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The Language of the Goddess

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  877 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The goddess is the most potent and persistent feature in the archaeological records of the ancient world. In this volume the author resurrects the world of goddess-worshipping, earth-centred cultures, bringing ancient matriarchal society to life.
Paperback, 388 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Thames & Hudson (first published 1989)
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Gimbutas' seminal (I use the word ironically) work is a beautiful, yet flawed, artifact. The plethora of images showing carvings and etchings on neolithic pottery and statuary, for the most part, is astounding and worth the price of the book alone. Gimbutas provides a taxonomy of these neolithic (and some paleolithic and some bronze age) patterns and representations based on her idea that there was once a Mother Goddess cult that spread from Anatolia into Eastern Europe between the 8th and 3rd c ...more
Regina Hunter
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, but funny part is that this book was from the library and someone had written side notes in pencil, questioning and commenting on the text. I loved it, because it actually made me think over much of the information given instead of just absorbing it.
Tim Pendry
There is one good reason to own this book - the illustrations and, I suppose, the reference material at the back but it is not to be taken seriously theoretically.

Gimbutas was a romantic eccentric, part of whose importance is that she fuelled the rise of the matriarchal myth in feminism and in neo-paganism.

It must not be forgotten, however, that she was a serious academic and the flaw here is merely one of shifting from the evidence, rather imaginatively if inappropriately, to a 'grand narrativ
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Brava for Marija Gimbutas. Her scholarly writing is so readable, her work was all fresh and new, and she added a voice to the literature that is totally feminist. One day her critics will eat the goddess's sacred raptors.
Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)
I enjoyed the audio book of this. I love books that help me put history's pieces in today's prospective.
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marija Gimbutas has sailed seas of thought alone that no one else has sailed. In doing so she has discovered an ancient civilization that existed from the Upper Neolithic until about 5,000 years ago. She was a personal friend, and my interview with her can be found on my profile page under Writings.

James N. Powell
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have read this book 2 times before this visit. I went back to look for particular symbols and found them.

The narratives were wonderful, again!

If you are looking for material on the Divine Feminine, this is one of the books you should read.
Alicia Mcathy
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Denise M
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-as-book
Gimbutas was a powerhouse of excellent research and commitment to her area of study. A fundamental resource text.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mythology, history
İçindeki görseller muhteşem. Yazar arkeolojik tanrıca kalıplarını ve süslemelerini çeşitli kategorilere arkeolojik buluntu fotoğraf ve çizimleriyle vermiş.

Kitap dört bölümden oluşuyor
1. Hayat Verme (Life-Giving)
bu bölümün altında
- zigzag (chevron), ve V şeklinin Kuş Tanrıça olarak kullanımı
- zigzag ve M şekli
- kıvrımlar ve su kuşları
- kuş tanrıçanın memeleri
- dalgalar
- tanrıçanın gözleri
- tanrıçanın açık ağzı
- el sanatları veren tanrıça: dokuma, eğirme, metal işçiliği ve müzik aletleri
- ağ mot
Continuación ampliada de Diosas y dioses de la Vieja Europa, este libro bien documentado pero que establece teorías acerca de la Gran Diosa de forma categórica prosigue su investigación sobre los rasgos definitorios de la diosa, extendiéndose en el espacio por toda Europa, y no sólo su sureste, y por un periodo más amplio que llega al Paleolítico.
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questo libro è un lascito preziosissimo della grandissima Gimbutas. Su pochissime cose mi sono trovata in disaccordo con quanto ha scritto e non sto a citarle perché non interferiscono assolutamente col tema centrale dell’opera.
Prima dell’arrivo della cultura indoeuropea, il mondo era donna. La Grande Dea era la figura che dava un volto, un aspetto a tutto ciò che è la vita: un ciclo eterno di nascita, morte e rigenerazione, dove non esiste la distinzione tra ciò che è buono e ciò che è cattivo,
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I believe that in earlier times, obscenity as a concept surrounding either the male or female body did not exist.”

“The reason for the great number and variety of Old European images lies in the fact that this symbolism is lunar and chthonic, built around the understanding that life on earth is in eternal transformation, in constant and rhythmic change between creation and destruction, birth and death.” (316)

“Let us note here that fertility is only one among the Goddess’s many functions. It is i
t bannon
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Extremely interesting. Makes great connections between folk traditions that exist today but originated 10,000 years ago. There is a LOT of detail for the academic reader but the overall explanations and descriptions are fun for the casual reader. Mother Nature - the original goddess and lifegiver - has withstood thousands of years of male dominated religions like a female rebel insurgency that the armies of men can never defeat. Some of her interpretations are just that - INTERPRETATIONS - nobod ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book to read and re-read. Marija Gimbutas is an appreciated lithuanian archaeologist who created the word "archaeomythology", a new multidisciplinary research field where deep studies of archeology and mythology-ancient people cultures studies are connected in order to understand ancient world on an intersting and useful level. She directed for all her life a lot of archeological european digs where she found meaningful artifacts, she also spoke many languages and this also helped st ...more
Darlene Reilley
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mfa-reads
The Language of the Goddess is a visual exploration of Goddess art throughout European history. It is an essential read to anyone wanting to know more about the Goddess cultures, specifically regarding figures and symbols. For me, the information regarding the birds, bulls, and river were essential touchstone pieces. I highly recommend this book.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very nice collection of the artifacts from early Indo-European excavations in the 60's. Gimbutas arranges the material masterfully so that the reader has a glimpse into the ritual symbols and markings and what their significance may have meant to ancient peoples.
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great for helping me see archaeological connections to myths and legends.
Shaktima Brien
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Universal patterns to understand how Nature works, our eco-planetary system, and us, who we are, as conscious human beings.
Jun 02, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: archaeologists and historians
very good book raises some interesting thoughts and questions about the rise and fall of the "godess cultures".
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked this book but it is definitely more on the archeaological side of things so I would think the average reader would not enjoy it. It is not an easy read. But if you like this kind of research and want to look at the symbols of the ancient Goddess culture to understand the origins this is a fascinating book. I was also able to look at modern day religious symbols in churches and architecture and match the symbols that I saw in this book to what you see today. It's interesting to be able to ...more
Hava Carvajal
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Flint Johnson
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I find Gimbutas' work to be stimulating, suffering mainly from two issues. First, she based her work here on her efforts of decades past which was limited by the development of archeology at the time. Second, no other scholar of equal standing (let alone scholars) were present to keep her work honest, which means that she loses credibility because what she worked on was never critiqued by a scholar with an opposing viewpoint but an open mind. Neither of these issues are her fault, but the result ...more
John Kulm
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exploring the meanings of images in archeology 40,000 years ago, 30,000, 10,000, 2000, 800... the meaningss remaining consistent through time. Interesting how modern society might dismiss these images as archaic, even though we're really not so far removed from them and their energy can still be found running through our unconscious and in otherwise esoteric dreams.

Gimgutas presents an enormous number of archeological pieces and presents them in a clear pattern. The book has a huge number of il
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I think her "evidence" for her overarching theory is on very shaky ground, but the book is great for studying symbolism on neolithic through bronze age artifacts, which is very interesting to me as someone studying European folk art. A lot of these very old symbols still show up in European textiles, especially in Northern Europe and the Slavic countries.
Tatiana Martino
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Un classico.
Woodland Animal
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I like
Claire Goodbody
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Superb. Many colour illustrations.
Have wanted to get my hands on one of her books for years now,and still haven't managed to do it. When I do, then will post a review.
Katalin Koda
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amazing images of the Sacred Feminine
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Joseph Campbell d...: Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas 1 7 Nov 05, 2013 01:34PM  

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Marija (Alseikaite) Gimbutas (Lithuanian: Marija Gimbutienė), was a Lithuanian-American archeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe", a term she introduced. Her works published between 1946 and 1971 introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with linguistics and mythological interpretation, but earned a mixed reception by other profess ...more

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