Ants, beetles, and flies... Oh, my! You'll find these and more in this bestiary of the insect world. Whether your interest in insect mythology is sparked by your favorite scarab bracelet or is of a more scholarly nature, this volume is a valuable resource.
Although you may find brief references to the mythological roles of insects in individual societies, here you have them assembled from both the Old and New Worlds for comparison and contrast. The ant, lauded for its industry by the Chinese, becomes the spiteful, diseased villain of the Pueblo Indians. Throughout the cultures included here, myths use the characteristics of insects to create a symbology recognizable from common usage. The expression "busy as a bee" indicates a cultural respect for the bee's reputation as a hard worker that seems to be the consensus of many cultures. On the other hand, you have the Egyptians giving credit to the fly for its persistence which might be more difficult to honor.
The Old World section begins with early naturalists who made mythology part of our science, thanks to their classical education. You'll find the scarab with other insects of Egyptian lore and an update on the insects of the Bible. New translations have made it necessary to change more than half of the King James Version references on which many studies have been based. It seems the poetic license of translation extended to the insect world. The more entomologically correct translations are recommended along with a table based on the Revised English Bible.
The New World chapters discuss the insects found in Mesoamerican astronomy and Native American mythology. The familiar constellations take on a whole new dimension in the interpretations of Mayan and other cultures. Who knew they were in the stars and on totem poles?
While this is fascinating for general readers, the scholarship of Insect Mythology validates it for use by experts. The authors' credentials combine to form a sound basis for their work backed by substantial references and amply illustrated. They have made the information very readable and included a table of contents, lists of illustrations and tables, and a thorough index. This makes the it easily accessible for the readers, be they entomologist, Biblical scholar or the owner of a scarab bracelet.