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Celtic Myths and Legends (Celtic, Irish) Paperback – November 1, 1990


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

  • Series: Celtic, Irish
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (November 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486265072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486265070
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.2 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
Best of all is the handling of the Irish invasion myths.
Thewsson
It is an excellent primer in Celtic mythology, and I'd recommend it to anyone delving into such.
M. Pete
The first chapter or two are slow reads, but after that it gets a lot better.
"celticson76"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Valdes on December 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Excellent, accurate and detailed work of research. The author has done his homework and reviewed many original sources to give us an awesome insight on the life of the celts and their mithology.
However i didn't give it 5 stars for some political reasons:
1) The author tries every once in a while to "prove" the arian lineage of the celts (it seems that his favorite image of the celts is one of tall, blonde people, when everybody knows that celts were in a rather wide range of height, hair and skin colors).
2) The author blames the druids for the decline in celtic civilization (he considers them more an anchor than the engine behind technological and geopolitical advancements).
3) His vision of the world is a Western vision, not a celtic vision. He speaks about the "menacing and horrifying world of supernatural and Nature" (i'm not sure if that's the correct phrase since i have the spanish translation), something that's opposed to the point of view within the legends.
However, if you can read the book "with a grain of salt", you'll find a treasure of knowledge, well balanced by the independent view of a great researcher.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "lilwolf22" on April 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book, written about 1911 and reproduced many times, is an important historical and mostly complete view of the Celtic people, their culture, legends, religion, and relation to their influence on the development of western civilisation. However, this is not a book for light reading or for those with limited reading capability. It was written in the scholastic style, prevalant at the time. It is somewhat like a textbook, and was probably intended for collegiate or theological education. What makes this book important to anyone wishing to learn about the Celtic peoples, is the very accurate depiction of the myths and characters that comprise the Celtic pantheon. It not only depicts the mythology, but a very accurate depiction of the historical and cultural development of the Celts throughout Europe. It is well suited to individuals engaged in learning about pagan beliefs, or undergoing study of Celtic mystical belief systems for their spiritual development. Serious readers should not be inhibited from completion of this book, due to it's somewhat difficult and scholastic prose. If you want to learn all the necessary legends that influenced the development of modern Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and (partially) British culture, this book is an essential addition to your library. For more specific information on Celtic witchcraft, Druidic lifestyle, or current adaptations of Celtic paganism, more modern and specific texts would be needed for further study.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By June G. Fearn on November 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book provides a good scholarly overview of the old Irish myths. However, if you are looking for a good book with which to learn the myths or to read to your children, this is not it. What it gains in analysis it loses in storytelling. A good book but only to a point.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kelley Heckart on December 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is meant to give the reader a general conception of the subject of the Celtic myths. The stories are too abundant to be added in their full content in a volume of this size.

Celtic Myths and Legends breaks the myths into eight chapters starting with Celts in Ancient History, Religion of the Celts and takes the reader on a trip through the Irish Invasion Myths, Early Milesian Kings, Ultonian Cycle, Ossianic Cycle, Voyage of Maeldun and Myths and Tales of the Cymry. There is a brief, but insightful explanation of the Arthurian Myths. The numerous black and white illustrations reveal the rich clothing and armor of the ancient Celts.

I have read many books on the Celtic myths and this one was the most helpful to me. I like the way the stories are broken up into shorter paragraphs with subtitles to make them easier to read and understand. There are dates given as to when these tales may have been written and when some of the legendary characters may have lived. The dates were really helpful to me and made it easier for me to understand the stories. It is interesting to see how the stories change as Christianity takes over. I think this is a great book for students and general readers who are interested in the Celtic myths.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "celticson76" on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a great book that gives insight into the Celtic myths and legends. At first it is a hard book to start reading. The first chapter or two are slow reads, but after that it gets a lot better. If you want to know about the Celt's and their myths its a great book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Kennedy VINE VOICE on December 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Another reviewer was also put off by Rolleston's insistence on establishing some sort of Aryan racial heritage for the Celts. In 1917 certainly he meant no harm, but in hindsight that kind of talk makes a modern reader shudder. Other than that, I found the book to be a useful, workmanlike overview of Celtic history and legendry. Most surprising and enlightening to me were the Invasion legend cycles and a chapter discussing the "megalith people" and the mysterious dolmens, henges, and barrows that dot the countryside. Nice also to see authentic Celtic and Cymric names in the text, and a pronunciation guide at the back of the book. The writing style is dry and elegant, like most scholarly works of that time period ... I've struggled through much duller material, so I did not find it difficult. I noticed however, that Rolleston has a tendency to change verb tenses between paragraphs while telling a story, which really distracted me every time it happened: "Finn went here, did this, was ready for battle," and then suddenly to present tense "Finn is standing alone looking across the river. He challenges whoever." Tense changes are jarring, and that's something they taught us NOT TO DO in elementary school. I'm surprised an academic writer in the early 20th century could get away with it. Where was his editor?

The tales in this book are told very briefly, with much of the interesting detail stripped away or skipped over ("here a long passage of curious adventures brings the characters to the gates of the dun...") Sometimes I got the feeling Rolleston was writing for an audience that was already familiar with the material he was presenting. Frequently names pop up with no explanation of who they are, leaving you to flip frantically back to see if you missed something.
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