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The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images

In this beautifully illustrated study of sculpture, vases, and other cult objects portraying the Goddess, fertility images, and mythical animals, Marija Gimbutas sketches the matrilineal village culture that existed in southeastern Europe between 6500 and 3500 B.C., before it was overwhelmed by the patriarchal Indo-Europeans. The analysis of this rich mythical imagery tells us much about early humanity’s concepts of the cosmos, of humans’ relations with nature, and of the complementary roles of male and female.

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  1. mike gurski says

    What came before the king the knight and the peasant? For those who have not begun the journey through the numerous works of the late Dr. Gimbutas, this early analysis is as good a place as any to start. Her painstaking research, archealogical digs and discoveries, not to mention controversial conclusions of the matriarchal culture that thrived prior to the repeated waves of the Indo-European incursions through Old Europe, are a breath of fresh air into the mythos of the Great Mother. Be warned though, Gimbutas’ work can be captivating and like me you could find yourself reading through all her successive works. For the archealogical traveller, Gimbutas’ also opens up an itinerary worth following to see for oneself, the various ‘finds’ from her digs. For those looking for a broader guide to the myth of the Goddess, explore The Myth of the Goddess, Evolution of an Image by Anne Baring and Jules Cashford. However, for the experience of direct discovery and articulate analyis, plus a solid repetoire of images, figures and maps to stimulate the left brain Gimbutas sets the standard. My only regret is that I did not discover her work sooner and if I had would have made the effort to meet her in person.

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