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The encyclopedia of Celtic mythology and folklore
Monaghan, Patricia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Facts On File, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvi, 512 pages ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL900 .M66 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BL900 .M66 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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This reference offers a broad overview of the elements that constitute and characterize Celtic mythology and folklore. Approximately 1000 entries cover such topics as mythic figures; heroic figures; narrative and epic cycles; sacred places and objects; and theories and controversies.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Celtic mythology is a mystery even to the experts. Trying to sort out what is purely Celtic and what has been altered by the Greeks, Romans, and Christians is an impossible task. Trying to reconcile written records with archeological evidence is difficult if not impossible. The reader is then left with a jumble of names, stories, traditions, and places under the rubric "Celtic mythology." This latest attempt to bring order out of chaos is an encyclopedia of approximately 1,000 entries covering individuals both mythological and quasi-historical, epics, themes, religious concepts, places, and artifacts. Irish mythology predominates, but continental Celtic figures, even those who are only a name in a local region, such as Britovius, are included. Organized alphabetically, the entries range in size from several sentences to more than a page. Many end with a short list of sources. The work concludes with a seven-page bibliography and an index with major entries in boldface. An introduction explains Celtic history and culture and describes how the author has handled the entries, especially in regard to spelling. Other dictionaries and encyclopedias have tackled this topic. An Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology 0 (Contemporary, 2000) uses a thematic approach, with chapters on druids, fairies, etc. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology 0 (ABC-CLIO, 1992) uses alphabetical entries and has a bibliography but does not include sources with each entry. Another volume, Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend0 (Thames and Hudson, 1992), has 400 entries. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore0 has more entries and provides sources for many of them. In libraries with a high demand for or interest in Celtic mythology, this would be a worthwhile purchase. For libraries with moderate interest that already own one of the earlier encyclopedias or dictionaries, this would be an optional purchase. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Aimed at the general reader, this reference work provides concise information on Celtic traditions from Ireland, Scotland, Britain, Wales, Brittany, central France, and Galicia in northwestern Spain. It includes descriptions of the Celts' religious beliefs, rituals, stories, songs, tales, and oral histories. Monaghan (The Book of Goddesses and Heroines), who teaches mythology at DePaul University, starts off with an introductory overview of the fundamental aspects of Celtic history, language, society, and religion. She then arranges some 1000 entries alphabetically in dictionary format, which average between one to two paragraphs in length. The descriptions include cross references to other entries in the volume, as well as citations to relevant information sources. There is also an extensive bibliography and a helpful index. The work is most comparable to Miranda Green's Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend (without the illustrations and at a significantly higher cost); it is not as comprehensive as James Mackillop's Dictionary of Celtic Mythology or Peter Ellis's Dictionary of Celtic Mythology but is more accessible. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-Eloise R. Hitchcock, Middle Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Murfreesboro (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Ancient Celtic peoples have made lasting contributions to current literature and culture in many parts of the world. Monaghan's 12-page introduction summarizes their possible origins, religious beliefs, languages, society, mythology, and relations with other cultures while the approximately 1000 alphabetically arranged entries describe gods, goddesses, heroes, folkloric elements, sacred sites, objects, and place names. Listings are by the most commonly accepted spelling of each item. Variant spellings often follow. Although an extensive bibliography is appended, many individual entries are followed by the bibliographic sources pertaining to them, complete down to specific pages. The well-designed index indicates each main article's page number in boldface, but also lists page numbers of related articles. This is a complex subject pieced together from Roman and Christian writings, oral traditions and archaeological artifacts, yet the author makes it comprehensible. Readers who enjoy compilations such as Joseph Jacobs's Celtic Fairy Tales (Dover, 1968) can use this encyclopedia to learn more about the interrelation of characters and the culture that created them. Students desiring illustrated narrative descriptions of Celtic culture and mythology may want to turn to Proinsias MacCana's Celtic Mythology (Peter Bedrick, 1985; o.p.) or Timothy R. Roberts's The Celts in Myth and Legend (MetroBooks, 1995).-Ann G. Brouse, Steele Memorial Library, Elmira, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Monaghan continues the reference obsession with things Celtic found in Miranda Green's Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend (CH, Jul'92), Arthur Cotterell's Encyclopedia of Mythology: Classical Celtic, Norse (1996; updated ed., 1999), James MacKillop's Dictionary of Celtic Mythology (1998), and Bob Curran's An Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology (2000). Monaghan (De Paul Univ.) deftly uses her research interest in literature and mythology to flavor her entries by linking the places and characters of Celtic lore to specific ancient and modern myths, writings, and chronicles. The 1,000 alphabetic entries provide full citations to all sources consulted. An unusually comprehensive introductory essay discusses the identity of the Celts and their appearances in classical literature while exploring the languages of the Celtic group, the importance of oral tradition and extant textual sources, the rebirth of Celtic learning under the impetus of the late-19th-century folklore movement, the ancient Celtic social order, and religion and the "fairy faith." A work of high quality, but optional given the number of similar works in print. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. College and university libraries. R. B. M. Ridinger Northern Illinois University



Celtic peoples were talented storytellers. Like many others, they passed down recollections of history and conveyed religious ideas orally, developing a strong mythological and folkloric tradition through the generations. Christianity brought literacy to the Celts, and converts who became Christian monks wrote down many of the old stories, recording them in several languages, including Irish, Welsh, and Latin. These stories provide a rich, panoramic view of Celtic culture. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore is a fascinating reference to the myths and folklore originating from the people of the Celtic lands--Ireland, Scotland, Celtic Britain, Wales, Brittany and central France, Galicia, and the smaller islands where the Celts lived. This accessible book offers a broad overview of the elements that constitute and characterize Celtic mythology and folklore, including figures, deities, events, stories, and places. Concise A-to-Z entries provide brief descriptions of the subjects, emphasizing the original sources of myths and traditions and including bibliographic references. The encyclopedia is a valuable asset anywhere myths, legends, folklore, and Irish culture and history are popular. Approximately 1,000 entries cover: Heroic figures Historical places Mythic figures Narrative and epic cycles Sacred places and objects Themes and religious concepts Theories and controversies and more. Excerpted from The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.