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PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR. M.A. Btberiuss : A. F. AND BY ALEXANDER MACBAIN.A. . SCOT. & W.S.. MACKENZIE. 1885.CELTIC MYTHOLOGY KELIGION.
EMMAIWl s Pi S3 .
". nevertheless. and the change of day and night were the most prominent factors in the creation of the deities and powers of the ancient mythologies. unedited. events have travelled with more than usual rapidity both in the field of It was last year that Mr general and of Celtic Mythology. the Pantheon of their Gaelic This I undertook. and is here reprinted from the type.]? RE F ^L C E. THE in following work. to clear up the misty subject of Druidism. Arbois ". all save from page 105 to the end. clearly before my ". Magazine its Hence it is that ". appeared the Celtic Magazine in 1883-4. for the material for reconstruction dif deal with. a dramatic view of the course of nature. myth ology is. and to apply its principles to the elucida subject tion of Celtic beliefs. Despite Mr Lang. D de Jubainville s important works on Celtic Literature and Myth Mr Lang s attack has certainly driven the ology appeared. from the shattered materials to hand. Since these papers began to appear in print. knowing that in the last part of the rehabilitation of the Gaelic my object ficult to Olympus my results is must only be tentative. and it was also last year that M. and traditions. to note the list of corrections appended to this preface.". older school from several of their positions. Andrew Lang delivered his lively attack against the orthodox". but he has by no means overthrown either the importance of language in the development of myth. school of mythologists. and to reconstruct. . the sky. and much of it is in MSS. ancestors. before condemning details at least. it is reproduced with all imperfections on its head. tales. the powers of wind and storm. I wished to place The Gaelic brethren the exact position which the religious beliefs of the Celts held in the European kinship. intention of this series of papers was to popularise the of Mythology. or the fact that the sun. and the critic must be asked.
He instances the tale of Cupid and ". because it stereotyped older epithets and expressions. from after ages misunderstanding the epithets guage. and language has been a most potent force in the development of myths. arose from disease of lan that is. however. Another thing has done is to place the folk-tale on a proper way ". . Psyche. however. The orthodox belief is that the hero of the folk. religion. are kin with animals as tion we is are with one another. for the reason that. following Max Mr Lang has made it clear in Muller. means so much the cause of myth as Max Muller and Cox be lieve. that we believe in men being transformed into animals . and. or through the Pythagorean may metempsychosis. shown that language is by no stood.". which in later ages were misunder Mr Lang has. Mr Lang shows that savages now in fact. in cluding the beast-form he assumes. towards explanation. Then he finds several incidents explained by of men into beasts savage customs. that the old idea that the fairy or popular tale a broken-down myth is so Indeed. indeed. Transforma It a fixed article of savage faith. tale at the beginning of in that tale the etiquette is that the wife must not ".". by a previous age. these papers the parallel of the Hoodie". Mr Tylor s views on Mythology. and he. What Mr Lang has proved in regard to the origin and growth of myth ology does not in the least invalidate the arguments and con clusions in the following papers. that Mr Lang they have generally become folk-tales. is not often the case. more especially the prohibitions or taboos we meet with in these tales. Grimm is s Fairy Tales. ".". like Mr I followed is an anthropologist. applied to the sun-god and to the incidents. That. be caused by witchcraft spell. that the opposite is nearer the truth. with change and advance of . . to Mrs Hunt s translation of ". Lang holds that the myth the god-tale is but a sublimated folk-tale.tale must be the sun-god. and better still in his introduction ". on the whole. his Custom and Myth. in these papers of mine is the relation in which. and that many incidents. . This view is untenable.and a personification of its forces. Mr totally wrong.". Folk-tales have been raised to myths the Jason myth is a case in point but myths have often. But what Mr Lang has invalidated Lang. and that many of the myths claimed as Aryan are found also among barbarous and savage tribes all over the world. ". I held myth and folk-tale.
husband. and are not un In the tale of the Hoodie. to her : modern Europe. and he further The regards them as the powers of death.) were kept burning to ward off the fairies. he observes. her. The Lang would say. raiment. bonus deus represents Zeus or Jove Luga corresponds to Mercury Ogma corresponds to Lucian s Hercules Ogmius . a constant source of dread to baby and the special custom of watching during the first night of life. of Hesiod the Nemedians are the . and evil. . . Irish Mytholo be of Cycle and the Celtic Mythology appeared too late to any I far. Diancecht (Vulcan) . there among .Golden But he takes stop-gaps like Caesair. evidently two prohibitions in savages. the wife must not make mention of a ". . while old shoes logaisean". the inmates of the house must not sleep during the first night of a child s existence and secondly. and Nemed Age. in the Highlands. prevailed in the Highlands within the fairies (". Partolan. Carill ". &c. son of the Dagda. The Dagda ( = dago-devos.".comb". darkness. compares to the Silver Age Iron Age". D Arbois de Jubainville gical s for story was. to note that. Tuan Mac ". living far away in the Isles. king of the land of promise. The god Manannan he notes as living far away. and plea- . therefore. ". M. assistance to am of the Gaelic Olympus. as Mr and inculcate the obser work on the ". he does not characterise. ". who conquered and absorbed them. he must leave ". memory of people still living. were. are the gods of the Gael.". who supplies the gods with food. he regards as the Titans. Partolan he Finntan. ance during the first hours of a child s existence was of course The necessary because of the evil powers that hovered around. _ The all the invaders. invented to account vance of these prohibitions. frequent The comb s mythic connections are attested by its appearance on sculptured monuments and the vigil . . is Gobniu answers to Hephaistos god of Medicine Angus. we agree so glad He points out the doublets in the Mythological cycle in the reconstruction : me Caesair Partolan.see the husband unclothed still . if she does. co-exist with the order of the ages comprehensible. Similar customs exist known are first. and the Tuatha-De-Danann represent the ". in so tentative a matter. are the inhabitants of Ireland previous to the Celts or Fer-bolgs Milesians. the child s life. too seriously .) The Tuatha-De- Danann ". ". nor is Fomorians who.
Britain article and in Academy.VI. ". ". The (".".) Origins of English History ". O Curry s Lectures.Ancient Irish". in Fraser s Magazine for 1875. Irische Texte. Joyce s Celtic Romances. and editions like Windisch s ". .". and so on while Gaul presents Lucan s of triads . the three last kings of the Tuatha. ". the three Fomorian chiefs. authors to whom I am ". remarkable feature of the Pantheon is the number sure.". on the ". Inverness.". but lain A These are three gods joined together which appear. he does not say how he stands in the Pantheon. Skcne s Ancient Books of Wales. the three sons of Danann. and Wales abounds in all sorts of triads. Ken nedy s various books. October 1885. and his articles in the Revue Celtique. triad of gods. ".". The materials tales and myths are chiefly from Guest s Mabinogion. Cuchuhe finds to be the counterpart of Heracles in descent and character. the Revue Celtique^ Campbell s Popular Tales.) I most indebted are Mr Elton and Professor Rhys Celtic mention also Mr Fitzgerald s (".
M it ti M it of poetry 20 of poetry 8 Read branches and .". CORRECTIONS. See Kuhn s ". Page ". Century. read Granua. n ii 30. 29. read ". ".". ". 27 3 2 Delete it. mythopoeic. 22 17 For For For ".". ii i Delete p.Greek.". ". 17. ". 32. ii 13 ii Insert before history. read ". before .. i 94.".C. and ". pushed.". n from bottom ". viii. is oceanus borrowed. ". Insert ". ". Mabinogi.". 90.".".". too. 13 ". ".".gt.".". looped. ". n 26. ". ". read ".Dagda. read ". 44.".".". MISPRINTS. ii 104. mythoporic. 1 6.". delete ".". 8.".".black. read lopped.. M it For push. 33. For ". insert B. are. n 27 5 page Delete Frecart.. So.". 2 5&.. 36 Vata. Aigean".".". helios. line 1 33 i Delete reference to Delete Delete ". line 21.".S. 58.ERRATA. at 83. is. the Gaelic gaoth. M ii 70. n . Aegean. M n ". n 22 After ". ". in.Taranis.". Beitraege.".". comma.Granna. vol. Mercury and ". five. ". Celtic-speaking. read fifteen. For his ". ii n M ". ii For ". ". Page . ". Delete reference to Aigean. read ". ".". TI 22 Mabinogion. it Read For ". line 34 23 7 For ".". 28. read ". . 56. masters.". 90. master.".
CHARACTER OF MYTH. their fairy tales. embraces the fabulous by a nation and the religious doctrines implied is But the term for convenience sake extended so as to include the kindred subject of folk-lore. the fabulous actions and exploits of their heroes and deities. ". round. indeed. and he said to the eldest one. The term Celtic Mythology. said she. A I won t. and he had three daughters. said she Not I. THE field events believed in in these. an ugly brute is The third day he said to the youngest. M-pos-u-mi ". folk-lore in cludes all those popular stories of which the fairy tales of our nursery are a good illustration. is the hoodie. of Mythology. and the connection of ciples the Mythology of the Celts with those of the kindred nations of Europe and Asia. is understood. There was once a farmer. the traditions of their beliefs in early migrations. they . M-pos-u-mi Will you ". And on the morrow .CELTIC MYTHOLOGY. M-pos-u-mi Wilt thou wed me farmer s daughter? I will wed thee. and he said to her. second one on the morrow. you ugly marry me farmer s daughter? He came to the brute. and where the religious element Now implied in Mythology is absent. indeed. Wilt thou wed me? a hoodie. regard to the supernatural world. to include the popular traditions and legendary tales of the Celts. an ugly brute is a hoodie. a pretty creature married. in these papers. therefore. will include and the popular The scope of the discussion an introductory section or two on the general prin of Mythology its cause and spread. hoodie crow came They were washing clothes at a river. strictly defined. said she.
Here she was told she must not sleep. She saw a little house of light far from her. She went out. despite their watching. See that you have not forgotten something. The hoodie said to her. A few days a splendid fellow by day and a hoodie at night. she was not * ". ". But she he came where she was. at the birth of the third child. and he flew away as a hoodie! Her two sisters returned. says she. . sleep The same thing happened. She lay down. was tired. that she knew her cheer and travel.When she reached the house she stood deserted at the She saw a little laddie about the house.2 ". happened at the birth of the second child: music and stealing of the child. and when she would reach the top of a hill. but be clever and catch the hoodie when he would visit her during night. He said to them by the way. at night after and a man by day ? man by day and a hoodie at he got married he took her to his own house. the birth of the first child. when she woke. The coach in which The wife said. and though far from her. and arrived at night at a third house. and she yearned him exceedingly. whom she followed as on the going She came to a second house. I forgot my coarse comb. and she be in the hollow on the other side. and let fall a ring on her right slept. pursued the hoodie on a third day. ". and he was both sorrowful and wrathful that At finest the child was taken away. after she caught a feather of his wing. she tried to catch hold of him. * Whether wouldst thou rather that I should be a hoodie by day and a I man at night . saw a second laddie. or be a hoodie would rather that thou wert a After this he was night. he would When night came. door in the morning. The house-wife told her to come in. and door. day before. hand. He left the feather with her. and as she was from hill to hill. but on the morning of the next day they went to another house that they had. saw a hoodie.The same thing. long in reaching it. Now. too. When he would be on a hill-top. and she followed after him. she had no place of rest or dwelling. himself and his wife and his sisters-in-law. Her father came to the slept. and no sooner did the day come than she rose. Every one and the child was taken away. they were fell a withered faggot. there came at night the very music that ever was heard about the house. ". she would follow to try and catch him.
which ends successfully. and they came home to their own home. This she did. They went to the three houses where she had been. They turned back over the hill of poison. . She stranger watched the bridegroom. 63. as she went a bit forward. ending in the disappearance of the man-bird and pursuit of him by the wife through fairy a pursuit regions of charms and spells and untold hardships . She gave her man s clothes. vol. unworthy of a moment s serious consideration it would certainly appear to be a hopeless subject for scientific research for what could science. the day supernatural kidnapping. . and let fall the ring and feather in the broth intended for him. . are merely the modern representatives of the old Mythology merely the detritus. and he following her. As the cook of the house asked the to take his place and make the wedding meal. . . p. cooked the meal. which partially breaks these spells. till the house-wife told her that he In the morning she did not know what to do had gone over a hill of poison. With the first spoon he took up the He asked for the person who ring. In the above tale we are in a different world from the practical and scientific views of quite we have birds speaking and acting as rational and yet exciting no wonder to the human beings they come in contact with supernatural spells whereby men may be turned into animals a marriage with a bird. spells she throwing the horse shoes behind her to him. The went off him.". that now was his married wife. It looks all a wild maze of . and the bird becomes a man for part of the i pth century.and went away. But on the day of her arrival. * Abridged from Campbell s West Highland Tales. and they were happy. as it were. childish nonsense. T. she found that her husband was to be married ". and the folk-tales to the daughter of a great festivities were in progress. beings. over which she could not go without horse shoes on her hands and feet. and got over the hill of poison. * Such is a good specimen of the folk-tale. whose object is truth. These were the houses of his three sisters and they took with them their three sons. of the old myths which dealt with the gods and the heroes of the race. and said. gentleman that was in the town. and told her to learn smithying till she could make horse shoes for herself. with the next the feather. have to do with a .
who. is for example . of the tale already given. as a rule. On looking more deeply into the matter. The husband.". in the tale.". in Mr Here the hoodie crow is re Campbell book. and then follows for the wife the dark . is on the eve of marrying another. we shall find that after all there is a method in the madness of Mythology. only partially married pair have to work out his complete redemption from the spells. which can be brought to an end only by the achievement of tasks.tissue of absurdities ficial one. with the view of discovering similarities. and the newlythough. but can also be traced over all The the continent of Europe. is much more Norse elaborate. meanwhile has forgotten. s The story of the ". who each hopelessly beyond human powers. but who is under certain spells to remain in a low form of life until some He then regains his natural maiden is found to marry him. on his marriage with the heroine. and the wife s disobedience is clearly placed by the magical brought out. when the last task of the wife. period of wandering and toil. exist not merely in one or two more tales in our own folk-lore. the spells. for ex ample. The outlines. while the supernatural machinery scissors and needle. Daughter of the Skies. and that the incon gruous mass of tales and broken-down myths that make up a Science s folk-lore is susceptible of scientific treatment. ". and happiness in the household ever after. reigns There are in our Highland folk-lore one or two versions of all is The this same tale. owing to the nature of the spells upon him. the curiosity or disobedience of the wife ruins every thing he disappears. who in reality is a most beautiful youth. is one variation. The tale also found in Norway Moon. generally three in number. But. though it and falsehoods ? But this view is a super is the one commonly held. all about his wife. East of the the hero appears at first as a white bear. accomplished by the persevering courage of spells then leave him for ever. . pares nation first . as well as in many parts of Asia. it com attacks the problem by the method of comparison the myths and tales of one nation with those of another. The youngest and best of three outline of the tale is this daughters is married or given up to some unsightly being or monster. just as he is about to be free from form. a little doggie. becomes a man by Sun and West of the .
and inspect him by In so doing. we have traced the same myth among nations so widely apart as the Celts and Hindus. first as a hideous monster. again. a drop of hot oil to fall on his shoulder. We have the Hindu tale. and he awakes. under strict charge of her not Her jealous sisters persuade attempting to see him by any light. ever seen. conveys her to a secret beauty. then. is made to fall in love with But Cupid. sequence that he awakes and vanishes. beauty. myths are even more widely distributed than that. Bottom. And. if . and the Celtic story of Diarmad s love for the daughter of the king of the Land under the Waves. in India. as Titania. see him. she recovers her lost lover at long very cruelly. however. and visits her only at night. with the con Then follow her trials. being finally a slave in the household of Venus. last. who sends Cupid to inspire her with love for something con temptible. And. Psyche. But the wife. Beauty and the Beast". the well- Brahmins. the tale of the imprisoned maiden and the hero who rescues her from the dragon or monster appears among all the nations of Europe as well as . his She must else not. in Shakespeare. and Cupid is but a variation of the same myth. cave. her that she is married to some ugly monster. we found it among the Greeks and Teutons. falls in love with her himself.night. for light must not fall on body or he at once disappears. heroine is the loathly monster. intermediate between And some these. in the old religious books of the the story of Urvasi and Pururavas. incurs the wrath of Venus. while. and she accord ingly determines to disobey his injunctions. on approaching Diarmad. instigated steals a sight of him by lamp-light. the by her mother. and becomes. and escapes. of course. She suffers woes untold in her pursuit of him.similar tale known tale of ". and recovery of him. is a somewhat. To the English reader. where the Princess is as a withered old woman the Loathly Lady of Teu disguised tonic Mythology. will at once occur as an we take the myths where the we shall find an equally wide distribution. the main features of which are the same as the Gaelic and Greek tales already given. youngest of three royal daughters. captivated by her the transformed weaver. The beautiful Greek tale of Psyche pursuit. the most beautiful woman Thus. she allows in her admiration of his lamp-light. who appears exact parallel to all these. who treats her But.
lesser it theory gets grave with the supernatural and the supranatural in fact. for the only point to notice was that he was a big burly killed. from India in the cal talcs it Ireland in the West. Jupiter as king of . But this when no explaining Jack the Giant Killer as merely the of the truth that power of mind is superior to personification power of body. was not necessarily far exceeding the natural limit of six or seven feet in height. And this being the may plainly become a matter of scientific enquiry. again.ist. secondly. we may find a great mass of mythi common to the various nations. overcome by the astuteness of a much into difficulties . while it has fails ignominiously. What the significance is of their wide distribution? case.among many K. The phers of all cause and origin of these myths have puzzled philoso ages. those of in who explained myths explained. Hence. example. ". again. of . especially the older myths while the different explanations given by different allcgorizers". the cause of these peculiar myths and tales can be? and. and others again for the conveyance of moral truth. explain most of these myths. ". . those knowledge of the mysteries of nature rationalised the myths that is to say. first. who. those fictions. What CAUSE OF MYTH. man. . they were mere inventions and mostly purposeless. though some were evidently in tended for explanations of natural phenomena or of historical events. and from them extracted codes of moral obligation and hidden and. Some Crete and. it must not be supposed that both allegory and theory. times their origin was set down to the well-known faculty of invention that man possesses. even the simplest myths point to a fundamental error in this N ow. that theory is completely wrecked in explaining difficulty in No allegory can the myths of Jupiter and the gods generally. it grapples And as to the allegorical theory. so to speak. and it is only a generation ago when the first In olden unravelling of the difficult problem really took place. for these as exaggerated real events. giant Jack explanations. ". the pre-historic times according to such the that brute of little sense. who regarded myths as mere allegories or parables. There were practically two schools of myth-explainers. to of the nations of Asia.
or. they were indeed. ! and Athena for Supposing Trinity degradation of myth was true. be noticed the deities and degradation". even painful examination and comparison of languages have been made. first imparted to man in the The stoutest supporter of this view is Mr Garden of Eden.real events had no share in the formation of myths . theory. a moment into the three persons of the that this theory of the With place. and vice. It is this dark side of a degraded race. not success. Apollo. a the rise of the science of language and its marked complete revolution has taken merely in the case of philology itself. It may be called the in and the principle of it is this As all languages were supposed by theologians to be descendants of the original Hebrew tongue spoken in Eden. on the whole. of Mythology . The methods research have also been adopted in the case all preconceptions and national prejudices have been put aside then a careful. resolves Zeus. that our only explana tion was either or both of the other theories. a consequent discovery of the relationships between languages has taken place. nation s Mythology that has puzzled and shocked so many philosophers. Exactly the same methods have been employed in the elucidation of In so myths. pariYet the Greeks were neither an immoral nor cide. and must have existed all along as a cause for myth. with a success that. most potent factors in the later stages of Mythology. and lastly. but far otherwise. what a mass of senseless wickedness and immorality much of the deservedly admired Greek Mythology would be ? Such theories would argue equal wickedness in the race from whose fancy such inven tions sprung: for the Greek Olympus is very full of rapine. but also in the kindred subjects of Ethnology and Mythology. Another theory may ". interchange of sounds. : He goes so far as to hold that distinct traces of the can be found in Greek Mythology. is gratifying. . and he consequently Trinity Gladstone. passing as to the origin of myths in regard to cosmogony of the world. so the Mythology of all nations must be more or less a broken-down remembrance of the Hebrew religion and philosophy. a discussion as to the origin of language is thus rendered possible. and made shipwreck of their theories as to the origin of myths. indeed. to find laws of adopted in linguistic first. all within this century.
though exaggerated. however. winds. Even nature the everlasting hills and the solid earth was stationary endowed with feeling. of mythology. for example. clouds. and consequent interpretation of nature which existed among primitive and mythmaking men. and thought. science is the same interpretation in the old age ".8 airy such strict scientific accuracy kindred science of language. and the present time is . and the other natural powers . theory. and the mental side of it must be considered before the action of language can be appreciated properly. Myth real. by a will-force. state of culture. The theory of the cause of myth that finds most favour at that which explains myth in connection with. and dependence on. even with scientific and fanciful a subject. All the mental powers that man found controlling his own actions were unconsciously transferred to nature. they . it used . of the world. The way in which language gives rise to myth can.". is but the badly remembered interpretation of nature given in the youth and inexperience of the world when the feelings were predominant . analogy. be understood only after a con sideration of the mental powers. as it were. Some Mythologists. by pressing some theories of explanation too far. myth". The origin of myth springs from the same cause as the origin of science they are both man s attempt to interpret his surroundings. And cannot be obtained a good deal of harm has also been done. akin to that which impelled was regarded as impelled by a force man. personal life was accordingly attributed A to sun. . that is. the cause and real character of the mighty natural forces around him ignorant even of the unaltering uniformity of nature indeed the only thing the Celts said they were afraid of was that the heavens should interpreted by their fall ! The relations of cause and . moon. events. given under the influence of the freezing reason s Man in the myth-making stage was ignorant of colder part. animate or inanimate. effect they own feelings and will-power every moving thing. results of as in the methods. are too apt to reduce every myth to a myth about the sun. merely a good theory injudiciously the fact of the importance in Mythology does not alter this is But of the sun worship. and hence the evil repute of the solar ". language while at the same time due regard is had to the other possible sources of it in allegory. will. Language is but the physical side.
but everything is alive. of culture. morn and eve. with timbrels and drums. for instance. ". still kept. the old personal explanations and statements about nature the language did not change. in man s and passing to a higher state of culture. The thunder was Modern savages are the lightning. Language. since slightly more B causes and events changed very much as he got more free from the influence of his feelings. . pussy intelligence. children form of outward nature exemplifies in some degree the To mythic age through which the race in its childhood passed. It view of nature was on these wrong impressions this anthropomorphic that language was founded. but man s views of natural . care of the wind. a little child not only are all living creatures endowed with human In his world. were in the course of time and language taken in a more literal way. and . and the attributes and epithets given to it.The knowledge and ideas of earlier men were thus.". milked the cattle of the sun under the the roar of a mighty beast . a serpent darting at its prey.were looked upon as performing their special functions by means of faculties of mind and body analogous to those of man or beast. the result was misinterpretation and a too literal acceptance of many of the warm and vivid epithets employed of old. more civilisedmore under the sway of his reasoning powers. He beats the chairs against which he has knocked his head the fire that and the stars that shine through burns his finger is naughty fire his bedroom window are eyes like mamma s. . as some savages do yet. and when the feeling and personification impressed on language had passed into a more intellectual age. as it were. noon and black-clouded night. all charged with life and feeling. for example a most dreaded event each. takes rank with Pa and Ma in point of intelligence. or pussy s. stereotyped fixed. and their beliefs have helped greatly in much this state The ideas which in unravelling the problem of mythology. only . the monster. was supposed to be caused by a wild beast in ancient times attempting to swallow the lord of day and men poured forth. fossilised in language. The by the sun and wind of heaven clouds were cows with swelling udders. were the product of the life that dwelt in The eclipse of the sun. and. brighter. The varying phenomena of the sky. to frighten away . The personal explanation of the sun s motion.
and thus a divorce was made between the sun and the personality given to and explanations. nightfall. ling personifications of natural objects.". exists in our poetic and elevated language ".". fire machine.".".". is merely the personification of the wooden fire-drill. the with the loss of the thing sig and became a mythological name. lation of the West Highland tales.". and a brother was supplied him And thereby Epimetheus or afterthought". in his very literal and picturesque trans to bed.". ". in its modern shape even. ". Prometheus. hangs Gaelic. quite separate and the life-history given to this sun-god was taken from the explana tions formerly given. word nified.promethes. his rising". in Greek.". well arise unless the true of a word or phrase has been forgotten. A We ample from Greek mythology to illustrate this. it in the old epithets there came to be a sun . expressions which. is Tha ". and a false meaning may take an ex meaning or explanation fastened on it.provident. The result was that and a sun-god. Gaelic feeling and with natural objects than English poetry. lost its original signification Transplanted to Greek soil. An A d fhag thu gorm astar nan speur. ? Tha dorsan na h-oidhche Agus philliun do chlos san . for the word is derived from the same source as the Sanscrit pramanthas. into the wise representative of forethought. iar. Apollo. was transformed ". does not hesitate to follow the The sun ". for still example. presents some very start for suffering the foolish ". Now. is setting". The regular expression a ghrian dol a laidhe". the ". Gaelic even in ". and setting. the fire-bringer. though anthropomorphic. who stole the fire from heaven in humanity. in dealing the mouth of given literally as as a rule much more instinct with night. and consequent mythology. the old explanations were fastened to a separate sun-god. its most personal metaphors. for ". for which a new etymo had to be coined. of the sun s daily and yearly course. in personal and anthropomorphic language. ". means logy and so Prometheus. are in use. a s 6r-bhuidh ciabh dhuit reidh. therefore. is is poetry. the fire-bringer. one of the most famous and noble myths of antiquity. going Mr Campbell. Ossian s address to the setting sun may be quoted to show what a mine of metaphor.10 scientific views were held as to the real nature of the sun. too. Beul na life h-oidhche. ". ". mhic gun bheud. myth cannot.
countries. the compact was that. Allied to the linguistic theory of myth is also the simpler case of those myths consciously started to [explain the names of common method of accounting nations. in Ireland.". Again. These lines a s till o d chlos hymns bring us back to the anthropomorphism of the Vedic of India. : A and the spring flowed so much that she got left her pitcher. A ghrian. A choimhead a s glaine gruaidh. was mythically explained by Bede. to which alone. and places. le aoibhneas. they can be compared. consciously or unconsciously. Scotland gets its name from Scota. Argyleshire. A togail fo eagal an ceann Ri d fhaicinn cho aillidh n ad shuain. tha loch ann a nis ". is so named from Brutus. having invaded Scotland. has the reader is why the sea is salt? Well. the as the last From such myths that do not in the least : succession would be in the female ever thought line. and ran for her life. in to fetch water. A name was to invent an ancestor or patriarch who bore that name in an individual form. if the Gaels gave them their daughters as wives. ". The names of places are dealt with in the same way. thus The Picts. and. origin and name of Loch-Neagh. Thus the custom among the Picts whereby the succession was in the female line. This Where Loch-Ness now the origin of the name of Loch-Ness woman went one day to the well there was once a fine glen. this the reason why. . the Trojan hero. and hence the lake was said she. who first ruled here. as they brought no women with them.". or natural phenomena. the daughter of Pharaoh. Gabhsa cadal aim ad chos. but are. Britain. she turned about and saw the glen filled with water.Aha! A somewhat similar account is given of the called Loch-Ness. . we gradually pass to myths on the quibbling and changes of depend language. the myth takes for a national the lines indicated is is by the popular etymology of the name. forged explana tions of national customs. top of a hill. historical events. so say the myths. and. in their richness of personification and mythic power. came to terms with the indigen ous Gaels. Getting to the frightened. if the name is anyways significant. grandson of ^Eneas. and Loch-Awe.11 Thig na stuaidh fir mu n cuairt gu mall.
explain the whole body of mythology and folk-lore. If will any one sceptical. and consequently obscured. but none of which can this.BU Of course. of a which was good to grind anything. its language. grinding salt. other myths of a more Now. this will similarities of myths among two nations or more. They belong to that S UOI. the chief nations of Europe. what is the general character are found all over the world. it is needless to detail how. exist nations differing widely both in language and locality. depend on a rowed. and.". a tale. lers hold that the stories and myths have been borrowed or transmitted from one nation to another travel . to a less degree. Besides. existed among all Western Asia. and it did it. that myth and that tale must belong to s language its that nation. The quern ground on and filled the ship with salt stopping till it sank to the bottom of the sea. and India. descending even to similarities in minute details. evidently of the same origin. care must be ( inheritance as much as exercised in deciding . and hence showing evidences of a among We common source. found that tales of transformed lovers. where the quern is still ". will account for nearly the it of them. ocean the captain gave the quern the necessary order to grind but unfortunately he forgot the incantation for salt. they think. is so widely distributed. in whose langu age and customs these myths are so deeply embedded and ingrooved that we should have to say the language too was bor If a myth. just let him taste the sea water and he know its truth SPREAD OF MYTH.12 got possession. is And ! that is the reason why the sea is salt. A man once A . only requiring fairy quern certain cabalistic words to set it going or to stop it. Some and translators. While cannot be denied that from one nation to another. if the names be embedded in the language. ship In midcaptain bought it to grind salt for him on his voyage. distribution of the same myths ? Two or three cause of this wide explanations are offered for plain why some why particular each of which can correctly ex myths or tales. nation roots of the proper whole have permeated by no means account for the many tales modes of thought and expression. Closely akin to the consideration of the cause of myth is the question why myths and tales.
myths that are most widely distributed over the earth s Jack the Giant-Killer. however. is a fact by this time admitted by all whose admission is of real value. Greeks. nay. after many vicissitudes. really the peculiar property of a nation. fall. his ideas and the expression of them will This view will account present strong resemblances everywhere. found a ". is a fact that can no longer be denied. As heroes are in most cases gods mythology and folk-lore ". it does not touch their deep and often detailed resem blances. and the moral tales of the habitation". comes much more problematical when we ask whether stories also. there is The case. and Romans. and he has clearly demon The fables of ^Esop have strated that many such are borrowed. who cheats the cannibal giant and his mother. to the great body of myths common to certain nations it cannot apply at all. self. That certain heroes. for instance. tinct line between fables with a moral or educative purpose and the rest of the materials of mythology. Although boiled. too. nothing startling in the fact that nations who had worshipped the same gods should also have preserved some common legends of demigods or heroes. the facts of comparative mythology are sufficiently strong of . be phase of thought. been adopted into every language in Europe. formed part of Here Max Muller draws a dis that earliest Aryan inheritance?". What harmonises best with the facts of mythologic distribution is the grouping of nations into families proved to be genealogically allied from possessing a common body of myths and tales that must be descended from a parent stock. in the Indians. known to Indians. even in a later in disguise. both by their name and by their history. Greece. of fairies and ghosts. to the latter of whom he had been delivered to be and whom he cunningly succeeds in substituting for him But the theory can apply only in a general way.13 what is made between India. is explanation for the distribution of myths that primitive men worked grooves wherever they lived. in similar for the surface.local Another pages of La Fontaine and others. appears in the Zulu story of Uhlakanyana. man s circum stances being the same. having the same names and the same character. and distinction the various classes into which the materials of That certain deities occur in and Germany. point to one and the same origin for these nations. fables told with a decided moral purpose.
both un scientific and untrue. THE ARYAN NATION. we may conclude that the assertion is. and Semitic races have nothing in and Arabians. the Aryan nation. daughter. They had adopted a system of regular marriage with an elaborate grading of kinships and marriage affinities. with paths and the precious metals. mill. The Aryan common. and bronze. The domestic animals had long been tamed and named. ox. outside the household. Linguists have called the parent themselves to prove the it is common which which they have sprung. from a comparison of their myths. which nation. from shall includes the Hebrews. star. Not only can radical elements expressing such objects and relations as father. horse. told that the Celtic god Bel is the same as the Semitic Baal. In the household the father was king and the wife and the rest priest. were in existence tin. husband. ture. of the Aryans were organised in communities framed on the model of the patriarchal household. now or sometime spoken. we are enabled to form From a fair idea of the culture and religion of the Aryans. corn. yet origin of the nations from India that the science of language has satisfactory already proved the common descent of these nations.gt. . but they can also be proved to possess the elements of a mythological phraseology In the matter of cul clearly descended from a common source. and hun dreds more. earth. were in use. in a less past degree. brother-in-law. cattle. for there was also a family religion of the family. clearings and stations. the comparison of roots in the various present and descendants of the original Aryan tongue. be found identically the same. dog. mother. Comfortable houses and clustered villages. sky. Chaldeans.u to Ireland. The only other group of nations that can satisfactorily be shown by their language and mythology to possess a common descent is the Semitic. water. grades and ranks of nobility or kinship were strictly marked. either in the matter of language or myth. together with roads. brother. . but iron was probably un copper. and. in the various branches Aryan tongue. though subservient to the patria potestas&. the . as far at least as language is concerned. were far from being slaves while. except what is bor When we are rowed. more than likely. . known. cow. a name be adopted in this discussion.
their religion it until belief both in Aryan Mythology and is in the Mythologies of the descendant nations. is common to all the descendant tongues. and firmly believes in their But not merely the dead alone have shadows objective reality. He sees the shadows". They spoke a language that was highly inflected and complex that is to say. must have passed through lower phases reached the well-developed cosmos of Aryan times. also. have spirits or duplicates of self. Modern China and ancient Rome are prominent ". of the dead in his sleep. and such like that he possessed in life? The worship of ancestors would appear to have been the first form in which these beliefs took the shape of an active religion or worship of higher beings. On the whole. for is not the dead hero seen in dreams wearing the ghosts of arms sword and hatchet.". the Aryans were in the barbaric state of culture. As their culture and language had required long ages to reach up to the state of comparative excellence at which they had arrived. ". though first. and has beliefs men whose we have any knowledge lowest phase of this belief is known as ". Ancestor worship. their chief wealth. tilled the field and corn and querns.". too. In regard to religion and Mythology. and consists in believing that what is presented to us in our dreams The and visions has a real existence. ". on the other. the relation between words and the relations of time (or tense) and mood were expressed by changes in the terminations of words. as opposed. /tund-red". the Aryans were in much the same stage of advancement as in their culture generally. in all races of of.Animism. And as there are not wanting many signs of those earlier stages of so. though the was grown and crushed in the They could count to one hundred at the very composed for the root of ceud. .15 for cattle and flocks plough mills least. and they had divided the year into seasons and months a fact which is especially proved by the root for month being taken from the name given to the moon. Animals. too. or spirits the living. is by no means lost in subsequent stages. Savage man makes no distinc tion between his dreaming and waking existence. and. to the civilised state of progress. necessary to glance briefly at what these Belief in the supernatural exists. for of all forms it is the most persistent in its survival. . have souls. and material objects. on the one hand high to the savage. the measurer. . it stages may have been. existed.
common temples . nature-spirits. and at other times as maleficent. latter . the ghosts of other persons sometimes these were looked on as beneficent. rivers. ". however. again. Sayce. some clan or nation worship a particular object. In polytheism the plurality of deities is expressed in henotheism . Polytheism generally presents a dynastic system of under the rule of one supreme king or father. ". Gradually. was to be deprecated. Totemism. A time to submit to the at last comes when even process .". of nature. while heno gods theism implies a co-ordination of deities.These deities. a form of worship which may easily have sprung from ancestor worship. gene rally an animal. whose help . ". consists in the worship of a tribal badge. The able. stones. the variety of nature overpowers in an infantile state of society the unity for which the ". and other. perhaps. might inhabit natural objects Ghosts. as Max Miiller has so well named that totemic". worship of one especial element nature clouds. with appeal in proof is especially made to the clan The next stage is the worship of the its animal crest.". and ". it is an easy step to worship proofs of this fact. wells. ". or the natural powers as seen in objects of outward This gives rise to polytheism proper.". continues polytheism. are necessarily suggested by nature. combined with the trees. that the their Some go so far as to assert names of some of the Highland and Irish clans and badges are remnants or remembrances of this worship. and animals of the actual ghosts of these objects. prior to that. and. to henotheism. lightning. Chattan. sometimes gave worship the worship of stocks and rise to fetishism.16 From ancestors. mind of man multiplied with the multiplication of the epithets which the mythoporic age changes into divinities and demi-gods. making it for the moment the supreme deity with all the attributes that are applicable to it embellished and exhausted. and sky. since the ancestral ghost may have taken that particular form. the storm Ares. which the infinite variety of nature made inevit long after the nature -worship that underlay it has faint grown abstract names have and forgotten. beings.". says Mr it is implied. the attributes to the objects and powers of nature take the place of the applied Deities are the sun becomes Apollo. so well called was to be invoked or whose wrath . the cat. is ever yearning. ancestral and this. and side by side with a developed Mythology goes a developed pantheon.
it cannot be long before their essential unity is are raised to Terror . or rather a polytheism. The Sanscrit. Zeus. When once the doom spirit of divinity has been breathed into abstractions of the human mind. which appears in Latin ignis. to take the Vedic hymns as represen worshipper. and Hindu Mythology. Indra is the only god whom the singer recog and he exhausts his religious vocabulary on his praise alone and at another time Varuna receives all worship. the Aryan . Latin. Agni is the god of fire Varuna. tative of the oldest and nearest stratum of religious thought to religion. to Love and Reverence and the of the old polytheism of nature is at hand. and all its . The sun have been the Dagda. we may arrive at a tolerably clear conception of the Aryan pan theon and religious cultus. and English. C .". as a consequence. the especially in the view of a rain-giving deity. summed up under the one higher this quotation anticipates the history of Aryan Myth the descendant nations. Hence dia originally meant the bright sky. scarcely two nations have the same name for the sun-god. of all the gods. in ". at Indra represents the heaven-god. It would seem the chief deity was connected with the worship of light the shining canopy of . surya. and nearly all have one or two deities that are phases of solar worship.". The epithets applied to him are innumerable. manifestations. perhaps. The Gaelic word dia (and dkday). Aryan religion itself was a fully ology developed henotheism. father. the sky". Greek.Father in Heaven. or the Great Good ". nises. Sanscrit.". and. and is seen also in the sacred . heaven was the head of the Aryan Olympus. was an especial object of worship Agni is the Vedic name of this diety. recognised. River Indus. shining. for example. their common root being div. and they are all abstraction of monotheism.". and moon were prominent among the deities. Greek. the sun being the most in favour. Tiw (as seen in Tuesday). Comparing and analysing the ele ments of Teutonic. Dyaus . more another it is Agni. but the Gaelic equivalent deity would appear Fire. and Jupiter. of the canopy of heaven the Greek Uranus.17 and Fear. is the Roman version of Fire. deus and y?-piter. to Gaelic ain (heat). where the Supreme in But Deity was different at different times in the eyes of the same At one time. are from the primitive name of this god. for the root is same as the English water.
English. but races. while the man runs for his life. Modern travellers have seen North Americans paddling on the river.18 Latin. and in the The storm god was Celtic Mythology. perhaps. Max Miiller gives two other possible classes of deified objects: semi-tangible objects such as trees. gods. ". ". weather". a remnant of the old animism. unless we connect with it the god Greek Ares. Vata. under the title of Maruts. who in Greek Mythology is clearly a wind god both in his connection with music and as messenger to the gods. he appears as Thor who is next in importance to Odin himself. for what he calls the semi-deities. which shows how they are modelled on human souls. stars. lowest of all. used as the name of the sun-deity often. The worship of semi-tangible objects shows clearly ". there were other gods hardly inferior to these gods. so ble objects of nature too the ". in the Vedic the thunder god. who brings thunder and rain hymns his place is filled by the chief god Indra in Latin he is . Greek. had a high posi the deities. when they could still fancy the nymphs of the lovely . the Gaelic gaotk. lielios. Tonans in the tion The wind. and throwing their canoes past a in a bit the river-spirit to let them pass. and worshipped the Jupiter . has made the first cut at a great tree has been dangerous place of tobacco with a prayer to An African wood cutter who precaution of pouring known to take the some palm-oil on the ground. and other elements tangible objects. he is known as Taranis. solus. sun. mountains. present the chief root. These objects supply the material the sea. sun. And thirdly. Hermes. not only talk of such nature-spirits. sol.". Prominent among these was regulators of weather and seasons. and. Norse Mythology. and Gaelic. the first four actually meaning the sun. deal with them in a thoroughly personal way. The state of mind to which these naturespirits belong must have been almost as clearly remembered by the Greeks. and being ". the earth. dawn. such were what we may call the meteorological". are stocks and stones". . The gods we have hitherto discussed belong to the intangi the sky. deities the And ". such as of fetishism. that the angry tree-spirit coming out may stop to lick it up. the Latin Mars. but among the descendant nations its among position is not quite so high. says Mr Tylor.". for these objects are endowed in The lowest savage culture with spirits of a personal type.
or the dryads growing with the leafy pines and oaks. The writer of this has known of a case where a clay body ". bered that the gods could change their shape at pleasure their normal shape among Aryan nations was the human. Spells and enchantments form an important feature of magical powers. ing a bit of wood. who represent moun and earth spirits the healing waters of sacred wells have only adopted saints names in place of the old pagan deity. It must be remem . and uttering screams of pain when the wood man s axe strikes the trunk. while the little elves and fairies of the woods are but dim recollections pool tain . Apollo strangling the Python.corpan creadha. the power of drugs.". the seller s heart is supposed also to soften. still some men and animals. so with sharp pangs would waste intended. of the old forest spirits. was actually made and stuck over with nails and pins. for Jupiter came into Danae s prison in a shower of gold. And if we descend lower. the water kelpie. These nature spirits play a most important part in folk-lore. . and placed in a stream channel to waste away. for as the wood gets softer in his mouth. Such superstitions exist even in our own country to the present day. or even of inanimate objects.19 groves and springs and grassy meadows coming up to the council of the Olympian gods.". represents a . as of the Indian Soma. the bright sun-god against the snake-god of darkness. Dyaus contest between the powers of light and and Indra on one side against Ahriman or real ethical idea The Vritra. away * the person for whom it was in The darkness ethical side of the Aryan religion presented some teresting features. who drowns his victim in the whirl and in the giants. we find magic as a rule depend on a false use of The Zulu who has to buy cattle may be seen chew analogies. and dwarfs. and have their origin in spirit-explanations of the numbing power of the relaxing power of heat. As the clay wasted. in order to soften the breast of the seller he is dealing with. notably the serpent. trolls. appearing in the tales of the river demon. Perseus magical hat of darkness and shoes of swiftness belong to the same cloud-changing character. a word or two may be said. and doubtless in the magnetic influence exerted by frost. but they could assume the shape of particular men or beasts. Of magic.
now the even dawn. as usual. temple and altar. This tale king s daughter appears also in the Gaelic popular stories. that most of these It was around the sunmyths were gathering. broken down to a folk-tale. owing to the spells put upon him. in later times. and leaves her glass slipper her streak of light behind her. and sin-offering were familiar ideas to the Aryans. the dawn. The myth is Hercules and Dejanira. plains of Heaven.20 Sacrifice and prayer. Later ages rational ised the myth into the loves and actions of Apollo and Daphne. leaves a golden streak of The light behind her whereby she may be followed and found. who he loves the dawn maiden. but the kingdom of Hades was the general abode of spirits. where the good and good overcoming were known and . has to fly with her fairy treasures the peculiar thing is that these maidens have always treasures. and how this gave rise to a mythi shall We now see how cal life history of them slays. god ". evil. toils. sin . storm-clouds intercept his at times even the eclipse monster swallows him and he path has to toil for mean creatures like men to give them light and But at length he over heat. the Aryans dealt in one or two cases with the actions of their gods.". of three sisters the nightshe is in fact the dawn maiden she is pursued by the is . by means of which she is identified at last. ARYAN MYTHS. his Cinderella watches . who consoles him as he descends beneath the wave. . Daphne flies from his embrace over the azure sun has his morning love. A shadowy spirit existence after death was believed in heroes were taken to the halls of the gods. the cows and cattle of the sun. of which the fairy tale of Cinderella is the best example. whom he rosy-fingered morn. The king s daughter takes service in the . and others innumerable. the evil got their deserts. Cinderella-like. in the evening. In ing some such strains must the old Aryans have spoken of the sun s career and actions. but. in the pursuit . . and there generally is as much dispute A about them as about the maidens themselves . which appears in a variety of modern forms. these treasures appear to be connected with the rain clouds. takes. Off-spring of night. too. young prince. and sung the praises of the Being who guided his flying coursers over the plains of Heaven. the youngest.
whereby the having The tale of the enamoured prince is enabled to find her. of the rest. . appear to be a broken with which our discussion commenced. handed. ". She becomes the wife of Pluto. . and the physician Diancet one.21 arrives in goes to a ball. and the Irish king of the DC Dannans. The dawn maiden pursues him through from the spells. . . unknown to her employ her fairy dress creates a sensation. Some minor points may briefly be noticed. by the machinations of the ". The legend appears in the German tale of Eigel. lost his hand in fight with the Firbolg giant. . by gloomy Dis is gathered. herself a fairer flower. summer into winter. The Norse god Tys (Zeus) had also his hand bitten off by the Fenris-wolf. . ". of Homeric poetry. a very natural simile for the golden rays shooting finger- like from him. the lovely goddess of summer has been carried away. who then is under the spell of the dark powers. toils and difficulties. but is allowed Connected with this to return to her mother for half of the year. accordingly connected with the nocturnal life of the sun-god. . and at last frees him Another of fruitful source of ". made him a silver Another wide-spread myth is to be referred to the same source the sun-god Apollo is the best of archers the FarIn nearly every Aryan nation there darter. to leave in haste. rationalise this. There are is the widespread tale of the imprisoned maiden. in Switzerland. ". is a historical legend telling the doughty deed of some great archer such is the story of Tell. Hoodie Crow.". Nuada of the Silver Hand. The ". . The Hindus accordingly hand in a strait. Among the many names of the sun in the Veda.". which is typical ". new land she in . god of the lower world. would down myth of the solar class and it is . the young Apollo. so to speak but ers.". genial rule of the fire earth is spell-bound during winter. she loses her glass slipper. who is destined to overcome the monster and his spells.". myth and worship is the change when the earth has to pass from the powers to that of the frost king. and tell how Savitri cut off his and that the priests made a golden hand for him. myth three characters in the myth the monster or giant. . he is called the ". who always performs the abduction the maiden who is rich in treasures as well as beautiful and the youthful hero.goldenflowers. frost-king Proserpina gathering leaving her mother Earth disconsolate .
and the common descent of philosophy the chief European and Asiatic nations. Of myths earth. or customs. but the essential characteristics ought still to be recognisable in the descen Whatever we find in these dant Celtic languages and myths. unnecessary to speak as yet. has been es Nor must explanations of tablished on indubitable grounds. The have been discovered respectively of primitive man. to what we know to have been true of the myths and language of the parent Aryan tongue. It has been shown that myths among different nations in the the Aryan nation possessed what may be . sea. must first Anything in Celtic myth.22 brother of Wayland. follow the fortunes of the Mythology of one of the nations de scended from this Aryan parent nation. must conform. or of those of one or Aryan two of the other Aryan nations. until clear historical or other proof is adduced. regard being had to the development of Celtic peculiarities. ". The a priori argument against such a connection is so strong that . common It may heritage. and the wide diffusion of the same . smith". storm. the smith-god while in Braemar it is circum stantially told regarding the ancestor of the Machardies. Aryan descent. dignified with the name its culture and religion were of a very high type. they will appear in their proper place among the folk-tales. and some as the seaLir and his children deities. family. and it is arising from the wind. developed the outward and inward features of Aryan civilisation. among the myths of the heroes. or of of all be distrusted until its existence among the Celts. Celtic phenomena be accepted which would imply relationship with races outside the Aryan stock such as with the Semitic or Hebrew race. peculiar characteristics of Mythology have now been indicated the cause of myth. any ought features inconsistent with their Aryan descent they may have be set . also a . language. and them alone. mythology. according to the idiosyncracies of the Celtic race. though there were not wanting numerous traces of the culture of It now becomes our duty to more primitive and ruder times. thunder. or customs. inconsistent with an a plainly non-Aryan character. and see how it shaped of a civilisation the down as a general principle that the Celts not to have in their language. RESULTS OF THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES.
had asserted its sway. and customs. For this is now little excuse. too little attention is paid to the scientific established in Celtic ethnology and philology. more especially as within the last year or two the results of Continental and British learning have been put before the public in the works of Mr Elton state of matters there and Professor Rhys. if it can at all. . No Celtic language has got any literary remains earlier than the seventh century at farthest. and the coin age of th2 period. religion. Of the old Celtic nations their culture and their religion we have no native account. the heroic and folk tales of the nation. in Scotland. What religion existed in Ireland and Britain a thousand years before this period of the oldest manuscripts must be discovered. of the Germans that the injudicious and unscientific theories has been only by the patient industry recognition has been given to the proper it position of the Celts among the other Indo-European nations.23 special care must be exercised in allowing non-Aryan explana It is needless to remark that until tions to appear. The sources of our information in deciphering what Professor Rhys has called ". lately the Celts suffered much from and full of Celtic enthusiasts. Next to these come the monuments and in These comprise mostly scriptions of ancient Gaul and Britain. though in the case of religion and customs. and even these are but glosses or marginal Gaelic equivalents of Latin words in manuscripts. Yet we are not without a fair idea of what the old Celtic religion was. such accounts are scrappy indeed. the statues. to both of express his great obligations. and By this period Christianity the history is generally a statement of contemporary actions and the relations of the Celts to the favoured races of Rome and Greece. of the Celts are these: Roman and Greek writers have left contemporary accounts of Celtic history. especially of rivers. from some other source than contemporary native evidence.the weather worn history". Even facts yet. the votive inscriptions to the deities. The oldest manuscripts of connected works cannot be traced farther back than the eleventh century. whom the present writer must SOURCES OF INFORMATION. at least in and the old paganism remained only in the customs and name. The names of places.
24 have indicated Celtic for localities. who has within the last generation or two completely revolutionised the science of ethnology. for language is followed by a common mythology. He has shown in the clearest manner possible the common descent of most of the European nations. or. We are therefore fairly justified in regarding the Picts as strongly admixed with a non- Aryan race. foremost is the philologist. at least as far as language is con cerned. lastly. And. the physiologist. intelligent scrutiny of the Roman calendar of saints will disclose a few more Celtic divinities in the realms of saintdom. follow the ordinary lines of the other Aryan nations. whole results. This implies clearly a low view of the state of matrimony. he examines the remains of ancient man . in a less degree. while the ex amination of physical characteristics difficulties of Dee in the race more to clear up ethnology. by common cus The next savant we draw upon is the anthropologist. and that means a vast amount. In the same way we can recognise Pagan festivals and customs in a Christian the Church festivals are nearly all the result of assimilat guise. the migrations. and there are many such these there are differences Where must be caused by the fact that the Celts assimilated with themselves an Notice has already been taken of the Pictish earlier population. ancient gods. rather. to steady our ing the existing religious customs. toms. and one clearly opposed to an Aryan source. how numerous (goddess). are. for instance. the oldest heroic and folk tales must divulge some secrets in re gard to Mythology. and religious beliefs. for where A has helped even judicious use of and customs lend An the Church did not it did the next best thing make demons or heroes of the it made saints of them. rivers with the name showing the wide-spread worship of water Examination also of the rude and rivers among the Celts? stone monuments and the barrows of pre-historic times has elucidated much that is dark in Celtic history. we have to remember that the Celts are an Aryan and that explanations of their customs and religions must people. if not to History. where descent is traced through the mother. at least First and three classes of savants are pressed into our service. In thus reconstructing the past history of the Celts. and. law of succession. while modern folk-tales special aid in reflecting light on the past.
&c. tempt for those who decide on national descent by ". . and Celtic races. while the Sclavs brought up the rear of all.) races The order in which they are enumer Latin. the Sclavs too late. to consider men as what either of them may say. we have the archaeologist. on the ^gean sea. collected from these three sources. Norse. which was lost in Greek itself. for the purpose of attaining political greatness the Celts came The line of Celtic migration across too soon. to the ordinary student.skin and well agree. has been traced in the names of places. known with any European division. Yet there are evident that they crossed the Russian steppes. especially the Europe The Don and the Dnieper would appear to prove river names. and the time of their dispersion not less than Fick holds that they split three thousand years before Christ. The European branch again broke up into two the South-western European division and the Northern not ". THE When Aryan tongue is CELTS. ated above shows the order of their arrival in Europe first came the Celts leading the van of the Southern division. thirdly. Germans.rude stone monu ments". and classifies accordingly. up first into two parts.". which is clearly Celtic from the existence of the s. It has been remarked that . that their home was somewhere in one writer. therefore.25 and the characteristics of modern man. and the Teutonic (English. bable. who examines prehistoric remains and implements. simply invaluable guides. These three classes of workers do not Huxley despises the ethnological results of while Professor Rhys does not conceal his con linguistic science. And. answering to the modern Asiatic and European Aryans. from the fact that they attempt From the materials to combine the researches of all three.". and Mr Ferguson will not leave his ". we shall proceed to give a short account of the Celts and their religion. or where the people lived who spoke ". the original It seems pro certainty. Professor skull. says South-western Asia. while the Southern branch comprised the Greek. and we may add the famous D . and we have the River Strumon on the Thracian coast. Two such Mr Tylor and Mr Elton are.". The latter included the Slavonic (Russians and old Prussians). which itself may be from traces of the Celts the root of the Gaelic aigean .
and the continual reference in classical writers some British nations who had community of wives Caesar erroneously attributes this to all Britain alike. in his work on ". we find the Celts in records we have of them in possession of the greatest the black At the time of their taking Rome portion of Western Europe. less degree. Northern Italy. its conquering From Rhys language. and part of Germany. most of Spain. France. in a much Celt. to already mentioned. a hundred years later they conquered the Mediterranean coast of France.C. Britain. and Ireland.26 Mount Pindus the earliest however. therefore. portance in the present inquiry. Belgium. and also from the fact that the Germans have. in entering Europe. a nonIt Aryan one of course. many myths which must have then been absorbed by the Germans in absorbing the Celtic population. frequency of animal names in Pictish districts has also been ad duced as a proof in the same direction. naturally. were absorbed by the the evidence of language and customs alone. though not a convincing argument. How much of the middle of Europe they then held is unknown. Celt and non-Celt point to a low idea of matrimony that must have belonged to the previous population. two points to notice in their internal history of But there special im The Celts. In any case.C. its customs. the Romans conquered Northern Italy. and. be their route whatever mount (?). Again. found the country inhabited.. in Greece. for most nations have animal names among their per- . however much denuded by time. are That is briefly the political side of their history. The but these Pictish names are monosyllabic and unmeaning. About 220 B. and this previous population. but that they did possess part of what now is Germany is clear from the names of places. Professor has. as they certainly did two centuries later. in common with the Celts. Celtic Britain. for. the Celts would appear to have possessed. beliefs.". been able to prove the existence of a previous non-Celtic and nonThe Pictish custom of succession Aryan population in Britain. of vital importance to know as much as possible about this previous population. names were always compounds. in 390 B. is. and seventy years afterwards Caesar conquered the whole of France and completely crushed the Gallic power. in the list of Kings given for the Picts. they either exterminated or absorbed. we please. the names are not of an Aryan or Celtic type Aryan .
Aryan source. From the con tents of the barrows and tombs of the stone and bronze ages. and while the barrows of both the ante-Celtic races exist. all over Europe dolmens. in in the Vale of the Severn. and light-haired. at the least. he thinks. with long skulls the other with fair skin and hair and broad skulls. and that men have existed here who used stone weapons. who used stone and bronze weapons. with the nose overhung at its root. Mr Elton has pointed out some peculiar legal customs with regard to the right of the youngest son to succeed to the father s property.". The influence exerted by these previous races on Celtic customs and religion must doubtless have been considerable. a tall race. it has been proved by the skeletons and skulls that there were two races at least previous to the Celts. nation divided into two or more races.". but it is be lieved that this Finnish race were the builders of the huge stone monuments Druid scattered circles. cromlechs. and these. ". race evidently belong to a different race from the Celts. and thereafter bronze. Celts. The strangeness of the lower mythology prevailing in Wales and Britanny might afford some evidence in favour of its pre* ". and when we consider that Europe has been inhabited for several thousand years. . The fair race Mr Elton designates the ". according to a remarkable consensus of The dark-skinned pale.". But the evidence does not stop here. oval-headed men who are recog The dark-skinned race of Britain is nised as Celts and Aryans. these last differing much from the straight-faced. He finds the British to our aid the physiologist. before iron came into vogue. and prominent chin. and described by him as ". apparent Finnish or Ugrian affinities.Silurian. from the ancient tribe so named by Tacitus Iberian". ". which it pro bably did along with the Celts. rough. featured. called the ". one race being the dark- skinned and small one already mentioned. we must believe that there was a race before the Celts in Europe. appearance. if we summon the small dark-skinned race and the fair-skinned race. indicate a non- But the matter is rendered practically a certainty. with a appear strong admixture in after times of the pure Celtic stock. All the says Mr were Elton. heavy cheek-bones. authorities. cannot help us much. unfortunately. doubtless. beetle-browed. These are.27 sonal names. Finnish. The Picts would to be for the most part of this race.". tall. The from its archaeologist.
and the surrounding counties. and all Ireland belonged to the Gaels. north of the Forth. . Cumberland. and so remained practically till the 1 3th century and later. By the end of the seventh century of this era no Gael lived in England the British tribes had been driven back to the corners of the country by the Saxons. . and they absorbed the old Gaelic population. which they kept for four hundred years. The Gauls push the Gaels from France into Britain and Ireland. between the two languages can be traced as far back by monuments and inscriptions can be fol lowed back for two thousand years. caused by The difference between Welsh and the languages used by each.the Romans overran and garrisoned Gaul. and then followed them into Britain. Ireland was still altogether Celtic. because Caesar mentions Britain as the birthplace of that cultus. making up one of the Aryan branches. by the Welsh we may rather call it the Gaulish wave. The last wave of the Celts was in its turn pressed on from two sides. When British history begins with the Christian era. when still the Gaelic race was very different in language from the Welsh or British. Gaelic is very great. It would appear that the Celts overran Europe in two successive waves of The first wave was the Gaelic one it was followed conquest. and the Scotch Lowlands while Cornwall and Devon. and it is of a character Celtic origin. Galloway. which he considers non-Aryan. refer Druidism to the Silurian race. WELSH AND The second fact that the race GAELS. and. It must be remembered that a good portion of the population north of the Grampians were probably non-Celtic. and then England.". First . It is almost certain that secondsight and other ecstatic moods must be referred to the pre-Celtic races. yet not so great as to preclude their being The classed as one race. Welsh-speaking. difference as history goes. much as .28 But no country in Europe is free from those gross which seem to indicate an underworld of barbarism superstitions and remnants of forgotten nations not wholly permeated by the Professor Rhys goes so far as to culture of the dominant races. point in the internal history of the Celts is the is divided into two great divisions. . most of Wales. France and Belgium were Gaulish or and so also was the Eastern part of England.
countries in which Celtic find a hair. leaving the old . of Ireland was conquered and settled in. is a question which. the Welsh. hair among the Celts since the times of Caesar and Tacitus but is. as a rule. CELTIC CHARACTERISTICS. conquered it and were absorbed while in England they conquered and absorbed the old popula tion. where dwelt a divine race of the pure Celtic type. the Irish. except to show or diversity of descent. physical characteristics of the Celts. the author of Loch-Etive and the Sons of Uisnach. it would be needless to speak in dis unity cussing their Mythology but there are so many Irish legends . The unan imity of ancient opinion in making the Celts tall and fair-haired has already been noticed. according to M. and goddesses with hair like gold or the flower of the broom. . now. eating in the snow. tall brown-haired and fair-haired races. though important for the mythologist to know in its bearing on the migration and borrowing of myths and . Of the bearing upon the early ethnology of these islands. as well as the lady Deirdre of Irish would have no consort unless the hair was black as the wing..".". But. was spoken in old time. that it is necessary to at least glance at the question.". of the West. Celt. the skin as white as snow. yellow-haired hunters". for fair-haired children become darkhaired as the nervous system becomes more active by years. and in the myths the ideal of beauty is. t 2j8). that says ". Sebillot. and the two red spots in the cheeks as red as the blood of the bird which the raven was raven s if you look at the Celtic countries. story. and The eastern portion the rest has been gradually falling under the sway of the English The Celtic speaking peoples at present are the Bretons tongue. you predominance of dark to have been a decided change in the colour of the therefore. whether this is due to mingling of races or is connected with a higher nervous activity. iv. with continual reference to small dark men. three millions and a-half (Rev. ". or is spoken There would seem. and the Highlanders. The total number who can understand a Celtic tongue is.29 we keep India at present Then the Teutonic nations pressed on France from the north. Another type of beauty was recognised Peredur : or Percival of Wales. what is told of the summer isles ". Welsh population to the western shores. long-faced. of Britanny. ".
wonderful quickness of apprehension. all of gold. the Highlands must mostly in race be of the fair Finnish type that anteceded the Celts. both in colour and sound. is their fondness for colour we might say. but unfortunately the kilt had made its appearance the Gauls and ancient Britons and the Highlands . scarfs. and even golden corselets they have dyed tunics. Dream panoply and of the precious stones. musical or other. as we flaming see from both Livy and Virgil. but not very capable of ". a writer of the ist century. so rich is the description in one end of it we are told that no one knows ". prompt is in action.". In this and divided into numerous many-coloured squares.". ! we have the tartan. and also of their celerity. has been especially attractive to them. notably . appears strongly . and still loudness. gifted seer of Rhonabwy without a book. Caesar changeableness mental and physical.. ". Welsh the tale that at the indeed. of the Gauls. says Diodorus ". language There is. noticeable in the Celts. never tired speaking of the mobilitas".C. and of the . qualities which have rendered the Celt a very assimilable being in the fusion of races.bracelets and armlets. They were sufficient of the Celtic generous to a degree sustained effort. and costly finger rings. and.30 We manners. Ireland. flowered with . . have still among us the remnants of the small dark people. however. ".". with just conqueror among them as to take his and general manners.". and round their necks thick rings. yet cannot be decided in the present state of knowledge. their impressibility and great craving for knowledge. a more wonderful agreement in the mental characteristics formerly attributed to the Celts with what we now Roman writers have noticed their regard as the Celtic character. colours of every kind.". first. and the many wondrous colours of the arms. They wear. They appear in tartan dresses before the walls of Rome in 390 B. and of the virtue-bearing We can trace among cal life that we find in the Celts the same succession of politi some of the other Aryan nations. neither bard nor because of the various colours that were on the horses. and striped cloaks fastened with a brooch. if Professor Rhys is right. Siculus. both Another feature noticed from the very . ". description not yet Their love of ornament and colour actually wore tartan trousers in the mythic tales equally of Wales.
but their chief riches lay in their cattle Britain. who were They were kings merely larger editions of the patriarch of old. and conducted matters themselves as an oligarchy. the chiefs abolished the kingly approval. the oligarchy cruelly oppressing the common people. in the . Among the Gauls we have distinct traces of all these ". No wonder by factions. bringing information about what was going on in the senates of the peoples who had expelled their ancestors from the office of king. after this consultation. made himself ". no Gaulish Herodotus or Livy was found to commit them to the pages of history. and the people. tyrant. either in . had given place on European soil to kings. however.". tyrants and oligarchs were struggling with the people for Caesar found everywhere the sulking and plotting representatives of the fallen dynasties. failed. or in keeping their states in subjection by appointing them kings in the room of their fathers tells and under Roman protection. power. The sway. the tyrant does not appear the oligarchy extended some only privileges to the commons. Gaul would appear to have just passed through the stage when omena.". represented in the lives for the Irish kings are not accurately of the saints as Pharaohs surrounded with Druids and magicians. but could only. ". and a sort of union was established. was overthrown by some clever man who sided with the common people and. and their food. and appears to them only when the Island was conquered by the Ireland had its five kings even within historic times. murmur approval or dis In the course of time. lost then that Caesar us that Gaul was torn asunder have Romans. as Professor ". was mostly flesh.31 the Greeks and the The patriarchal system of Aryan Romans. times of the Homeric type . which. it. apparently.". The old Celtic population of both Gaul and Britain appears to have been very prosperous. The king consulted the chiefs beneath him. often In Greece. They were excellent farmers. phen Rhys says. in the end.". as they called was the abolition of tyranny and the setting up of a democracy. Britain had yet retained its kings. . Rome shows much the same historical sequence. Posidonius. especially in and cheese. were told of his pleasure. milk. though. through them. and readily turned them into use. and the history of Scotland during the Stuart period shows how nearly an oligarchy came to rule this country. and gave place to an Imperial last step .
gnawing the joint. javelin-men all in order of their precedence. has is banquet which and readiness the people in plicity of his entertainers. others : We Irish life which so strangely reproduce the world of the Greek see the hunters heroes and the war upon the plains of Troy. They were just like ". says Mr ". He was delighted at the antique sim first century before Christ. . the cry of the hounds through the green plains and following We sloping glens the ladies at the feast in the woods. they would get up and fight it to the death and . and god. and the stones are recalled to scenes of old of the chariot wheels. with soldiers out before their captain to cast their spears and handleaning the ground shook with the prancing of horses. the . If they quarrelled about the food. the want of a When helmet.32 left us a description of a Gaulish important as reflecting light on the myths and tales of later Irish times. and amused at their Gallic frivolity for righting at meal times. champions ran out to insult and provoke the foe the chiefs rode up and down on their white chargers shining in golden breast drove the war chariots along the front. in battle and in the chase is no less important for pearance to see the Briganwith his brightly-painted shield. and his sword hilt as white as the whale s-bone his matted us to notice. so careless were they of life. ". and. as the company drank.". noise plates. but they would bronze knives. after There was plenty of meat. the game roasting on the hazel-spits. fish and flesh of boar and badger. The guest was not asked his name or the purpose of his journey until the feast was over. his pair of javelins tian soldier. ate. and a leather jerkin the line of battle was formed. : hair supplied served as a cuirass. which they at times use their small by the side of the sword. ". Elton. Homer s time. and sometimes even a man would consent to die to amuse the Their conduct and ap rest. shield-bearers. sometimes the guests were entertained with swordplay. poured through their long moustaches like water through a sieve The minstrels sang and the harpers played. or funnel. roast and boiled. They sat on a carpet of rushes or on the skins of animals in front of little tables.". they bowed to the right in honour of their The guests sat in three rings nobles.". which they the fashion of lions. kept in a separate sheath Beer was their drink. The . and the great bronze cauldrons at the fireplace in the cave. We seem.
THE GAULISH RELIGION. though meagre. fashion. unless it could be assimilated to Roman ideas. and practices. but corresponded in his attributes to that Roman deity. like slain * . the Gray and Dewy-Red. arc practically all The statues and inscriptions preserved to our . a few lines from sufficiently meagre. we should be assuming that the Gaulish religion is fairly representa what the old religion of the British and Irish Celts was. Caesar. the Gaulish god was not named Mercury. these . the light of valour hovers round him. such as it is. weep tears of blood and fight their master s side his sword shines redly in his hand. and means of arts. Now. names ventor of They regarded Mercury as the in over trade and commerce. Diodorus. presiding communication between people. The religion of the Gauls is the only Celtic religion of which we have any description. sketch of the Gaulish pantheon. little help in this and also in matters of ritual. local festivities and tradi tions. and a goddess takes an earthly form to be near him and to help him in the fray. to believe what Caesar says he writes that the ideas of the Gauls with regard to the are. five lines from Lucan. some scattered allusions in Pliny. The by horses. passes in his chariot brandishing the heads of the he speaks with his horses. Cuchulain. After him came the deities E for deities. We Aryan descent of gods were much the same as those of other nations. Three chapters of Caesar. meaning He tells us that the god most especially Romans and Greeks. in Homeric . in Ammianus Marcellinus. purposes render some s Caesar We with the exception of Druidism. which he doubtless saw would be a source of clanger. therefore. unfortunately. Achilles on the banks of Scamander. from our knowledge the Celts. and a statement from the Greek Timajustified in tive of genes reproduced our authorities. Mela.33 hero. does not record the native . worshipped was Mercury that is to say. even though we had not Tacitus direct testimony to this being The descriptions we have of the Gaulish religion are the case. is owe it entirely to the fact that for practical yet the best the Gaulish religion was much the same as the Roman. left.". time arc almost our only authority for the names of the deities while the calendar of the Church saints. of the when prepared. and Strabo.
both from fear of the gods and from the extreme cruelty of the punishment Caesar also notices a feature of that would follow detection. they have recourse to innocent persons. rich in proportion to the richness of the harvest of death. he proceeds.34 answering to the Roman Apollo. Generally the victims are criminals. these sacrifices they employ the Druids. that soil from the they are the aboriginal inhabitants and sprung on which they dwell. life. Mars. resorted in their re ligious terror to the sacrificing of a male and female Gaul. Another article of the Gaulish creed is given by Gauls. and Mars ruled the depart ment of war. says that it was a tenet of the Druids that the harvest would be Caesar. it is probably only a mythical way of recording a belief common to most nations in their bar barous state. life is given up human life. or make a vow to that effect . they The the belief which Caesar records. reckon by nights instead of days. As to the Gauls reckoning . for in the time of the Second Punic war. and w hen they conquered they would sacrifice the cattle. And on this account. Strabo too. they. when there did not appear to be any special danger. r and no one would dare touch or steal these treasures. and heap up the other wealth in mounds. and they have even national sacrifices of this kind. Jupiter held the sway of Heaven. those who are affected with diseases of a rather serious character. The nation. They make huge images of wickerwork. he says. either and at sacrifice human beings. he says. in consecrated places. To Mars they would vow what they should capture in war. and the victims perish. . is very much given to religious matters. In regard to therefore. and it was not until the 1st century before Christ that the Senate for mally forbade such sacrifices even in Rome to the Romans even the Gauls appeared reckless in their massacres. and Minerva Apollo drove away diseases. for so the Druids teach. such occurring. though familiar with the idea of human sacrifice. he says. Jupiter. and to the Romans. These human sacrifices seem horrible to our modern minds. but if criminals are wanting. themselves. (the god of the lower world). Minerva taught the useful arts of . assert that they are all sprung from Pluto Hence. and those who are in great dangers. inside which they place human beings alive and this theyset on fire. Celtic character which is still persistent in the race. that the Deity cannot be appeased unless for They human think.
and Minerva brought The poet Lucan has preserved to us. who regulate the weather and the seasons can withhold the rain and the dew. thig an latha roimh n oidhche.". We Of Esus but little can be said . has been identified with various deities.". and a Jupiter in heaven that Mars . the names of three Gaulish gods in though . He answers to the Norse gocl Thor.". under epithets derived from the shipped by words for thunder and rain. where statues and. It name was used on Mr does not appear that Elton thinks that his Camulus. or . defender of the people. of the the head of the ". with the exception of that referred to in the other phrase. Et Taranis Scythicae non raitior Dianae. ".".who gods. whose altars were no less cruel than those of Scythian Diana. ". Night before Day. also. The mythical meaning of the custom is quite clear the night ". at least. and Taranis.by nights instead of days. at whose altars captives his poured forth their blood. in an obscure fashion. . We was the lord of war that Apollo. ". means eight-nights. have here the grim Teutates. which applies to all the festivals of the calendar. likely from the same root as the Gaelic tuath. while the Welsh word for week.". Cajsar is scarcely right in tracing it to the belief that they are sprung from Pluto the Greeks originally . This fact is cmnight is before the day in the order of time. one inscription bearing his name have been found. . was supposed to give birth to the day and the sun for Chaos is Hence the before Kosmos. Roman meteorological". Et quibus immitis placatur sanguine diro Teutates horrensque feris altaribus Esus. Inid bheadaidh. and the Germans also computed their time the same way. no trace of him exists outside Gaul. thus counted their time. the Britons. people. wor period. Thig an oidhchc roimh n latha. Esus with fearful sacrifices.". a word which ap place in this country was filled by on British coins in connection with warlike emblems. Mercury. Teutates. the celebrated lines ". and pears is used as a compound in the names of several military stations Taranis was the Northern Jupiter. in mythology. ". bodied in the well-known Gaelic expression. An have thus seen from Caesar that in the Gaulish religion a Pluto reigned in darkness. just as we still speak of fortnights and sennights. precious gifts to mankind. probably he was the war-god. British soil. ". ivytknos.
". and it is there It is merely a case of Druidic rite. according to the Gallo-Romanic habit. the most important of which are The latter title is doubtless Borvo (Bourbon) and Grannus. the Latin God as well. other names of deities are preserved to us in the classical Lucian speaks of a sort of Gaulish Hercules.". and was worshipped at medicinal resorts under various local titles. and it is interesting to note that an altar was once found at Inveresk with the inscription. and he was their god of letters and eloquence. rites is evident from the manner in which Ausonius describes his temple at Bayeux but he was also especially connected with health-giving waters and herbs. however. and probably is from that root. an idol of the Britons. and they called him Ogmios. and the gallant rites at modern . name common in inscriptions and in proper names of persons.". lately rampant among us.36 est blacken the heavens with clouds and wind. common to all nations.". god as ". so named its inventor. The inscriptions also give. As a rule. making him the This Belenus is the famous deity of the Druids according to the school of NeoDruidists. ". god in ancient Scotland. This name appears from a afterwards as that of the Irish sacred or runic alphabet. as Mr Moberly has pointed out in his That his worship was connected with solar notes to Caesar. herb worship. was identified with the Phenician Baal. The word Belenus may. thunder". It is probably in connection with the service of Belenus that the cutting of the mistletoe took place. Again. represented as an old man drawing a large multitude after him by cords fas tened to their ears and his tongue. thus equivalent to the Roman sun and healing-god. sun. the son of Elathan. ". The mistletoe is far more famous in Teutonic Mythology. the investigators into the system of the Druids. or drive in the temp The Irish Dinn-Senchus with chariot and horses of fire. as The passage is given either in full or in related by Pliny. abstract in almost all wrongly given out as a our school books of history. Ogma. Belenus. mentions this ". evidently a degraded deity. or rather Bel. Apollini Granno. Etirun. with whom he was identified we have such : a combination often as Belenus Apollo. Two writers. connected with the Gaelic grian. which clearly shows the worship of this suncalled by them. as he was and no end of theories were started on such suppositions. . one or two other writers mention the god Belenus. be from the same root as Apollo.
clothed in white.".Gargantua. mounted the tree and cut the It was received on a white cloth. again. and the Wild Women of we Some. beings everywhere mediated between man and heaven. while the people burst forth in prayer for the favour of the god. numbers on the inscriptions.".Divine the companions of Apollo. known statues testify. Every village was protected by local ". was the most human of all the deities The goddesses of the healing springs were honoured as of Gaul. Three Fairies. too. Mothers. along with Mercury. We.".". ". The mistletoe was supposed thus to be a cure for sterility. of our folk-tales. the commencement of the Gaulish month. This is just merely a form of fetisJiisin. cussed the religious beliefs of the people. Marti Segomoni.". giants an old Gaulish deity of Normandy. and that. names which appear survive. perhaps its most important one. a Druid or priest.". ". who. lovi Bagniati. whose festivals are not un the yet. There were also innumerable private or family gods. and whose fame appears on the pages of Rabelais. but not their ecclesias- . is the most important to notice. with the generic in great title of ".Mcrcurio Artaio. and the sea-nymph of the Breton shore is still revered under the title of St Anne. goddess of arts.Christmases arc merely a remembrance of its ancient efficacy as a preserver and defender from harm. she answered to the Latin Minerva. of whom inscriptions and Woods. The Gaulish The Roman inscriptions give us quite a host of minor deities. and which the ". two white bulls were sacrificed.". Matris". etc.Apollini Virotuti. the Weird Sisters. system of assimilating conquered peoples appears in nearly every case the extremely well in these inscriptions Roman deity is given as the principal name to which is attached . deities. Fountains. Belisama. rivers. One feature of the Gaulish religion still remains to be discus We have dis sed. or ". DRUIDISM. The Gaulish and British goddess. meet with Caturigi. are told. ".". ".". and hills had their deities.". Pliny tells us that on the sixth day of the moon. answering to the Roman Penates and Lares. therefore. as epithet the local Gaulish equivalent. and plant with a golden sickle. and a safeguard against poisons. : ". in mediaeval legends as the White Ladies. of the lesser deities appear as the Such has been the fate of ". Marti combinations like these ".
that . and certainly misread by writers under the influence of their knowledge of medi aeval ecclesiasticism. Dr Smith tells us that they alone kept the first tradition of monotheism intact in the West and Reynaud. Here passes for the magnificent. and ornaments of glittering gold. that the higher the victim the more complete the atonement offered to the Deity for the sins of man. and. again. found in their human sacrifices only the conse quence of the idea. probably itself somewhat exaggerated modern in its political aspect. No or inscriptions can help us. in problems of life. dominant now as in the days of the Druids.38 tical polity. a sentence in Cicero. This commonly made religion as well. and far more unsatisfactory than our comparatively poor information in Indeed. made in regard to Gaulish religion in general. it must be repeated ". it is better not to confuse . in was an unknown and un temples of stone. with regard to the Druids no less meagre. our authorities for Druidism are included in the enumera about their general in Caesar. as what we know of their opinions and practices is somewhat remarkable. that this exaggerated opinion of Druidism little is prevalent. Neither can any customs or religious survivals tion already monuments : be referred to Druidic belief or usage. and mid vestments of stainless white. to kno\vn as Druiclism. the courses of the stars. and nigh a dozen lines of chapters Lucan. John Toland. perhaps. holding high converse with their disciples on the nature of the one God for such philosophers could only be monotheists! of the soul. that new world magnifico est for . fact. little to know. interesting. where in circular ". So little is it known. on the immortality fact. although that term is all that we know of the Gaulish But the Druids were rather the philosophers is include and divines of the Gauls and. stalked majestically the Druids. but a . But it may be at the start premised that there is. on all the mighty generation ago. nor can we trust in the slightest degree the references made to Druidism by early Irish or Welsh writers the Druids of Irish history are mere conjurors and magicians. their system with the ordinary Aryan religion of the Gauls. knowable land. and Omne the unknown groves of oak. and that it is en tirely due to Caesar s account of them. at the . our information is meagre Here. with the addition of two religion. and the that is known fancies is so opened quite a ignotum pro speculations.".
on the manners and customs of the Gauls and Germans. through the overhanging mist of nonsensical speculation. having supreme authority. he tells us that among of any consideration or position were included either the Druids or the nobles. for such are reckoned sacrilegists. and Ccltomania reigned supreme in this obscure region. He may be elected with and they at times resort to war to decide the or without voting. until lately the light of modern criticism was allowed to shine powers. our first and best authority. Young men and they are held in great honour. The megalithic monuments circles. excommunicated a most severe punishment. possessed of no small learning-. apart from any personal theories.". an Irishman of fertile imagination and advanced opinions. vitrified forts ! ". Druidic. followed Tolartd and a most unscrupulous use of his classical authorities. sacrifice utensils and amulets. with golden ornaments. They meet at an appointed time of the year in the ter ritories of the Carnutes. and in proverbial language must be ments. they are judges decision is in cases to succession or boundaries of crime. and men flee from their presence for fear of disaster from contact with them. and white incidentally worn. cairns and barrows were Druidic remains. and disputes in regard and whoever abides not by their . and there all come who have disputes. All that can with certainty be known of the Druids will first be briefly given. flock to them for instruction for they have the decision of all controversies. and Everything unexplained in archaeological monu in social customs. cromlechs. was the first to lead the way into the undiscovered country of Druidism. and abide by their decisions. A chief Druid presides over them. Dr Smith. be seen from Pliny were their usual dress. murder. The Druids conduct all men public and private sacrifices. in the middle of Gaul. as may altars. Caesar is again In the digression in his 6th book. and interpret omens. made Welsh and French writers took the same view of the old religion of Gaul. of the Seann Dana. matter. where there is a consecrated place. The references in Pliny were made to disclose a pomp and ritual that could vie with the best days of the Church of Rome surplices of . public and private. were of course their work and these also showed their knowledge of the mechanical Nay. their temples and their menhirs.39 end of the i /th century. . It is thought that the system was found . all of gold.
Cicero.". tells us that among the Gauls were bards. what was to happen in the future. professed to know natural philosophy.". and in the /th book he gives us to know that the ^Eduan magistrates. that reason for this seems to be twofold. gives us a short account of the Druids. many come themselves into their ranks. but pass after death from one individual to another. being thus free from military service and civil it know duties. introduces size of the universe ". and sooth physiology. the inducement of such great rewards.". The principles of divination are Quintus as saying barbarous nations even. One would this doctrine Valerius Maximus refers when he says: have laughed at these long-trousered philosophers [the Druids]. in not overlooked among Gaul there are the Druids. : he was a guest of yours and great in your praises. Their chief doctrine is that souls do not perish. and on the power and might of the gods. Under With them they learn off a great number of lines of poetry. and thence transferred to Gaul. the doctrine of the transmigration of souls. if we had not found their doctrine under the cloak of Pythagoras. and in these matters they instruct the Caesar further on tells that the Druids presided at the youth. were elected by them. sayers. partly by Cicero s contem conjecture. as. his contemporary. on the and the earth. which the Greeks knew . The Druids are wont to hold aloof from war. in the first century of our era. adding that that ". And they do not regard it allowable by divine laws to commit these things to The writing.". certain philosophers and divines named Druids. the /Eduan. though in secular matters they use Greek letters. half of which is but a variation of . as generally happens when to. or their pupils to fail to cultivate their memory by books can be resorted trusting to writing. as a rule proceed there to learn it. so some remain under training for twenty years. for instance. human sacrifices. porary. He call and he used to tell partly by augury. Diodorus Siculus. I his brother ". To is. in his treatise on Divination. and those who at the present time wish to thoroughly. written a few years later. them. and this the removal of the fear of death they think the greatest incitement to valour. one of whom Divitiacus. that they do not wish cither their system to be made public.40 in Britain. the system of Pythagoras held sway among ". or are sent by their parents and friends. on nature. at least. Strabo. and pay no taxes. They theorise largely on astronomy.
Hence they no cares for this frail being feel. The passage is mostly an expansion of Caesar s reference to the transmigration of souls. u Pluto s gloomy reign". When that fire and water will one day have the mastery. At they the end of his i6th book he mentions the ".". And Thus other bodies in new worlds its ever runs they find endless race. but the poet beautifully brings out how not the habitation of souls. Another geographer. The Druids. next in importance to Caesar. hymns . while the Druids joined to the study of The belief in their justice is so nature that of moral philosophy. ". But rush undaunted on the pointed steel Provoke approaching fate and bravely scorn To spare that life which must so soon return. and they have before now by their decision pre vented them. They choose groves of that tree. ".". ". is Forth they life for fly immortal in their kind. provided it be the oak. and the tree on which it grows. and the Druids.41 Caesar s sketch. he magi) hold nothing more sacred than the mistletoe. . but adds nothing to our knowledge. especially reverenced. he says. Both these and the others [Bards and Vates] assert that the soul is indestructible and likewise the world. great that the decision both of public and private disputes is referred to them. . Who that worst fear the fear of death despise .". but that ". merely echoing Caesar s de Lucan. And like a line death but divides the space. . the Vates occupied themselves with the sacrifices and the study of nature. The the Elder. The bards composed and chanted the Vates. Thrice happy they beneath their northern skies.there are generally three divisions of men. section for the names of the Gaulish gods but he further pro ceeds to describe. writer on the Druids.Amongst the Gauls.". after a reference to the Bards. the barbarous rites of the Druids and their theology. but battle. and conduct no sacrisays (for so name their F . the Bards. refers to the Druids. admiration of the Gauls for the mistletoe. And further on he says that without the Druids the Gauls never sacrifice. has been quoted in the former scription. All cases of murder are particularly referred to there are plenty of these they imagine there will be a plentiful harvest. Pomponius Mela. is Pliny He has several interesting allusions to them and their superstitions. who died in 65.
was making use of it in court to gain an unfair verdict. he says that vanities. cloak as until full speed. The snake s egg was said to be produced from the frothy sweat of a number of serpents writhing in an they are common among other nations as well. lastly. in speaking of magic and its Britain celebrates them to-day with such ceremonies that it might seem possible that she taught magic to the Persians. knight and for this was put to death by Claudius the Emperor. account of the serpent s egg the anguinum is more im .". washed and bare and the plant must be carried in a new cloth. Pliny says he saw one himself. until Tiberius Caesar did away with the Druids and this class of prophets and medicine-men. so that we may possibly suppose the Druids are so called from its Greek name \drus\ Whatever grows on the oak is considered a gift from heaven. And. The next important . and to be tossed up into the air as soon as The Druid who was fortunate enough to catch it in his formed. as has already been told. pursued by the serpents.". a running stream. the egg would swim stopped by in water though cased in gold.". with a cartilaginous it fell rode off at ". even up to our own time. The Druids held that it was a charm against all misfortunes.". This passage has puzzled many commentators. studded with cavities ". about the size of a moderately large apple. for if the Druids were done away with. entangled mass. a talisman ". Druidic".42 fice without a garland of its leaves. which cured everything. he proceeds to tell how it was culled from the tree. and when neither sun nor moon was seen.". ". But these plant superstitions and ceremonies have nothing especially ". with a thievish gesture the worshipper must be dressed in white. connecting the rites naturally enough with the Druids And who presided. fetisJi he mentions is the club-moss (selago) it must be touched by no metal. Pliny mentions other plant superstitions of the Gauls. Vervain was against murrain in cattle. with feet . and rind. how does Gaul was overrun with magic arts . A Roman like the arms of a polypus.". or water pim . about them s Pliny portant and special. If tried. and had to be gathered at the rise of the dog-star. pernel.about another plant. but plucked by the right hand passed through the tunic under the left.". ". much the same way they thought the samolus. and In the smoke of its burning leaves cured diseases of the eye. which the Gaulish magi raged. ".
or Anglesea. in the fourth century. It may be mentioned that Ammianus Marcellinus. with hands upraised to heaven. Christianity. After noticing the foundation of Marseilles by a Phocean colony. at least. nor can we well believe that it was human it would appear that only the altogether abolished even then sacrifices and certain modes of divination \vere put a stop : to. sacred to grim superstitions were cut down he adds. Of these. a generation later. according to Human sacrifices and. he represents the legions as awe-struck by the appearance of the Druids amid their opponents ranks. Tacitus gives us an insight of how at times the Romans did put a stop to these phases of Druidism.". and forbidden only the Roman citizens under Augustus. Strabo. he says that when the people in those parts got gradually civilised. pour ing curses and vengeance on their heads. Pliny and Suetonius do not agree as to which Emperor abolished Druidism. had no contest with Druidism either in its fiercer Gaul or in England. And to Pliny elsewhere mention them as still existent in Gaul ? to the difficulty. meddling in politics were Pliny. sure to bring the wrath of Rome on the system. they pro nounced human souls immortal. where deep and hidden problems were discussed. indeed. In describing the attack of the Romans on Mona. . the Euhages (probably a corruption of Vates) and the Druids. . After first century. the learned studies which had been begun by the bards. they hold it lawful to sacrifice captives at their altars and to ". consult the gods from the movements of human entrails. and the groves ". elements of superstition. Suetonius.". throve vigorously. and were formed into unions in accordance with the precepts of Pythagoras. gives us a few lines on the old and long extinct Druidism.43 add ". says that Claudius abolished entirely the religion of the Druids. and we can see from Tacitus that the prophecies of the Druids incurred political wrath as late as Vespasian s time after the abolition of Druidism. and looking from a lofty philosophic pinnacle on human affairs. But they were rolled in their own fires. for. the Druids were the intellectual superiors of the others. he says. and the purer and more philo sophical parts had been absorbed into the usual Roman faith.". a religion of dreadful barbarity. says as much. writers speak of Druidism as a of the thing past evidently the decrees of the Emperors had done away with the . probably.
Druid of Conchobar Mac Nessa. The second fabled settlers of Ireland. Their power over the forces of Nature over sea. neck-deep in it. foretells the fate of Deirdre and the sons of Uisnach. who. who are called in the Gaelic selves Druid and in the Latin versions Magi. and drove them by his magic fire and stormThe Druids of King Loegaire oppose St out of Munster. that we have writers who speak of the Druids and in their eyes the Druids were but magicians that attended the courts of the pagan kings. the Nemedians. the instructor of Cuchulain. graded gods. and at another time he brings over the land an Egyptian darkness that might be felt. are full of contests between them and the royal magicians. even before Deirdre was born and Mogh Ruith of Munster. wind. Patrick : From the chronicled by the long posterior Christian writers. Druids play a most important part in Irish pagan history. much as Moses defeats the Egyptian magicians. ligion But as such as magicians the sometimes only conjurors. and storms shows them plainly to be only de .44 Such of its is the history of Druidism in Gaul and early Britain course in Ireland we have no direct information. his Druids. St . who single-handed opposed Cor. The lives of the pioneer . we have themselves and the bards exercising magic and divining powers. who allow the sons of Miled to land after showing them their power and sovereignty as deities over the island. among many other things. to the days primaeval landing of Columba. even on their own so thickly that find themselves men soon ground. spells with their magic arts one of them causes snow to fall Patrick mac and . priestly class. meet the invading Fomorians with magic spells but the fairy host of the Tuatha De Dannan are par excellence the masters of Druidic art. of Partholan with his three Druids. It is : only when Christianity has been long established. and Druidism a thing of the remote past. and Columba. The kings and chiefs had Druids about them to interpret omens and but there is no reference to these Druids being a to work spells . as saints. But in all the numerous references to them in Irish chronicles and tales there is no hint given of Druidism being either a system of philosophy or re the Druids of Irish story are mere magicians and diviners. and their power was limited to the functions of mere divination and sorcery. Two of the most famous Druids were Cathbadh. But the saint defeats them.
until the saint gave orders that the sails should be unfurled and a start made. nor a religion. is similarly represented as the spells of the Northern Druids. as in Gaul sacred wood among the Irish Druids would appear to have been the yew. Pure Druidic divination sometimes how the smoke and flame consisted in watching the Druidic fire went. The Druidic wand plays an im spells. were di viners at times. ". the bard could result. him in such a such as blisters and that personal injury would deformities. if this generally the future was revealed to him. addressed his followers in words which clearly point to human sacrifice. The bards. Then everything became calm and settled. hawthorn. a fact that would appear to show their ancient A portant part. Columba.". and. an echo now and then of the time when Druidism in Ireland and Scotland w as something it is r different. in and when even human sacrifices commencing the building of his were offered. a blow from It : ". nor a system. when cast on a person. merely of magic and divination not a philosophy. fall into a divine sleep. Druid overcoming to King Brude. illumination by rhymes. and then Sometimes. church at lona. a method known as illumination by the palms of the hands. Broichan. ".45 Adamnan s life of him. way Irish Druidism . Fionn used to chew his thumb when he wanted any supernatural knowledge. Divination was an important feature of Druidic accomplishments. ". it causing transformations and spells. and there were various forms of it. connection with the Druids. It is quite true that we have. the rowan tree. The bardic divination is known as when the bard in an ecstatic state pours forth a flood of poetry. instances how the Druids worked these We are also told in many wisp of hay. too. he had to place his two hands upon his two cheeks and failed. and an invocation to the gods. too. over which an incantation was made. If a man refused a gift. Sometimes the Druid would chew a bit of raw flesh with incantation or oration". Connected with this is the power of poetic satirise satire.". at the end of which he brings out the particular fact that is required to be known. caused idiocy and deformity. caused such a storm and darkness on Loch-Ness Columba. therefore. consists. must be remarked. at least. more especially. in that the navigation appeared impossible.It is . that the wood used for wands and Druidic rites and fires was not the oak at all.
and they (the Irish trans that he must find a child born without a father. and they appeal to the fact that Britain was the home of Druidism. and Columba founded the church of and in that a human being was foundation of Emain. Kilcoy. on the world and its countries. But in Gaul.". or derived at all. and spoke thus ". The sum and result of our inquiry into Druidism may be At the time of Caesar s given in the words of Professor Rhys invasions. on the nature of things. the mythic capital of Ulster Nennius we have a remarkable story told of King Vortigern. and priests. away during ". a country which could have had little inter course with Marseilles. whose education was entrusted to them. magi". and the power of the gods. but unfortunately his ghost used to haunt the house until he was able to disburden his woes to somebody. magicians. but somehow. must remain an open question. ready for that. under the faint rays of the civilization of Marseilles and other Mediterranean centres. ".46 good here . every time it was spirited".". and then Odran went It is said to heaven. am Hi. in the Black Isle. that our roots should go under the earth permitted that one of you should go under the clay of this island to hallow The story goes on to say that Odran it is it. Some think it un that the central doctrine of Druidism should have been likely derived so late in the history of the nation.". : If thou shouldst take me. us. He was trying to build a castle on Snowdon. for ". they seem to have added to their other characters that of philosophers. But in connection with this idea of its British origin. : . I ".". the night lation calls He sought counsel from his ". from a foreign source. slain at the . and he then disappeared. and sprinkle with his blood the ground where the castle was to stand. discoursing to the youths.". they were a powerful class of men. it must be remembered that at a certain stage of them Druids). says he. told him and must put him to death. Nor is tradition of the present time silent on this matter. It is said that Tigh-a-chnuic. Whether the doctrine of the trans migration of souls was really of native origin or borrowed from the Greeks. Columba readily accepted his offer. had its founda tion consecrated by the slaughter of a stranger who chanced to be passing when the house was to be built. arose readily. on the stars and their move ments. though he gathered ever so much material. monopolizing the influence of soothsayers.
including those of Greece and Rome only here. who monopolised is an Aryan religion. as Pliny points out. Some again the Druids were such philosophers. in what we have left us recorded of Druidism there pointed to as non-Aryan. especially in moral and religious matters for there is a wide difference between theories of the intellect and in no incongruity the at . a priestly class was sure to rise to a position of supreme power. practices prompted by the emotions. they would be so superstitious as to practise human sacrifices. by actual instances of which pointed to them as previously existent. and other wild rites. Professor Rhys calls considers Druidism to be of a it non-Aryan tribes. as the their own was doubtless an independent but more enlightened in religious ". CELTIC RELIGION IN BRITAIN AND IRELAND. absolutely nothing that can be strong priestly caste presented And Brahmanism Brahmans. of practices. can be somewhat paralleled in the Hinduism of India with its rigidly priestly caste of rites. as before. nations are apt to consider their neighbours. In tracing the history of Celtic religion. the impressionable and superstitious charac ter of the Gauls drove them to greater excesses. with its Gauls probably looked pristine source of their own. as they are represented to have been. more versed development. But there is as those of the if absurd that once being philosophic and superstitious very hospitable in its entertainment of quite opposite opinions. from the superstitious cast of their minds. we have established . the on British Druidism. and the religion of the pre-Celtic from the Baltic to Gibraltar. and it found its classical develop ment in the views of the Greek Pythagoras. as divided off from the nobles and the commons. matters than themselves. in some degree. The position and fame of the Druids as magicians is. character. among Aryan nations. while in reality grimness". The to us in Caesar. is Now. provided they are in a lower stage of civilization.47 culture. all religious Among the Gauls. of the such. Their human sacrifices can be matched. and by other rites . much more religious than The Romans always believed the Etrurians to be themselves. same nature think it Magi of Aryan Persia. of Aryan India. human mind is . The doctrine of the transmigration of the soul is a tenet of both Brahmans and Buddhists. So. too.
only a passing reference to the old faith. of the Gaulish population which. and paganism was for centuries a thing of the It may. and to which the blind people paid divine honour. says he. there is practically a period of a thousand years. which almost surpassed in number those of Egypt. tomary. or upon the rivers. thereWales) and Lowland Scotland. Gaelic. with stiff and deformed features as was cus Nor will I call out upon the mountains. it is which give. we have. ". For information as to the ritual of the old religion. Gildas. [circ. fountains. appeared in the eighth century notably the works of Adamnan and Bede. but we in vain scan the pages left us of their works for any definite information as to the previous siastical histories religion. about the time of the Roman conquest. from the heroic poems and tales. Caesar s account of the religion of the Gauls to the first native notices of even the history of Celtic Britain and Ireland. During the interval. local customs and superstitions Beltaine bannocks and Samhuinn fires form our only guides.". It will also be necessary to discuss separately the remainsof the religion of the early Welsh and the early Gaels. or which now are subservient to the use of men. one or two important gods. mid a host of minor and local deities. ". a century before either of these writers. that the Welsh are doubtless the remnant ". some British inscriptions of the Roman period. Christianity had established its sway. But our information must be drawn. nominally at least. .D. nearly all. which do not date much earlier than a thousand years ago and most are far later than this period.". . however. Our know of the local development of Celtic religion in Britain and ledge Ireland cannot be obtained directly from contemporary history: hills. 560] some mouldering away within or without the deserted temples. true. and of which we still see ". but once were an abomination and destruction to them. must have occupied England (except Cornwall and Gaul and England had. be remarked that one or two Latin eccle past. makes I shall not. A.". British.". over the whole land.48 that the religion of the Gauls fully represents the pagan religion of both the great branches of the Celtic race the Brythonic From (Gauls and Welsh) and the Goidelic (Gaelic races). enumerate those diabolical idols of my country. The religion of the former we shall name must be remembered And it of the latter.
In the words of the poet : Ye Ye are gods.". god. for whom he is sent as hostage to Rome.". and Lir. and perish on the battlefield of Camlan. ". Bran the Blessed. along with him. and Welsh tales. practically the same people and language in the first century of this era. Camulus. of Monmouth. The god. In the darkness of time. and there certainly were kings and chiefs. Thus.". ". when Gabius and Porsena were consuls Gargantua appears ". Urien. and there now remain of them still speaking the language. lore. population in the Gaelic Religion fifth ". is ". there were kings of the names of Beli. There is. Belinus. possibly a war-god. as a mere mortal conqueror. of the gods fight under Arthur s banner. consequently. of the names of Brennus. and the world shall forget you for kings. ! twice as a British King. BRITISH RELIGION. under the title of Gurgiunt. appears in the pages of Geoffrey. and Arthur. the sea-god. or thereabouts. the giants and enchanters. Nodens. Brennius or Bran. century of our era. when the latter is con- G . and King Nuada. possessed of similar names. he marched to the siege of Rome. in the changes of things. consistent tales of Ireland. the Bretons of France and the Welsh of Wales. and behold. who presented as Coel Hen.49 fore. ". in the deeps of the years. but their history is irretrievably mixed up with that of deities and demigods. is immortalised in the pages of Shake speare as an old British king. ". war-god. The and will include the early religion of Ireland the Highlands of Scotland. from which country they drove out or absorbed the previous Gaelic ". is the Nudd of Welsh. of heroic tales and folk ". Cassibelaunus. gave his name to the Ayrshire district of Kyle. a considerable amount of con fusion in the Some which does not appear in the more Probably. man sleeps. of Irish story. Coel. and evidently a degraded He next appears as father of Caradoc. of Britain suffered what appears to have been the common lot of gods they were changed into the kings and champions. now Old King Coul of the song. . shall sleep as a slain ". Caractacus. In company with his brother. ". ye shall die. The great deity.". and the waves be upon you at last. \vho gave his name to Camulodunum. is a son of Lir. a personage of such gigantic pro portions that no house could hold him. The gods ". the #/-chester.
and in the prose Mabinogion. altars are dedicated to Sul-Minerva. and of office. Sul being a goddess unknown elsewhere. a matter of great difficulty to take either 390. who fought the two battles of Moytura. And again he is brother of Belinus. are purely Welsh. and of Britain and the land Brigantia. This deity is identi fied with the legendary Nudd.50 In Rome he is converted to Christianity. The most interesting inscriptions were those found in the temple of a god discovered at Lydney places. principal families of deities. between the Forth and Clyde.". known in Welsh fiction only as the father of famous sons and in Irish story as King Nuada of the Silver Hand.". ". therefore. ". and we have : in Britain combinations like those met with in Gaul the name attached deity has the corresponding British to him on the votive inscription by way of Roman Thus. Nudd. and to ". ".C. a history which The interwoven with native myths and facts. among many others to the epithet. in Gloucestershire. quered by Claudius. a god of the deep sea. the name of Mars-Camulus ap of the pears on the inscriptions. at Bath. ". ". as the Brennus of the Roman historians. One inscription bears to be to the great god Nodon. in the Passing. history or myth out of the confusion in Welsh poetry and tradi tion. Park. of ". Lir. On the Roman wall. It is. and fell in the second before ". figured on a bronze plaque as a Triton or Neptune borne by sea-horses and surrounded by a laughing crowd of Nereids.".the mountain and the flood. which he introduced into Britain.". Balor of the Evil Eye. however. and the same ". the goddesses of the Brigantes respectively. who sacked Rome in B. inscriptions of Roman times show that the religious is condition of Britain then differed in no respect from that of GaulThe local deities were assimilated to the corresponding deities of Rome.". caused by a little knowledge of classical and Biblical history. the King of the Fomorians. the spirits of ". the children of Don. which proves the temple to have been dedi cated to the worship of Nodon. The family Don is evidently . the second the chi Idren of Of these the first Nudd have Irish equivalents both in name and while the children of Lir of belong equally to both nations. ". we can easily eliminate three ".".genii".". to the Welsh legends and myths preserved Ancient Books of Wales".".Sancta Britannia".". and hence his name of Bran the Blessed.
and Tir-fo-Thuinn".".silver-circled. won the victory for his brother. deep-sea god is naturally enough under the waves of the West. is a husbandman doubtless a god of weather and crops. Gwynn a more sinister position. by his divinations. the fairest and most graceful that man ever sa\v. ". and produced from them a maiden. to the king of ". He has a fight with Arawn.They took the blossoms of the oak.".51 connected with the sky and its changes.". though rather a god of air than earth. the Cambrian Pluto. Gwydion is the greatest of enchanters a prince of the can change the forms of trees. the present race. gave A Saint of the name of Collen one day heard two men conversing about Gwynn ap Nudd. ".". We are told that God placed him over the brood of devils in Annwn. Caer Gwydion. and Math. ". His son Gwynn. is the Welsh king of the Fairies in the widest sense of the word. like Don. Gwydion. is eclipsed by his family. therefore. He ". and saying that he was King of Annwn and the Fairies.". says Collen. og.Land of Youth". men. animals. happy realm Christian however. . he forms a woman out of flowers. Hold your tongue but devils. of the Irish legends. and the blossoms of the broom. king of Annwn. of the Gaelic stories the land below the waves. Arianrhod. He ".". inhabits circle of stars name Don may be compared that of the father of the Irish hero Diarmat.". the court of Don. his master. and the blossoms of the meadow-sweet. known always as Gwynn ap Nudd. battle of the and in it Gwydion. It would appear that is no less a person than the Gwynn god of the next world for Tir-nananswers. the city of Gwydion and his daughter . The son of the ". carried off or Hell. which is the bright called the Northern Crown. for a white roebuck and a whelp. for he guessed the name of the person in the ranks of his opponents. Amaethon. the son of Mathonwy. The battle is known as trees. human beings. He appears to have been god of the deep and its treasures. the son of Don. son of Donn. the ". these are Hold thou thy quickly. With the ". lest they should destroy ". The milky way is named after his son. styled by Professor Rhys. He has given his name in Welsh to the constellation of Cassiopeia. Nudd. called Llys Don. made lord over the bias. which had to be guessed before either side won. which he had from the realms of darkness. and along with powers of air.
without advantage to either of them. His connection with the lower world is brought out by his fight with Gwythyr. caused Gwynn and his castle to disappear in the twinkling of an eye. goes to British origin. He is a deity fore the personification of the sea ". and. and Aphrodite. Welsh spell the name. She is represented as a splendid the daughter of Lir or Lud. and signifying the the sea deified. a blossom of flowering maiden. the seaLir. dialect. And sure enough the Saint was summoned to the palace of Gwynn on a neighbouring hill top. repast. speech. ".". of the sea-god Lir. for whom there is that the maiden between these two deities on these conditions should remain in her father s house. ". ments of Gwynn.". the son of Greidwal. and that whichever of them should be ". Llyr. where he was kindly received. thou shalt receive a reproof from him. show that he was not a deity of native therefore justified in We are considering Lir as the sea deity of the . and bid I will not eat the he saw through the enchant trees. and Gwythyr. . for Cordelia. Lir and his children. whom we shall find to be the British and Gaelic equivalents of Neptune. : conqueror then.". indeed. and that Gwynn ap Nudd. or halfinto the British pantheon. sit down to a sumptuous . in the Ossianic poems. ". is the same as the Gaelic lear. Gwynn. common to both Britons and Gaels .".". goddess of the summer seas.". tongue.".". according to St Collen. or as the daughter of the foam. answering to Jove and his Olympians of Classical Mythology in Nudd and his son Gwynn we have probably . they. found the powers that rule over the land of shades.". found Lir is there sea. as showing how the early missionaries dealt with the native gods. should have the We have thus discovered in maiden. flowers. god. it may rather be said that he is more properly a deity of the Gaels transferred The epithet LlediaitJi. ".52 said ". that ". is merely a demon. correspond and we now come to consider the third ing to Pluto or Dis ". from thence forth till the day of doom. family of British deities. by the use of some holy water. Don and his children the powers of sky and air. is. daughter at once a Venus and a Proserpine.". the son of Greidwal. a fight between the powers of the Peace was made worlds above and below the earth respectively. which is attached to his name. should fight for her every first of May. leaves of the said Collen for The story is interesting.
however. son of the Dagda. and not as the sea-god proper and. and represented as ground then expelled by Cunedda and his sons. Caesar s opponent. and Cordelia. a shriek that . for the most part he is is known as the son of Lir. was somehow a god of the sea what was the necessity of two chief sea-gods ? We have interpreted Nudd as a god of the land under the waves. of course. or else Mannanan. Bove Derg. tions they are both represented as the children of Llud. ". besides. more probably slowly absorbed by the Welsh. be silverreceived the title of Llaw Ereint. distinctly against any such change of letters as Nudd into Llud. point to a strong if not to a Gaelic origin. the brother of Cassibelaunus. however the wind blew it. . and. who were then ancient remnant of the Gaels their in pressed westwards Gaelic influence. if it was known to them ". Lir. the Gaelic gods. his son. the face of the Island. but what. appears in the Irish genealogy of The Man nanan . must each have had two fathers.53 still surviving and maintaining Wales in the fifth century. with . . and in his reign Britain was troubled with three direful plagues the Coranians. They were. in the histories and tales. but in the genealogies he set down as the son of Alloid.". Professor Rhys thinks that Llud stands for cause Llud also Nudd. and all else that we know of him is the by their wicked aunt and stepmother. besides its being otherwise far from probable that such a change should occur on any principle of alliteration. ". the N changing into LI. or. his daughter. In some tradi cruel transformation of his four children .". of a provincial chief. under the name of Llud. by the Saxons. at least. again. connected with Lir and his family. another name at least he must Lir has also have had another name. the Irish Alloid is . Of Lir himself no thing is said in the Welsh legends beyond his being the father of so many children in Ireland he is represented as striving for the sovereignty of the Tuatha-De-Dannan. it might be spoken. is. same confusion. a people whose knowledge was such that there was no discourse upon : ". second. All the legends preserved in Welsh. handed. doubtless the original. and the principle of Ereint into alliteration required the changing of Nudd Llaw Llud Llaw Ereint. the equivalent of Llud. as retiring to Sidh-Fionnachaidh. when defeated in his aspira Here he leads the life tions. And Nudd. just as the Irish King Nuada did .
is in the Welsh Myths one of the that mystical number.gt. Through acquaintance with the sky he knew the quarter in which would be fair weather and foul weather. Mannanan. Children of Tuireann. Arthur exhumed the head. describes ". shoemaking. Lir appears in the pages of of Monmouth as an old British king. work he successively tries saddleand shieldmaking. ". Cormac. trades in which he making. to be a deity who presides over arts and commerce. from which place they set out to London and buried Bran s head with its face to France. competitors as a matter of course. Luga of the Long Arms rode . Mannanan Mac in his Lir. whose story forms the groundwork of Shakespeare s tragedy of King Lear. From the Irish accounts of him. appears to be a god of sea and wind. of the ninth century.. May third. was the possessor of that wonderful steed mentioned of the ". declaring that he would fortunately maintain the country against any foe without need of super In his subsequent career Mannanan is seen natural safeguard. the blessed. the seven heroes found the throne usurped by Cassibelaunus and retired to Harlech. where the birds of Rhiannon kept them enchanted by their music for seven years and after this . Returning with the head of seven Bran. the king s winter before Llud. they feasted for eighty years more at Gwales in Penvro.". Archbishop of Cashel. as a renowned trader who dwelt in the Is Manannan mac He was the best pilot in the west of Europe. land of Man. and hence they said he was son of Mannanan is other the sea. in the story ". king of Britain. brother Llevelys freed King Llud.". that created all kinds of terrors and provisions disappeared From these plagues the wis dom of his every year when stored. him //&. As long as Bran s head was left there Un facing France no invasion of Britain could be successful. who reigned long Geoffrey and. the son of Lir. eve. glossary like a true Euhemerist. called him a god of the sea. He wise represented as one of the Tuatha-De-Dannan chiefs. and who had three daughters. Bran. mac lir. son of the sea. that is. so common in the old Welsh poems who escaped from Ireland on the death of his brother. a god who is deep in counsel. He and another of the mythic seven ".54 occurred every horrors . wander about doing out-distances all artificers . and when each of Hence the Scots and Britons these two seasons would change.
. and only seven re first The story as a whole is a very widely-spread one it appears in about a dozen forms in Teutonic lands the Volsung Saga and the Nibelung story being the most turn of his people to Wales. This magic cloak had also the effect of producing Of Mannanan. mortal though he was. Mannanan is represented as a fairy chief who helped and loved by deserts his fairy bride Fand. any But the cauldron is discovered by the already-mentioned one of Bran s men. He had on his breast Mannanan s breast Mannanan s sword. for she was as swift as the cold clear wind of spring. called the ". or above it or below it.In forgetfulness of the past. The cleverness of one of Bran s men foils their purpose there is. which no weapon could pierce. She is married to Matholwch. and build a house big enough for Bran to enter into. He was three-legged shape recalls the giant strides of Vishnu. into which. when one is dipped that is dead. the best of it. Sick-bed of Cuchulainn. But the Irish had decided to murder their guests at the first feast in the great house. nanan on discovering this. the daughter of Lir. and she He wore Mantravelled with equal ease on land and on sea. . King of Ireland. a general slaughter. so that they should never meet again.". In the curious story wound . him we see personified the splendour and swiftness of the sun the god rushes over the waves like a wheel of fire and his . Mr Elton says: ".". hung at his left side no one ever recovered from its the steed of Mane : . Bran. figure of the most tragic of Welsh myths. namely Enbarr of the Flowing no warrior was ever killed on the back of this steed. who treats her badly. in which the Irish have at . Bran is killed. nanan s coat of mail no one could be wounded through it. and he breaks it. the patron of traffic and merchandise.55 Mannanan Mac Lir. however. coming to know of it. for they possess a cauldron. and those who were opposed to it in the battle-field were so terrified by looking at it that their strength left them and they became weaker than women. a thing he never hitherto could get. Her brother The Irish yield. .". white-bosom. but Fand is Man Cuchulainn. The plate. Answerer. he comes to life hale and sound. is the central ". returns to his wife and shakes his magic cloak between her and Cuchulainn. Branwen.". so enormous was his size. invades Ireland. The best weapons and jewels from across the sea were thought to be gifts from the god.
the sea was poetically named the fountain of Venus. From least one of Arthur s knights. Hence Mr Elton considers her the Venus of the Northern Seas. of Tristram and Iseult. a supposition which would obviate the necessity of supposing the Celtic version a borrowed one. just as Aphrodite was sprung from the foam of the sea. And he had another peculiarity so great was the heat of his ". whatever he carried remained dry for a handbreadth above and a handbreadth below his hand and when his companions were coldest he was to them as fuel nature that when it . with which to light their Such was Arthur s steward and Vulcan do equally mean duties in the halls of Hephaestus The gods laugh heartily at the limping gait and un Olympus. the fateful love-potion which binds him irrevocably to Iseult. after the wailing.". Another legend represents Brangwaine as helping the loves. the raging From this we can easily understand how Branwen may be Venus and daughter of the sea-god as well. so of mythologic lore. has already been mentioned as the resplendent summer goddess for whom the powers of air and the shades fight every May-day till the day of doom. says the had this peculiarity. full ". ". it could alone be proved that Kai was no less than the British Vulcan.". Let loose the Fountain of Venus. Kai. according to the lolo MSS. Branwen ".". and nine days under water. and a verse in the Black Book of Carmarthen gives this stanza ". In the remarkable Mabinogion entitled Kilhwch and Olwen. him he could render himself as tali as the highest tree in the forest. another daughter of Lear or Llud.". ! . we can see the true character of at This is his seneschal Kai. inferior when though it may or be in some details. physician could heal. : rained hardest. : Accursed be the damsel Who.". illicit though they It is she that hands to Tristram be. the references in this mythic tale. gainly appearance of Hephaestus as he hands round the cup of fire. that his breath lasted nine tale.. and he could exist nine days nights A wound from Kai s sword no and nine nights without sleep. deep. Probably there are in the myth the evidences Celt and Teuton lived not too amicably together on the banks of the Rhine. Indeed. When it pleased Very subtle was Kai. ". the fire-god. Cordelia.56 famous forms of of a time it.
She. He then became a bird. the ". Owain. whom Caridwen had not the heart to kill. the son of Urien Rheged. three drops of the boiling liquor spluttered out upon the hand of Gwion. charging them not to suffer it to cease r Towards the end of the year. She him in a leather sack. She is possessed of a cauldron of inspiration and science. the future and present were revealed to him. He was thereafter born as a among beautiful boy. and cast him into the sea.". We are the air and dropped them piecemeal on the ground. the fairy returned. and she a hawk. Nor must we overlook Caridwen. and suddenly putting his hand in his mouth because of the heat. set her boil. points out. So is ". (Badfr). who is considered. and as she was swooping down upon him he fell a heap of wheat and became one of the grains. has his ravens to consult with. Odin. may be regarded as a symbol of the reproductive power of the earth. and is indeed named. the Welsh themselves. at hero-tales. .". The Tuatha-De-Dannan were possessed in Scythia of a similar : cauldron. and placed Gw ion Bach. fled. which. boiling for a year and a day. Pursued at once by Caridwen. their goddess of nature. and the blind Morda to watch it. became a high-crested black hen.57 of Arthur s knights Kai often the butt of Arthur s knights. he changed himself into a hare and But she changed herself into a greyhound and turned him . it is sufficient to say that Arthur is. similarly employed. The cauld ron burst. too. is never mentioned in the older poems and tales without reference to his army of which rose as he waved his wand. Another be mentioned as probably a degraded may war deity. It is doubtless this same cauldron that has appeared in the story of Branwen the daughter of Lir when the dead heroes were plunged into it they were resuscitated. the tale says. even by nectar. and Gwion had to run for his life. cauldron to Caridwen. as mythical as any of the rest we have mentioned. the dwarf.scald-crow". least. however. and swept men into ravens. Being put H . here reminded of the Irish war goddess who so often appears as. as Mr Nutt ". and to act as his messengers. scratched the heap. And he ran towards the river and became a fish she took the form of an otter and gave chase. found him. Many others of Arthur s heroes partake of the same mythical type of Arthur himself we shall speak again in considering the Celtic At present. and swallowed him.
beginning. old and blind. trines. and brought to Prince Elphin. Complete is my chair in Caer Sidi. The poems ascribed to Taliesin have been called the romance of ".". and of genuine Welsh myth. have been the dullest of have been a book in the stars. have been a horn. variegated. And again have been a sow. we may believe that there is at bottom a germ of genuine Druidic influence. little men who could not give him food enough. doubtless the Irish Side. and the chief of the bards of the west". have been a sage. as in Taliesin s case. have been a shout I I I have been a buck. origin. his mingling of Greek.". of souls is The thought to be hidden transformations. and not at the the Ossian. Yet for all this. have been a word among letters. ". This youthful poet was none else than Taliesin. and Jewish history and myth. have been a sword narrow. and among consequently he had a belt round his waist with three skewers He went out one day \vith his dealg. True enough the poet does show a wonderful and suspicious acquaintance with the Metamorphoses". battle. have been a snout. in Taliesin the broken-down remembrance of the old Druidic cult. began to sing most elegant poetry. No one will be afflicted with disease or old age that may be for all in it.".in it to tighten his stomach. ".58 washed ashore. thus ^ ". to whom he immediately. prince of song. I Before I I I have been in a multitude of shapes.". As a matter of fact. and by some supernatural means brought down . He now lived tried to recover his youth by magical means. have been a wild sow. I assumed a consistent form. of Ovid and his account of Pythagorean doc Evidently there is in these poems of ". child though he was. have been a tear in the air . metempsychosis. for he speaks of his place in Caer Sidi. as he also does with even Irish mythology. the tale of the cauldron appears in the in history of the Gaelic counterpart of Taliesin closing scenes of Ossian s career. he was discovered. gillie ta hunt. Druidical doctrine of the transmigration in the poet s account of his wonderful such A specimen or two out of many may be quoted. Roman.
Neit. bidding his account to taste any of the food. when the door suddenly shut on his him and jammed ! his thumb. but no youth returned to him. originally composed in the ninth century. . There is. Olympus of the Gaels is not scanty as we have found it to be in the case of the Welsh. he possessed only when he future events. The earliest reference to any Irish gods occurs in one of the oldest monuments we possess of the Gaelic language a manuscript of the St Gall Monastery contains incantations to the powers Diancecht and Goibniu. though dis similar in details. . and Manans Keating quotes from the Book of Invasions a poem that makes the Dagda king of heaven. bruised his thumb in his mouth. With difficulty extricating thumb. gained his knowledge of futurity in a manner which. The licking out the third skewer. glossary. Ana. but references to particular deities are not uncommon. ron to . and Morrighan as the three goddesses of the Tuatha-de-Danann. THE GAELIC GODS Material for reconstructing the at all so IN HISTORY. where she Finn attempted to follow her entered by a concealed door. appear in this tale. Following a strange saw one day. lo he found himself possessed of the gift of seeing This gift. . Brigit. when. These lie took be cooked. therefore. no general description of the Irish Olympus. of course.". The Tuatha-de-Danann themselves appear ". Macha. and it is. of the little drop of broth had broken the spell. . Cormac nan. The super natural knowledge and power gained by Gwion Bach do not. and had his hand on the door-post. Buanann. while the third deer was simmering in the cauld ron a drop of the broth spurted out on the gillie s hand. and he further enumerates Badb. which he Ossian ate the third deer and let instantly put into his mouth. eleven hundred years old. mentions as deities Art. eighth century. This manuscript Zeuss sets down as of the . but it may be observed that Finn three remarkable deer. woman that he is yet the same in result.home and put in a cauld watch them. it is true. and on no gillie All went right for a time the Ossian ate the first and let out one skewer deer were cooked he ate a second and let out a second skewer but as misfortune would have it. he very naturally shoved the hurt member into his mouth. inside. however. he came to a hill side.
He then appears for the last time. yet. the middle of blank after the flood. Forty days before the flood the Lady Caesair. therefore. came to Ireland.". which continued for a year. we shall make the Irish myths and histories. all. . This is reckoned as the first invasion". plished this feat is unlike that of the ancestor of the Macleans. with eighteen companies of his descendants. Of course she and her company all perished when the flood came with one doubtful exception. since he was ". for story it too flagrantly contradicts the Scriptures. contain some historic truth. first briefly indicate the leading points of early Irish history. ". by adopting Welsh myths. the oldest is man in the world. This by the more pious of the historians.00 often in the tales as the fairy host. thus. when the flood began. the Side that dwell in the Land of Promise they interfere in the affairs of mortals long . but are so overloaded with the fictions of the imagination as to be nearly valueless. they are represented as having been expelled from Ireland. as nature was once supposed to have of a vacuum. in order to settle a boundary dispute. falls under O Curry s category of ". implicitly considered as such. who weathered Fionntan. with their imposing array of invasions and genealogies. despite the rampant Euhemerism of Irish tales and after histories. the husband of Caesair. if not actually mentioned as having been the pagan gods of the Gael. as set down in the sober pages of their own annalists.". ". represent Fionntan. For some legends. with fifty girls and three men. with more patriotism than piety. . The Irish historians have as much horror of a blank in their history. deliver up the deities they have con signed to the ranks of kings and heroes. must. in Kerry somewhere (for O Curry has not been able He lived here con exactly to localise this important event). as in the case of the And the same method again. and when he woke he found himself in his own house at the flood in an ark of his own. Dun-Tulcha. It. The Lady Caesair fills the blank before the flood Partholan and his colony fill the first He came from Migdonia. was cast into a deep sleep. with the various dynasties that ruled in Ireland temporaneously down to the time of Dermot in the sixth century of our era. or taking". grand We daughter of Noah. The way in which he accom as actually surviving the flood.wild stories these are stories which not believed . however. of Ireland. in and must know all the facts.
and after eleven . Beothach. with their each other in a fierce contest of spells as well as blows. the descendants of Starn. son of Starn Beothach. He had four sons Starn. went to Mona. where they made them selves perfect in the arts of Divination. Some three hundred years after their arrival. and began to harass the Nemedians. ". and only thirty escaped under the leadership of the three cousins. generations returned as the Firbolgs. with his family. flowery plains under blossom of them.". and was the ninth in descent from Noah. The Firbolgs held Ire land for thirty-six years. much as the Israelites were in Egypt. fill the gaps in the annals. being oppressed in Greece. These Fomorians were a constant source of trouble to all succeeding colonists. and then they were invaded by their 1 2th cousins. all the intermediate names ". Britan Mael. Jarbonnel. twenty-two years before the birth of Abraham. that they might make ". from Christ 2350. Simeon Breac.". Fomorians. son of Jarbonnel and Britan Mael. . after their leader. and eruptions of lakes and springs.". and Aininn. disturbed him.Cl Greece. son of Fergus. Fergus. Nemed was the I2th in descent from Noah. He was not in the island ten years when the being duly given. lan s colony. went to the northern parts of Europe. They were not long in the island when the Fomo rians again appeared. the colony of Partholan was cut Plagues. from the bags of leather they used to have in Greece for carrying soil to put on the bare rocks. Simeon Breac and his party went to Greece. we are told. Both were extremely skilled in Druidism. Druidism. They were called the Firbolgs. and took possession ol it. the Tuatha-de-Danann. off by a plague. The Fomorians were finally routed. called Britain. grandsons of Nemed. the descendants of Jarbon- . with his clan. and from there poured their descendants into the island. company. returned to Ireland. ". Ireland was waste. and returned eleven generations later as the Tuatha-deDanann. or sea-rovers. which is now The Firbolgs. the Nemedians were overthrown by the Fomorians and the plague together. Britan Mael. son of Nemed. when genealogies and battles are not up For thirty years after the destruction of Partho forthcoming.". and some times they actually became masters of the country. and they opposed parties sons. and Philo sophy. Some two hundred and sixteen years after coming to Ireland. Then came Nemed and his in the year before Scythia.
After a reign of forty years Luga died. but the Fomorians. He was slain by his grandson Luga of the Long Arms. now made a determined effort to conquer them. the physician. . the artificer. Badb. The Dagda was be observed that the twenty-fourth in descent from Nemid was the twelfth in descent. however. but Credne Cerd. who was practically leader of the Tuatha. lost slaughter. infused feeling and motion into every joint and For thirty years the Tuatha held undisputed posses sion of Erin. there a person of the race of Scots must reign the spear of the same the sword of Luga Lamfada and the ever it . Luchtine. leader of the Tuatha-De in the battle. They burned their ships as ". What the annalists tell of them is briefly this. the carpenter. which. and the great battle of MoyThe Firbolgs were routed with immense tura South was fought.". ". Among the leading twenty-fourth generation personages of the Tuatha were Manannan. a sign of no retreat. an inscrutable and misty personage. and so did Balor of the Evil Eye. fitted it on.". his hand in the fight. . ". the poetess . from which a company never went away The Tuatha landed in Ireland on the first of May. mother of their Goibniu. They then demanded the Firbolgs to yield. the Stone of Virtue or Fate. They came from . the son of Alloid or Lir Ogma. and gods Brigit. and brother of the Dagda. bringing with them four precious jewels the first was the Lia Fail.Next to the Milesian colony yet to come. . nel. while Miach. who were continually hovering about the coast.". the north of Europe. unsatisfied. Noah The . either differ 1900 or 1500 years before Christ.". the smith. they would not do. the Tuatha-de-Danann are the most important by far of the colonists. the central figure of the Tuatha-de-Danann. leader of the Fomorians. and in the pages of our Euhemerist annalists. vein of it. Firbolg chiefs also were from Noah. his son. and was succeeded by the Dagda Mor. son of Elathan. Macha. Danann. for where- was. In it Nuada of the Silver Hand fell. and for three days concealed themselves in a mist of sorcery. ". The battle of Moytura North was fought between them. cauldron of the Dagda. . Nuada. O Curry in the ventures even to call him a demigod. and who succeeded to the kingship on the death of Nuada. for the chronologies by only a few hundred years. son of Ncmicl. and Diancecht. let it Sunface . made a silver one for him. for in them we shall by-and-bye discover the Irish gods. surnamed .
and often afterwards appeared in Irish history and tales. The latter complained of being taken by surprise. Cecht.63 The Tuatha Morrigan. and the sun. the last colony of all appeared on the southern coast. Golam Miled. facing about again no Ireland was to be seen as small as a pig s and theMilesians could therefore not see it In addition to this back. They were in no related to the previous races. the seventh in descent from Noah. or . after whom they were called Milesians. except that they were equally respect hazel. being the twenty-fourth from Noah in direct descent They were also called Gaels or Gaidels from an ancestor Gadelus. ! on the On The Tuatha by their sorcery had made the island that could be felt Many Milesian ships were lost. Macbecause Coll. The Milesians. Under the leadership of Heber. the ship to them. settled in Spain. but Golam Miled. who were so called ". ". indeed. their three goddesses. with them descended from Noah. but when MacCuill. and MacGreine. These were the Milesians or Gaels from Spain and the East. daughter of Pharaoh. It probably at first was intended to be shown that the Tuatha allowed them to land. were gods of wor were ruling over Ireland with their respective queens Banba. No resistance was offered at first The Milesians arrived at Tara. and accom panied by Scota.". and Amergin. but they did not get the island without a few battles of a very hazy sort. and themselves retired to the Land of Promise the country of the Side where they still took an interest in mortal affairs. and the danger was brought to an end only when Amergin. in Egypt. a vast army in many ships invaded Ireland. Fodla. ". daughter of Pharaoh. resolved to invade Erin. and retired for nine waves ". they raised a violent storm on the sea. the plough. and son of The family lived for the most part Scota. who was also married to a second The sons of Miled. and Grian. and there met the three kings and queens of the Tuatha-cle- Danann. The Mile sians assented. and Eire (three names of Ireland). Cecht. with clouds and darkness sea. pronounced a Druidic prayer. and the storm ceased. and asked the Milesians to embark again on board their ships and allow them have a chance of opposing their landing. says Keating. evidently addressed to the Tuatha De. held Erin for nigh two hundred years. Heremon. Scota. or oration.". entered their ships. who was also a Druid. to avenge a relative s murder. They then landed peaceably.
is of the Clanna-Miled one who is fair-haired. these are of the Feru-bolg and . the demigods across the page Mythic persons constantly become mere mortal chiefs. in fact. of a less represented in Ireland by the Milesians. are made use of to refute or support some favourite theory about the various races that go to compose the Irish nation. in modern times. ". is again subdivided into ( i) a fair-skinned. vindictive.Celtic tribes the Celts themselves are divided into Gaels and Britons the Gaelic branch .64 Gadelians or Gaels. ". and in the chase. dark. bountiful in the bestowal on the bards of jewels. A primitive. a fair-skinned. cattle. wealth. Skene. gives this theory of MacFirbisigh in our modern terms the Firbolgs be : long to the Iberian or Neolithic and pre. Fomorians. advanced the theory. every (the Milesians) skilled in music. in society. and the last reflections of the sun-god appear in the features of Cuchulainn and Finn. There are many interpretations put upon the history that we have just summarily given. the disturbers of assemblies. . .". Scotland by the band of invading Scots. Naturally enough. not afraid of battle or . and in the care and seizure of land and of flit . inhospitable churls. ethnological The leading theories form the greater part of such explanations. that every one who is white-skinned. loud-tongued. combat. in law. Tuatha-de-Danann and Milesians. brown-haired race. Two hundred years ago an Irish genealogist. mischievous. of the name of Dubaltach MacFirbisigh. de-Danann the other conquered peoples. who love not music and entertainment. druidry. they were. invasions of the Firbolgs.". and Germanic type. and many are the details that are recorded of their doings in war and in peace. tale-bearing. (2). are gravely told in the . all these are of the Tuatharings. Their history and genealogies from some thirteen hundred years before Christ the introduction of Christianity. full till . of the Basque type in . and in ". are a purely mortal race the dominant race of Ireland in historic times. brownhaired. ". Annals of the Four Masters and Keating s Ireland every king has his pedigree given. long-headed race. doubtless sup ported by tradition. big. large-limbed. and while the black-haired. and magic. and redhaired race the Picts of Caledonia and the Tuatha-de-Danann of Ireland . small. We have already pre sented the best modern scientific views on the ethnology of these islands there would appear to have been three races (i).
brown-haired . therefore. sea. be looked on as either the homely gods of pre ceding tribes of the non-Aryan races. Behind these last there often stand deities of older birth. and belonging to the Aryan family. where the contrast is even stronger.65 language and Iberian in physique. and Demeter and Dione. the Milesians were really fair-haired and not long-headed and tall. De-Dananns. The Firbolgs may be. easily after all.Aryan people. and Fomorians appears to be a Gaelic counterpart of what we see in Greek mythology. of the giants and Titans against Zeus and his brothers. bags to make flowery plains of bare rocks but it should be noticed that they always meet the Tuatha-de-Danann as natives of the soil repelling invaders. or as answering to the I . We may grant that the strong contrast between a small dark race and a tall fair race might give rise to a myth like that of the Firbolgs and Tuatha-de-Dananns. may. also pre-Celtic. called the Finnish . . and fire. straight-featured. the patrons of warriors and sea-faring men. the FirDomnans. to a pre. therefore. looked upon as the earth-powers too much stress need not be laid on the fact that they and their brethren. the whole history of the invasions of the best. Such were Pan or Hermes of Arcadia. were wont to dig the soil. tall. therefore. are intrusive. the heroes of Ulster are It is all fair or yellow-haired. Again. mythological explanation Despite its pseudohistorical character. be fitted into the present scientific view of the subject But. . . The gods of the soil often belong in . make pits. while the greater gods. in short. (2). no such myth exists. the divinities of the new-comers into the land. The Firbolgs Dionysus of Thrace. . adopt a purely of the matter. those who had been worshipped in ancient days by the simple and settled folk of the land. fair. to and so are the Feni. against the orderly cosmos of the Olympians the war. and carry earth Firbolg. . the Celts. We might equate the Firbolgs with the dark Iberian race the Tuatha-de-Danann with the Finnish race and the Milesians The legendary and traditional account can with the Celts. But in Wales. the Olympians and the Tuatha-de-Danann. the war of the rough and untamed powers of earth. round-headed. and rough-limbed race. the truth of such a theory must be gravely doubted even its agreement with proper scientific methods sin such case must be questioned. which we and (3). rough-featured. a fair.
and Titans of kindred Aryan
Fitzgerald, Feru-Bolg," says reason to suspect to be a fire-giant fled from the field when the day was lost, in search of water to allay his burning thirst, and
by the water of the sea he
Strand, in Sligo.
on Traigh-Eothaile, Eothaile
His great cairn, still standing, on this strand was one of the wonders of Ireland, and though not ap If we turn parently elevated, the water could never cover to the Fomorians, we shall find quite as easy an explanation. The meaning of the word is Sea-rover it has always been derived from the words under, and muir," sea, and the attached to the combination has been those meaning usually The Fomorians are, therefore, sea-powers that rove on the the rough, chaotic power of the Atlantic Ocean. They meet the Tuatha-de-Dannan in the extreme West of Ireland, on the last day of summer, that is, November eve the fierce ocean powers meet the orderly heaven and air gods on the Atlantic borders when winter is coming on, and the latter do not allow the former Balor of the Evil Eye, whose glance to overwhelm the country. can turn his opponents into stone, and who, in some forms of the legend, is represented as having only one eye, is very suggestive of Polyphemus, the giant son of the Grecian ocean god. To this we may compare the Gaelic tale of the Muireartach, where
Sea is represented as a "toothy carlin," with an eye in the middle of her forehead. The Tuatha-de-Dananns will, therefore, be simply the gods that beneficially
powers of sky,
and earth they will cor respond exactly to Zeus, Poseidon, Pluto, and the rest of the
rule over the heavens, the sea,
The Milesians will accordingly be merely the and the shades. main body of the Gaelic people, whose gods the Tuatha-deDanann are. Why there is no more open acknowledgment of the Tuatha-de-Danann as the pagan gods of the Gael may easily be accounted for. The accounts we have are long posterior to the introduction of Christianity and it was a principle of the early Christian Church to assimilate to itself, following the true Roman fashion, all native religions. The native gods were made
saints (especially the female divinities, such as
demons, and kings.
we have any native record of events the we go the nearer do the Tuatha-De come to be
8th century an Irish monk could still invoke Goibniu and Diancecht, the Tuatha gods answering to Vulcan
for relief from,
GODS OF THE GAELS.
interpretation we give to the Feru-bolg and the there can be little question as to the fact that the Fomorians, Tuatha-De-Danann are the Gaelic gods. The Irish historians,
saw, represent them as kings with subjects, but even they difficult to hide the fact that some of these kings and queens afterwards appear on the scene of history in a super
to tell us that the
The myths and
Fairyland, and In a very ancient tract which often take part in human affairs. records a dialogue between St Patrick and Caoilte Mac Ronain,
they are spoken of as sprites or fairies, with corporeal and material forms, but indued with immortality." Their skill in
magic, shown in their manipulation of storms, clouds, and dark ness, is insisted on in all the myths, and is a source of trouble to
the historians and annalists,
regard them as mere mortals. They were called gods," says Keating, from the wonderfulness of their deeds of sorcery." To them is first applied the term
modern Gaelic means but which in the case of the Tuatha-De-Danann has a much wider signification, for it implies a sort of god-like existence in the Land of Promise." The Book of Armagh calls the Side deos terrenos," earthly gods, whom, we are told in Fiacc s hymn, when Patrick tuatha adortais Side Sid was a came, the peoples adored term applied to the green knolls where some of these deified mortals were supposed to dwell the word appears in the modern The Gaelic sith and sitJiean, a mound or rather a fairy mound. Tuatha-De-Danann were also called Aes Side," aes being here used in the sense of We may remark and not of that the Norse gods were also known as the Aes or Aesir, one of the many remarkable coincidences in words and in actions between the Irish gods and the deities of Asgard.
In attempting to reconstruct the Gaelic god-world from the al-
most hopeless ruins in which piety and time have laid it, we must not merely remember the Aryan character of it, but also Caesar s brief account of the Gaulish Olympus. There can be little doubt
but that the Gaelic and Gaulish Olympi were similar in outline, and probably also in details. We shall, therefore, expect Mercury to be the most important of the Gaelic deities, while Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva take rank after him. These deities and others, as was pointed out, represent the personified powers of nature the wind, the sun, the storm, the sky, and the moon. Not only are these elements personified as deities and so worshipped, but
also find the elements in their impersonified state, as it were, in for aid and for good faith. The classical examples of this
are extremely numerous. One instance will suffice In Virgil, ALneas and Latinus are represented as swearing by the sun, the
by the Almighty Father and his Spouse, by Mars and Janus, by the spring and rivers, the ether and the
earth, the sea, the stars,
deities of the sea.
instance of such an oath in Irish
the sun and the Breas, the Fomorian, swore by history the sea and the land, and by all the elements, to fulfil moon, by the engagement" which Luga imposed on him. Vows to the
heavens and the earth, to day and night, to the
the wind, are exceedingly common, appearing even in historic times both in Ireland and Scotland among the Picts and Scots
Ireland in the 5th, as when Loegaire was 4th to swear by the elements that he would never again de the cow-tribute, and with Conglinne in the 8th century.
It is said that
evil end, for
Loegaire forgot his oath, and thus met with an was the sun and the wind that wrought his death,
because he had violated their sanctity
so say the Four
The divine elements ters, good Christians though they were are known in Gaelic as duli, and one of the oldest and most
favourite epithets of the Deity is rig na Elements, to which may be compared
Dia nan dul
the word for Creator in old Gaelic
genitive of which
description of the Gaelic gods will naturally begin with This honour belongs most probably to the Jupiter of the Gaels.
gerald explains his name.
Ollathair. ". is ". how ever. With Luga he makes and out all the arrangements of the second battle of Moytura. as in the case of Odin they do so apply. Zeus. The Dagda He is represents rather the sky-god. we know. yet little information He was one of the leaders of the Tuathaabout him. a wind-god more than a : sky-god. in which. is is said to be ". further.". he was wounded with a poisoned weapon by the amazon queen Cethlenn. and he brought with him from Murias a magical cauldron capable of satisfying the hunger of Though the ". and Odin he is the father of gods and men. the beneficent power of light and life. with Jupiter. for he interprets the name after O Donovan as signifying ".All.". and appeals to the epithet horseman. Mr Elton makes the Dagda a spirit of heat who ruled all fires in earth and heaven. epithet Ollathair ". the thunder for the good of men Odin is. Roman Mercury and Is the the Greek Dagda a wind. Chevalier All-father. He is called Eochaidh that is. Zeus. just as at other times he the grey mist". however. king of heaven and earth. The venom of that wound caused his death 1 20 For eighty years previous to his death. exactly the Roman Jove.". fire. is the sky-god. and the incidental references to him. that we can hope to under stand his position among the gods. The ". dag signifies good. given De-Danann from Scythia to Ireland.and wind-god. the epithets attached to his name. Ruadrofhessa. answering rather to the Hermes than to Jove and Zeus. ".greyer than the Dag-da. the good- . but what da means is yet undecided. appearing good modern Gaelic as deagh. being so. and seem rather to belong to the wind deity.". ". everyone. who is all-wise he . he ruled years later. who re father level puts him on a gulates the atmosphere and its phenomena notably. in He is the most renewed of all the Tuatha for his carries skill Druidism.god or a Mr Fitzgerald classes him with light-god or a fire-god? Odin as a sky. . the All-father he is the Red-one the sky in certain states . It is in help us to a true notion of the character of the Dagda. the red one of all knowledge. Dagda is very often mentioned. There is little in these meagre details to the Tuatha as king. and. adopt on the matter differs from both the foregoing.69 in In any case. Eochaid ". fire. scattered through many tales.the great good The view which we will ".-as confirmation for horseman and huntsman are nearly allied.
: hammer the thunder-bolt did. which could hold any number of people. however. Thor. decay. god of merchandise and also god of arts for . . The three and characteristic possessions of Odin are is his mantle. He is the owner of prominent requisites wonderful steed. hero like the others. father or good-one. the benign provi and superintends everything. as already the rushing grey cloud driven by the wind. Whoever was was of Promise present at free ever after food and drink. and swept over the ocean as fast as the March wind. He. too. the lightning. as we saw. a sun-god. He was. who made him : god of sea and wind.". too. or Isle of Man. The Land is often identified with Inis-Mkanann. Both deities. from whose wound there was no recovery the curious mantle that will cause people never to meet possessed his sword. His cauldron is interpreted by some as the canopy of heaven like the thunder-god. . is Manannan. in proportion as they took the first place in the worship said. just as Thor s dence. the son of Lir. the mantle is the air and clouds. his horse Sleipnir. instituted Feast of Age. There the the the is a wind-god he possesses all of such a deity. which was ruled over by Manannan. but his connection with the land of promise is rather more like that of Mercury with the land of shades he would appear to have been the psychopomp the . provides. and which obeyed the will of those it bore. of the flowing mane.70 maximus. and old age. as opposed to is little We represented s him as Mr Elton view. usurped features belonging to more departmental gods. Enbarr. who is swift as cold clear wind of spring his also is the sword. whose attributes we have already Manannan is always a deity he is never a mortal discussed. . Manannan also possessed the wonderful canoe of the people. known as the feast of Gobnenn the smith. suiting its size to them. and the grey horse Sleipnir is Odin is. and partook of the from sickness. Frecart. the Gaelic pantheon must have been Mercury which of the Tuatha-De-Danann was he ? The honour of being the god most worshipped by the Gael must fall to Manannan. The sword mostly a wind-god so. the ". The most important deity in . conductor of the shades of men to the happy Isles of the West. doubt but Manannan the and he answerer. . it. he possessed a hand-stone which returned of itself to the place from which it was thrown. again. the deus optimus who arranges.
temporary We . ". ness. Breas. another place the Fomorian champion. But more . the driving wind his coat of mail the clouds and he is further ". with a countenance as bright and glorious as the setting sun. Cannbarr. the Long Arms. for sure enough where else does the wind ". definite still is the reference to his sunlike coun tenance ". He first frees the Tuatha them after a His deeds are from are told that he put a Druidical spell on the plundered cattle. in their character. and comely. band of warriors on white steeds. ".". Manannan s spear adders.". for two of the precious jewels that the Tuatha-De-Danann took from the east are Luga s sword and his ". . the many-arted one.71 represented as teaching Diarmat in all the arts when he was with him in Fairyland. Buaifneach. leaving the dry cows to cumber his the hated tribute which was imposed on success on the part of the Fomorians. and sent all the milch cows home to their owners. seems to me. Whenever he took off the helmet. for we are told that he rode Manannan s mare Enbarr of the flowing mane. it in : A . He appears with a stately tall young champion. Why the Celts and Teutons made he is the wind deity their chief god is fairly clear. just as Gae tempered in the poisoned blood of These weapons are merely the flashing rays of the sun.".". a ". has risen in the west. glittered with dazzling bright set in it. Manannan is further very properly denominated the son of Lir. come from is in these islands of ours but from the sea ? There little This is Apollo. our deadly enemy. trouble in settling the identity of the Gaelic Luga Lamfada. where the gods of light on the other hand are supreme.". we are told that his also face shone like the sun on a dry sunlike". The light you see is the brightness of the face and the flashing of the weapons of Luga of the Long Arms. that is. ". the lightning flash. It would be better that it were said the Druids. summer day. He also possessed the swiftness and keenness of the ocean -wind -god Manannan.". surnamed the Ildana Luga of . Luga s helmet. the son of the sea. so. is made to say in reference to the approach of Luga from the west wonderful thing has come to pass to-day for the sun.". represented as having sword. conditions of Western and Northern Europe in The atmospheric make the wind and storm powers of comparatively more importance than they are sunnier lands. with two precious stones one in front and one behind. . But this last is doubtful.
is called Loki. . and many more De-Danann. That worthy had already turned Nuada of the Silver Eye. The epithet Lamfada^ . ". also master of though evil arts. he made them procure for him as eric". cup-bearer. a daughter. the pigs of Asal whosoever eats a part of them shall not suffer from ill health". and is interesting to many arts. and it had been foretold that he should be slain by his In view of this he kept his only child. and just as he was opening it on Luga. He summoned arms for For years he had been preparing for this great fight. which passed through it and Balor s brain. luc. the sons of Turenn slew his father. ". The cows are logies they moisture to men. that god is his grandfather. the latter flung a sling stone". is sug it shine. ". is it is The the son of Apollo. . the wife of Cian. the pig s skin whose whose fiery the slaughterer". He himself lent his help to each tradesman. all the artists and artificers of renown and got in readiness. were to be strictly excluded. that shines like the sun on summer day before him every wild beast falls to earth In the battle of Moytura. healing . or fine. secluded in a tower. Aesculapius gestive . the son of Diancecht. . which could cure any sickness and would return to the owner even when thrown away. he was a skilled carpenter. the physician. doubtless from the root name Luga. smith. When apples of Hisberna. several weapons of importance and several salves. he killed Balor of the Evil powerless. Hand into stone. when shone upon by the rays of the sun. with a view to using them in the Such were the great struggle against the stormy ocean powers. as he described himself on one occasion. observe that the Norse fire-god. touch made whole the spear ".". and Luga was the offspring. harper. head was always kept in water the steeds and chariot of blazing Dobar the steeds which travel with equal ease on land and sea. druid. ". Aethlenn. Now Balor was his grand father.72 enemies. himself all these arts and professions. We must note his connection with the god of In Greek mythology. grandson. one who embodied in physician. where man and the idea of But in vain. Luga s greatest feat is the overthrow of the Fomorians at the clouds of heaven of the sun-god are famous in all mytho that bring rain and Moytura. to too. mason. She became man". ". . and goldsmith. at it. even when killed to-day they are alive to morrow and the hound-whelp Failinis.
It was a lucky sign if a raven followed a warrior. in is repeated in other and later manuscripts with some in variations and additions.". constantly recur as those Badb signifies a scald-crow. You were afar. Nemain. and his two wives. Badb and Nemain. The goddess Ana or Aine (gen. and may be.". under the title of Macha Mongruad. are clearly war deities. O Curry makes her the wife of the Dagda. We are vouchsafed no further . Raven-Song. like Badb. be the generic name of the war goddess rather than a proper name.of heaven. whose name appears There on an inscription along with that of Mars Lucetius. Of Macha. who and his son Owen. It may be remarked that Morgan le Fay is also wife of Urian Rheged. and we are told that Neit.appearing to him in various forms. Badb. or Macha Red-Mane. Anann) has been called the queen . says the Norse ". and refers to the long-shooting rays of the sun a most appropriate epithet. and connected with the worship of the moon. both in Irish and Norse myth. the fairy queen and Arthur s sister. and Morrigan. were slain at Ailech by Neptur (!) of the Fomorians. inevitable pedigrees. The name signifies great queen. lodged lying. the third goddess mentioned. information as to Neith s character or actions only he appears some of the ". The name is doubtless the same as that of Morgan le Fay. The crow and the raven are constantly connected in the How is it with you. Ravens?". would appear to have been more than one war goddess the names compared the . ".". ". may ". and of war deities and demons. son of Indu. and that Nemon was his wife.is first resisting and afterwards assisting the hero Cuchulainn.73 long arms. Northern Mythologies with battle-deities. she appears afterwards as a queen of Ireland. There is flesh cleav ing to your talons. The goddess Morrigan was also a war deity to all appearance. Cormac informs us in his Glossary that Neith was the god of battle among formation which the pagan Gael. and a scent of carrion comes from your mouth. with the army of ravens. little need be said. She is represented.whence are you come with gory beak at the dawning of the day. With Nemain may be British war goddess Nemetona.". a generic name. Macha. ". * K . reminds us of the far-darter Apollo. and she is often equated with the goddess Ana. last night I The greedy hawks ween near where ye knew the corses of Odin scent the slain from The ravens also protect and assist heroes.
so Buanann was mother of the Fiann (heroes). in by Luga Lamfada. springs. . of the Irish gods. in other myths as the ". mother he adds. the last nun. sacred fire was kept burning continually for centuries. of her nineteen nuns has the care of the turn. after the change. the fire. Brigit.D. appears in the story connection with Ana or great Druid Mogh Ruith as his patron. mentioned Anann.children of Turenn.) says that in Britain. Keating gives the name of this goddess as Danann. Solinus (first century A.". Camden found in When they see the moon his time survival of moon-worship. ". with a loud voice. but hardened into a strong which Giraldus (i2th century A. slain. enable us to decide. and though such heaps of wood have been consumed since the time of Each the Virgin. according to These three gods are known him. they Leave us whole and sound as thou speak to the moon. with absolute certainty.". ". and explains the Tuatha-De-Danann as the worshippers first ". in A passage in Solinus. thus hast found us. and another Giraldus Cambrensis. Brigit. as Keating him of the self says.D. gods. having heaped wood upon the fire. and was only with the extinction of the monasteries VIII. of St Brigit at Kildare. fire for a single night in and on the evening before the twentieth night.mater deorum Hibernensium".As Ana was mother of the gods. says. and in the morning it is found that the fire has not gone This out.commonly they bow the knee and say the Lord s Prayer. Brian. is the Gaelic Minerva.74 Cormac and in describes her as ".) informs us that at the shrine mass. Minerva presides over the hot and that in her temple there flamed a perpetual fire.". another place he says. for this night belongs to you. and that the usual quantity of fuel has been used. what goddess answered among the Gaels to the position of Minerva. he says. take charge of She then leaves your own fire.Well she used to nourish the ". and then. therefore. yet there has been no accumulation of ashes. to whose consult her in his difficulties. never whitened into ashes.". the fire is allowed never to go out. ". lucharba. The goddess Buanann. She is by Henry goddess of the household fire her position is that of the hearth finally extinguished. Sid he fares to Minerva is the fifth and last deity worshipped by the Gauls their mentioned by Caesar as goddess of arts and industry. and luchar. ". the gods of Danann being. .". of the gods of Danann.
". : tions of the 8th century.75 goddess Vesta. the goldsmith. The British goddess. the smith.. and she remains a virgin like the Roman goddess. he threw it from his tongs to wards the door-post. brother of the Dagda. Brigit. . as much as that of Minerva. his was represented with a harp. calls her the daughter of the Dagda. Gaelic breo. in which it stuck by the point. the carpenter. woman of smith work. for evidently she is Her name is probably from the same primarily a fire-goddess. he is mentioned by Lucian as the Gaulish god of eloquence. Vesta. and he lives at the Brugh of the Boyne in one weird tale he is Gael. He is the patron god of Diarmat. Angus Mac-ind-oc. Brigantia. when the smith finished a spear-head. Mr Whitley is doubtless the same as the Irish Brigit. Her sisters a poetess. . . a fiery pillar rises from her head. own transformed . Luch. a goddess whom poets worshipped.". whom were is. and her virgins else Vesta. the hearth and the home. and threw it accurately into the socket . mac ". escaping from the wrath of Finn. Stokes picks out the following instances in proof of her character as a fire-goddess she was born at sunrise her breath revives the dead a house in which she stays flames up to heaven she is fed . Brigit. root as the English bright. sur- named he invented the alphabet known as the Ogam alphabet. invoked in the St Gall Incanta ". and. .This he says. represented as the son of the Boyne. The literary deity was Ogma. with the milk of a white red-eared cow. whom he helps in wife. thus distinguished by Cormac. and attended by bright kisses. son of Youth has been well called the Eros the Cupid of the birds. Brigit. Three artisan gods are mentioned Goibniu. Doubt less these three daughters. are one and the same person.". . The River Boyne is also connected with the ocean-god Nuada it was called the wrist of Nuada s . at whose singing love arose in the hearts of youths and maidens. The or rest of the Gaelic pantheon ".". was goddess of fire. is than the living ". that goddesses these are the three daughters of the Dagda. when Diarmat eloped with Grainne. which can produce no bodies. the carpenter had the handle ready. Brigit.He the only choice one. as was pointed out already. may be dismissed in a few sentences. and These three made the Tuatha arms tine. ".". Creidne Cerd. Perfection.". Ovid tells us to consider nothing Corflame. He is the son of the Dagda. therefore. woman of healing.Sun-face".
and their belief in their continued exist ence in another sphere of nature. of shades. dolmens. his strong Their barrows. from his tongs into the holes Thus was the spear finished in less time than we can describe the process.76 and Creidne Cerd pitched the in the socket of the spear. gave their names to It Ireland. from which they visited. in Greece and Rome. In the latter country we meet with Eire. of a Evidently. Eire. of the ". and held the remnants of ancestral worship we meet with in and Greece. after death. animism its place in Rome more barbaric period of their existence. arise from their mingling with a people who was in that stage of belief whereas. the whole doctrine of a future state belonged to the region of languid half-belief. . and still as the old name of the dis the mouth of the Forth. too. in his place in the senate. their reverence for the dead. declared. at the dawn of our era. and its genitive Erenn in river and district names Fodla forms part of Athole. perhaps. Ancestor worship Hence the vividness of the belief clearly was their main creed. and returned to the fight. THE CELTIC ELYSIUM. into which he plunged the wounded. and Banbha. All the Aryan nations originally believed in the existence. in future of the early Northern Aryans Celts and Teutons and their clinging to ancestor worship so long. and in the many myths bearing on the land ". probably. as believed it. name appears trict at in the Isle of Man. Danann queens. but the first is the one which is usually recognised.Aryan tribes of Europe were believers in the future existence of man s second self. and the stern Cato but mildly replied that their ancestors. Fodhla. Angus the Beautiful gave his name to Angus Manannan s . The aristocracy and the philosophers entirely dis . Ath-Fodhla. and those of some others of the gods are scattered widely over the topography both of Ire land and Scotland. may be observed that these names. men. as . seen in Clack-Mannan. helped and admonished their living representatives. Caesar. This belief had its root in the human soul. his utter disbelief in another life. Diancecht was the at Moytura battle he prepared a medical physician of the gods bath. the pre. Banba appears in Banff. may existence. and they instantly came out whole again. and stone-circles point distinctly to soul. The three Denails . supreme pontiff of Rome.
deification of the Emperors was merely a further development The remembrance of the festival of of this ancestor worship. But the classical in the poems of Homer its best gives but a poor. heights of Olympus.lending Gauls Valerius Maximus laughs at the money which should be paid the creditor in ! the other world. a country which comprised various districts of belief. for they believed that the soul was immortal. namely. comfortless existence to the spirits of the dead. salt. . repaid beyond the grave for ". corn soaked in wine. and The violets. . and at night make up the fire and leave the fragments of the supper on the table. They shadowy. believed that the guilty. bliss such as it was.". aloft in heaven. ".77 wise as Csesar. We may pass over the Druidic doctrine of transmigration it was doubtless not the popular view of future life.they burn and bury along with the dead . full of all horrors and terrors. though Among the Romans.Accordingly.". that the soul was eternal and that there was another life in the land of shades. Rather would I Ulysses The gods lived on the than reign among all the dead. The Celts would appear to have had a much more vivid belief in future existence than either the Greeks or the Romans. even the demi had his ghostly mortal Olympus. after death. which lay under the earth and ocean. and far apart from the hated abode of the dead. even at woe. were sent to noisome abodes.". lived in Hades. We know as much from some side references in one or two classical writers. he adds. . god Hercules. the dead is still kept up in the Roman calendar as the feast of All Souls. and of ". Mela tells us one of the Druidic doctrines that was publicly preached and nationally believed in. were the least costly offerings presented to them. The Celts of Brittany preserve still the remembrance of the ancestor worship on this day they put cakes and sweet meats on the graves. ancestor worship counterpart in Hades. had a stronger force than in Greece their feast of the dead was duly celebrated in the latter half of February. ". and fruit. when chaplets were laid on their tombs. Mortals : of Achilles says to live on earth as a poor man s hire The ghost ling. So realistic was the Celtic belief in existence after death that money loans were granted on the understanding that they were to be were all consigned to the grisly realm of Pluto living in . for the souls of the dead of the family who will come to visit their home.
Wales. some of which have the names of being the islands of genii and heroes. lies the Bay of . The poet Claudian genii as his companions. Felebilis auditur questus. umbrarum tenui stridore volantum Simulacra coloni figures. marian Demetrius as returned from ". whose And there was one extinction excited the winds and storms. still bear traces of this belief at the furthest extremity of that dis . The islanders said when these ceased that some one of the superior genii had departed. with true Celtic tenacity. this the it later legends in France. Pallida defunctasque vident migrare Beyond the westernmost point of the Gallic shore. island where Saturn was kept by Briareus in a deep sleep. Business accounts and debt claims used to be transferred to the next world. he says. under the belief that the dead would read them. This intense belief in the reality of future existence must have removed the Celtic other-world from the unreal and shadowy hereafter. trict. The island which lay nearest the desert isles had but few inhabi tants. Britain. where Cape Raz juts into the Western Sea. ubi fertur Ulixes Illic Sanguine libato populum movisse silentem. Very soon after his arrival there was great turbulence in the air and portentous storms. Oceani praetentus aquis.78 whatever was once useful to them when alive. is the place where Ulysses summoned the shades (as Homer has it. The pseudo-Plutarch introduces a gram and saying that there are many desert islands scattered round Britain. and Ireland go to prove that partook of the nature of an Earthly Paradise. evidently records a Gaulish belief in the Island of Souls in the attended by lines many : ". Hades of Greece and Rome. The traditions of Brittany. Est locus extremum pandit qu& Gallia litus. What the exact character of other world was among the Gauls we cannot well say but .". situated in some happy isle of the West.".". the natives see their pallid forms and ghostly figures moving on to their last abode. and some even willingly cast themselves on the funeral piles of their relatives under the impression that they would live with them Diodorus Siculus informs us that at the funeral of their dead some threw letters addressed to their defunct relatives on the funeral pyre. and these were esteemed by the Britons sacred and inviolable.) There are heard the tearful cries of fleeting ghosts .
WELSH AND GAELIC ELYSIUM. Ireland. without passengers. in the 6th century. in We in matter. and they hear a certain indistinct voice summoning them to their work. they take the oars. and into which business trans ". divided off by a wall. Wales. to Brittia performed the functions of ferrymen for the dead. but the other half. the west Its locality was to actions of this world might be transferred. It possessed kings. opposite ". The Welsh Hades was known as Annwn. or possibly a country under the western waves. They At proceed to the shore under compulsion of a necessity they cannot Here they perceive vessels not their own appar understand. one half of which is habitable. Arrived at Brittia. where they married and gave in marriage. They see no one. where departed spirits sail off across the sea in ghostly Procopius. an island in the land of the setting sun. s efforts. they hear the names of their passengers and and on the ghosts all their dignities called over and answered . us to understand what the peasants of Northern Gaul believed He in regard to the Happy Isles. and Scotland continually insist on the Buried cities are recorded as existing existence of such a land. Embarking. to the district of westward of every prominent Celtic cape that sunken Lyonesse which appears in all Brythonic traditions. After rowing for an hour. Cornwall. enables ships to the happy isles. and ently they had a burden on board in the shape of unseen pas which sometimes sinks the boat to within a finger-breadth sengers. and to Britain in particular.".79 Souls. So far we have discovered among the early Celts an intense conviction in a personal existence in another world. they are wafted back to the habitable world. confuses Britain with a fabulous island called Brittia.". judging of the character of the Celtic Elysium. of the water. . despite all the Church truly was. they feel as if reach Brittia. for it is the mythic tales an Earthly Paradise it do not find much in Welsh myth bearing on the Irish and Gaelic tales that we have the material . night they perceive the door to be shaken. is set The fishermen on the continent apart to be the home of ghosts. . for the traditions of Brittany. landing. really a mortal journey of over twenty-four hours. The very earthly character of the Celtic world of the departed is seen in the surviving remembrances of it still existent.
and jewels. he approached. . and came to Annwn. meanwhile. at the end of it slew Havgan. and Pywll was called The dogs of Annwn. and vessels of gold and royal Suffice it to say that he ruled well during the year.". so did the redness of their ears glisten. and of all the hounds that he had seen in the world.". King offer was accepted. Pwyll. only the comeliest and best equipped people ever vastly superior seen.80 like those of this world. Pywll took the form of Arawn. For their hair was of a brilliant and as the whiteness of shining white. somewhat day out hunting. and he was at war with Havgan. . . if he liked. and saw the stag brought down by other dogs than his own. ". ". the other King. of one-half of Annwn. could overthrow Havgan.". Then he looked at the colour of the dogs. and they could govern each other s kingdoms for a year. and thus made Arawn undisputed master of Hades. Hearing a cry of hounds near him. Pwyll offered to make reparation. Arawn had. and commons. and set on it his own dogs. while one chiefs. and he reviled Pwyll for his discourtesy in turn ing off his hounds. staying not to look at the stag. Prince of Dyved (South-west Wales). Would Pwyll change places with him and meet Havgan? He would give him his own personal appearance. saw a hornless fawn bounding nimbly along the wave-crests pursued by a white hound with red ears. He never saw anything like the beauty of Arawn s city and the appoint ments of his court. and their ears were red ". in single combat. at the ford. ". which of all the courts oa earth was the best supplied with food and drink. lost his* companions in his eager pursuit of a stag.". . are a com mon feature in mythology. mentioned in the above tale. and assume Pwyll s. he had never seen any that were like unto these. This was agreed on. ". conducted the kingdom of Dyved as it never had been before his wisdom and justice were unsurpassable. and his The stranger said that he was Arawn. other. The Wild Huntsman and his dogs of Teutonic myth belong to the same category and these dogs of Annwn were similarly said to rush through the air. their bodies shone. Ossian. He drove them from the stag. on his way to Tir-nan-og. ". And these two kings made an eternal bond of friendship with each Chief of Annwn henceforward. Pwyll. who was to come exactly a year thereafter against Arawn. Immedi ately there came upon him a man dressed all in grey and mounted on a grey horse.
speaks to Bedivere I am going a long way . The myths in Ireland bearing on the existence of a happy western land are very numerous and important. the latter may have rather been the abode of the gods. : Arthur. the abode of the dead. which Tennyson. in the myth.". or the Lower Regions. battle-field of ". Dying on the .81 and evil was the omen. The is Earthly Other-world only things are on a grander scale other reference of importance to this in the story of Arthur. Mag Mell. These are. in an enchanting L .Plains of Happiness". ". or rain. happy. Gaelic Hades. of the is and O Breasail. the myths where a mortal is summoned. dying. ". paradise. as the myths have it. the same characteristics as this world there altogether. fair with orchard lawns hollows crowned with summer sea.. sweeping up the souls of the dead in his path.. but it lies d.. the wind-dogs the Wild Huntsman is none of Hermes. Deep-meadow And bowery still lives on.. Promise". undoubtedly. destined one day to appear and Cambrians from the hateful yoke-of the Saxon. The myths may be grouped in three divisions.". Isle.". . Young". Breasal s Whether there any distinction There would seem implied in these names cannot well be said. but they have a general reference to Under-wave happiness. where Manannan lived with Fann his Tir-fa-tonn looks rather like the wife. To the Where Nor island-valley of Avilion falls not hail.Land Tir-nam-beo. Land of the ". There are. catching the true idea of the Welsh mythic . the Land. Camlan. Living". possess. or any snow. all save the name Tir-fa-tonn. to be something of a difference between the Under-wave Land and the Plains of Happiness. describes thus ".".Land And here Arthur set free his * of ". he is carried away to heal of his wounds to the vale of Avilion. ". The Gaelic version of Diarmat s sojourn there gives strong colour to such a supposition. Tir-nan-og. first. The names generally met with are Tir Tairngire. ever wind blows loudly . Annwn. The names given to this land vary. the conductor of souls other than Odin. and the early Middle Age legends in regard to St Patrick s Purgatory below Lough Dearg the precursors of Dante and Milton s descriptions lend great countenance to such a distinc tion between Tir-fa-tonn and Mag Mell.
and go to the wonderful In Ossian s case alone have we got an account of the career of the enchanted one in Tir-nanNiam of the Golden Hair suddenly presents herself before og. and sheep with fleeces of gold. from whose back he was forbidden to dismount how he fell from the steed when helping the poor weakly mortals that he found then on earth to raise a huge stone and how the steed rushed off and left him. the accounts of land there are . her love for Ossian. The person so addressed cannot choose but love the land. old and. Feasting and music and harmless pastimes are there each day. ". Happy Isles. after three hundred years. N by a fairy being who has fallen in love with the mortal. and myself as your wife!". Decline shall not come on you. for some particular person in the company loved by the fairy. . a song de scriptive of the glories and pleasures of the Land of the Everbefore a kingly young. shall be yours. tells ". nor decay. how. withered and blind. renowned country under the sun. Visits of the nature of that undertaken by Ulysses. the wonders he saw by the way. and robes of richest loom a hundred steeds. and says: I place you under which no true heroes break through to come with obligations me on my white steed to Tir-nan-og. and a sword. a hundred maidens merry and young. and Ossian in Tir-nan-og The outline of the story is as follows: There suddenly appears company a fairy being who chants. Ulysses-like.82 song. and hounds of keenest scent. paid a business visit to the other world and. sweeter of mouth than the music of birds. . and much more that passeth all mention. a hundred suits of armour. nor death.". Traveller s of discovery in search of the Tales of the wonders seen. . gold handled. and honey and wine. how he found Tir-nan-og all that it was painted by the Princess Niam. These. Needless is it to recount how Ossian went. he returned to earth on the white steed. thirdly. among little men. ". the trees bear fruit and blos soms and green leaves all the year round. many voyages ". to a . numberless herds. myths which tell how a hero has. that never missed a stroke. in . the Story of Condla Cam. and the To the first class belong three very remarkable Irish myths: the Courtship of Etain. of beauty and happiness and ever-youthful life second. the most delightful and the Feni. You will get a hun dred swords. and the feats he did. Jewels and gold there are in abundance. fairy.
wife of Manannan. Mac Art. There they found Fand and her father waiting them. and Diarmat O Duinn. ".". Mac Art s visit to Manannan. when they saw the bronze skiff waiting for them. and living with him some time. Passing over Cormac . to be cured only by a drink from love. ". guide proceeded until they reached the side of the island. ! a magical cup in the possession of the King of Wonderland. we find a double account of Diarmat s visit to one Irish. The story says that. Professor Rhys very properly compares this passage to the well-known boat and ferry of Charon in classical mythology. ". Elysium of the dead. when invited to assist Fand. and helps a distressed prince to a throne. to the Land of Shades. She is the danghter of the King of the Land under the Waves. Fountain. as to its [the Isle of the Blest] being the no mistake. in wrestling with him they both fall into the Diarmat. The Irish one is in its main Tir-fa-tonn features the counterpart of the Welsh Mabinogion. The Highland tal represents him as sheltering a loathly creature that turns out to be a most beautiful lady under spells. or even with the daughter. much as already described in Loeg s case. who . This he procured by the help of ".". arriving at the bottom of it. deserted as she was by her husband. ". were made by at least three These are Cuchulainn. sent his charioteer Loeg to prospect and report as to the safety of such a journey. like a wise man.".83 Homer. We have already referred to Cuchulainn s helping of Fand.". Diarmat fights with the Knight of the ". and arrived at an island. ". Cuchulainn. and rescue from death of his wife and two children. The Lady of the Fountain. one Gaelic.the messenger of the other advised him to have nothing to do with the King s silver or gold. an advice which Diarmat world. After presenting Diarmat with a fairy castle. where he does many deeds of valour. where down went the boat to a land under the sea Here Diarmat found his but she was deadly sick. crossed on the Charon boat. They then stepped on to the ship and landed on the island. a slight quarrel having occurred He followed her. Cormac great champions of the Gael. There can be he says. Loeg and his fairy ". and fountain. she left him for her own country. and that going into it meant nothing less than death to ordinary mortals it was only by special favour that a mortal might enter it otherwise. finds himself in a most beautiful territory.". ".
original sense. Despite the monkish garb they two of the most important are undertaken of a old heathenism peeps out at every turn. . Flaitheamhnas.". the tales deal altogether with sea". where the travel a great number of people. both above and below the waves. for after healing her. he took a dislike to her. way do the many weird speculations upon the place of pain. Naturally enough. Some man living in a happy island with the souls of by monks. meant ". Diarmat. the handle of which was on fire. ".84 took. in its Flaithem. wearing rich garments adorned and radiant all over. Some times get a glimpse of the earthly paradise. Innis. for on earth he was accus spade. ". being derived from the word forms no with the abstract termination as. the sons of described. was allowed to return from the realms of death. The wonders they meet with often point a moral. ". the times all his we hear we descendants as birds giving music around him. therefore. They pass occasionally brought into contact with the living and the dead.". The Voyagers Tales ". of Ireland can compare for sensuous imagination very favourably with any other country s ". are seen.". On another island was found a burly miller feeding his mill with all the perishable things of which people are so choice and niggardly in this world. and their hearts were full of gladness at all the But they did not venture to happiness they saw and heard. an island. Flaithemnas or. into the regions of spirits. No argument as to the character or the inhabitants of the next world can be drawn from the modern names given to it. .". part of the word. and they must and do contain many reminiscences of the Happy Isles. so that the old derivation and its consequent In the same Island of chiefs fall to the ground. and they mar velled greatly. generally to some western islands.glory". and duly The principal voyagers were St Brendan. and are land. ". where the dead live at times assume. Islands of lamentation and islands of laughing are visited gorgeous palaces and towns. Gaelic. ". beautiful and glorious-look lers saw. Ua Corra and Maelduin.". voyages. for and the gods reign.Travellers Tales. tomed to dig on Sunday. theories ".". feasting joyously and drinking from embossed vessels of red gold. ing. for there are punishments On one island was found a man digging with a for wickedness. The voyagers also heard their cheerful festive songs. a lord. ". fail.
". however. had bodies somewhat analogous to those of stantial men these bodies were celestial. The gods. ate. gold-ribbed He was a gold-hilted sword. a home of sensuous ease for the departed soul. And Erin were able to accomplish. of men. of course.sublimated". not pale and shadowy. Paradise. Yet we find the ghosts of departed heroes appearing in much the same way as the Side and Tuatha-De-Danann. mortals company. but yet quite as sub The difference was that they were not as human bodies.". and wearing a collared by raising its this the Saints of self. ideas. Fergus MacRoy. appeared in a beautiful form. like mortals.". adorned with brown hair. drank. ". unless they chose. Celts. whom the fairy enchanted and abducted. ".85 Uffern. in every Sometimes they were seen only by one person in the respect. . and have no counterpart in the Pagan Mythology of the Our Celtic myths warrant us to speak but of an earthly ". according to the opinions of the Celts? The sensuous paradise argues a material body capable of both physical enjoyments and sorrows. glimpses of places of woe in the Voyagers Tales". ! . and sandals of bronze.". Besides. Infernum. full of life and colour.". clad in a green cloak. a very substantial apparition St Patrick was evidently shirt. these ghosts can appear in the day time. These are. as Caoilte used to do. The much upon the What character of body did the spirits of the dead possess. for the soul possible. from the dead. The ghost of Caoilte is met with in time and King ". much to the misfortune Isle of of those Druidic theories that make the Celtic hell an Both Flaitheamhnas and Ifrinn are Christian the Cold Waves. and acted. in Gaelic. Their persons were more beautiful and majestic than those humanity characterised them sometimes all of a sudden in the They appeared among midst of an assembly. are too inspired by Christian thought to render speculation Celtic prison-house". Fergus him we are told. in Welsh. one or two myths representing different times in St Patrick s Mongan s time and on each occasion he appears in his habit as he lived. are both borrowed from the Latin word. The great poem of the Tain Bo Chuailgne had been lost by the 6th century and it could be recovered only composer. and Ifrinn or lutharn. ". a ". though heard by all. subject to the trammels of gravitation and visibility. the Pagan gods as seen in Christian myth. as in the story of Condla Cam.
was a lank. they say. which survived in Iceland into the Middle Ages. to Later. for they believed that they died unto The editors of the lately published ". . upon his head. into which his hair coiled a small winged cape on him. dead of divine spirits generally as the Anses and the Elves * of Loka-Senna. The Side. and even vampires and the like.. He had a circlet of bronze upon his forehead minutely described which kept ". . interest in the living.". Of the ". doubtless. I take it. the ghosts of the glorious dead dwelling in their barrows or tumuli (the sid. In the older ac in intense sympathy Of the ritual names of the worshipped dead. to meet King Loegaire. the oldest we know is Anse. dead. counts they are feasting happily. freckle-faced man. began to be performed these hills there. ".. among whom also the gods were classed. with his chariot. to raise the spirit of the great Cuchulainn himself. He had curling reddish hair tall. we shall see plenty evidence of the worship of the dead in their In the Land nama-bok we read that at one place barrows. but if we refer to the belief and rites of the Norse peoples. with whom they are still united there is the spirit life and the behaviour of some evidence. Corpus bring forward quite an array of evidence in of the sacredness of these houses and barrows. All ". with its buttoning at his elbows a goad of red gold in his hand. The famous cham pion appeared to him one morning splendidly dressed. and the proof belief that dead ancestors lived another life there.) At these barrows. . and : charioteer. and busying themselves with the good of their living kindred. horses. it sinks in Scandinavia mean bad men There were evil spirits spirits of fairy. such as the dreadful . there was a harrow ( high place ) made there. ". and took an Poeticum Boreale ". were This. work ".86 also able. though indirectly. the same as when alive. stooped. by which he urged his horses. The substantial ghosts of dead heroes are in the myths generally classed as Side. of course. in the sense of guardian spirit Elf is another name used of spirits of the or genius of a hill. This cannot be proved with satisfaction from the Gaelic myths alone.". arose from a confusion. in Christian times. and sacrifices his hair from his face .. for instance. they were wor shipped in accordance with the customs of ancestor worship. is the charioteer. and cups of gold upon his poll behind.
for the Gauls of Caesar s time had towns with walls. ". constructed of planks and and covered with a heavy thatched roof. A brief glance at the places and rites of worship and burial among the ancient Celts will conclude the religious aspect of their Mythology.". were constructed of wood : great houses. and that the gods. ". distinct from them. circular. as opposed to the dunum.". Of old. of wood. just as they did among the with the side. sith is a mixture of tumulus-dweller entirely left and wood-nymph. but they were clearly those of unhallowed men. They were wicker. and not of the inhabitants of the Land of the Leal where Earthly Paradise of the Gaels. that ". Unfor . scene . the Middle Ages under the shadow of the Roman CELTIC WORSHIP AND RITES. The Gaulish temples must. The Celts worshipped in temples and in groves . however rude. Norse. They grew up during Church. as ".".elves. of their insular brethren.". those of Britain and rural Gaul. stone. doubtless. and the modern ". high. But a still confusion overtook these names and ideas as time and greater The side got mixed up with the Christianity advanced. both are frequently referred to in the classical writers. ". as we have seen in the case of follow the analogy of the dwellers in the Greek Hades. the earth and wood powers. like earliest Christian churches were also . have been of ". there were. The modern ghosts the sun sinks in the west. ". to the temples of the kindred races of Greece and Rome. the Norse beliefs. originally in Pagan times quite ". says Strabo. The gods have almost the only the Lares the Gruagachs and Brownies are left. but the British temples the houses. therefore.87 Glam and unhallowed spirits and monsters. We may thus argue that the Side or Aes-side (compare Anse or Aesir above) were properly the divine ancestors. ghosts some what analagous to those of present superstitions. Celtic houses ". were afterwards confused we have them in the myths. arched. streets and market places. The were most likely constructed. tunately no description of any Celtic temple is vouchsafed us the natural conclusion we must come to is that they must have been ".". This de scription applies to the very earliest Celtic buildings. similar.". and with either a conical or domed roof. the stockaded hill-top or fortified forest-clearing. among the Pagan-Gael.
". The Druid circles were Celtic temples that the so-called theory ". or ". was built of hewn Jewish temple. Carthage and Rome. which is most improbable. He says ". let . . for the most part. Thus the flint knife of the ". and modern clergymen are the survivals of Middle-Age the gowns of .88 made of wood. as. and we ". and. says Pope Gregory (A.grove. the tribunals of the The classical and there also were words for temple . heard In this way a metal-using in the house while it was building. the Idols in Britain. ". The rude stone circles are evidently not the work of a race well acquainted with the use of metal. insignia of the gods.". or in pleasant mead .The earliest seat of heathen worship was there the in groves. ought not to be destroyed but let the idols that are in them be destroyed ". and that they made use of metal even iron is refuted from the earliest period we have record of them. or even ". . however. stone. Along with temples. to signify r ". the This.D. It is quite true that in religious ceremonies tools old phases of culture. 60 1). there cannot suppose that the Celts. indeed. by the two facts that the Celts were Aryans with Aryan culture. wood". made ready before being brought to the temple. and secrecy and sacredness.". even if they did use stone circles. ".". or buildings. Groves are prior in time to temples. age was used on solemn occasions at the Jewish at the sacrifices of old cir cumcision. and an altar of stone. whether of dress. and marked by votive offerings. ". whether on mountain built. would not have reconciled them to their state of culture by dressing and shaping the stones. clearly consisted of the old The temples of heathen temples consecrated to Christian use. some The distinguishing features of a grove w ere equivalent. first temples were afterwards nation.". either Celtic heathen temples or early Christian churches. and dresses. instruments. so that was neither hammer nor axe. the Bronze Age builders of Stonehenge had begun to do. stone ". nor any tool of iron. A grove was a secret recess embowered by tall trees. operates but to a limited extent unlike their rude stone altars. ". Grimm has analysed the Teutonic words for temple". the classical writers continually mention groves as especial places where Celtic worship was conducted. survive in a higher stage of civilisation. holy water be made and sprinkled in the said temples let There are no remains of altars be erected and relics placed. people reconciled the old with the new phase of culture.
oak-grove. y the Latin nemus. The a sacred grove. The Gaulish word in several of like was nemeton. a ". Inspires the gazer s soul with numbing fear Tis not the deities of wonted form : They worship thus mid terrors and alarm. who. the word appears as nemed a that is. dwelling on the superstitions and miracles connected with it. a mournful band. Have ne er been shaped so rude by artist s hand Misshapen forms with limbs looped off forth stand. Greek. which appears place-names in and Asia Minor. With chilly shades. To rise from earth and spring with dusky green . where sun could enter ne er. The very place. ". And pious tales of gods can be believed.". Nor sly vans. on altars dire. a grove. temenos. obliquely by. templum. Britain. Germans reverenced. There not the rustic gods nor satyrs sport. and chapel. mean. M . to cut. adore Their gods. Nor ever breezes lift or lay the leaves.89 Latin. gods of groves. heaven. gives us a vivid description of a Gaulish grove. nest. : But shivering horror in the branches heaves The plenteous stream the darkened fountains leaves : The images of gods. as fame tells. differed but little ". There not the feathered songster builds her Nor lonely dens conceal the savage beast . though dead. is often used it.". ". Ev n lightnings glance aloof. which signification may mean a forest clearing. from length of age. with oaks all hoar and drear. . with nymphs resort But barbarous priests. speaking of Celtic places of worship. both from the root tern. A grove. originally. Lucan. the earth in throbs of woe Is The heard to groan from hollow depths below baleful yew. secretum illud. in the latter country the Galatian council of the twelve tetrarchies met at a place called Drynemeton. Gaul. mazy Enclosed a darkened space of earth and air. clearing Greek temenos. cage. in the following lines. In old Irish. which Tacitus says as elsewhere in religion. Celts. But gods unknown it but increases fear They do not know the gods they so revere. Oft. There no tempestuous winds presume to fly. With interwoven branches. here from the inviolate the abstract existence. and is the same in root as the Gaelic neamh. . and alluding to the worship of the the ". and stain each tree with If miracles of old can be received human gore. has oft been seen. in fact.
County Kilkenny. near Kilma- Mr ganny. a reference which again puts the Celts on a level with the Germans of Tacitus.". ". Uninfluenced shape. and of these the statuettes of Taranis are the most numerous and interesting. but curiously enough before Christmas he buried a fine girl of a daughter. came to me in a great state of mind one morning. oak represented his statue. And round The But shun their boles prodigious serpents twine. a derivation which yet the only one worth consideration of the many suggested. who had no statues. . full meridian height. they were content to the same fact. Some remains by Roman or Greek art. pious worshippers approach not near.Folklore Record". dreads to approach the place And shuns the masters of the grove to face. ". the sacrifice is the Gauls for groves was the oak choose groves of oak and conduct no says Pliny.". for 1882. night rules all. Rolling. bear testimony Before they used images. and even thought it an impiety to represent celestial grandeur in human of Gaulish art in statue-making have weathered the ravages of ages. I tried to console him by saying the year live was nearly out. and that a tall . their gods and kneel with distant fear priest himself.00 With sparkling flames the trees.". use of statues in their worship Caesar mentions that there were very many statues of Mercury. has reached his The ".". and he suggests that the name Druid among . their statues were rude and unshapely. Gildas speaks of the grim-faced idols mouldering in the deserted temples. as Lucan says: Simulacraque maesta deorum arte carent. as the previous night some one had cut a thorn tree in a rath on his land. unburning shine. and some ill-luck must come to him before the end of the year. and Celts : The made other writers. favourite tree Druids. is from the same root as Greek Drus. god of light. in the lines quoted above. as Lucan.". ". The Or when Phoebus. with emblems of the gods thus we are told by a writer of the second century that the Celts worshipped Zeus. without its leaf. says: A Kinahan. and idols of bronze to the number of nineteen were dug . down the and such early structures. sacredness of groves and of trees has not yet died out among In Ireland it is counted especially unlucky to cut trees in raths The the Celts. an oak. in man. so that he would probably [it being October] out the charm.
dealba nan calls them. These were set up as thank-offerings for rescue from some sickness or pain in the part represented. and eyes. we are told. but really intended as votive offerings. The Gaulish altars and also the Gaelic altars were pillars of stone inscribed with emblems of the sun and moon. and the crutches and other accessories of wells. 7 feet high with a large and un couth body. first. at holy wells. It nipily". The ". a second time. would be presented by the many heads of animals. and known as the ". of men hung up in the groves. in attempting to discover them. and rendered. who found at Mag Slecht (". where they still were. a flattened bust. representations of the elements. died ". or a beast. all the ghastlier by having their open by sticks of wood. with representation of limbs.rag-bush". hung up on the walls or sus pended from the trees. Superstition is the survival. Crom-Cruaich.Age scribe was writing. and having twelve other idols about it covered with brass. along with three-fourths of his people whilst they were ic adrad Chroim-Chroich.) Cavan. B. who. The saint caused the earth to swallow these up as far as their heads. ".". of earlier religion and science. This custom mouths prized and kept is still kept in remem architectural designs. At .". and. bird. at A times. nose. by its Breton Venus of Qui- was worshipped in Britanny till the I7th century. mystical figure of in the reign of Crom King Tiernmas (1543 or Crom-Cruaich. in St in adoration plain Patrick s life. or something which symbolised some force of nature ". as a sign of the miracle. ". For Celtic religious rites we have to trust almost entirely. covered with gold and silver. are a remnant of ancient and analo relief gous sight.C. or sisted of the with a view that by the modern infirmities left from pain might come. king-idol of Erin. possibly. like trophies of the chase. when the pious Middle. many votive tablets and images. and. more ghastly however. in another phase of culture. and mouth like We meet in Irish history with the those of an Egyptian idol.91 up at Devizes in 1714. and bodily parts. to the superstitions and customs of in brance modern Christian and modern times. was a huge misshapen figure. as Cormac Another feature of Celtic groves and temples con dula". faces. A true Celtic statue called votaries the Groah-Goard.). the chief idol of Erin. rig idaill hErenn. beliefs in the deities of the fountains.
Romans.". European nations. men. to this in modern times occurs in the for ages been unknown. It must not be supposed that the Celts were greater worshippers of fire. keep ing the right hand towards them. remained. leaving the wider question of quaint customs and superstitions to be dealt with afterwards. ". striking them at the place above the diaphragm [on the back. as Mela says. The fire worship was equally as strong among Teutons. is derived from the apparent course of the sun. The classical writers mention but little of Celtic The human sacrifices attracted most attention They ". and moon than the other and that this worship was distinctive of them. vestiges. sun. and from their fall. the future. Samoan yet the punishment that carries the highest disgrace among them is to put the delinquent into a cold oven. and is known as deiseil right(dextralis). and quite as long maintained into modern times. It is also signifi cant that. The custom of showing reverence by walking round persons or things. The only religious rites of any consequence that can be pointed to are those connected with the worship of fire and the changes of the year. ".". possibly. and ". ". dakshiman kri. however. When the Romans put a stop to their human sacrifices. a survival from a very ancient phase of culture. : says Diodorus. ". ". they predict sacrifice ".". teine-eiginn is . in the best preserved form of the custom. Celtic The remembrance of these old kept up at the Beltane human sacrifices was until lately fires. an evident survival from There cannibalism has the time when such a person would be roasted and eaten. and the rubbing of sticks easily produced fire. from a time when men lived in a warmer climate.just as they refrain from going the whole length of slaughter. the need-fire makers must have no metal about them. But Celtic idiosyncracies bring some features of the worship and practices into greater prominence. rites. of the old but abolished savagery. and. the convulsion of the limbs and the flow of the blood. In India the old name for the custom is similarly the right-hand-turn. An interesting parallel islands. Strabo says].". ".". they nevertheless touch and graze the persons devoted to sacrifice after bringing them to the altars. a survival which points ". hand-wise. The need-fire Gaelic.present we shall only deal with some customs and superstitions that appear to bear on Celtic religious ritual. and Greeks as among the Celts. ".
the sacred Beltane place on Easter ". and from them all the fires of the neighbourhood. Fire is kindled by him at that . and no one durst kindle a Eve. s first struggles with King Loegaire was over ". supplied with levers. and it was performed thus All the fires in the parish were extinguished. and then the pure fire was produced by turning a wheel over nine hill-top spindles his ". and ". But though latterly restricted to being a charm against the plague. and men and cattle One of St Patrick were passed through them. we know. into which it was inserted at each end. ". need-fire was that all was selected.". a to the Stone Age. presided at these sacred fires. These fires were lighted at the great festivals of the solar and lunar year. Ireland on that day until it had been kindled first at Tara And the Druids said unless that fire be . being thought the necessary num ber for effecting this design.fire. and nine of them were employed by turns. about 1767. been considered the purifier par excellence. In Caithness the friction was produced by working a horizontal wooden bar. were re-lighted. In all cases. Priests. within Christian historic times. to be re-lighted only from the pure need. which is no sooner kindled than a pot full of water is quickly set on it. which was there and then produced for the first time. whether it attacked men or cattle. For that was a pro hibition of Tara which the Gael had. (?) fire.93 Another general fact in regard to Celtic the district fires within sight had previously to be extinguished. who by their united efforts rubbed one of the planks against the other until the heat thereof produced fire and from this fire each family is supplied with . fire in at the solemnity. as Cormac and others tell us. and afterwards sprinkled on the people infected with the plague or upon the cattle that have the murrain. of wood until the friction caused combustion. The need-fire was variously produced. took two great planks of wood. previously extinguished. fire. within sight of which all fires were put out. the need-fire was lighted as a charm new Fire has against the plague.". the need-fire shows clear traces of a higher religious purpose. Martin in The tinegin they used Western Isles thus describes it as an antidote against the plague or murrain in cattle. in two upright pieces of wood. : then eighty-one married men. and clearly no always fire could be so pure as the need-fire. In Mull. says a Middle-Irish life of the saint Loegaire is enraged when he sees the fire.
missionary, along with the inevitable miracles, brought Loegaire and his people to the side of the Saint
kingdom of Ireland for ever. and the boldness of the
whose fire it is shall have the But that fire was not
logies in the
The need-fire and the sunwise-turn, are but the outward embodiments of the great worship of fire and l,Vht The discovery how to make fire at will was a tremendous step in human progress, and has itself on the oldest impressed mytho
regard to the
In India the god
and g,ven to man, and his Prometheus and history represent the Greek equivalent myth The sun was reverenced by imitation of its course-the "deiseil though, also as still on the Continent any day, the Gaels at iltane morn worshipped the rising sun by taking off the caps and saluting him with failte or hail. For distinctive instances of rites we must have recourse to the observances and customs of certain festal days throughout the year.
down from his hiding place in heaven sign is the wooden fire-drill, pramantha
a solar period, the unit of which is the day but felt the want of an intermediate reckoner of
In fact the
as the English, Latin, Greek, and Gaelic prove for they are from the root of "moon." Its four phases give rise to weeks of seven or eight days, eight among the Romans; and the Celts, as well as the Teutons and Greeks, reckoned their time by nights, and not by days. Pliny informs us that the Celtic year and the Celtic months began on the 6th day of the moon Customs and superstitions in regard to the moon and its waxing and waning still survive in connection with the cutting of wood turf, the starting of new enterprises or of a journey, and such The lunar time does not square with the solar time of revolu tion, and the ancients were in endless confusion in regard to their calendars. The Celts corrected lunar solar time
the measurer of time
which Pliny tells us was their cycle. have been alternately 29 and 30 days, to suit lunar revolution, and possibly by having 1 3 lunar years of the thirty, they managed to make the
The month may
The year was originally summer and winter, gam and sam, and then spring was added, the name of which differs in root in the two great branches of the Celtic race. The week is most probably
divided into two seasons
non-Celtic in idea, and also in names to a very great extent. The Welsh names of the days of the week are Roman; the
Gaelic names are mixed, Roman and Christian. Sunday is Didomhnuich (dies dominica); Monday, Di-luain (dies Lunae)
Tuesday, Di-Mairt (dies Martis)
Wednesday, Di-ciadaoin (dies
for religious people, as Bede as well as Fridays), a purely
us, fasted on
between two fasts;" Friday, Di-h-aoine, "day of fast;" and Saturday, Di-Sathuirne (dies Saturni.) Fire and sun worship, and along with these, the worship of the earth-powers, fell on the four great solar periods, the two
and the two equinoxes. Lunar time was made to fit these by holding the feasts on the first full moon, or the I4th of the month, after the equinox or solstice. The great winter feast on December 25th, when the sun just turned on its northward course again, was solemnised in honour of the new birth of the "unconquered sun," dies natalis invicti solis, and was held in Rome in honour of the sun-god Mithra, of Persian origin, whose festival was finally established by Aurelian as national and Roman, about A.D. 273. A hundred years later the Christian Church accepted it, doubtfully and reluctantly, as the natal day of Christ, thus entering on a course which it consistently pursued of christianising all pagan rites, festivals, and even temples. The midsummer solstice was therefore dedicated to St John the The Celtic, or rather Gaelic festivals, of a Baptist, and so on.
kind, are three
in number; Bealltuinn (ist May), and Samhuinn (ist November.) Why August),
these festivals should be a
than the solar periods
clear that these periods suit the
climatic changes of the seasons in the earlier, though truer, solar periods.
North better than the
The great festival of Beltane occurred on May-day. Cormac s reference to this pagan festival is the first and most im
which Druids used to make through incantations (or with great incantations), and they used to bring the cattle to those fires as a preservative against diseases of each year." Here we have to that the fire was made by Druidic incantations, which note or means no more than that it was made by the tinegin," need-fire method, and that it was a preservative against disease
derivation has the misfortune of
wrong division of the syllables of the word, which are bealltmust reject any derivation uinn, or belt-ane not bel-tane. that so divides the word, and hold that the latter part of the
n word has nothing to do with teine fire, but is, probably, the Hence derivations which termination of most words of time.
connect the word with the
of Baal or Bel are out of place, granting that such a god as Bel is Celtic, and not invented for the occasion. Belinus is the Celtic Apollo. Mr Fitzgerald s derivation
of Beltane, from bile-tineadh, fire-tree," is to be rejected on the of wrong division of the word, and his instances adduced ground
of the existence in Ireland of usages pointing to a belief in a world-tree of the Norse type appear to be too slight and too
Celtic, especially Scottish, traditions in The world-tree, and consequent to the Beltane festival. regard not distinctively, if at all, Celtic in this connection. may-pole, are
founded on general
Arbois de Jubainville, was con says M. secrated to Beltene, one of the names of the god of death, the the root in this case being god who gave and took away
the festival of the the pre-historic infinitive beltiu, to die. beginning of the summer, the outburst of nature, and the con quest of the death and winter powers should be sacred, not to
and light, but to his opposite, is a thing which and theory cannot account for. The November feast might well be one where the loss of the sun-god and vic tory of the god of death were commemorated, but the first of summer is far from appropriate for this. Both in Welsh and Gaelic myth the victory of the light-gods is indicated on the first of May Gwyn fights for Cordelia, and the Tuath de Danann overcame the Firbolg, the Earth powers, on that day. Grimm hesitatingly hints what appears to be the true derivation The Norse sun -god is called Balder, and he suggests that this
the god of
connected with Lithuanian
facts the rites began with spilling some caudle on interesting the ground by way of libation whereupon ". Upon the first of May. circumference as to hold the whole company. We . of a round figure. dicated to flocks particular being.97 of Beltane with these two words ". as the Rev. To this sensible account and its inferences. until it be perfectly black. fires. that there were two fires. blindfold. is the devoted person who is to be sacrificed to Baal. They put all the bits of the cake into a bonnet. They kindle a fire and dress a repast of eggs and milk in the consistence of a custard. ". yellow May-day. it which is called Beltan or Bal-tein. reference to Baal. D Macqueen He is betwixt two Beltein Pennant adds some gives it. they divide the cake into so many portions.". draws out a portion. all pointing and sun worship phases of purification. ". They knead a cake of oatmeal which is toasted at the embers against a stone. After the custard is eaten up. They cut a table in the green ship or hamlet meet on the moors.". Every one. Most authorities hold. which be a reminiscence of the primary meaning of Beltane. is confirmed by the Gaelic saying of la buidhe Bealltuinn. all the boys in a town says. we agree fully.everyone takes a cake of oatmeal upon which are raised nine square knobs. between which and through which they passed their cattle and even their children. There is little doubt of these inhuman sacrifices having been once offered in this country. as well as in the East. with Cormac. : . or to some particular animal. as similar as possible to one another in size and shape. Criminals were made to stand between the two fires. although they now pass from the act of sacri ficing. the supposed preserver of their and herds. and divination.".". by casting a trench in the ground of such sod. He who holds the bonnet is entitled to the last bit. and only compel the devoted person to leap three times through the flames with which the ceremonies of the festival are closed. in regard to a person in extreme danger. and hence the proverb. all but the to fire ". the real destroyer some . each one de ". sacrifice.". One of the best accounts is given in the Old Statistical Account of the parish of Callander. may have numerous accounts of the Beltane rites. as there are persons in the com They daub one of these portions all over with charcoal pany. Whoever draws the black bit. whose favour they implore in rendering the year productive of the sustenance of man and beast.
O hooded crow Shaw. Each person then turns his face to the fire. Shaw remarks ". Luga. fire. Lunasduinn. In Cornwall last century they used to perambulate the villages carry ing lighted torches. It is called in ". of his foster-mother Tailtiu. The specially Celtic feast or Feill was held some five weeks later. The midsummer and Day. need -fire during cattle plagues. : ! historian of Moray. in all the capitals of ancient Ireland on that day. the fair of Lug. in some which thus typified the descending course of the sun onward till next solstice. and in Ireland the Eve of Midsummer was honoured with bonfires round which they carried torches. Games and manly it may be noted. indeed. Lunasd. they kindle fires near their cornfields. Scottish Gaelic ". in Irish ". they use the same ceremony to the noxi This I give to thee.Lug- The legend says that Luga of the Long nasad. to obtain a blessing on their corn. is represented on Celtic ground by the occasional use of a wheel for producing the tinegin. is sports char the sun-god. set on hillock summit. instituted this fair in honour Arms. ". more. summer solstice.98 of them. O fox spare thou my lambs ous animals this to thee. Druidic incantations of Cormac and were kindled with a flint the tinegin were not . to end their course of wood. The fair was held. O eagle. specially Celtic. and sent rolling from a river or water. century at least for lighting the Beltane fire their use seems latterly to have been restricted to raising the used within the . the on. says. preserve thou my horses this to thee. on the ist August. as it festival. and walk round them with burning torches. fires the ". Hence the place where it was held was called Tailtiu after her.". ". They made the Deas-sail [at Midsummer] about their fields of corn with burning torches of wood in their hands. acterised the assemblies.". On Midsummer Eve. and flinging it over his shoulders. Lammas Day. breaks off a knob.". queen of the Firbolgs. . the Tuatha De Danann king. c . christianised into St John is s Eve for the celebration is of the a Teutonic. however. and is the modern Teltown. in the Lowlands than in the Highlands. old Irish ". The wheels feast. and so After that. this to thee. : ! ". last tells us that the ". not a wrapped round with straw. but more especially by the custom in some districts of rolling the Beltane bannocks from the hill summit down its side.". ". This I give to thee. This I have often seen. preserve thou my sheep.
and when the fire was ex tinguished. the is person represented by that stone is devoted or fey.who thus institutes the festival. manes of the dead. the ashes are carefully collected in the form of a circle. to give away to all-comers. It may be remarked that the mystic apple plays left an important part in these ceremonies. There is a stone put in. Apollo. who was god of death and winter s cold. . Like Beltan it was sacred to the gods of light and of earth Ceres. they have a notion that the person who threw it in will die before next Hallowe en. We can only refer to the various laughable and serious methods of divination resorted to on Hallowe en night to read into the future our national poet Burns .". near the circumference. in France. indeed. and more . as it also does in so many Celtic fairy tales. : The ". was implored for mercy. for every Even they is person of the several families interested in the bonfire. called soul-cakes. a great festival The features that still remain in popular customs in regard to Hallowe en clearly show its connection with the gods of fire and fate. The .". already quoted. and some supposed not to live twelve months from that day. must have been the deities whose wor ". ingathering of the fruits bewailed for their disappearing from earth. and death. where every family made a great bonfire in the most conspicuous place near the house. every one threw a white stone into the ashes. called of old Lug-dunum. and it is remarkable that at ancient Lyons. having first marked it. and his subjects. says of Hallowe en All-Saint When the bonfire set up bonfires in every village. which was famous over all Gaul. had special worship directed to them. If next morning any of these stones is found wanting. was.On Statistical s Account. fruits. has u us a graphic picture of the night and its ceremonies in Halloween. known in Gaelic as Samhuinn or summerend. Equal to Beltane in importance was the solemnity of Hal lowe en. ship was honoured.". It the festival of fire. a festival was held on this very day. and who was especially worshipped by the earth goddess was celebrated for the Apollo or Belinus and Proserpine were the Celts. The custom in various parts of keeping a heap of cakes. consumed. and Dis also. and what ever stone is moved out of its place or injured before next morn ing. A what similar custom is recorded by Pennant as existing in North Wales. as Caesar says. and Dis. bonfires and divination are its characteristics.
one of their number was picked out to wade into the sea up to the middle. I give you this cup of ale. in the i/th century. with a loud voice. etc. so kind as to send us plenty of sea-ware for enriching our ground for the ensuing year and so threw the cup of ale into the sea. for the recovery of man and beast from farmer some thirty years ago. Shony. There are other instances of sacrifice plenty An annual within the last two hundred years in the Highlands. The bulls were sacrificed in ". sacrifice on the 25th August to St Mourie in Applecross and . cried out saying. visiting ruined chapels and circulating". hand.100 especially to the poor. . in the case Morayshire of a murrain. one of them gave a signal. where they fell a-drinking their ale and spent the remainder of the night in dancing. is in modern times converted into doles of bread to the poor. At his return to land went to church. to send a strong north wind to drive sea-ware ashore. having each man his provision along with him every family furnished a peck of malt.". inhabitants round the island came Church of St Malvey. spirit. and immediately all of them went to the fields. clearly commemorates the ancient offering to the dead of food on this night. This they believed to be a powerful means to procure a plentiful crop. divining by putting the head into a hole in a stone. and the worshipping of wells and stones. Sacrifice ane heathenish manner". ancient custom to sacrifice to a sea-god called Shony. A ". standing still in that posture. lighted the need-fire with all due ceremony. consisted in immolating bulls. What was dedicated in Pagan times to the manes of the dead. as Mr Tylor points out. at Hallo-tide. hoping that you ll be This was performed all in the night-time. ". and carrying a cup of ale in his in the following : manner The to the . disease. Martin records a religious rite of the Lews people that must The inhabitants of this island had an not be passed over here. at which the candle was put out. then dug a pit and sacrificed an ox to the unknown". This superstition is but lately dead. ". though the sacrifice had been repressed. . singing. them. where there was a candle burning upon they the altar and then standing silent for some time. pouring of milk on hills as oblations. and this was brewed into ale. for they proceeded in spring to the end of a long reef and invoked Briannuil". Gairloch troubled the Dingwall Presbytery rites These ".
who is really the canonised fire-goddess. the The mistress and servants of each hearth and home goddess. or even light for a pipe. for cock-fighting : symbolic articles into brose or cakes is yet great. Some customs in regard to her worship were mentioned already. Shrove Tuesday was a great day in the then each scholar brought cocks to Highlands and decide who should be king and queen of the school for fight the ensuing year. for nut-burning and marriage-divination by putting popularity they regard an ill omen. favourite dogs. allowed to go out. and on the top of laid. St Brigit s day. and if they do they reckon it a true presage of a good crop and prosperous year. and Martin relates an interesting custom in the Western Isles on Candlemas. the Vesta of the heathen Gaels. showing St Brigit clearly on the aspect of Vesta.101 of cocks for epilepsy has not been infrequent in this is modern times . and the whole set on fire. and there is a particular dislike at this time to give a neighbour a ". it the body Sheep and oxen were slain. take a sheaf of oats and dress it up in women s apparel. a feeling which in some degree exists at Beltane and Hallowe en. kindling". The customs at burial and the disposal of the dead among the early Celts can only be discovered in a general way. Its It was also a noted day for ball-playing. their fat was placed about and upon the body. Horses.". and their carcases were heaped around it. and the contrary welcome. preserved the bones in urns. CELTIC BURIAL RITES. done by burying them alive. and captives were slain and cast on the pyre. Candle mas day is known as La Fheill-Brighde. Other festival days retain a spice of heathen Celticism about The last night of the year the fire must not be them yet. The poems of Homer present us with what may be regarded as typical examples of early Greek and Celtic burials. was . and this they Briid is come. Next morning they look in the ashes to see the impression of Briid s club there. Jars of honey and oil were placed on the pile. a large basket and lay a wooden club by it. ". family put it in. and raised over them a circular mound. Briid is call Briid s-bed. and then they cry thrice. A wail was raised and the dead addressed A pyre of wood was constructed. The earlier Aryan races evidently burned the bodies of the dead.
this generation the slaves and dependants that they were con sidered to have loved. as when the Munster hostages were buried alive around the grave of Fiachra. of Gaul in Caesar s time. we have not merely the rites.". ex pecting to live along with them. was the exception. of their own free will. and there were some who. even the immolation of captives is not unknown. all the classical writers of that and the succeeding century testify to the burning of the bodies among the Gauls. previous to historic times. Burial of arms is mentioned more than once. however. and slay the quadrupeds. evidently the Homeric age of Celts burial was still prevalent. who was left to dig the Pert (grave). obsolete. in and more having become. but they are silent as to the character of the tombs. When ". animals is Eochaid referred to in the story of Etain.". especially of slaves and relatives the latter and myths of Ireland or abundance of instances occur where personal Britain. not the rule. Sacrifice of about the end of the fourth century of our era. sidering their civilisation and all that they think was dear to them when alive they put in the fire. ". cast themselves on the funeral piles of their relatives. are magnificent and costly. Thus. the wail. burning of the bodies. . but also the burning of things useful this life. in Greece and Republican Rome. but in Imperial Rome the custom revived. Their funerals. and monuments with Among the inscriptions and other accessories of civilisation.". : ". and raised over it a mound. Then they dug a by name. vaults.Druidic".". were burned along with them in the Mela confirms this fully regular performance of funeral with the dead whatever is of use to They burn and bury along them when alive. an old ". No practice trace of the remembrance of a time when the dead were burnt . grave. con ". while inhumation. Christianity. . to raise ". even animals and shortly before .102 the fire burned low. for Ailill the king s brother. finally stopped The old mounds had also developed the burning of the dead.". it was finally extinguished the bones were collected with wine. In historic times. the fairy queen of Aiream. the whitened bones. although and other property has been buried along with the dead and can be found in the earliest histories . Caesar says. into the elegance of built tombs. and became the rule. the burning of the dead was the excep tion. as the poet says and placed in an urn of gold. at least of the better classes.
King of Munster
second century of our era
The grave of Mog-Neid is on Magh Tualaing, With his lance at his shoulder, With his club, so rapid in action, With his helmet, with his sword."
presents us with a much more touching and important instance of devotion than any of these. Dargo s wife expressed her love for her husband when
the concocted story of his death was brought to her, the effects of which killed her, in these words
Chi mi n seobhag, chi mi n cu Leis an d roinn mo run an t-sealg,
S o na b ionmhuinn
Cairear sinn san uir
With which my
love performed the chase, as the three to him were bound,
Let us in earth with Dearg have place.
? In answer to numerous barrows and tumuli scattered over the country, and more especially in Ireland, where the remarkable mounds on the Boyne could not fail to attract the attention of all ages. The traditions and
kind of tomb was erected over them
are at once referred to the
history of the mound-raising period have in other countries passed but in Ireland they Grady very truly away," says Standish
have been all preserved in their original fulness and vigour, hardly a hue has faded, hardly a minute circumstance has been suffered A proud claim is this, and one which for the very to decay."
the nations that
and suspicion. The Euhemerist historians and scribes of Ireland have woven an intimate chain of connection between every event of their modest (!) four thousand years chronology and the topography of their country be it the for
tunes of Cesair before the Flood, or of Partolan immediately after, or of Brian Boromh a generation or two before the writer s
time, yet every event is chronicled with a minuteness of gene alogy, detail, and localisation that is quite oblivious of the per spective of time, the long roll of ages with their change of customs,
and the uncertainty as to the
saw that the
gods were changed to kings nay, more, their tombs can There are the barrows be seen on the banks of the Boyne of the Dagda and his heroes, and there, too, Cuchulain rests beneath his mound. But just about his time Eochaid Aiream
had introduced the practice of simple burial beneath the earth, and had abolished the old custom of burying the dead "by rais These barrows are, ing great heaps of stones over their bodies." are beyond the ken mythologically considered, pre-Celtic they of Irish history and myth, just as much as the Cromlechs are, which popular archaeology accounts for as the Beds of Diarmat and Grainne" or Granna s Beds" the beds occupied by this
Considered, again archaeologipair in their flight before Finn. also to the races that preceded the Celts, as the cally, they belong
character of the interments and of the accompanying articles have, however, continued reference in the myths proves.
tales to the burial of early Christian times
the grave, the the Irish writers
understood the change of customs wrought by time is seen in the description by an Irish writer of the I2th century of the burial of Patroclus at Troy Achilles built his tomb, and he set up his stone and wrote his name." Homer s account has already been
described the custom of his
the time of the Trojan War.
THE HEROIC TALES OF THE
materials of Irish
Mythology have well been divided by
de Jubainville into three leading parts there is, M. and the first, the mythological cycle which deals with the gods ethnology of the country, and which we have treated in the
There are, secondly, the Cuchulain cycle, and, foregoing pages. the Ossianic cycle, both dealing with the heroes of the thirdly, Between the god-cycle and the hero-cycles there is a long race.
the histories with meagre details, but
genealogies of intermediate kings, with now and then an oasis of mythical incident, like Cimbaeth s conquest of the wargoddess,
Macha Red-mane, and Labraid Loingseach s hunted
youth and punishment of the usurping uncle. A wonderful list Are these kings and chiefs but shadows conjured from it is
Most of them un the fertile imagination of bards and monks ? are mere genealogical stop-gaps, though a few names doubtedly and events may have lived on in legend and myth. For, what
are the facts in regard to the literary documents of Irish history? None go back in MS. earlier than the year iioo, and the lan
which the oldest MS. is written is just the language of it was written. It is useless to postulate for the composition of the literary matter a date of six centuries or more previously the writings may be as old as that and older, but their final recension in the nth century is couched in the language of that time, and great caution must be exercised in At the best, the result sifting out what is and what is not old. remains unsatisfactory, and unsafe to theorise upon. Yet, it must be said that Irish history from after the time of St Patrick may be trusted, for it can be often tested by contemporary and other When we remember the mythical history of St documents. Patrick himself, and that he is divisible into three different per sonages, dating from 400 to 500 for St Patrick dies at the age
the time at which
of 122 in the I4th year of
are entitled to
for him in the kingly lists. however . is the battle of Gabhra. was Feni were overthrown . there is the mythological epoch commencing with Partolan and ending with the expulsion of the Tuatha-De-Danann and the instalment of the Milesian race. in the highest degree mythical a fairy tale that fits not into history. the Irish annalists a mighty and miraculous host. but are fit in well. like Finn. for. fairy scenes and chases. the feats performed by Cuchulain are is ".D.". while the fatal field of is Gabhra found is it difficult to fit the fairy heroes into their histories. Irish history begins with the introduction of Christianity. !". too. just as the case with the British Arthur. therefore. and even Professor Windisch is inclined to euhemerise the Cuchulain and Fenian cycles. the These heroes cannot. but the histories cannot recognise them they do accordingly. In fact. a . comes the Milesian race of kings. the period time of St Patrick from the beginning of the Christian era to the is one which may be trusted possibly in its The vraisimilitude of Irish history has imposed leading features. really. fought. his his life name is is. in reality. if historical at all. first. and that. by the popular imagination. doubtfully. mentioned in an obscure way as having fallen in . dux belli. has no place in the Annals of the Four Masters . The only historical incident recognised. the incarnation of the national deities in national heroes. Then. not they belong to no particular time. not by the Finn and Oscar of popular tradition. A. and he Yet the fairy tales and romances regard these heroes as kings and princes. on the best scholars. filling up the void of fifteen hundred years till the Christian era or shortly before it.106 place little confidence in Irish history antecedent to him. represented as an ordinary event in Irish history unconnected with the collapse of The fact is. and. is There is no place ". Again. indeed. secondly. Nor he Finn and his Fenian militia (!) band much better treated indeed. . But. it is mythical and legendary. but by . gigantic heroes such are the characteristics of that over-stride firths and valleys The historical part is poor and non-popular. and to believe the stories of the reigns of Conchobar and Cormac. when the Cuchulain cycle of events begins. Pre vious to that. thirdly. 283. There are three dis tinctive periods. where the and that battle. nearly all the tales. be tied down to history most popular incidents in their lives are of a wholly unhistorical character enchantments.
he. falling between the Hercules type and the purely Trojan type. In the Cuchulain cycle. The Arthurian cycle is Trojan . and Meave gets the bull awake and pursue. Now in the banded together. Cuchulain and his alone performs all the wonders charioteer alone keep the host of Meave at bay for a long period. he in reality was the son of the god Luga the sun-god. are placed under a spell.". Of Cuchulain s birth. and fighting the champions at the ford. if we can trust so evidently eponymic a myth. the hero for instance. whose far-darting and flashing qualities he displays continually. who perform their feats alone . signifying superiority. like ". and hence he was called Cu-Chulain. ". more likely contains the common prefix cu or con. Cuchulain alone withstands the host of Meave.107 some of the numerous the mythic heroes. on the whole. ". dealing death with his sling. Queen Meave makes a raid on Ulster to get the famous bull. ". through demoniac influences. Perseus. as she returns home. is set down as occurring at the begin while the Fenian cycle is placed three In any case. move to fight. But his name Culaun s Hound. apparently. the Ulster men battle is fought. and all fairy and and serves Culann. all save Cuchulain. and they may be compared to the These divide into two hero-cycles of Classical Mythology. which is somewhat earlier and is a thorough fairy tale. the Feni rather belong to the Argonautic conception. lowly brought up. Theseus and Fenian cycle. era. whereby they cannot in fighting from the is car. and not dog. But he fails. the two cycles are quite distinct in their characteristics. until the princes of Ulster recover their powers. ". but. The two cycles have thus distinctive features. and . mythic heroes. Cuchulain rides on a chariot the Fingalians know of none such they are a band of foot soldiers.". the heroes are . . the smith. again. there are the more mortal heroes of the Trojan type. chiefs and kinglets bearing the names of The Cuchulain hundred years cycle ning of the Christian later. in its characteristics. and are captains of armies. and the Ulster people. who heads a band of men and performs marvels but.". Bonn Chualgne. for his power lies greatly in the use of the sling.strange tales are told. Nominally the son of Sualtam. Cuchulain again appears. there are the demigod heroes like Hercules. . A . like Achilles. As a young man. and.
. . of the shining . make corresponding to Hercules face. a reflection of the Ogmius . . their kingly qualities and majestic wisdom. composed of fairy battles. the poet and warrior. and is quite mythical. tastes of youthful exploits obscurity the salmon of knowledge. Innumerable are the tales of the Feni. does wonderful . Finn is also a fairy hero his birth is anteceded by his father s violent death and his mother s flight he is brought up . in his mouth. tales are opponent sometimes partakes of a Norse name and Finn is evidently the incarnation of the chief deity the Jupiter spoken of by Caesar and the Dagda of of the Gaels His qualities are king-like and majestic. scenes. nor are even the names without a life. only to controvert it inconsis carries all before him. Diarmat. like all heroes of fairy lore. position. as Professor Tal-zkrzVz. ". as Professor Windisch reluctantly remarked. like. utter-cutter?) . resemblance. ". consequently. Arthur and his heroic band . the wind-swift runner and so on. not sunIrish myth. his knights correspond generally to Finn and Arthur s position in history and in popular tradition agrees with Finn s. The . their recognition and advancement to the throne. son of Finn. and so. by mistake the story of Soohrab and Rustem of Persia and his tragic death through his feats . and but they have got tinged with real events. may philologically correspond to Ossian. tently. can always discover the truth acquires his father s in . their domestic the infidelity of their wives. son of the mystic Gwion. The and is Fenian great. such as. in spells Scotland. . and. and so on. to the chief deities. parts a sort of war-god Ossian. He is surrounded by a band of heroes that a terrestrial Olympus. Conlaoch.108 Such is the rationalistic history of the but evidently the spoil is connected of Cualgne Cowspoil with the cattle of the sun-god. the slaying of his son. The heroes of each nation show also similarities. by bruising his thumb. real . other incidents of his life are his mythical education . . as those of Cuchulain. composed of counter There is the fiery Oscar (ud-scar. witchcraft spells. sun-god Caelte. the descents of the Norsemen. and many incidents are the same in their lives their birth and education in obscurity. the bard. which was burnt in the process of broiling the fish. Finn s fairy character.
Mr Skene supports him. whose names are derived from the incidents For example. in fact. blood-red and snow-white cheeks corresponds to the story of Deirdre and the sons of Uisneach. and Ben-Loyal in Sutherland shire and point to places . as well as to the correspond Thus Peredur s ideal of a bride raven-black hair and Fenian. . the incidents of the killing of Diarmat tales. again. and Scotland. have clear topographical traces of the story. is settled wherever a colony of the Welsh or the Gaels settled in a new country. word or two may be said as to the local habitation of the A heroic incidents. and can be tied down to neither claims are all genuine their time nor place. No doubt the the story. has written a volume to prove that Scotland was the scene of Arthur s victories. of the by the boar are located in Sligo but in Scotland the same story is fixed in no less than two places Argyllshire and SutherlandBen-Gulbain in Argyllshire. the Arthurian incidents are confidently located by different Mr Stuart-Glennie theorists in Brittany. And. Wales. The Irish tales localise the events in Ireland. own. Every branch and colony can claim them as . The stories are racial and general. and . Rhys allows.109 The incidents of the Arthurian cycle sometimes to the Cuchulain cycle of Ireland.
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