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Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race. Description Thomas William Hazen Rolleston was an Irish writer, literary figure and translator known for works that spanned a wide range of literary and political topics. He wrote "Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race" in in an attempt to revitalize what he felt was a waning appreciation for the heritage of all Celtic peoples. Perhaps the best representation and description of all the legends, myths and spiritual histories of Ireland, Britain and Wales, this collection includes the stories of Ultonian and Ossianic cycles, the voyage of Maeldum, and the myths and tales of the Cymry Welsh.

As well as quoting various other interpretations, Rolleston gives his own view on what he believes to be the explanation for things, allowing a reader to make up their own mind - though his arguments are convincing enough that they often won't be inclined to disagree.

Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race by T W Rolleston

The stories come from all of the Celtic races, from the Tuatha de Danaan in Ireland to the warrior women of Skatha, now believed to be the island of Skye, to the flower woman Blodeuwedd from Wales, to beliefs of the Gauls There are also Arthurian legends, although I'll confess I haven't quite got that far in the book yet! It isn't one you would read from beginning to end, but rather one you would dip into and look for things you find interesting. Something else I liked was which characters were given careful attention.

In many books, such as Daragh Smyth's excellent Guide to Irish Mythology, there will be huge amounts on people like the Dagda, on Cuchullain However, the female warriors I discovered in the pages of Rolleston's book I'd never come across before, because they have only fleeting mentions in other people's legends. For example, I liked the way he talked about Aifa, a woman warrior, as a character in her own right, rather than focusing only on her relationship with Cuchullain as her defining feature.

I'm usually a fast reader, but this book was so 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. The title of this book is misleading because there are no fairy tales or mythology. Just skip the two chapters and start from Chapter 3. This book is a Dover reprint.

Celtic Myths and Legends was first printed in I expected for this book to be condescending and full of narrow-m I'm usually a fast reader, but this book was so boring it took me three months to finish.

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I expected for this book to be condescending and full of narrow-minded remarks. In that sense this book did not disappoint. Rolleston claims that the Celts contributed so much to society yet he belittles their culture and their stories. How's that for respect? Other than the fact that Rolleston believes that Celtic is too broad of term because there were several Celtic tribes across Europe.

Or the fact that he includes the Mabinogion Welsh epic.

I do not see a single positive thing about this book. If the reader can get through even one chapter without falling asleep than one might actually learn something. In addition, the illustrations included are gorgeous probably to keep the reader from destroying the book. Other things I learned: CuChulain is a manchild, literally. In order for CuChulain to fight with men he had to smear blackberry juice on his chin to trick them into thinking he has a beard. Grown men would not fight a boy. He killed his liege's dog and didn't even apologise for it.


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Although this is meant to represent the sacrifice of killing and becoming your spirit animal. CuChulain kills his only son and doesn't care. He cheats on his wife, Emer who has done nothing, but put up with him. Lastly he denies the Morrighan. Honestly I have no pity for him.

This is not a hero.

Celtic Mythology - An Introduction to the Tuatha Dé Danann

This is an irresponsible person who reaped what he sowed. What I have taken from this book is that the women of Ireland and Wales are tenacious, kind, patient, and full of more love than I will ever be able to understand. Most of these "events" could have been easily avoided if it wasn't for the arrogance of these "kings" and "heroes".

Published in , 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.

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So concerned with their meaning, he fails to present t Published in , 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.

So concerned with their meaning, he fails to present them as living tales , using the ideas within them as building blocks while draining them of immediacy by including only isolated snatches of storytelling smothered in sometimes confusing synopsis. We end up with a good picture of folkloric history, but a poor picture of the stories and personalities that make folklore real.

Still, a solid effort and well worth a look. 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 The scholarship invested in the background of Celtic history and literature is impeccable. His content is very thorough, and he comments throughout, reviewing and tying in his introduction material.


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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. Dec 22, Joe Cowan rated it it was ok. 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.

Myths & legends of the Celtic race,

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. 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. This is more of a history than a mythology book.


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  6. 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.