Gods, Heroes and Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain

Gods, Heroes and Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain

Gods, Heroes and Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain

Gods, Heroes and Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain

Synopsis

This book unearths the layers of the British Isles' unique folkloric tradition to discover how this body of seemingly disparate tales developed. The authors find a virtual battlefield of myths on which pagan and Judeo-Christian beliefs fought for dominance, and classical, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, and Celtic narrative threads became tangled.

Excerpt

Lo! The spear of Wodan One-Eye clashes against that of Shining Lugh! Listen! The strains of Heimdalr's trumpet blast call the hosts of the dead to battle as Thunor and Sucellus—hammer-gods both—struggle for supremacy. … The Isles of Britain have been a battleground for gods for thousands of years, and those who know how to listen may yet hear the echoes of the thunderous conflicts of old.

IN MORE PROSAIC TERMS, the central premise of this book is that one may view medieval British literature not only as an assertion of dominant Christian traditions but often also as a complex and vibrant confluence of mythic influences: in the medieval literary traditions of Britain, the voices of the gods of the Celts, Romans, Saxons, and Vikings combine in a chorus that can seem chaotic and confused, but one that also offers us a rich and distinctly British melody.

Although we have attempted to avail ourselves of the most up-to-date scholarship concerning the literatures and mythologies we have discussed, our primary goal has been to render a readable examination of our topic aimed for a general audience. We have collated as many source materials as possible, and wherever practical we have indicated where we have had to make substantive or stylistic choices among a number of options. Furthermore, we have tried to remain true to the spirit and the flavor of the narratives and the mythic archetypes they represent, and thus in some cases we have taken the liberty of conflating material from a number of sources in order to tell the best story possible; we have attempted, however, to stay as much as possible within the parameters of the range of available records. We hope that our work will prove a useful general reference tool to nonspecialist scholars and an engaging introduction for students. Much of the present work is based on our classroom treatment of the myths, sagas, texts, and concepts at hand, and is then, we hope, more user-friendly than more academic works on the same theme. Selected, approachable sources for further reading are noted at the end of the book, and are divided into subject areas. All the works consulted in the completion of this book are included in the general bibliography.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.