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Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities

Overview

Throughout history, humans have pondered the question of their existence. In nearly every society, part of the answer has included some form of god or goddess. For the Mayans, one such deity was Ajtzak, who tried to create humans from wood; for the Yorubas of Africa, Shango controlled the thunder and lightning. The Chinese of the Shang dynasty era worshipped Shang Ti. Evil deities were also part of the answer, as in the case of the Kuvera, the Hindu chief of evil in the Vedic ...

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Overview

Throughout history, humans have pondered the question of their existence. In nearly every society, part of the answer has included some form of god or goddess. For the Mayans, one such deity was Ajtzak, who tried to create humans from wood; for the Yorubas of Africa, Shango controlled the thunder and lightning. The Chinese of the Shang dynasty era worshipped Shang Ti. Evil deities were also part of the answer, as in the case of the Kuvera, the Hindu chief of evil in the Vedic period, and Tu, the Persian or Islamic demon of fatal accidents.

All of the known ancient gods, many heretofore obscure or known only from mythological literature, are included in this exhaustive reference work. The focus is on their origins, histories, and functions. The people who believed in each deity are identified, along with alternate names or spellings both old and modern. The descriptions that follow are of the functions, origins and physical nature of the deities. Extensive cross references are provided for alternate spellings and names.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist/RBB
many more entries [than the competition]. Academic and large public libraries in need of resources on this topic should purchase this work
Choice
a tremendous reference source for any collection, heartily recommended
Library Journal
Though Coulter a novelist and engineer and Turner a writer and researcher never actually define the parameters of "ancient," the scope of this encyclopedia is broad enough to cover any expectations engendered by that term. Each entry identifies the deity's ethnic group, states his or her status e.g., "hero," "woodland deity", explains the deity's lineage, and tells his or her major story. Deities with the same name are distinguished by means of alphabetical tags following each entry. See references for alternate spellings of names are so numerous that some pages are little but that. Cross references are included in the majority of entries, and an index helps to identify deities easily by culture, subject, place, and spelling variant. Many little-known gods from obscure mythologies are included, but the longest entries are still devoted to better-known deities from traditional cultures. This is a valuable resource for quick reference and for beginning research on the topic. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
A comprehensive if not exhaustive reference focusing on the origins, histories, and functions of the deities. Also includes the names and alternate names, ancient and modern of the people who believed in them. Extensive cross-referencing identifies classes of deities, alternate spellings and names, similar deities in other cultures, works of literature, places, and other associations. Much of the research was conducted through libraries outside of the US, so the coverage includes many cultures not usually represented in such references, such as Inuit, Native American, and African. Article-specific bibliographies, or even a culture-specific one, and an index by culture or region would have made the work more useful. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786469116
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/8/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 605
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Charles Russell Coulter was a novelist and engineer. Patricia Turner is a writer and researcher in Antioch, Tennessee.

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