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The Language of the Goddess

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  843 ratings  ·  29 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 ...more
Hunter R.
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
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 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.
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,
Alicia Mcathy
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.
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.
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.
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
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 ...more
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".
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 ...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
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.
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
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
beautiful research
Serenity L
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Again.... It wasn't what I was expecting. This is a reference book
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was great for a look at ancient artifacts, however I agree with other reviewers that some of the interpretations are speculations at best.
Debbie Hoskins
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: archetypes, classics
I didn't read the scholarly book, but it has a good index. Found it helpful for researching the history of labyrinths.
rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2012
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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 ...more