evident throughout the book. Finally, it should be noted that Hamilton's retelling of the Greek myths is based solely on her study of the classical literature - she had never been to Greece, and had no archaeological experience. Sometimes Hamilton is opinionated to a fault: "Intelligence did not figure largely in anything he did and was often conspicuously absent." (about Hercules) "The terrifying irrational has no place in classical mythology.
Hamilton took from the best sources to cobble together slick summaries of all your old time myth favorites. The Roman versions are only mentioned, because the Romans stole their myths wholesale from the Greeks. Aside from that, we get a very superficial mention of the Norse myths that takes up maybe the last 5% of the book.
Even the names of my, mortal as they are, relatives and friends. But I think that none of those girls exhibit wisdom, reason and chastity that are the virtues of the goddess their place of work was named after. Prior to reading this book, I thought that Troy is Brad Pitt. This book taught me that Troy was a city and Brad Pitt's name in the movie should have been Achilles. This is really a book that needs to be read by everyone.
Anyways, mythology is always something I was interested in and loved, it's in so much of our everyday life still in the stories we tell and our history. I also really liked how Hamilton told the reader her sources on where she got these stories from and if from different writers, how many years apart they were.
In my research of his work and how it came to be I found a reference to this book by Edith Hamilton, who superseded Mr. Bulfinch in most classrooms. Thus I read this book in an attempt to find a better written encyclopedia. To clarify: this book IS better written than the one by Mr. Bulfinch. As she has said herself in some interviews, her passion was for the Greeks which definitely shows in this book and is my main criticism. Of course that isn't necessary in order to produce a good book but it shows that her views (although she was a scholar) were influenced and limited by the sources she read. While I was pleased to see that Hamilton had included the Volsunga saga in the chapter about Norse mythology (in many books it is replaced by the Nibelungenlied which was penned much later), she dismissed the saga by saying that the story is so well-known thanks to the Nibelungenlied that the original can be told briefly and THAT is an absolute no-go for me. It's a nice book about the very much related mythology of the Greeks and the Romans.
from the intro to chapter 17, The House of Atreus I was stressing out last night over trying to get a handle on the third part of Aeschylus' Oresteia, The Eumenides. I picked up some info somewhere in the edition I'm reading, and finally realized that in the climactic section of the play the Furies are rebranded by Athena into the Eumenides - a name that means Kindly Ones - thus changing them from a group seeking revenge and retribution (the old way that humans responded to murder) to a group which provides a higher moral choice to human kind, through the institution of justice. But before I let it go, I picked up Hamilton's book, and checked out the index entries for Eumenides (248) and Furies (see Erinyes) - so to Erinyes, where among other entries was (Orestes pursued by, 246-248) - which closed the circle. As I started looking through this (to get to my point) I realized that this chapter told the story of this house in a more illuminating way than the somewhat overly cerebral, mammoth introduction in my copy of Oresteia. (view spoiler) Introduction to Classical Myhtology - The mythology of the Greeks - The Greek and Roman Writers of Mythology Part One: The Gods, the Creation, and the Earliest Heroes 1. The Earliest Heroes - Prometheus and Io - Europa - The Cyclops Polyphemus - Flower Myths: Narcissus, Hyacinth, Adonis Part Two: Stories of Love and Adventure 5. The Adventures of Aeneas - Part One: From Troy to Italy - Part Two: The Descent Into the Lower World - Part Three: The War in Italy Part Five: The Great Families of Mythology 17. The House of Atreus - Tantalus and Niobe - Agamemnon and His Children - Iphigenia among the Taurians 18. The Norse Gods - The Creation - The Norse Wisdom GENEALOGICAL TABLES - The Principle Gods - Descendants of Prometheus - Ancestors of Perseus and Hercules - Ancestors of Achilles - The House of Troy - The Family of Helen of Troy - The Royal House of Thebes and the Atreidae - The House of Athens (hide spoiler)
I read this book over the course of most of February, in bits and pieces, and it worked well that way. But my favorite bits were actually her little insights here and there into how the mythology was influenced by the historical culture of the times. Read Harder Challenge 2019: A book of mythology or folklore.
Peter Paul Rubens, Leda and the Swan, in which a woman is raped by Zeus in the form of a swan.
Edith Hamilton, an educator, writer and a historian, was born August 12, 1867 in Dresden, Germany, of American parents and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.A. Her father began teaching her Latin when she was seven years old and soon added Greek, French and German to her curriculum. In 1930, when she was sixty-three years old, she published The Greek Way, in which she presented parallels between life in ancient Greece and in modern times.