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Mythology | Study Guide

Edith Hamilton

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Mythology | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 1st generation

    Heaven and Earth give birth to the Titans and a number of monsters.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • 1st generation

    The monsters are exiled to the depths of the earth and the Titans take control, led by Cronus.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • 2nd generation

    Fearing defeat, the Titan Cronus eats his first five children, but Rhea hides the sixth, Zeus.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • 2nd generation

    Zeus defeats Cronus, frees his siblings, banishes the Titans, and becomes king of the gods.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • 2nd generation

    Zeus and his siblings have additional children, establishing the 12 major gods of Olympus.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • 3rd generation

    Jason becomes Greece's first hero by completing the Quest of the Golden Fleece.

    Part 2, Chapter 1
  • 3rd generation

    Zeus's child with a mortal grows up to be the hero Perseus, who defeats a gorgon and a sea monster.

    Part 3, Chapter 1
  • 3rd generation

    Greece's greatest hero Hercules completes 12 labors to appease Zeus's jealous wife, Hera.

    Part 3, Chapter 3
  • 4th generation

    Heroes of Greece lead armies to Troy after the Trojan prince Paris steals the Greek queen Helen.

    Part 4, Chapter 1
  • 4th generation

    Odysseus's ships venture for 20 years around the seas as Odysseus returns from the Trojan War.

    Part 4, Chapter 3
  • 4th generation

    After the Trojan War, Aeneas ventures to Italy where, after more wars, he founds the city of Rome.

    Part 4, Chapter 4

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Introduction to Classical Mythology Edith Hamilton outlines how the myths of ancient Greece came to be, describing these myths as one of the first literar... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 1 The Titans were the first gods, sometimes called the Elder Gods, notable for their enormous size and strength. Cronus ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 In contrast with the intrigues and schemes of the Olympian gods, two earth gods are regarded as "mankind's best friends"... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 Out of Chaos and nothingness emerges Love, which creates Light and Day. Then Heaven and Earth, known as Uranus and Gaea,... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 Io is a Greek princess whom Zeus seduces in her dreams before consummating the affair. Hera is suspicious of her husba... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 1 Venus (Aphrodite) becomes jealous of a young princess named Psyche (which means soul), whose beauty and sweetness become... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 2 Pyramus and Thisbe, a story that appears in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, grow up in homes next to ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 3 The Quest of the Golden Fleece originates in the story of a prince named Phrixus, whose father Athamas takes a second wi... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 4 Phaëthon learns from his mortal mother, Clymene, that his father is Helios, the sun god. When father and son meet, the... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 1 King Acrisius of Argos fears his daughter Danaë is having a son because the child is prophesied to one day kill Acrisius... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 2 Theseus's father, Aegeus, is an Athenian king who leaves Theseus and his mother in her home in southern Greece. Before A... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 3 Hercules is the son of Zeus and a mortal named Alcmena, but he is raised as the son of her husband, Amphitryon. Zeus vis... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 4 Atalanta's parentage is not clear, but it is apparent her father is disappointed at having a daughter. He leaves the inf... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 1 The conflict leading to the Trojan War begins when the goddess of discord, Eris, is excluded from the wedding party fo... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 2 Achilles knows he is fated to die in Troy after he kills Hector. Near the city gates Paris shoots an arrow, guided by Ap... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 3 After the Trojan War ends, Athena and Poseidon turn against the Greeks they once supported because the Greeks fail to re... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 4 Aeneas is Venus's (Aphrodite's) son and second only to Hector in the Trojan Army. He escapes with his father and son w... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 1 The gods favor Tantalus, a son of Zeus, but he returns their favor by killing his son Pelops, cooking him, and serving... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 2 Cadmus is Europa's brother, who is sent to look for her after Zeus assumes the form of a bull and kidnaps her. Cadmus ... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 3 Cecrops is the first king of Attica, the country surrounding Athens. In some stories, he is said to be half human and ... Read More
Part 6, Chapter 1 Midas is a king of Phrygia who takes in a drunken man named Silenus. When Midas returns Silenus to Bacchus, the god gr... Read More
Part 6, Chapter 2 Either the goat who nurses baby Zeus or the owner of the goat who nurses Zeus, Amalthea possesses the "Horn of Plenty,... Read More
Part 7, Introduction to Norse Mythology Edith Hamilton describes Asgard, the home of the Norse gods, as a "grave and solemn place," in sharp contrast with the r... Read More
Part 7, Chapter 1 Signy's brother is the hero Sigmund. Her husband kills their father, Volsung, and captures Sigmund, but Signy frees him.... Read More
Part 7, Chapter 2 The Norse gods are aloof and heroic. Odin, their king, the All-father, gives men the knowledge of Runes—powerful magical... Read More
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