“Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions” by H. R. Ellis Davidson.
Most people know of Valhalla, the World-Tree and the gods of Norse mythology, or the strange hunts and voyages of the ancient lrish tales.
Yet few people realise the significance of the similarities and contrasts between the religions of the pre-Christian people of north-western Europe.
The Celts and Germans and Scandinavians had much in common in their religious practices and beliefs, and this is the first serious attempt that has been made to compare them.
There are striking resemblances in their ideas about battle-goddesses and protective spirits, holy places, sacrificial rituals, divination and ideas about the Other World; and Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe poses questions like: do such parallels go back to early times or are they owing to late Viking contact?
Hilda Ellis Davidson has worked for many years on pre-Christian Scandinavian and Germanic religion and now compares them with the Celts from the background of previous studies, using evidence from archaeology, iconography, later literature and folklore, in a search for basic patterns which will add to our knowledge of the early peoples in Europe.
Aimed at teachers and libraries but also accessible to students of history, religion and Celtic, Norse and German languages and cultures.
Even though this work has been expanded upon with new thoughts and theories since its publication in 1988, it remains a classic addition to the library of any historical enthusiast.