Book: European Paganism The Realities Of Cult From Antiquity To The Middle Ages by Ken DowdenThis book has grown out of that experience in datacompression. I have always believed that smaller areas were best understood in larger contexts and in many ways the whole question of paganism in Europe requires the largest of views. The largest of views, however, takes more room and more time than one would ever imagine, and what started in the mind’s eye as a short book giving a good representative sample of the range of pagan phenomena has grown into a larger book which still seems to leave so much out. I would like a lifetime to write the real, encyclopaedic version of this book. But it might stretch to a volume or two...
My aim was not to write a history of pagan Europe—that has been done with real commitment by Jones and Pennick (1995) —nor to write a history of the decline and fall of paganism to Christianity, which is just as well as Fletcher has now written a glorious book (1997) on just that subject. Rather, I wanted to show paganism in action, see what it looked and felt like, let the reader see the evidence and listen to the authors, even boring old Caesarius of Arles and grumpy Maximus of Turin.
I have tried to focus on living paganism and the witness of the written word, I have been less interested but not uninterested in the deductions to be made from archaeology. I have cited archaeological material where it helps the picture under discussion but not gone back to prehistory. This has also dictated the time period that I have allowed. Wherever there is a written account of some aspect of paganism, I have wanted to be able to include it.
I hope that this book for all its shortcomings and omissions will give readers access to much more information and a much fuller view than they ever had before.
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Ken Dowden - European Paganism The Realities Of Cult From Antiquity To The Middle Ages