So, on Wyrd Ways Radio earlier tonight, Galina and Sannion had as their guest Michael Routery, who has a new book out called From the Prow of Myth, which I’ll be reviewing here soon. (But, as a preview of that review: It’s great! Go Get It!)
Toward the end of the show, I was able to call in and ask the assembled dearies a question, which had some very interesting answers before the line cut out and I wasn’t able to listen any further. The question, in short, was: of all the literary works ever produced by polytheistic societies, which one (or two…!)* that we know the title of but is now lost would you wish you could see/read, picked out of the “magical library” where all such books exist. Their answers were great, and some of them I will steal myself as I answer this question below.
I’m restricting myself here to works that we know existed with certainty, rather than theoretical ones that we might wish existed.
—Autobiography of Hadrian
–Pancrates/Pachrates’ epic poem on the Lion Hunt of Antinous and Hadrian (we only have one definite fragment, and a few possible others)
—Cin Dromma Snechtai (an 8th c. Irish manuscript which at very least contained some of the earliest Irish prose tales and poems, the proto-versions of a few others, and which seems to have had as a potential focus stories involving otherworld travels/encounters)
—Liber Subterrenis (an Irish manuscript mentioned once in one recension of Lebor Gabála Érenn that had something to do with the otherworld)
–The actual Gospel of Judas referred to by Irenaeus of Lyon, rather than the one which turned up a few years ago (but that one is still interesting)
–The Old French Lai du Mabon, which is mentioned in the Roman du Silence as being very popular in France
And, while I’m sure I could think of many others as well as these six, they’re the top ones I’d love to see.
[*: Why restrict oneself to only one or two, after all? Why else are people polytheists?–certainly not to play favorites!]