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Insect Mythology Paperback – December 18, 2000

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Insect Mythology + How to Know the Insects + Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Club Press; 1st edition (December 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595150179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595150175
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gene Kritsky is Professor of Biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph and Ron Cherry is a Research Entomologist at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By P. Jeanne Romans on May 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ants, beetles, and flies... Oh, my! You'll find these and more in this bestiary of the insect world. Whether your interest in insect mythology is sparked by your favorite scarab bracelet or is of a more scholarly nature, this volume is a valuable resource.
Although you may find brief references to the mythological roles of insects in individual societies, here you have them assembled from both the Old and New Worlds for comparison and contrast. The ant, lauded for its industry by the Chinese, becomes the spiteful, diseased villain of the Pueblo Indians. Throughout the cultures included here, myths use the characteristics of insects to create a symbology recognizable from common usage. The expression "busy as a bee" indicates a cultural respect for the bee's reputation as a hard worker that seems to be the consensus of many cultures. On the other hand, you have the Egyptians giving credit to the fly for its persistence which might be more difficult to honor.
The Old World section begins with early naturalists who made mythology part of our science, thanks to their classical education. You'll find the scarab with other insects of Egyptian lore and an update on the insects of the Bible. New translations have made it necessary to change more than half of the King James Version references on which many studies have been based. It seems the poetic license of translation extended to the insect world. The more entomologically correct translations are recommended along with a table based on the Revised English Bible.
The New World chapters discuss the insects found in Mesoamerican astronomy and Native American mythology. The familiar constellations take on a whole new dimension in the interpretations of Mayan and other cultures.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gary Sprandel on May 9, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All cultures use myth to explain what they see or can't understand. As prevalent as insects are, it makes sense that there are myths on the origin of insects, and myths where insects are symbolic. This short, well-illustrated book introduces interesting topics such as "archaeoastronomy" or "parallel mythology", where separated cultures having similar myths. Examples include the metamorphism of butterflies and negative connotations of the flies (with the Navaho "Big Fly" being a striking exception).
The entomological etymology (word origin) was enriching, and I most enjoyed the Greek origin (psyche) of butterfly and soul. The chapter on arthropod references in the Bible, was helpful, and if nothing else highlights the prevalence of locust in the Middle East. "Go to the ant, you sluggard, watch her ways and get wisdom..." has long been a favorite of mine.
With my own interest in Odonata, I appreciated images of the Haidu tattoo of the mythical dragonfly and Navaho sand painting. I would also refer to the Oglala Sioux dragonfly symbolism in the Sacred Hoop (see Ed McGaa - Mother Earth Spirituality). This book also initiates thoughts on how the symbolism is still with us today, such as the Death's head moth in the "Silence of the Lamb".
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