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The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe
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The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  12 reviews

Preminent archaeoligist Marija Gimbutas's definitive volume — an authorative, fully illustrated masterwork that documents the existence of a triving, neolithic goddess-centered culture in prepatriarchal Europe.

Complete and panoramic, this convincing book presents a classic illumination of neolithic culture; this text provides a picture of a complex world, offering evidence

Hardcover, 1st edition, 529 pages
Published November 1st 1991 by HarperCollins
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Michael Cahill
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, but if you are not even mildly interested in the first farming societies that moved into Europe via Greece from about 6500 BC, along with their package of Neolithic technologies, then this is not for you. If you are, then it should be a must read. This is essentially a technical academic summary of archaeological finds, overglossed with Gimbutas' interpretations about the mother-worshipping nature of the society involved, and its eventual demise at the hand of horse-riding n ...more
Brian Griffith
In this classic of 20th-cetury archaeology Gimbutas uncovers the world of Old European civilization, which spread from the Ukraine to the Balkans thousands of years before the city states of Mesopotamia. She traces the main stream of Neolithic culture flowed up the Balkans to the Danube before 6000 BCE. In the lower Danube Valley, hundreds of villages emerged like a new flora in the woods. Some were tiny hamlets. and others could house 5,000 people. In northern Hungary near the Carpathan Mountai ...more
Carole Stone
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anthropology
Left me longing for lost worlds where women were honored for their creative power, where men were artisans, where no weapons were found nor needed, and where fertile lands abounded and stewarded with care and reciprocity. Meticulously researched and documented. Impossible to absorb in one reading, but rewarding to return to over and again.
Judyta Szaciłło
I’ve read about this book in My European Family: The First 54,000 Years by Karin Bojs. Marija Gimbutas got a very ambiguous description there – of a woman brave but stubborn, of a great mind but also too fixated on one particular idea: that the pre-Indo-European Europe was strictly matriarchal and, as a result, peaceful and balanced – as opposed to the later Indo-European societies ruled by men and driven by warfare. Having now read one of Gimbutas’s books, I can confirm that that description is ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The Old Europeans had a strong belief in cyclic regeneration in which the main idea in grave architecture is 'tomb is womb.'" ...more
I've read several of Gimbutas' books, and I'm pretty sure this was one.

'Perused' is the word I should use, probably, because you're always having to flip back and forth from picture to text to index...

This is NOT, however (I'm pretty sure), the book I was looking for. Somewhere, sometime, I had in my hand a book discussing historical, cultural, and trade links between the cultures of Malta and the Hebrides during the late Neolithic. The subject is discussed in this book, but the book I had was l
Araminta Matthews
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gimbutas puts forth an argument for matrifocal societies based on several factors in archaeology, folklore and linguistics. Honestly, I was mesmerized. Gimbutas is the kind of person who reminds academics like me that specialization is only the commitment of a single lifetime (and how awe-inspiring that is). Think of it. We stand on the shoulders of giants, yes? Genuinely, you have... 40-70 years of specialization if you're lucky. That is not nearly enough to even scratch the surface of a very n ...more
Denise M
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gimbutas rules! If you're interested in Goddess cultural history and archaeology, this is a source text. Start here before you get into the melee of goddess books -- there was an tidal wave of them in the 1990's and many are garbage. However Gimbutas was THE scholar, so start with her and get a sound footing so you can judge the quality of the rest and find good, sound books, not crap. :) ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
Masses of evidence for Old Europe's first agrarian civilization being one whose peace and egalitarianism and generalized well-being have never been equaled there since. Which is somehow inspiring, even if we've all taken a big long wrong-turn-at-Albuquerque in the intervening millennia. ...more
Feb 27, 2014 marked it as to-read
Elizabeth Glew
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Extremely interesting, although not convincing on all points.
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Exhaustive in its detail. Perhaps the seminal reference test detailing the the goddess culture, pre-history.
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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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