During the Iron Age, more than 2000 years ago, Celts dominated Europe. In many tribes, bound together only by a common racial stock and the influence of the Druidic religion, they occupied much of the continent. Now their descendents are confined to the Atlantic fringes, and it is here that the mythology of the Celts must be sought. For some four centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, Ireland was the refuge of learning and the source of literary and philosophical culture for half of Europe. Indeed the verse forms of Celtic poetry have probably played the main parts in determining the structure of modern verse, while the myths and legends of the Gaelic and Cymric peoples kindled the imagination of a host of continental poets. Nevertheless the mythology of the Celts is today less familiar than that of the Vikings or Teutons, even though it contains many striking tales of imagination and romance, with heroes and heroines to rival those of the Rhineland or the North. Lugh, the sun god of the Celts; Llew Llaw Gyffes, “The Lion of the Sure Hand”; Finn Mac Cumhal, Captain of the Fianna of Erin; and the formidable Maev, Queen of Connacht. Perhaps no country has place names so charged with legendary associations as are those of Ireland. Poetry and myth are still closely wedded to the very soil of the land. The majority of the stories related in this book are of Irish origin, including the legends of Lugh, reckoned to be the flower of Irish romance; tales of the Danaans and the Milesian kings; the Conorian cycle, from the bleak hills and rugged coasts of Ulster; and the gentler more mysterious Ossian cycle, with its great hero, Finn. The oldest of the Welsh legens are collected in the “Mabinogion”, which include some less well-known tales of the court of King Arthur. “Celtic Myths and Legends” provides an immensely readable introduction to this neglected subject, and sets it in its proper historical perspective by surveying the history of the Celts, from their golden age, when a Gallic army could plunder Rome, to their downfall at the hands of a mighty Roman Empire and the mass migrations of the Germanic tribes. Included are accounts of the Celts as soon through the eyes of ancient writers, their customs, religious beliefs, and the related sacred monuments. The text is accompanied by 45 delightful illustrations, a glossary, index, and genealogical tables to help the reader follow the dynastic fortunes of the Houses of Don, Llye, and King Arthur.