An enchanting collection of the sagas of gods and goddesses, fabulous beasts, strange creatures, and such heroes as Cuchulain, Fingal, and King Arthur from the ancient Celtic world. Included are popular myths and legends from all six Celtic cultures of Western Europe—Irish, Scots, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton.
Tales of cattle raids, tribal invasions, druids, duels, and doomed love that have been incorporated into, and sometimes distorted by, European mythology and even Christian figures. For example, there is the story of Lugh of the Long Hand, one of the greatest gods in the Celtic pantheon, who was later transformed into the faerie craftsman Lugh-Chromain, and finally demoted to the lowly Leprechaun.
Celtic Myths and Legends also retells the story of the classic tragic love story of Tristan and Iseult (probably of Cornish origin—there was a real King Mark and a real Tristan in Cornwall) and the original tale of King Arthur, a Welsh leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons. In the hands of Peter Berresford Ellis, the myths sung by long-dead Celtic bards come alive to enchant the modern reader: swordplay, quests, shape-shifters, and druidic sorcery.
First written in the eighth century AD, these early Irish stories depict a far older world—part myth, part legend and part history. Rich with magic and achingly beautiful, they speak of a land of heroic battles, intense love and warrior ideals, in which the other world is explored and men mingle freely with the gods.
From the vivid adventures of the great Celtic hero Cu Chulaind, to the stunning “Exile of the Sons of Uisliu”—a tale of treachery, honour and romance—these are masterpieces of passion and vitality, and form the foundation for the Irish literary tradition: a mythic legacy that was a powerful influence on the work of Yeats, Synge and Joyce.
Oxford World’s Classics
Celtic mythology, Arthurian romance, and an intriguing interpretation of British history–these are just some of the themes embraced by the anonymous authors of the eleven tales that make up the Welsh medieval masterpiece known as the Mabinogion.
They tell of Gwydion the shape-shifter, who can create a woman out of flowers; of Math the magician whose feet must lie in the lap of a virgin; of hanging a pregnant mouse and hunting a magical boar. Dragons, witches, and giants live alongside kings and heroes, and quests of honour, revenge, and love are set against the backdrop of a country struggling to retain its independence.
The Tain Bo Cualinge, centrepiece of the eighth-century Ulster cycle of heroic tales, is Ireland’s great epic, on par with Beowulf and The Aeneid. The story of the emergence of a hero, a paean to the Irish landscape, and a bawdy and contentious marital farce, The Tain tells of a great cattle-raid, the invasion of Ulster by the armies of Medb and Ailill, Queen and King of Connacht, and their allies, seeking to carry off the great Brown Bull of Cualige. The hero of the tale is Cuchulainn, the Hound of Ulster, who resists the invaders single-handed while Ulster’s warriors lie sick. In its first translation in forty years, Ciaran Carson brings this seminal work of Irish literature fully to life, capturing all of its visceral power in what acclaimed poets Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon individually called one of the best books of the year.
James Aitken Wylie (1808-1890) was a Scottish historian of religion and Presbyterian minister. He was a prolific writer and is most famous for writing The History of Protestantism.
This is all three books of History of the Scottish Nation and includes:
- Kymri to Britain
- Stone, Bronze, Iron Ages
- Druids: Religion, Dieties, Hierarchy, Stone Circles
- Beltine or Mayday and Midsummer Festivals
- Lake Dwellings
- Coming of the Scots to Ireland
- Patrick and His Effect on the Irish
Lady I. A. Gregory.
Gods and Fighting Men – The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland is a collection of tales collated by Lady Augusta Gregory. The book is split into two sections, covering the Irish Mythological Cycle of the Book of Invasions with the coming of the Tuatha De Danaan. The second section details the later hero tales of Finn MacCumhail, the Fenian Cycle. First published in 1904, Lady Gregory drew upon a number of published and oral sources to create her version, including Eugene O’Curry’s On the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, the Annals of the Four Masters and the Book of Leinster.
David Stifter’s Sengoídelc (SHAN-goy-delth) provides a comprehensive introduction to Old Irish grammar and metrics. Ideally suited for use as a course text and as a guide for the independent learner, this exhaustive handbook is also an invaluable reference work for students of Indo-European philology and historical linguistics. The author’s step-by-step presentation in an engaging styles lead the novice through the idiosyncrasies of the language, such as initial mutations and the double inflection of verbs. Filled with translation exercises based on selections from Old Irish texts, the book provides a practical introduction to the language and its rich history. Sengoídelc opens the door to the fascinating world of Old Irish literature, famous not only for such gems as the Táin Bó Cúailgne (The Cattle Raid of Cúailgne) or lyrical nature poetry but also as a major source for the political and legal history of Ireland.