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Insect Mythology [Paperback]

Gene Kritsky , Ron Cherry
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 12.82 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Dec 1 2000
A rich and enjoyable collection of insect mythology from around the world.

This is the first book dedicated specifically to showing the important roles insects have played in mythology, and is a comprehensive and readable survey of insect myths from around the world. The book ranges from older, better-known insect myths such as sacred scarabs to new unpublished subjects such as insects as examples of parallel mythology.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part of our culture too May 9 2002
Format:Paperback
All cultures use myth to explain what they see or can't understand. As prevalent as insects are, it makes sense that there are myths on the origin of insects, and myths where insects are symbolic. This short, well-illustrated book introduces interesting topics such as "archaeoastronomy" or "parallel mythology", where separated cultures having similar myths. Examples include the metamorphism of butterflies and negative connotations of the flies (with the Navaho "Big Fly" being a striking exception).
The entomological etymology (word origin) was enriching, and I most enjoyed the Greek origin (psyche) of butterfly and soul. The chapter on arthropod references in the Bible, was helpful, and if nothing else highlights the prevalence of locust in the Middle East. "Go to the ant, you sluggard, watch her ways and get wisdom..." has long been a favorite of mine.
With my own interest in Odonata, I appreciated images of the Haidu tattoo of the mythical dragonfly and Navaho sand painting. I would also refer to the Oglala Sioux dragonfly symbolism in the Sacred Hoop (see Ed McGaa - Mother Earth Spirituality). This book also initiates thoughts on how the symbolism is still with us today, such as the Death's head moth in the "Silence of the Lamb".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a Kind May 6 2001
Format:Paperback
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.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a Kind May 6 2001
By P. Jeanne Romans - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part of our culture too May 9 2002
By Gary Sprandel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All cultures use myth to explain what they see or can't understand. As prevalent as insects are, it makes sense that there are myths on the origin of insects, and myths where insects are symbolic. This short, well-illustrated book introduces interesting topics such as "archaeoastronomy" or "parallel mythology", where separated cultures having similar myths. Examples include the metamorphism of butterflies and negative connotations of the flies (with the Navaho "Big Fly" being a striking exception).
The entomological etymology (word origin) was enriching, and I most enjoyed the Greek origin (psyche) of butterfly and soul. The chapter on arthropod references in the Bible, was helpful, and if nothing else highlights the prevalence of locust in the Middle East. "Go to the ant, you sluggard, watch her ways and get wisdom..." has long been a favorite of mine.
With my own interest in Odonata, I appreciated images of the Haidu tattoo of the mythical dragonfly and Navaho sand painting. I would also refer to the Oglala Sioux dragonfly symbolism in the Sacred Hoop (see Ed McGaa - Mother Earth Spirituality). This book also initiates thoughts on how the symbolism is still with us today, such as the Death's head moth in the "Silence of the Lamb".
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