Band III: Von Arrianos bis zum Ausklang der Antike
Reviewed by Alexander Falileyev
[Snip] Celtic mythology has been and still remains a subject popular with academics and lay people alike. The insurmountable amount of publications on this topic appearing every year varies in size, importance, methodology and targeted audience. It should be admitted, however, that the phrase Celtic mythology itself is to a certain extant controversial. The term Celtic used as a modifier is the target of skepticism among scholars of various disciplines, with the notable exception of linguistics, where the concept of Celtic languages is undisputable. Indeed, Celtic archaeology or Celtic spirituality, for example, are very much criticized notions; and the validity of naming a discipline Celtic mythology depends on our understanding of the term Celtic. On top of that, there are various ways of studying mythological issues which are well reflected in the existing scholarly literature. To cut the story short, one of the basic problems facing a student of comparative mythology doing his research predominantly based on texts, is to form an opinion on the possible relationships among the passages, found, say, in Posidonius’s accounts of the Continental Gauls and medieval Irish sagas, bearing in mind that the former offers a view of a Greek looking at Barbarian practices and that the latter were written down in monastic milieux. If a genetic relationship is accepted, , the notion of Celtic mythology coincides with that of Celtic linguistics, and if not, the classification “Celtic,” as used for example by linguists, becomes to a large extent irrelevant, and we should rather speak in terms of Gaulish and Medieval Irish mythology. Moreover, a question arises regarding ancient times and sources: what will be the justification for considering together data pertaining to the Gauls and to, say, the Celt-Iberians in modern Spain, who spoke languages which were apparently mutually unintelligible, even though they both go back to a Common Celtic stock.