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The Encyclopedia of Mythology [Hardcover]

Arthur Cotterell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 May 1996
This volume features the ancient tales of three compelling cultures: the mythology of Classical Greece and Rome; the fairytale myths of the Celtic world; and, from Northern Europe, tales of Germanic gods, Nordic warriors, and fearsome giants. Arthur Cotterell, an internationally renowned expert on mythology across cultures, describes central mythical figures with wit and authority, retelling ancient legends as spellbinding, intriguing accounts of past ages.The ancient tales in this volume are brought to life through a wealth of imagery that spans fifteen centuries of fine art; illustrations also include specially-commissioned photographs and drawings that focus on important and recurring mythological themes, including Oracles and Prophecies, Magic and Enchantment, Voyagers, Heroes, Giants, and Sorcery and Spells.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lorenz Books; Updated edition (31 May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859671640
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859671641
  • Product Dimensions: 30 x 22.9 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 445,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a childhood friend 14 Sep 2013
i've had this book ever since i can remember, and i used to spend hours poring over the fantastic array of myths, the modern and classical paintings, illustrations and even photographs of artefacts depicting mythological figures and the way it's easy to link and cross reference characters appearing in each other's stories, as well as providing alternate names.
all in all, although i had this book as a child, it still is my first stop for looking up monsters, heroes, witches, nymphs and any other legends as an adult.
just buy it :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, rewarding, romantic. 11 Sep 2008
By Four Violets VINE VOICE
This wonderful book is a powerful reason why the internet has a long way to go before it makes books obsolete. It is packed with several absolutely fantastic illustrations on every page. What a pity the cover lets it down by choosing more boring ones! The classical, celtic and Norse myths and legends depicted, are of course interestingly told...but for me secondary to pouring over the illustrations. I was already familiar with artists such as J W Waterhouse (I had a poster of his "Narcissus" on my wall at University), Edward Burne-Jones and the unmistakable Alan Lee, who so heavily influenced Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. Unfamiliar to me but now equally prized, are the stark drawings of Nick Beale and the rich bright colours of John Duncan which I instantly wanted on my walls.

I can't believe this book has not been reviewed before on Amazon. Its another one I would be delighted to see compulsory in schools. Anyone interested in art, classical mythology, or who just loves beautiful illustrations (like me) will really treasure this.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book features classical art work with original illustrations and with its enteries creates you can piece together a whole era of myth and magic. Its level of detail is sufficent and it's enteries are interesting. However I just feel that there is so much more they have missed out and could have done with this book. I am on about the thigns which seem most interestign to me- the monsters, the creatures, the magic. They did have a lot of information on the romance and the struggle of power between genrations and the heroic people and the cowards, the lovers and the jealous. However if you are interested in the magic in the mythology, it is not for you.
They are far better books i could reccomend for you if you are interested in the subject, one of them i just could have not lived with out for a perioud, we were inseoerable. That is what you want from a book, a passion.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crosswords 17 July 2009
This book was much bigger than I thought it would be. I expected a small reference book to help with crosswords. However it is a lovely book and well worth the money. Also very interesting to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and beautiful! 9 Oct 1997
By A Customer - Published on
This handsomely bound work is sure to be
invaluable to anyone interested in European
mythologies. Written by Arthur Cotterell, a
well-respected scholar of mythologies and
ancient civilizations, the degree of detail
is remarkably complete. Entries vary from a
few sentences to over a page, depending upon
the subject. In addition, special feature
spreads provide more detailed examination of
specific mythological themes.
The reference is also a work of beauty. Every
page is copiously illustrated and the heavy-
stock paper is well suited to high-quality
color reproductions. The magnificent artwork,
almost entirely by well-known and respected
artists, is thoroughly cited.
Best of all, this wealth of information is
easily accessible. A thorough index refers
readers to all pages in which a subject name
appears, with main entry pages designated by
bold-face type. The entries themselves offer
effective, yet non-obtrusive, references to
related entries or themes.
This reference is highly recommended for
anyone interested in Classical, Celtic, or
Norse mythologies. Undoubtedly helpful to
scholars, it should also prove fascinating to
casual readers and to all who appreciate fine art.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not excellent, and not comprehensive 14 Nov 2001
By A Customer - Published on
This is mostly a picture book. It is in dictionary form, with three dictionaries, one each for Classical, Celtic, and Norse myths. Many of the illustrations are lavish and excellent, including oil paintings, museum pieces, and story-book illistrations circa 1900. Other illustrations (about a third) are meritless; evidently drawn to fill up space in the book.
The text covers major entries that could be found in any dictionary of mythology, but falls severely short on minor characters and places. It is also missing several obvious entries: for example 'dwarf' and 'giant' and 'troll' are missing from the Norse dictionary.
The Norse dictionary includes a smattering of characters from Baltic and Finnish (Kallevalla) mythology but it is even more incomplete than the Scandenavian entries.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mythologyyyyyyy 22 Oct 2010
By Renee Mondy - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love Mythology. Specifically Norse in this case.
This book, just had it all. Every god and goddess I cared to read about. It was compact enough to fit in my hand bag, (yes my hand bag is bigger than most...and yes I carry mythological encyclopedias a embarressment. :p ) For any one interested in the ancient myths from norse, classical, or celtic, this book is a one stop wonder. if it doesn't have the info you need or want, it has enough to point you in the right direction. There's also info in this book, that for whatever reason I never found else where, such as on internet sites or text book.
Very in depth, easy to follow. a great read and a great purchase.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. It doesn't get better than this!! 18 May 1998
By A Customer - Published on
This is the most amazing reference book I have ever seen. The book itself is a work of art, not mentioning the BEAUTIFUL illustrations and descriptions of the gods, goddesses, heros, legends, monsters, giants, ect. inside! I recomend this book to anyone who is interested in a good book to cuddle with, learn from, or just read in general! This is such a interesting way to learn, and the artwork is magnificent. I, myself, am making a mozaic dedicated to this book. I love it so much. If you just leafed through it you would be caught by it too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone must have this! 14 Jan 2001
By "sihn" - Published on
The Encyclopedia of Mythology, by Arthur Cotterell, is a gorgeous, hardcover book filled with illustrations and text covering Classical, Norse and Celt mythology. Each section opens with full-color, glossy images that outline what you'll be able to find in each section. Every page is just as beautifully illustrated.
The encyclopedia provides a great deal of information on not just the familiar gods and goddesses, but also more obscure ones. It is a terrific educational tool for children and adults. It is also a great book for coffee table discussion.
Writers and artists will also find the encyclopedia to be a wonderful tool for striking the flame beneath the imagination. Most of the artwork to be found within its pages are by artists well-known for their fantasy images. My favorite artist in the book is Alan Lee, whose beautiful paintings are highly regarded by those who enjoy the sword and sorcery, AND the Tolkien realms.
The Encyclopedia of Mythology is a must have for any mythology buff.
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