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Dictionary of Ancient Deities Paperback – July 19, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195145046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195145045
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A valuable resource for quick reference and for beginning research on the topic."--Library Journal

About the Author


Patricia Turner is a writer and researcher living in Daly City, California. The late Charles Russell Coulter, of Los Angeles, was a novelist and engineer.

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Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I don't know if I could ever "finish" this book.
Glenny40
This book is a must have for any student's of comparative mythologies or religions.
Vairochana
The tome does wonderful job at collecting the well known western world mythos.
VulCorLup

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Chelle on July 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Go to the mythology section of any bookstore and peruse the shelves--what is the ratio of Greek/Roman & Norse mythology to any other? As much as I love delving deeper into the more well known myths/religions, a little variety would be wonderful. And it just so happened that one day it was necessary.
I was hunting about for some information on Egyptian and Slavic mythology, but found precious little on the latter and only a little more on the former. That's when I came across the *Dictionary of Ancient Deities*. I flipped to the index and found every name that I was looking for(including some obscure ones that I had found no mention of in any other books.) This wonderful reference tool spans just about every continent and gives a concise accounting of people, places, etc.
Sure, the entries may not be incredibly long, but it's the best starting place I've yet to find. And even just thumbing through it, stopping when an interesting name or ritual popped out at me, gave me some interesting writing ideas. *The Dictionary of Ancient Deities* is surely a must for anyone wishing to explore world mythology.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By VulCorLup on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
As someone with a passion with worlds religions I was psyched at having such a reference book that promised a collection of world deities. The tome does wonderful job at collecting the well known western world mythos.
The books categorizes powers, gods, and spiritual place in alphabetical order, crossing referencing with alternate/alias names as well.
So far this book contains almost every pantheon known to man, collected in a single volume.
However, when it comes to the mythos of China and the Celestial Bureaucracy, I was saddened that many of the well known gods were either not listed or were in one of the many other pinyin spellings. Example, unless you are familiar with Haunaman, you will not find any info about Sun Wu Kong the Monkey King. Likewise Guan Yu, a chinese God of War from who was a general of the Three Kingdoms era is likewise listed under a Pinyin name that I found by accident. Hopefully in a later edition, the deities of China can be cleaned up. An appendix categorizing deities by pantheons and cultures would have been an excellent help as well and hopefully would be found in later editions.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Vairochana on July 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
This Dictionary is massive and I mean that in a good way. In our modern age of internet search engines galore, one might ask is such a book necessary? As a person who is regularly using the popular search engines to research and track down esoteric and occult knowledge, the answer is an absolute whole-hearted emphatic Yes! Despite my tenacity and drive to track down information that I am seeking, I find it 99.9999% of the time, but when i do find the answer, usually that .0001%, it is very miniscule at best shedding little light upon my original inquiry. Well I am pleased to see that both Deities and rites that are obscure are found within the pages of this text. If I was too sit down and go through all the pantheons and related subject matter culture by culture, even reading at my fastest speed, while maintaining understanding, it will probably take me at least 6 to 8 weeks to read through all the entries. In terms of content, some of the entries are very short while others are fairly long, as would be the case with any other dictionary or encyclopedia. This book is a must have for any student's of comparative mythologies or religions. The bibliography is also really good for those persons who wish to do additional or more in depth reading on a particular culture's religious iconography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glenny40 on April 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seriously. I've had this book in my wishlist for a long time. I finally bought and received it this week. It is by far one of the best in the "Encyclopedic/Dictionary" format. There are literally thousands of names to be found. Most entries have good descriptions but a reader can usually take a name and research more on the internet.

One of the pluses of this book is the author's inclusion of regional sources for the subject matter. For example the entry "Zeus" will have its primary region of origin, i.e. (Greek), next to the subject's name. Other examples include Arawn (Celtic, Irish), Mama Allpa (Inca, Peru), etc. Another thing I found useful was the inclusion of name variances for many entries (for example: Leshy (Slavic)--also known as Miehts-Hozjin, or Khenti Amenti (Egypt)-- also known as Ophois, Up-uaut).

A few more things I should note: This book does not have just "gods and goddesses." It also includes entries to basically any type of 'mythical' being from mythical heroes and heroines, to demons, humanoids, vampires, angels, fairies, spirits, etc. This book also contains mythical creatures and beasts (pegasus, Cerberus, dragons, etc). It also contains a lot of places in mythology such as the Greek Underworld, Midgard, The Otherworld, etc. You can tell the authors spent a great deal of time and research in creating this wonderful book. They almost certainly have a deep respect and admiration for ancient religions, mythologies, folklore, etc. I truly think it shows with all the work that went into cataloging all the entries.

I don't know if I could ever "finish" this book. It's one of those resource materials a person will always go back to.
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