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Curious Myths of the Middle Ages

Sabine Baring-Gould

Book Overview: 

This volume is an example of Sabine Baring-Gould's extensive research into the middle ages. This volume of 12 curiosities was one of Baring-Gould's most successful publications.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Magi, mentioned in the Gospel, and he rules over the very people formerly governed by the Magi; moreover, his fame and his wealth are so great, that he uses an emerald sceptre only.

“Excited by the example of his ancestors, who came to worship Christ in his cradle, he had proposed to go to Jerusalem, but had been impeded by the above-mentioned causes.”[19]

At the same time the story crops up in other quarters; so that we cannot look upon Otto as the inventor of the myth. The celebrated Maimonides alludes to it in a passage quoted by Joshua Lorki, a Jewish physician to Benedict XIII. Maimonides lived from 1135 to 1204. The passage is as follows: “It is evident both from the letters of Rambam (Maimonides), whose memory be blessed, and from the narration of merchants who have visited the ends of the earth, that at this time the root of our faith is to be found in the lands of Babel and Teman, where long ago Jerusalem was an exile; no. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Really very interesting. There are parts that are very obviously written from the Victorian point of view, which made me wonder how much of that interpretation was still worthwhile. However, I did get to read about a bunch of myths I'd never heard of before, and the parallels drawn between "Jack and

Baring-Gould collects in one place many of the myths of Medieval England, which are likely uncommon to many contemporary readers, although some remain familiar (i.e. William Tell). Baring-Gould does an excellent job of relating these stories to the extant mythology from many ancient cultures and as

Review originally published on my blog,
Nine Pages

In his introduction to this edition, Hardy writes that he “ruthlessly abandoned the farther shores of [Baring-Gould’s] research,” and I am inclined to believe that he was utterly ruthless (14-15). I have sought out copies of Baring-Gould’s unedi

2.5 stars
This was not what I had expected. I had wanted to read a book of myths but this was more like an explanation of the myths. It was an interesting albeit biased bit of information on a few of the more popular folktales.

Fantastic read by a pioneering British folklorist (who was also an incredibly interesting guy -- look him up). The book came out in 1866, so its interpretation of medieval folklore isn't the final word, but nobody beats this guy for style. Reads like a velvet fist to the face. Charming stuff from a

The title is the coolest part about this book. Mostly a snooze fest.

A bit simple.

Probably just right for those who like it short and simple but I like things a little meatier.
Maps and illustrations would have made a big difference.

No, I didn't actually finish this.

It's an interesting book, nonetheless. It's basically an examination of the various myths and legends found in Europe during the Middle Ages. Baring-Gould traces the origin of a myth and compares the various versions of the same basic myth.

I enjoyed the ones that

Seemed to be have a lot of research behind it. However, it was more a history of the myths than simply their telling. Interesting how the medieval myths were such a strange conglomeration of Christian beliefs and pagan superstition.

It's my fault for not paying attention- my dumb ass thought these were literally a selection of Medieval myths. But no. This is a religious (Christian) analysis of said myths.

I tried to read it anyway; but no dice for me.

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