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Celtic Myths And Legends

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  2,256 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Masterful retelling of Irish and Welsh stories and tales of the Ultonian and Ossianic cycles, the voyage of Maeldun, and the myths and tales of the Cymry (Welsh). Favorite and familiar stories of Cuchulain, King Arthur, Deirdre, the Grail, many more. First paperback edition. 58 full-page illustrations. Genealogical Tables.
Paperback, 380 pages
Published 2007 by Barnes & Nobles (first published 1911)
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Rebecca McNutt
This book is one that every reader in the world should have. Enough said. With its stunning illustrations, imaginative tales and classic style, it's really an amazing addition to literature. :)
Going to put this aside for awhile.

The title is very deceiving. This is more or less a history book..and very dryly written.

It is interesting but not what I expected.

Will come back to it at another time.
Wow, this book is really old! Both when it was published (early 1900s) and the particular copy I have.
The introduction, history and religion chapters are outdated- there is a bit of a Noble Savage framing of the Celts and he takes seriously the fabricated "Barddas" of Iolo Morganwg that was claimed to be ancient Welsh Bardic wisdom. However the re-tellings of the myths seem like they are good. There are even a few myths that I haven't seen before, like the story of Tuan Mac Carell. The edition I
This book wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. For one thing, it has to be realised that it is very dated, so the writing style isn’t what it would be today. Then you have to realise that this is simply an overview of Celtic history and their later mythology.

The book starts with a brief overview of the history of the Celts, where they came from, a bit about their religion, where they went, and where they are today (most of which I’ve heard is quite outdated compared with modern thinking). This
Heather Kelly
Mar 18, 2013 Heather Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The overall subject of the book was very interesting and educational, however it seemed to have what I call "thought vomit" throughout the entire book. There was a lot of information to be had and needed to be introduced to the reader but a better, more concise way I think could have been found. I had taken an Irish literature class in college so I knew most of what the author was talking about, but if someone, not having the background of information that I had, to pick up this book and start r ...more
Jan 31, 2011 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: celtic-studies
This book was OK for 1911, but is now horribly out of date. It is of use only for those wanting to understand how Celtic studies has progressed over the last century.
Sarah Gutierrez
Would have been better if the compiler's commentary and opinions about the "meaning" of the old stories had been placed in footnotes or left out altogether. I don't want to be reading a delightfully horrifying old story filled with curses and revenge and suddenly have the story interrupted to read, "And this is clearly symbolic of...." or "And this is an excellent example of the Ossian sensibility, untouched by the chivalric influences of continental Europe." Ruins the atmosphere, buddy.
Clara Mazzi
Jun 11, 2017 Clara Mazzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quando Picasso andò a vedere gli affreschi di Lascaux e Altamira, disse due cose che riutilizzo per la mia recensione:
1. "Non abbiamo inventato niente di nuovo."
2. "Da Altamira in poi, non è che decadenza."
Per quel poco che ho letto delle gesta celtiche/gaeliche dei vari cavalieri non posso che ripetere le parole di Picasso adattandole alla letteratura.
Non tenterò di usare parole mie per far capire quello che intendo. Basta che riporti qualche stralcio di questo breve racconto:
"(...) Quando i 4
Miriam Joy
My review from Amazon (written April 2012):

I have a copy of the 1912 printing that I bought for a tenner in Camden market, because why buy things new when you can get them a hundred years old.

I'm a writer and the novels I write are generally inspired by Celtic mythology, so I'm always looking for new versions of legends I've heard hundreds of times or a new take on a certain element. My main resource has until now been Daragh Smyth's "Guide to Irish mythology", but that's more of a dictionary th
Mar 21, 2016 Kathy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
I'm usually a fast reader, but this book was so damn boring it took me three months to finish. I literally did everything to avoid reading this. I can count all the things I would have rather done than read this dribble.

If you expect fairy tales or Irish mythology you are sadly mistaken and should skip the two chapters and start from Chapter 3. This book is a Dover reprint. Celtic Myths and Legends was first printed in 1817. I expected for this book to be condescending and full of narrow-minded
Derek Davis
Jan 29, 2016 Derek Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1911, Rolleston's work gives a reasoned, scientific approach to understanding the Celts – who they are, where they may have come from, how they got where they are today and what the Celtic myths entail – both what they include and what they rather remarkably do not.
In his assemblage of fact and deduction, he can't be faulted, especially for his time. Where he misses out is in the presentation of the myths and legends themselves. So concerned with their meaning, he fails to present t
Mar 27, 2015 María rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El libro tiene más de cien años, y se nota sobre todo en los primeros capítulos, que intentan explicar de forma histórica los orígenes y las características del pueblo celta. Además, la parte en la que aparecen las leyendas en sí no es solo un poco liosa, sino que a día de hoy probablemente también esté muy desactualizada.
Sin embargo, los resúmenes de las leyendas y los ciclos están muy bien contados y es muy entretenido de leer, y el autor realiza una colección bastante completa de las historia
Jun 10, 2014 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The scholarship invested in the background of Celtic history and literature is impeccable. It is definitely geared toward a Celtic scholar and not a lay reader just looking for the Myths and Legends from the title. I certainly wasn't expecting the detailed background that was provided, but I did appreciate it. If you want just the tales, skip to the third chapter. Rolleston summarizes the key tales and figures extremely well, giving the spirit of the originals in very readable formats. His conte ...more
Nancy Szul
This book told wonderful stories about the druids and other belief systems that were not favored by the oncoming, smiting, brutal invasions where might made right. Sorry, I'm getting opinionated here and not allowing the story to come out in a neutral presentation. It has stories of kings and caves and beautiful Irish princesses. Its a little fantasy/mythology and intrigued me as my both sets of grandparents come form the old country.
Caroline Åsgård
Spent ages on this thing! I read it on my phone, so it wasn't the best reading experience for such a big book.
I am very interested in mythology and folklore, so I thought this would be an interesting read.
It's full of stories from lots of characters in celtic mythology, and it was pretty cool and enlightening.
I'd only recommend it for specially interested people though, as it's not a casual read.
Joe Cowan
I ended up reading about a third of the way through and decided I will have to find another book to satisfy my Celtic curiosities. Although it is very informative, it reads like a very long essay filled with mostly factual statements. As if the writer was just writing a report and not really writing for people interested in hearing the ancient myths and legends of the Celts.
Jan 04, 2012 Adelheid rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is more of a history than a mythology book. One must sift through to get to the actual myths. Sadly, Mr. Rolleston seems to take much of his sources from clames made by Julius Caesaer, who never even made it into Britain (he was defeated by the English Channel). Therefor, many of his statements have been brought into doubt hundreds of years ago.
A lot of information to take in and I gave up trying to pronounce most of the names but a worthwhile read. A really interesting introduction to the Celtic literary world. Some legends such as Arthur, or that of Ceridwen were familiar but many were not and it has inspired me to look out for and read more recent studies of these pieces.
Interesting collection. Good subject matter -- naturally, in my opinion -- and some illustrations. Can't remember much else about it by now, though. Will keep it around to dip into: might be a good source of the germs of some stories.
B.J. Richardson
With such short summaries of the stories and legends spoken about it was hard to keep track of all the names: Conn, Conor, Conall, Conann, Connacht, Finn, Fianna, Fial, Fiacha, Finias, Fingen, Finegas... you get the picture. Well, actually, if you do, you're a step up on me. It's all a jumble.
Feb 25, 2012 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent, mythology, 2012
This is probably an okay introduction to the myths, but you have to struggle through a hundred pages of mediocre and probably wildly inaccurate history before you get to the actual stories. The pictures are nice but not inspiring. I am looking for a better version.
Kimberly Ann
Jun 29, 2015 Kimberly Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really good overview of Celtic history and mythology. There were some fascinating stories in here that I'd never heard of before. It is worth reading if you are interested in fairy tales and mythology.
Daphne Redd
Jan 24, 2017 Daphne Redd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking for a collegiate level guide to the legends and myths of the Celtic peoples? This is the book for you. It also adds to the historical details of why these legends may have developed. A good read for the modern pagan and those in early human development of deities.
I enjoyed it. A bit chatty in places which as a"serious" scholarly work seems out of place, but everyone is entitled to an opinion including the author. I prefer a real book for works like this, accessing the glossary etc is cumbersome. Packed full with info, references and poetry.
Sep 23, 2011 Cicely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A precise and organized way of clarifying Celtic myths. Many books on mythology are very difficult to read, but Rolleston writing style is very clear
Oct 14, 2011 Cicely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author makes the understanding Celtic mythology easy.
Craig Smith
Mar 20, 2011 Craig Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this quite a few years ago, but why what I remember very interesting and recommended to anyone interested in that era.
Sep 17, 2012 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exactly what I wanted it to be.
Laverne Brewster
5 stars. Mythology one of my favorites.
Oct 11, 2012 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting as my grandparents came from Ireland. Still don't know what is myth and what is fact though. It was entertaining
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Thomas William Hazen Rolleston (1857-1920) was an Irish writer, literary figure and translator, known as a poet but publishing over a wide range of literary and political topics. He lived at various times in Dublin, Germany, London and County Wicklow; settling finally in 1908 in Hampstead, London, where he died.

He was educated at St Columba's College, Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin. After a ti
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“There is perhaps no law written more conspicuously in the teachings of history than that nations who are ruled by priests drawing their authority from supernatural sanctions are, just in the measure that they are so ruled, incapable of true national progress. The free, healthy current of secular life and thought is, in the very nature of things, incompatible with priestly rule. Be the creed what it may, Druidism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, or fetichism, a priestly caste claiming authority in temporal affairs by virtue of extra-temporal sanctions is inevitably the enemy of that spirit of criticism, of that influx of new ideas, of that growth of secular thought, of human and rational authority, which are the elementary conditions of national development.” 2 likes
“Plato, however, in the “Laws,” classes the Celts among the races who are drunken and combative, and much barbarity is attributed to them on the occasion of their irruption into Greece and the [pg 18] sacking of Delphi in the year 273 B.C. Their attack on Rome and the sacking of that city by them about a century earlier is one of the landmarks of ancient history. The history of” 0 likes
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