"A book as exotic and complex as a mosaic in a Coptic chapel. The story begins in dreams and fantasies, with tales of bizarre rites, miracles and wonders, as the author emphasizes, of unicorns and unipeds, a kingdom that bordered Eden itself."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Silverberg has pieced together the life history of the myth of Prester John, the astonishing Christian potentate of the East—a legend which cast a powerful spell over Latin Christendom for centuries. Rumors of the warrior-king-prelate's fabulous realms first reached Europe in the eleventh century where they quickly assumed an exalted status alongside such wonders as El Dorado, The Fountain of Youth, and the Holy Grail. The defeat of a menacing Moslem Turkish tribe by a Buddhist Chinese warlord seems to have been the unlikely historical nugget around which the splendiferous myth grew, but contributions to this strange saga have also been traced to the Apostle Thomas' apocryphal preaching in India, to the actual existence of small colonies of Nestorian schismatics in central Asia, and—incredibly—to Ghengis Khan… Silverberg serves up the fantastic details lavishly while diligently striving to sort out the shadowy facts from the imaginative incrustations."
In this modern account of the genesis of a great medieval myth, celebrated science fiction author Robert Silverberg’s explores the mysterious origins of Prester John, the astonishing Christian potentate of the East.
Prester John was a legendary figure who cast a powerful spell over Latin Christendom for almost five centuries. Rumors of the warrior-king-prelate’s fabulous realms first reached Europe in the eleventh century and quickly assumed an exalted status alongside such fabled wonders as El Dorado, The Fountain of Youth, and the Holy Grail.
The defeat of a Moslem Turkish tribe by a Buddhist Chinese warlord seems to have been the unlikely historical nugget around which the Prester John myth grew, but contributions to this strange saga have also been traced all around the globe to the Apostle Thomas' apocryphal preaching in India, to the actual existence of small colonies of Nestorian schismatics in central Asia, and even to Genghis Khan.
Robert Silverberg, a renowned science fiction author and recipient of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, also writes books reflecting his special interest in myth, history, archaeology, and anthropology. More info →
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Ernest J. Wessen was one of the legendary rare bookmen of the mid-twentieth century, and his letters, like his famous catalogs, Midland Notes, are a treasure of Americana.
Challenging the notions prevalent since the Romantics and crystallized in Jung and Frazer, Miss Barnard’s is a lucid and common sense appraisal of the origin of certain myths and mythical personae. Her hope is that a study of the mythology of such intoxicants as maguey, kava, soma and peyote, and the mythology of the moon, the dragon, the shaman, the Pleiades and others will throw light on mythmaking in general.The
Myth of Iron is the first book-length scholarly study of the famous Zulu leader Shaka to be published. It lays out, as far as possible, all the available evidenceu2009—u2009mainly hitherto underutilized Zulu oral testimonies, supported by other documentary sourcesu2009—u2009and decides, item by item, legend by legend, what exactly we can know about Shaka’s reign.
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