Gods and heroes of the Celts

by Marie-Louise Sjoestedt

Book, 1982



Call number


Call number



Berkeley, Calif. : Turtle Island Foundation, c1982.

Original publication date


Physical description

ix, 131 p.; 20 cm

Local notes

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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
This does read like a published thesis but is still engaging. It follows some fo the details about what is known about celtic mythology and where it comes from and then moves into looking specifically at Irish mythology and the relationship with the people. Apart from some minor niggles (the usual translation is Red Branch, rather than Branch Red) I found it interesting and it made me curious about looking at some of the other texts. The fact that she looks at the relationship between French and Irish Celts is quite understandable as she is French herself and most of the classical sources about the celts were written about the French.

The translator also includes an expanded bibliography, books written since 1940 when this was originally published and which add to the scholarship.

Overall it's one of the best I've read in this area, while scholarly it's also quite readable. A good starting point for research in this area.
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LibraryThing member Bostonseanachie
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 odd folks within the tribe) could find a place through initiation that was both a service to the tribe but also outside its most rigid constrictions.… (more)
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