Animals in Celtic Life and Myth
Author: Miranda Green
Table of Contents
List of illustrations; Preface Acknowledgements 1. The Natural World of the Celts 2. Food and Farming:
Animals in the Celtic Economy 3. Prey and Predator; The Celtic Hunter 4. Animals at War 5. Sacrifice
and Ritual 6. The Artist's Menagerie 7. Animals in the Earliest Celtic Stories 8. God and Beast
9.Changing Attitudes to the Animal World Notes Abbreviations Bibliography Index
For the Celts, a rural people whose survival depended so freatly upon their environment, the sanctity of
natural phenomenon and of the elements led to extreme respect and veneration of animals. Both wild and
domesticated species became the subject of elaborate rituals and formed the basis of profound religious
beliefs. Animals in Celtic Life and mYth examines the intimate relationship which developed beteween
humans and animals, in a society in which animals were special and central to all aspects of life.
Miranda Green draws on evidence from a variety of early Celtic documents, as well as as archaeology
and iconography, to reveal that the Celts believed many animals to be sacred, either possessing divine
status in their own right or acting as mediators between gods and umans. She covers the crucial role of
animals in the Celtic economy; in hunting and warfare; in Celtic art and literature; in religion and ritiual.
The attitude of teh Celts toward animals closely connected the cult and the everyday; warfare was bound
up with religion; the killing of animals was associated with ritual; in stories, heroes talk to animals in their
own language and gods chage at will form human to animal form. The book covers the important period
between 8 B.C. and 1 A.D., during which much of Europe was turning to Christianity, and ranges from
Ireland to Czechoslovakia.
`This is a thoroughly researched and liberally illustrated study by an expert in the field, and as such it is
an essential reference tool. ... the book is eminently readable ... This is a book both for dipping into at
leisure moments and for reading in full ...'