Twilight of the Godlings
The Shadowy Beginnings of Britain's Supernatural Beings
by Francis Young
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Pub Date 15 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 15 Jun 2023
Throughout the recorded history of Britain, belief in earthbound spirits presiding over nature, the home and human destiny has been a feature of successive cultures. From the localised deities of Britannia to the Anglo-Saxons' elves and the fairies of late medieval England, Britain's godlings have populated a shadowy, secretive realm of ritual and belief running parallel to authorised religion. Twilight of the Godlings delves deep into the elusive history of these supernatural beings, tracing their evolution from the pre-Roman Iron Age to the end of the Middle Ages. Arguing that accreted cultural assumptions must be cast aside in order to understand the godlings – including the cherished idea that these folkloric creatures are the decayed remnants of pagan gods and goddesses – this bold, revisionist book traces Britain's 'small gods' to a popular religiosity influenced by classical learning. It offers an exciting new way of grasping the island's most mysterious mythical inhabitants.
“[Young] writes clearly and authoritatively and his book is both timely and persuasive.” Carolyne Larrington, University of Oxford and author of The Land of the Green Man
“This is a bold, erudite, exciting and genuinely original attempt to solve one of the most intractable of questions concerning medieval British culture. It is very readable and enjoyable, and undoubtedly makes a notable contribution to debate.” Ronald Hutton, author of Pagan Britain