CELTIC HERITAGE. By Alwyn Rees and Brinley Rees. Thames and Hudson, London, 1961. Pp. 427. 50s. Convinced that Celtic literature and folk-lore contain much basic material for the study of the pre-Christian 'religion' of our ancestors, the authors of Celtic Heritage have undertaken the arduous task of investi- gating a wealth of texts and demonstrating the significance of their contents in terms of myth and ritual. The work is in three parts. In the first ('The Tradition') the authors discuss the function of the story-teller in ancient and modern times, and they introduce us to the various groups of tales in Irish and Welsh which they would regard as representatives- though frequently obscured by Christian influence-of the 'oral scriptures' of the pre-Christian Celts. In the second part ('The World of Meaning'), which is largely an attempt to reconstruct a Celtic cosmogony, the authors devote particular attention to the learned account of the early history of Ireland contained in Lebor Gabdla firenn 'The Book of the Taking of Ireland', which treats of its first inhabitants and their successors, the gradual development of the country from the primeval state, its political organization, and so on, and which, the Rees brothers say, 'retains some of the essentials of a cosmo- gonic myth'. Readers familiar with O'Rahilly's Early Irish History and Mythology will recall how he used Lebor Gabdla in conjunction with genealogical material and the narrative literature in putting forward new views on the sequence of early settlements in Ireland. Indeed, O'Rahilly's work, and the completion in 1956 of the publication of Macalister's edition of the text of Lebor Gabdla, have underlined the need for a thorough examination of the work by experts in archaeology, history, primitive religion, and other branches of learning. The Rees brothers have contri- buted to this study by considering the symbolism involved in the supposed invasion groups, the pre-Gaelic peoples of Ireland and the Gaedhil. They have not concerned themselves with the identification of these groups in terms of non-Celts, P-Celts, or Q-Celts. They discuss them in terms of social functions and relate them to the five-fold division of Ireland into provinces. They put forward a further correlation of provinces with functions and social classes (Munster-Music/Serfs, Leinster- Prosperity Farmers, Ulster Battle Warriors, Connacht Learning/ Priests, Meath-Kingship/Kings) which leads to the conclusion that Meath as the 'central province' is the head of a hierarchic system in which 'the four great provinces and the centre constitute the state, the ordered cosmos'. Acceptance of their thesis that the central kingdom with Tara as its seat was pre-eminent in remote times is difficult in view of D. A. Binchy's recent denial of the antiquity of the Irish 'high-kingship'. The picture is further complicated by the existence of a different tradition in which the central province finds no place and in which Munster is regarded as comprising two provinces. O'Rahilly regarded the latter as a late invention, but the authors of Celtic Heritage argue that the two traditions