Book number: 94351 Product format: Paperback Author: CHARLES SQUIRE

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Bibliophile price £6.50
Published price £12.99

In this classic study from 1919, the author introduces Celtic mythology with stories of the struggle between the older races of Partholon, Nemed and Fomor, who finally gave birth to the reigning family of Gaelic gods, in the same way as the defeat of the Roman Titans. The Gaelic Fomor were hideously deformed, the most terrible being Balor, who was only allowed to live on condition that an eye infected by poison was always kept shut. When Nuada and Dagda emerged as chief gods, Dagda fathered Brigit, still a familiar legendary figure and originally a goddess of fire and hearth. Mider was a Gaelic Pluto traversing the Underworld. Christian writers later tamed the pagan gods by incorporating their names as ancient kings and heroes into the annals of the country, and Finn, Fergus, Cuchulainn and Deirdre are some of the resulting myths. Apart from native British gods, others from further afield were brought into the pantheon by conquest, for instance Serapis and Mithras who arrived on Hadrian's Wall alongside the soldiers' Roman gods, or the unique goddess of war Nemetona celebrated in Bath. Celtic legend has come down to us primarily from the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, but the exploits of Arthur, Guinevere and Sir Lancelot as described by Malory or Tennyson are far removed from their Celtic origins. Hades can be identified with Uther Pendragon, while the primitive myth of Pwyll resurfaces in the person of Pelleas. According to the Mabinogion, Pwyll, or Hades, had his court at Narberth in Dyfed, but when he drove off a giant stranger's beautiful hounds, he was compelled as penance to impersonate the stranger in his kingdom and household for a year, an underworld myth with echoes of the Gawain story. 303pp, paperback, line drawings.

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ISBN 9781398802254

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