Mythology 'encyclopedia'
April 10, 2013 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Bookfilter: I read part of a book a few years back about mythology, and I can't remember what it was called or who it was by. It was in an encyclopedic format; everything I think was in alphabetic order, and any given entry would be from a few paragraphs to a few pages long.

One of the longer entries, as I recall, was about the "Triple Goddess" or Mother/Maiden/Crone; another entry that stood out was the possible origins of the phrase "a year and a day", which had an explanation involving lunar cycles, and the claim that a year was originally measured as 12 lunar cycles, and the extra day caused the lunar year to line up with the solar year.

I came across it probably in the summer of 2008, but I assumed the book was much older, in a house owned by Canadians living in France, though the book was in English. It may have been more generally a book specifically about Paganism?

All my book-looking-for abilities have been exhausted over the last while looking for it. Help me, Ask Mefi, you're my only hope.
posted by vulgar_wheat to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Might be Edith Hamilton's Mythology?
posted by scribbler at 6:18 PM on April 10, 2013

Less specifically about paganism, but maybe Jorge Luis Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings?
posted by randomination at 6:27 PM on April 10, 2013

Frazer's The Golden Bough?
posted by scruss at 6:37 PM on April 10, 2013

The Complete Dictionary of Symbols, edited by Jack Tresidder?

There's definitely alphabetical order, encyclopedic format, and the entries vary in length. I'm looking at my own copy and there are multiple references to the triple goddess, and I thought there was a distinct article about it in here, but that was perhaps in an older edition I used to reference in my university library?
posted by Mizu at 6:46 PM on April 10, 2013

The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology?
posted by jadepearl at 6:52 PM on April 10, 2013

Nah, that doesn't sound like Hamilton. Possibly World Mythology?
posted by orrnyereg at 7:09 PM on April 10, 2013

Or History of Pagan Europe?
posted by orrnyereg at 7:13 PM on April 10, 2013

Response by poster: Definitely not Hamilton's Mythology. I've read that cover-to-cover five or six times and it has had a place of honor on my bookshelf since I was a child. The others don't seem right, either.

If it helps, I am pretty sure the Maiden/Mother/Crone used as an example Artemis, Hecate, and some goddess of the Crossroads? But I'm not sure if the crossroads goddess was Hecate or someone else.
posted by vulgar_wheat at 7:23 PM on April 10, 2013

Bulfinch's Mythology?
posted by Katine at 9:32 PM on April 10, 2013

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