The main purpose in compiling an encyclopedia of this kind is to give the reader access to a fragment of the contents of some of the greater and lesser know works of Celtic literature; including works of mythology, legend, fiction and history. Most of the entries include contributions by two or more author's on the same subject, leaving the reader the opportunity to formulate his/her own conclusions about or interpretation of the matter described. The encyclopedia is based on quotations, either partly or in full, where the latter has been necessary to obtain an insight into the subject. In the ancient Celtic world, oral tradition was the chosen means of communication. It seems obvious then, that later retellings of the legends, myths, tales, and history would differ in many ways. Therefore, I felt the proper approach was to compile bits and pieces from many and varied sources. In the process, several hundreds of books were consulted and cited (see the bibliography). Unfortunately, many of the books mentioned have long ago gone out of the bookseller market. One may still be able to find them, however, at the libraries and in reprinted versions.The year stated in the bibliography is the latest known year of print at the time 'The Encylopedia of the Celts' was initially published.
In recent years, interest in the Celtic peoples and their traditions has increased dramatically. To the benefit of all who are interested in the world of the ancient Celts, a number of authors, scholars and others have taken up the subject. They've written about or researched many tales from the lives of our ancestors. Even more, some have lifted the veil and laid open to us the hidden 'story inside the story' as a means to finding our inner selves and, through development, the true way to the final initiation. Therefore, among the ever increasing pile of Celtic cognate literature, one may find some hidden gems between the diamonds. Some present day authors have been digging deeper into the stories and are giving us the opportunity to see that the lives of our ancestors as told in the myths and legends were much more than just fine tales. We are discovering more and more of the fact behind the fiction. The best of it, however, may be that the greater part of the books published in recent years will be available for some time to come, in libraries and bookstores.
Attached to each entry will be found one or more numbers marked with an #, which refer to items in the bibliography. In some entries you'll find numbers (#) in the text, which refer to a direct quote from the cited work. In other entries, the text contains a summary of information quoted from the source numbers (#) listed beneath the last line of text. A supplementary bibliography is linked to the primary and contains the last sources in the hands of this editor before printing.
Some entries will contain pronounciations in brackets ( ). Some of these entries will show more than one pronounciation for the same word. In these cases, the first instance is the Irish or Scots, and the second is the Welsh pronounciation.
The section named ALTERNATE SPELLING shows different ways a particular name or word may be spelled throughout Celtic literature. Please note, however, that this is by no means a complete listing and that many more variations exist..
The 'Encyclopedia of the Celts' has been brought to the Web, by Mary Gunstone, who I hereby give my warmest thanks for her work on these pages.
At the main page you'll find links to the Index for easy reference, as well as to the Bibliography and other useful and interesting pages. Enjoy - and thank you for showing interest in our work.
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