Chronicles Of The Celts

Author: Iain Zaczek
Published: 1996
Publisher: Collins and Brown Limited, Great Britain.
Pages: 159

Synopsis: Chronicles of the Celts presents the epic stories of a fascinating people. Here are legends of invincible hero-warriors, faerie enchantresses and magical forests that evoke the fire, pride and passion associated with the Celts.

Review: I had originally wanted this book years ago for a course on the Celts. However, at the time I couldn’t find a copy, so I bought the alternate text that the course provider had suggested. Imagine my surprise when I saw it on Amazon all these years later. So I bought it. The course I was taking at the time was a history course so I assumed that this book was going to be a history book. I was wrong. This is a mythology book. It has myths from Ireland, Wales, and Brittany. It is one of those beautifully organised books with beautiful photographs of artefacts, manuscripts and landscapes. It is not a large book, only 159 pages, which includes the bibliography, pronunciation guide, and picture credits.

The Introduction to the book is very interesting, it talks about a little history (enough to wet your appetite), a little art, some culture and tradition, Arthurian links, Christian influences, romantic fiction and the Celtic revival. By the end you know a little bit of everything but not enough to say that you know history based on this book.

The book starts with the Irish myths then goes on to Wales and Brittany. They are not the exact myths but rather a retelling of these myths. I loved that before each myth there is an explanation of where it came from, what the plot is and who the main characters are. Interspersed though out these myths are little boxes that have tit bits of information on artefacts, Gods, or some aspect of the culture.

This book isn’t perfect, maybe a tiny bit romantic in some aspects but it is a good book. If you want an easy to read book or an introduction to some of the more famous myths in the Celtic culture this is a great book to have.

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Tales of the Celtic Bards by Claire Hamilton

This was actually a very enjoyable book though it is clearly aimed at the modern Druids.

The author divides her book of myths into Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Armorica myths, with the Irish myths getting the lion’s share, but then, there are more of them.

The myths are not in their original translation but are rather retold by Claire.  This is great for people who are only just sinking their teeth into the Celtic myths.  Some of her interpretations are interesting of course but then this is the essence of the bard, who must always bring something of themselves into the storytelling.  I also found myself learning new myths; these would be the ones that came from Armorica (Brittany).

I liked reading them to myself and to my young cousins, they make for great bedtime stories for the older kids, as they are that easy to process, but like I said they would also make a great addition to someone’s library too.  I wouldn’t just limit myself to just this book for the versions of myths in it but it would be a great start.