SPOTLIGHT ON Edith Hamilton, American Educator

“Father Zeus never helps liars or those who break their oaths.” — A warning to the Greek army at Troy

“For the most part the immortal gods were of little use to human beings and often they were quite the reverse of useful: Zeus a dangerous lover for mortal maidens and completely incalculable in his use of the terrible thunderbolt; Ares the make of war and a general pest; Hera with no idea of justice when she was jealous as she perpetually was; Athena, also a war maker, and wielding the lightning’s sharp lance quite as irresponsibly as Zeus did; Aphrodite using her power chiefly to ensnare and betray. They were beautiful, radiant company, to be sure, and their adventures made excellent stories; but when they were not positively harmful, they were capricious and undependable and in general mortals got on best without them.”


The Chariot of Zeus (1879 illustration from St...

The Chariot of Zeus (1879 illustration from Stories from the Greek Tragedians by Alfred Church) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If that is what mankind wants or needs, then we already have that. Our media creates a graphic picture of a circus where all the performers are politicians, mainly in Washington, D.C. but also campaigning around various parts of the country as well. Alright they’re not gods; they’re demigods. But you get the picture.

Both quotes were extracted from a book by Edith Hamilton, titled “Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes”. The original copyright date was 1942 and the renewed copyright date was 1969. This work has been deemed a “definitive volume” of gods, mortals, monsters, and warriors; which means it is considered an essential reference for anyone interested in studying Western mythology.

Edith Hamilton, Author Page at

Edith Hamilton (12 August 1867 – 31 May 1963) was an American educator and author who was “recognized as the greatest woman Classicist”. You can read her condensed biography at Distinguished Women of Past and Present.

True she was a pioneer, as far as a woman in her time making advancements in the field of education, but she was also very fortunate to have a father and a sister who supported her initiatives and efforts. Her father saw to it that she developed her mind and her sister was by her side as they both pursued their higher education goals. The late Ms. Hamilton also authored “The Greek Way” and “The Roman Way”, published in the 1930s.

So pleased were the modern day Greeks with her efforts that she was made an honorary citizen of Athens in 1957.   Edith Hamilton (1867 -1963), distinguished American educator and writer, made her mark in women’s history and will always be remembered for her brilliant works as a classical scholar. Ms. Hamilton is a role model for high-achieving women.

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5 responses to “SPOTLIGHT ON Edith Hamilton, American Educator

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