Edith Hamilton's Mythology is a great anthology of many ancient Greek and Roman myths and some Norse mythology. Though the book can be taught in its entirety, students will probably feel more engaged if lessons focus in detail on select stories. Mythology is divided into thematically linked sections, allowing teachers to easily create units on specific topics such as creation myths, heroes, or the Trojan War.

Many of the stories involve heroes and other archetypes. A lesson based on Joseph Campbell's archetypal myth and the hero's journey will help students better understand these literary devices. In a class activity, students can discuss how the hero's journey applies to other characters and stories such as Harry Potter or Star Wars. Students will be able to see how these ancient myths remain relevant to modern storytelling.


Key Facts

  • Length: 352 pages
  • Publication Date: 1942
  • Lexile Measure: 1040
  • Recommended Grade Band: 11 – 12

In Mythology, Edith Hamilton provides a detailed overview of ancient Greek and Roman myths and a brief account of Norse mythology. Hamilton offers commentary on the famous classical poets, including Homer, Virgil, and Ovid, who were used as sources. She explains how, as cultures changed, the characterizations of deities and myths also changed.

Content Warning: Mythology contains violence and sex.

Your students will love:

  • Learning about myths that are frequently referenced in literature, pop culture, and everyday life.
  • Understanding the relationships gods and goddesses have with nature, humans, and other deities.

Students may have problems with:

  • Keeping track of the many characters and their ancestry.
  • The advanced vocabulary and complex syntax

Objectives for Teaching Edith Hamilton's Mythology

  • Recount various theories for the origins of myths.
  • Differentiate between classical and earlier, primitive myths.
  • Recognize the chief Olympian gods and goddesses and their functions.
  • Analyze the reasons and need for mythological monsters.
  • Recognize mythological allusions in poetry, fiction, nonfiction books, and everyday conversations.
  • Explain how the Norse and Greek philosophies of life differ and how these philosophies affect the mythological beliefs of people.

Key Elements and Techniques

  • Archetype
  • Epic Hero
  • Irony
  • Omen
  • Omniscient Narrator
  • Symbolism

Themes and Motifs

Heroism — Hamilton looks at a number of myths about heroes, which depict the actions or traits that make the characters heroic as well as the faults that cause their downfalls.

Related Works:

War — Mythology includes myths about the Trojan War, including the stories of Odysseus and Achilles.

Related Works:

Love — The story of Cupid and Psyche and other tales of lovers portray the consuming nature of love and the dedication romantic partners feel for one another.

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There are numerous movies based on the myths in this anthology. Some notable films are The Trojan Women (1971), Oedipus the King (1968), and Jason and the Argonauts (1963).

External Resources

Available from Prestwick House:

Title Available Formats
Edith Hamilton's Mythology

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