Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Celtic Gods and Heroes” as Want to Read:
Celtic Gods and Heroes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Celtic Gods and Heroes

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  264 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Noted French scholar and linguist discusses the gods of the continental Celts, the beginnings of mythology in Ireland, heroes, and the two main categories of Irish deities: mother-goddesses — local, rural spirits of fertility or of war — and chieftain-gods: national deities who are magicians, nurturers, craftsmen, and protectors of the people.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 18th 2000 by Dover Publications (first published 1940)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Celtic Gods and Heroes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Celtic Gods and Heroes

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  264 ratings  ·  21 reviews

Sort order
Georgia Butler
Before discovering Celtic Gods and Heroes by Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, I read book after book on the subject, never satisfied with the "angle" or "peek" provided by other authors on the subject. Yet this book, despite its slim size, opened wide the subject for me and now I've the context necessary to read the others with better appreciation.
There's a surprising amount of information packed into this tiny book about Celtic culture and myth. It's dense reading, and I read each chapter through multiple times and took notes in order to really absorb the information. What I appreciated most about this work is how Sjoestedt highlights the ways Celtic myth differs from that of many other cultures, and how it must be read as a completely different type of system from more commonly studied and understood mythological systems like those of c ...more
Bad Tim
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pagan
a nice introduction to celtic mythologies with an emphasis on how it differs from classical, but not a good source for hard information on any specific gods and heroes.
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Please see my review here: Celtic Gods and Heroes
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, nonfiction
Recensione sul blog :

Non ho nessun tipo di esperienza con gli dèi celtici: non ricordo di aver mai letto romanzi con questi dèi, né non-fiction. Però volevo farlo, e così ho letto Celtic Gods and Heroes. La Sjoestedt esplora la religione celtica, non raccontando ogni singolo mito ma esaminando le caratteristiche generali degli dèi, che sono diverse a seconda del fatto che siano divinità femminili o maschili, e degli eroi, fornendo degli esempi provenienti
"Other people raised temples to their gods, and their very mythologies are temples whose architecture reproduces the symmetry of a cosmic or social order--an order both cosmic and social. It is in the wild solitude of the nemeton, the sacred woodland, that the Celtic tribe meets its gods, and its mythical world is a sacred forest, pathless and unbounded, which is inhabited by mysterious powers. [...] Hence the uneasiness we feel in approaching this world: we seek for a cosmos and find chaos." 92
Lawrence Kaster
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A priceless revelation of the Celtic tribal imagination. One wonders what could similarly be done to reveal the Anasazi or more recent Desert Southwest tribal stories if we could travel back in time. What is left of pre-Buddhist Ttbet? I only wish someone had done as well for them, too.
Bryan Sebesta
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interesting in Ireland or mythology
I've always known, at least if you had asked me, that I have Irish heritage. But I'd never given it thought until watching the Tomm Moore movies, The Secret of Kells and The Song of the Sea. The latter especially awoke my interest in learning more about Celtic myth–one part of a largely unknown ancestral heritage–and this is how I came to this tiny book. It's a slim volume, as others have noted, but dense. Its' seven chapters center on the mythological prehistory of Ireland; the gods of the Celt ...more
Marko Vasić
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For a long time have I sought for the literature such as this book is, because books about Celts usually enclose descriptions about their way of life and social interactions, but not mythology and mythological legends. Also, a plenty of books that contain legends from Celtic mythology are deprived of explanations about Celtic deities, thus I always felt if some kind of gap lies between the tale and its characters, being uninformed of which precise deity is certain story about. This book widened ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
The description of the book says that it is concise and erudite. The concise description does not seem to be accurate, at least not to me. I felt the author was all over the place with her topics of discussion and her transition between points was lacking which made reading this book even more difficult. Also, not much was explained when it came to some people and most places. Now I know some previous knowledge is expected from the reader but that is not a guarantee so some explanation would hav ...more
Dylan Rock
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: celtic-mythology
A excellent well written introduction to Celtic mythology
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the classic, but it's a bit tough to read, and I love dense, academic, tough to read stuff. There is more up to date scholarship, but I think this is still the succinct summary to start with.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
My first real introduction to the Celtic gods and goddess. Very informative and interesting.
The translation was so awful, I had a really hard time understanding what the author was trying to say.
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I registered a book at!
Scott Pomfret
Some good points but cloyingly academic

Despite its relative brevity, this was a bit of a chore to muddle through. While it referenced certain familiar Celtic tales, there was perhaps not enough analysis of the texts themselves. Still, the author makes clear points: that the Gods of the Celtic world are not relegated to heavens but dwell on this earth; that The Greek pantheon shares certain like characters but there is far from a one-to-one correspondence; that "outsiders" (whether foreigners or
Erica Hasselbach
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book without any previous knowledge of Celtic Mythology. This book helped to highlight the important aspects to Celtic mythology and even compared it to Greek and Roman mythology to help illustrate how different this culture was from others of the same time.

The only thing I wish this book had was a glossary to help with pronunciations of names and places. Other than that, it's a very handy little resource.
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really short, and I'm a bit bummed all the references are in French (this is a translation), but there was a ton of really cool information, a lot of which I had heard snippets of before, and I'll probably have to buy it because I'm silly and didn't take notes.
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-recs
Despite being an older work, this was an accessible and still scholarly introduction to the major themes of Irish mythology. Definitely recommended as an introductory text.
Apr 22, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is about categorizing the myths by symbology and purpose, but it doesn't go into great detail. It does preserve the weirdness of the myths though.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
More of a thesis than a book. A bit sale to be honest
J.L. Day
rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2015
Lauren HOuston
rated it really liked it
Feb 11, 2016
Sara Soper
rated it liked it
Nov 12, 2015
rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2012
Lauren Murphree
rated it liked it
Sep 22, 2016
Shenoa Butcher
rated it liked it
Nov 08, 2017
Larissa Bennett
rated it really liked it
Dec 03, 2014
Sarah Gabriele
rated it liked it
Jan 05, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Celtic Reconstruc...: First Book: Gods and Heroes of the Celts 12 5 Feb 16, 2018 08:27PM  
  • Celtic Mythology
  • Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales
  • The Celtic Heroic Age
  • Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations
  • Pagan Celtic Ireland: The Enigma of the Irish Iron Age
  • The Names Upon The Harp: Irish Myth And Legend
  • The Gods of the Celts
  • Pagan Celtic Britain
  • Tales of the Elders of Ireland
  • The Ancient Celts
  • Kindling the Celtic Spirit: Ancient Traditions to Illumine Your Life Through the Seasons
  • Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions
  • The Celtic Shaman: A Handbook (Earth Quest)
  • The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales
  • A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures
  • The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual
  • Myths and Legends of the Celts
  • Celtic Women: Women in Celtic Society and Literature
“[...] it is safer to wander without a guide through an unmapped country than to trust completely a map traced by men who came only as tourists and often with biased judgement. ” 7 likes
More quotes…