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The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images Updated ed. Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520253988
ISBN-10: 0520253981
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"A magnificent study."—Joseph Campbell

"This splendidly illustrated book brings together an archeological documentation hardly to be found elsewhere."—Mircea Eliade

About the Author

Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) was Professor of European Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Curator of Old World Archaeology at what is now the Fowler Museum of Cultural History. She was the author of many books including The Living Goddesses (UC Press).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Updated ed. edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520253981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520253988
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #883,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By mike gurski on February 22, 2009
For those who have not begun the journey through the numerous works of the late Dr. Gimbutas, this early analysis is as good a place as any to start. Her painstaking research, archealogical digs and discoveries, not to mention controversial conclusions of the matriarchal culture that thrived prior to the repeated waves of the Indo-European incursions through Old Europe, are a breath of fresh air into the mythos of the Great Mother. Be warned though, Gimbutas' work can be captivating and like me you could find yourself reading through all her successive works. For the archealogical traveller, Gimbutas' also opens up an itinerary worth following to see for oneself, the various 'finds' from her digs. For those looking for a broader guide to the myth of the Goddess, explore The Myth of the Goddess, Evolution of an Image by Anne Baring and Jules Cashford. However, for the experience of direct discovery and articulate analyis, plus a solid repetoire of images, figures and maps to stimulate the left brain Gimbutas sets the standard. My only regret is that I did not discover her work sooner and if I had would have made the effort to meet her in person.
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This book is loaded with images not found in Gimbutas' later works, so if images are your interest, it's valuable.

I have some issues with the writing and the thoughts expounded, more so than what is usually brought up around her work in general. This book was written in the 70's and reflects what are now outdated idioms and platitudes. I don't have a problem overlooking that though. She did a massive service to our culture and the lost ones by methodically unearthing and documenting so much material.
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This book provided some excellent information for a presentation I made recently on the history of butterflies as a timeless subject of the visual arts. The book is well-written, scholarly, and packed with references. Now I'm reading the rest of the book!
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Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) was a Lithuanian-American archaeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe"; she was a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard and was made a Fellow of Harvard's Peabody Museum. She wrote a number of books, such as The Language of the Goddess, The Living Goddesses, The Civilization of the Goddess, etc. Her work is also summarized in the documentary, Signs Out of Time: The Story of Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas. [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 304-page paperback edition.]

She wrote in the Preface to the revised (1982) edition of this book, “Much new material on the mythical imagery of Old Europe has emerged during the ten-year interval between the writing of [this book] and the present edition, but the basic concepts have remained unchanged. The new discoveries have served only to strengthen and support the view that the culture called ‘Old Europe’ was characterized by a dominance of woman in society and worship of a Goddess incarnating the creative principle as Source and Giver of All. In this culture the male element, man and animal, represented spontaneous and life-stimulating---but not life-generating---powers.
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