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To understand more about popular belief in Europe it will also be useful to know a little bit more about Mythology, in our case especially about European Mythology. Likewise, some basic knowledge regarding the local Religions could well be of use. So here are the titles of a few books that will hopefully be of help to place vampire superstitions into a somewhat wider context.

David Bellingham :

"An introduction to Celtic Mythology" [1990]

Grange Books, London, UK, 1995 - pp.128
ISBN: 1 85627 805 1

John Bierhorst :

"The Hungry Woman - Myths and legends of the Aztecs" [1984]

William Morrow, New York, USA, 1984 - pp.148
ISBN: 0 688 12301 5

Cottie Burland :

"North American Indian Mythology" [1965]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1968 - pp.142

There are quite a few titles in this section that have been published by Hamlyn Books. All of them are reasonably good informative books with lots of illustrations.

Anthony Christie :

"Chinese Mythology" [1968]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1968 - pp.142

Franz Cumont :

"The Mysteries of Mithra" [1903]

Dover Books, NewYork, USA, 1956 - pp.240

I am pretty sure that I have also seen a place where you can download this book for free somewhere on the internet.

Mircea Eliade :

"Geschichte der religiösen Ideen - I - Von der Steinzeit bis zu den Mysterien von Eleusis" [1976]

Verlag Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 2002 - pp.434
ISBN: 3 451 05274 1

"Geschichte der religiösen Ideen - II - Von Gautama Buddha bis zu den Anfängen des Christentums" [1978]

Verlag Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 2002 - pp.464
ISBN: 3 451 05274 1

"Geschichte der religiösen Ideen - III - Von Mohammed bis zum Beginn der Neuzeit" [1983]

Verlag Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 2002 - pp.326
ISBN: 3 451 05274 1

"Geschichte der religiösen Ideen - IV - Vom Zeitalter der Entdeckungen bis zur Gegenwart" [no date]

Verlag Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 2002 - pp.496
ISBN: 3 451 05274 1

Mircea Eliade's masterpiece hardly needs any recommendation. But I will give you my opinion anyway. I honestly think that anyone who has the slightest interest in mythology and the history of religious ideas should read these books. Like myself, you may be put off by the fact that these are 4 massive volumes. But once I started reading, I simply could not stop. These fascinating and informative books (which are also available in other languages) are absolutely brilliant.

"Die Religionen und das Heilige - Elemente der Religionsgeschichte" [1949]

Insel Verlag, Frankfurt, Germany, 1998 - pp.574
ISBN: 3 458 33887 X

Another masterpiece from the hand of Eliade. Written from a different angle. This time it is not the historical development of religious ideas, but a comprehensive overview of all the different elements that make up a "religion".

"The Sacred and the Profane - The nature of Religion" [1957]

Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, USA, 1959 - pp.256

Mircea Eliade & Ioan P. Culianu :

"Handbuch der Religionen" [1990]

Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Verlag, Germany, 1995 - pp.366
ISBN: 3 518 38886 X

And in case it happens that you do not have the time or the stomach to work your way through the whole of Eliade's "History of Religious Thought", then this might be just the book for you. It is a great and useful book.

H.R. Ellis Davidson :

"Scandinavian Mythology" [1969]

Paul Hamlyn, London, UK, 1969 - pp.142

George Every :

"Christian Mythology" [1970]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1970 - pp.142

Ivanichka Georgieva :

"Bulgarian Mythology" [1985]

Svyat, Sofia, Bulgaria, 1985 - pp.212

Very interesting and nicely illustrated book. Especially the chapters called "On the Border Line between Life and Death - Wood Nymphs, Destinies, Diseases, the Bogy" and "The World of the Dead - Vampire - Lord and Master - Fiends" offer lots of fascinating and useful information.

Wolfgang Golther :

"Handbuch der Germanischen Mythologie" [2003]

Fourier Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany, 2003 - pp.608
ISBN: 3 932412 43 5

John Grant :

"An introduction to Viking Mythology" [1990]

Grange Books, London, UK, 1995 - pp.128
ISBN: 1 85627 830 1

John Gray :

"Near Eastern Mythology" [1969]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1969 - pp.142

Félix Guirand :

"Greek Mythology" [no date]

Paul Hamlyn, London, UK, 1967 - pp.154

Félix Guirand [Ed.]:

"Mythologie Générale" [1935]

Librairie Larousse, Paris, France, 1935 - pp.448

Of particular interest to us for its chapters on Greek, Roman, Celtic, Scandinavian, Slavic, Lithuanian and Ugro-Finnish Mythology.

Fdal Haja :

"La Mort, le Jugement Dernier et la Vie Future" [2005]

Editions Universel, Paris, France, 2005 - pp.224
ISBN: 2 911546 10 5

Death and eschatological expectations from an Islamic point of view.

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali :

"Les Tourments de la Tombe" [2006]

Editions la Ruche, Paris, France, 2006 - pp.104
ISBN: 2 914566 28 X

Another interesting booklet that gives us some further insight into the remarkable world of Islamic thought and belief.

Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller :

"Heiltümer und Symbole im Zeitalter der Luxemburger - Reliquienkult und Bildersturm in Böhmen von Karl IV. bis zu den Hussiten"

in: Wünsch (ed.): "Religion und Magie in Ostmitteleuropa" [2006]
LIT Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2006 - pp.340
ISBN: 3 8258 9273 5

John R Hinnells :

"Persian Mythology" [1973]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1973 - pp.142
ISBN: 0 600 03090 3

Veronica Ions :

"Egyptian Mythology" [1965]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1968 - pp.142

"Indian Mythology" [1967]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1968 - pp.142

E.F. Jung :

"Der Weg ins Jenseits - Mythen vom Leben nach dem Tode"

Fourier Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany, no date - pp.326
ISBN: 3 925037 31 4

J.H. Kamstra, H. Milde & K. Wagtendonk (ed.) :

"Funerary Symbols and Religion - Essays dedicated to Professor M.S.H.G. Heerma van Voss" [1988]

J.H. Kok, Kampen, Netherlands, 1988 - pp.182
ISBN: 90 242 44307

Barbara Black Koltuv :

"The Book of Lilith" [1986]

Nicolas Hayes, York Beach, Maine, USA, 1991 - pp.128
ISBN: 0 89254 014 1

Various authors have tried to connect the name of Lilith with bloodthirst and vampirism. Koltuv's book offers you a lot of information that might be of help to let you decide if there is indeed a vampire connection.

Proinsias MacCana :

"Celtic Mythology" [1970]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1970 - pp.142

Donald A. Mackenzie :

"Indian Myth and Legend" [no date]

The Gresham Publishing Company, London, UK, no date - pp.464

Elard Hugo Meyer :

"Mythologie der Germanen" [1903]

Phaidon Verlag, Essen, Germany, no date - pp.526

William Meyers :

"Vampires or Gods ?" [1993]

III Publishing, San Francisco, USA, 1993 - pp.192
ISBN: 0 9622937 5 X

A remarkable book, brought to you by the same publishers that shocked the world by their publication of "The last days of Christ the Vampire".

Ajit Mookerjee :

"Kali - the feminine force" [1988]

Thames & Hudson, London, UK, 1988 - pp.112
ISBN: 0 500 27505 X

If you want to know more about the Goddess Kali, it could be that this is just the thing that you are looking for.

Irene Nicholson :

"Mexican and Central American Mythology" [1967]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1968 - pp.142

Wilhelm Niekrens :

"Die Engel und Geistervorstellungen des Korans" [no date]

Edition Geheimes Wissen, Graz, Austria, 2007 - pp.78

Harold Osborne :

"South American Mythology" [1968]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1968 - pp.142

Derek & Julia Parker :

"The Immortals - the mysterious world of Gods, Goblins, Fairies, Leprechauns, Vampires, Witches, and Devils" [1976]

Barrie & Jenkins, London, UK, 1976 - pp.208
ISBN: 0 214 20283 6

Nice pictures.

Geoffrey Parrinder :

"African Mythology" [1967]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1967 - pp.142

Stewart Perowne :

"Roman Mythology" [1969]

Paul Hamlyn, London, UK, 1969 - pp.142

Jean-Paul Persigout :

"Dictionnaire de Mythologie Celte" [1985]

Editions du Rocher, Monaco, 1996 - pp.318

Even though it does not have the answers to all of my questions, I have found this to be a pretty good book that has often come in handy if I quickly wanted to look up some Celtic stuff.

Juliet Piggott :

"Japanese Mythology" [1969]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1969 - pp.142

Roslyn Poignant :

"Oceanic Mythology" [1967]

Hamlyn, London, UK, 1967 - pp.142

Edward Potkowski :

"Gott, Teufel und Schrift - Vorstellungen zu den heiligen und dämonischen Wirkungen der Schrift im Polen des 15.-16. Jahrhunderts"

in: Wünsch (ed.): "Religion und Magie in Ostmitteleuropa" [2006]
LIT Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2006 - pp.340
ISBN: 3 8258 9273 5

Lazar Puhalo :

"On the Nature of Heaven and Hell according to the Holy Fathers" [1995]

Synaxis Press, Dewdney, Canada, no date - pp.38
ISBN: 919 672 7 1

This short publication appears to be an excerpt from a number of lectures given by Lazar Puhalo, Archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America, abbot of the Canadian Orthodox Monastery of All Saints of North America.

"The Soul, the Body and Death" [1980]

Synaxis Press, Dewdney, Canada, 2007 - pp.196
ISBN: 919672 18 3

Ramprasad :

"Chants à Kali" [date unknown - 18th Century]

Société d'Edition "Les Belles Lettres", Paris, France, 1982 - pp.318
ISBN: 2 251 35332 1

Abdallah Ibn Ibrahim Ar-Raouji :

"Qu'y-a-t'il Apres la Mort ?" [no date]

Editions Assia, no place, no date - pp.238

Erwin Rohde :

"Psyche - Seelenkult und Unsterblichkeitsglaube der Griechen" [1891/1894]

Alfred Kröner Verlag, Leipzig, Germany, no date - pp.324

Imam al-Suyuti :

"Les Mystères de la Tombe - Délices et Supplices" [2002]

Editions de la Ruche, Paris, France, 2004 - pp.120
ISBN: 2 914566 21 2

Ibn Taymiyya :

"La Tombe et ses Supplices" [no date]

Editions Albouraq, Paris, France, 2002 - pp.174
ISBN: 2 84161 009 8

Reiner Tetzner :

"Germanische Göttersagen" [1992]

Reclam, Ditzingen, Germany, 2002 - pp.208
ISBN: 3 15 008750 3

"Germanische Heldensagen" [1996]

Reclam, Ditzingen, Germany, 2003 - pp.356
ISBN: 3 15 008751 1

Jonas Trinkünas (ed.) :

"Of Gods and Holidays - The Baltic Heritage" [1999]

Tvermé, Vilnius, Lithuania, 1999 - pp.206

Excellent book with very interesting articles about Baltic religion and mythology. I can only wish that there would be books as good as this about all other European regions.

various authors :

"The Holy Bible - containing the Old and New Testaments - commonly known as the authorized (King James) version" [no date]

National Bible Press, Philadelphia, USA, no date - pp.1108

In large parts of Europe, Christianity used to be (or still is) the main religion. Quite a few of the people who have written about vampires have a religious background. So you'd better keep your Bible at the ready, if you want to understand some of the things that they are going on about. In case you do not have a copy, there is no need for you to run out and find one. A free Bible program can be uploaded from : Theophilos Bible Software. There are various Bible versions available in several languages. It is quite a large program, so it may take you some time to download it. But it is an excellent program which also allows you to do searches. An interesting option is the possibility to put more than one version or translation on your screen simultaneously. As a bonus, you can also download the Apocryphal Books that used to be part of the original Bible books, but - at some later date - were removed from the "official version". Imagine, those old church fathers censoring the "Word of God". . .

various authors :

"The Holy Qur'an" [no date]

Wordsworth Editions, Ware, Hertfordshire, UK, 2000 - pp.562
ISBN: 1 85326 782 1

There are certain European areas where the Islam used to be (or in a few cases still is) the main religion. So, if we want to understand the local vampire superstitions of those areas, it should be interesting to see if the Koran (and/or related literature) contains any material that could be relevant to our studies. Again, there is no need for you to run out and buy a copy. There are many places on the internet where you can download texts like these for free. You could try Sacred Texts if you can't find one.

Thomas Wünsch (ed.) :

"Religion und Magie in Ostmitteleuropa - Spielräume theologischer Normierungsprozesse in Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit" [2006]

LIT Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2006 - pp.340
ISBN: 3 8258 9273 5

Very interesting anthology with many fascinating articles, some of them in English. The only thing that I could possibly find wrong with it is the lack of an index, but that - sadly - is something that is usually missing in this type of publication. Otherwise, it is an absolutely brilliant book.

© 2011 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last update December 2011
Photo: "Religious Statue - Vienna" - © 2005 by Rob Brautigam

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