Handbuch Der Gemanischen Mythologie * Wolfgang Golther (1895 Marix Verlag 2004 * isbn 393771538X)

It was quite a read, almost 800 pages in 19th century German. Not that there is anything wrong with the language or the writing style, but this book is one in the line of books that I have been reading more, such as the two Altermanische Religionsgeschichtes that I reviewed. This book by Golther is one of the first of his kind. It came after the Deutsche Mythologie of Jacob Grimm which is also available for a low price, but comes in two books of about the size of this one. I haven’t decided yet if I want to have it. These books tend to be more of the same. Both the structure and the content are similar. The books are way too big (and of course not in my native tongue) for me to be able to find out if the ideas of the writers correspond or if and where they differ. Golther seems to think (in a way justly in my opinion) that the Germanic mythology in the way it came to us, was influenced by the Greek mythology, Roman religions and Christianity. This is not strange when you think about it that most texts where only written in the 12/13th centuries.
Like the other books of this kind, Golther begins to with giving the history of the investigation of mythology and comperative religion studies. Then follow the sources, etc., etc. Golther continues first with folk beliefs before going to the actual mythology/religion of the Germans. The information is of the kind like in the other books. What I do like in Golther is that he puts Sturluson and Gramaticus next to eachother a few times, but these two prime-sources sometimes have different versions of the same stories. The most interesting part (to me) is around the end where Golther gives a nice view of the (daily) religious lives and practices, the temples, priests and (quite extensive) magic.

A nice book for only E 10, but I wish I knew which of the other cheap similar titles that are worthwile so/or I could tell you about this.

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