Bringing together experts from a range of backgrounds, this volume explores the function of goddesses in a cross-section of cultures from around the world, including the Celtic, Roman, Norse, Caucasian and Japanese traditions. The contributors compare the nature of the various cults dominated by a female deity in predominantly patriarchal societies, examining the substance of myths both ancient and modern. What this volume perhaps illustrates most vividly is the wide range of responsibilities undertaken by the goddess-figure. They were not simply allotted the roles perceived as conventionally 'feminine'; female deities were also known to have held sway in war, hunting and questions of sovereignty. The studies benefit from a broad interdisciplinary approach and take a fresh look at the subject. As well as being relevant to those studying archaeology, ancient history, classical studies, anthropology, folklore, mythology, comparative religion and women's studies, it will also appeal to the general reader. With its accessible style, extensive bibliography and innovative approach, The Concept of the Goddess is a highly valuable contribution to study in this field.