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ISBN: 9780198609674
A comprehensive and accessible survey of one of the world's richest mythological traditions. It covers the people, themes, concepts, places, and creatures of Celtic mythology, saga, legend, and folklore from both ancient and modern traditions, in 4,000 entries ranging from brief definitions to short essays. An introductory essay explores the origins and identity of Celts, the history of the Celtic revival, and the meaning and role of mythology. An excellent source for those curious about the mystical myths of the Celts. The full richness of Celtic mythology, with legends, sagas, and folklore, with traditions, places, and personalities, are now evocatively yet concisely conveyed in James MacKillop's dictionary. The 4,000 entries include brief descriptions (such as the short explanation of Arthen, the bear-and-river god of early Wales) as well as extended stories of bloody vengeance (following actual or supposed treachery), romantic love, and frequent adultery, plus tales of mysterious monsters on lonely hillocks. From Deirdre and Cúchulainn to leprechauns, from Galahad, cauldrons, and archaeology to druids, MacKillop provides an impressive amount of lore and research in a reliable, browsable, and enjoyable dictionary. --Stephanie Gold With the possible exceptions of the Arthurian legend and the saga of Tristan and Iseult, both of which can be traced to Celtic sources, the mythological world of the ancient Celts is not as familiar to most Americans as are the classical myths of Greece and Rome. This gap in our cultural literacy is unfortunate, for, as this dictionary reveals, the Celtic peoples developed a rich and fascinating tradition of legends and myths. In compiling this volume, MacKillop, an English professor who specializes in Celtic studies, drew not only upon texts written in Irish and Welsh but also on Breton, Cornish, Manx, and Scottish Gaelic sources and traditions. In addition to gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, creatures, and other mythological figures, the approximately 4,000 entries cover real and imaginary places, archaeological sites, animals and plants, narrative cycles, and ideas. Entries, which frequently include variant spellings and etymologies, vary in length from a single identifying phrase to more than four pages, but the majority are one or two paragraphs. Asterisks within the text of an article indicat