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Celtic Gods and Heroes (Celtic, Irish) Paperback – September 18, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0486414416 ISBN-10: 0486414418

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Celtic Gods and Heroes (Celtic, Irish) + Celtic Myths and Legends + The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore (Celtic, Irish)
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Product Details

  • Series: Celtic, Irish
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (September 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486414418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486414416
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

Customer Reviews

This book was fairly interesting, but felt a little boring.
looking
God and Heroes of the Celts is an excellent, approachable, rich text that provides a wonderful introduction to ancient Celtic myth, religion, and culture.
Juushika
This is definitely one of the best books regarding Celtic Mythology I have ever read.
Carolina HL

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Readalots on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marie-Louise Sjoestedt's 1940 classic "Celtic Gods and Heroes" (2000 English language edition) is a must read for every student of pre medieval western European folklore, religion, and mythology. This brief study (only 95 pages) concludes with a thorough 4-page bibliography and precision 4-page index.

Sjoestedt's central point with this original study is that students should not project contemporary understandings on ancient narrative. Indeed, much of her work simply wants to report on the pre Roman Celtic cultures of Ireland, Britain, and Gaul.

Early on admitting that Celtic sources are few Professor Sjoestedt reviews Celtic primary source narratives. She adeptly proves that Irish, British and Gallic gods and heroes found their origins in tribal life.

These primordial beings were born, fought epic battles, gave birth, caroused in huge banquets, founded kingly dynasties, and died from intrigue and war. Unlike immortal Greco-roman deities the Celtic divine ones were never their counter-parts. The Celtic pantheon maintained warrior gods and goddesses who could also double as fertility and agrarian divines.

For war the Celts had, at least, 59 different tribal deities, a fact that seemed to confuse the conquering Romans (who gave the name "Mars" to each Gallic war-god). Rome's Mercury had 19 such Gallic synonymous monikers. Sjoestedt finds, curiously, the Celts had no specific love god or goddess.

Perhaps most interesting is Celtic divinity's fascinating with "threes". The Gauls worshiped three great gods. Early Irish believed in six (apparently a profound derivative of three) ancient races prior to the current population. Three principal festivals (spring, fall, and winter) blanket other lesser annual celebrations.
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Format: Paperback
God and Heroes of the Celts is an excellent, approachable, rich text that provides a wonderful introduction to ancient Celtic myth, religion, and culture. Sjoestedt discusses the traits of Celtic mythology, the Gods of the Continental Celts, the Mother-Goddess concept (in Ireland specifically), the concept of the Chieftain God, the relationship between the physical and mythical/spiritual world, and the role of the hero within and the hero outside of the tribe. These topic selections cover a great deal of important concepts in ancient Celtic mythology and society, and while the chapters aren't very long, Sjoestedt makes clear and important arguments that are easy to read without being innately obvious or insignificant. My only regret about this book was the length: I wish it had been longer, covered more subjects, and contained more depth (such as contradictions within the myths and more information of the various Gods and Goddess [or God/Goddess types]). Nonetheless, this is a readable, accurate, useful introduction to ancient Celtic religion, and I highly recommend it to the curious reader both as a good read and as a lead-in to further study.

Perhaps the best part about this book is its approachability. The shortness of the text and strength of the arguments could make for a dense, difficult text, but instead Gods and Heroes of the Celts is easy to follow while still containing well-reasoned, strong arguments about the nature of Celtic belief and mythology. The best books on ancient Celtic religion are generally academic texts that can make for difficult reading, and so this text serves a necessary function by introducing the topic and indicating key themes in a way that is accessible to even the newest readers.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Laoiseach on August 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
This little book packs a whallop! Despite it's small size, it is packed with information on Celtic mythology and culture. It is an easy read, too, which is rare for books with scholarly heft and cred. Buy multiple copies, so you can loan this out to friends who are interested in actual Celtic paganism.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Kelton on March 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
It would be nice if this book was longer. It's barely over a hundred pages, and the author doesn't go into any tremendous depth, which is why it should only be seen as an introduction. She focuses a great deal on Irish tales and mythologies, but only, as she says, because that's where the greatest survival of these topics has occurred. Sjoestedt has a wonderfully gripping style of writing, informative while not too dense, though she occasionally has the habit of leaving a concept or theory left dangling, leaving the reader wanting more. However, this certainly doesn't detract too much from the book's value, and is a wonderful motivation for looking more into the subject--smart move! Seeing as that it was published originally in the late 40's, it obviously doesn't take advantage of more recent scholarship, though neither does this take from the book's worth.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Keating-Butler on October 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before discovering Celtic Gods and Heroes by Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, I read book after book on the subject, never satisfied with the "angle" or "peek" provided by other authors on the subject. Yet this book, despite its slim size, opened wide the subject for me and now I've the context necessary to read the others with better appreciation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carolina HL on June 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is definitely one of the best books regarding Celtic Mythology I have ever read. Very complete, a must read.
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