Sheela-na-gigs: Unravelling an Enigma

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Routledge, Aug 15, 2005 - Social Science - 232 pages

Here Barbara Freitag examines all the literature on the subject since their discovery 160 years ago, highlighting the inconsistencies of the various interpretations in regard to origin, function and name. By considering the Sheela-na-gigs in their medieval social context, she suggests that they were folk deities with particular responsibility for assistance in childbirth.

This fascinating survey sheds new light on a controversial phenomenon, and also contains a complete catalogue of all known Sheela-na-gigs, including hitherto unrecorded or unpublished figures.

 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
1 THE SHEELANAGIG PHENOMENON
3
2 SHEELAS AND ACADEMIC RESEARCH
15
3 THE PROBLEM OF THE NAME
47
4 SHEELAS BIRTH DEATH AND MEDIEVAL RURAL TRADITIONS
63
CONCLUSION
109
SHEELANAGIG CATALOGUE
127
NOTES
169
BIBLIOGRAPHY
195
INDEX
213
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About the author (2005)

Lecturer in Intercultural Studies in the school of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University.

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