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For two-and-a-half thousand years, from 1500BC to 1000AD, a culture as significant as the classical civilization of the Mediterranean world settled an immense area in northern Europe that stretched from Iceland to the Black Sea. But whereas the stuff of classical mythology has been fully absorbed into the cultural history of the west, the mythology of northern Europe - Scandinavians, Goths, Angles and Saxons - is often enigmatic. The element of mystery that pervades northern mythology is to an extent due to the scarcity of sources, but for this dictionary Rudolf Simek has made use of those that are available. Christians in Iceland, one of the last bastions of heathen-Germanic religion, wrote about German beliefs 200 years after the coming of Christianity, and at about this time the younger Eddic lays were written and the older ones transcribed. Snorri Sturluson's "Snorra-Edda", his hand-book for poets on the Germanic gods, which drew on skaldic and Eddic lays of Norway and Iceland, is a rich source of references; runic inscriptions, though magical in character, occasionally mention the gods. Tacitus's "Germania", written at the end of the first century AD, is a most important source of information on the northern tribes and their religion, and votive stones, set up by Germanic tribes but carved by Roman stonemasons, also shed light on cult activity. Place names and archaeological discoveries complete the available evidence. Later work has built on these foundations, and Rudolf Simek's bibliography indicates the scholarly works he has consulted. In compiling this dictionary he has adhered to a broad definition of mythology which presents the beliefs of the heathen Germanic tribes in their entirety: not only tales of the gods, but of beings from lower levels of belief, elves, dwarfs and giants; the beginning and end of the world; the creation of man, death and the afterlife; cult, burial customs and magic - an entire history of Germanic religion.
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In compiling this dictionary Rudolf Simek has made the fullest use of the information available--Christian accounts, Eddic lays, the Prose Edda, runic inscriptions, Roman authors (especially Tacitus), votive stones, place names and archaeological discoveries.About the Author:
RUDOLF SIMEK is Professor of Medieval German and Scandinavian literature at the University of Bonn in Germany.
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Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # S-0859913694
Book Description Boydell & Brewer Inc, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0859913694
Book Description Boydell & Brewer Inc, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110859913694