PREFACE Modern historians assume that their art is truthful.

In earlier days, history was less certain, being identified as "any narrative of events connected with a real or imaginary object, person, or career." History was a Norman word introduced into England after the Conquest in 1066. It springs from the Old French "estoire", borrowed from the Latin "historia". Story, which is obviously a related word, is now used for fictions; history being reserved to weightier subjects. In earlier times, the Normans described a total fiction as a "fable", the equal of the Anglo Saxon "tall tale", and the Gaelic "naidheachdan fada thall" (a long and tall story, i.e lengthy as well as implausable). The latter races, assumed that tales that were not prefixed as being dishonest were essentially true. The following history is based on myths and legends (two more Old French words). Legends recount the adventures of people, while myths examine the doings of gods. The Anglo-Saxons lacked synonymous words because they thought that gods were simply physically or intellectually superior men. The Celts and Anglo-Saxons were oral peoples, whose traditions and histories were passed from one generation to another through senachies and bards, individuals who used poetic form as a means of remembering complex stories. In Anglo-Norman times, the written word supplanted these interpretations of the past. For a very long time after the Conquest unwritten tales were denigrated as the inferior superstitions of defeated peoples. It has only lately been suggested that myths and legends represent "unverifiable history". As Irish historian Seumas MacManus has said: "The fact that myths grow around great people must not lead us to conclude that the people were mythical." Again, Dr. Douglas Hyde has suggested: "The numerous annals in which the skeleton of Irish history is contained are valuable and ancient (in spite of the fact that they were verbal handme-downs). We have no outside testimony by which we can verify their statements, but there is an abundance of internal testimony..." As an example he speaks of the Annals of Ulster, first recorded in 444, which refer to dated natural events, eclipses, the passage of comets and earthquakes, all shown scientifically coincident "to the hour and the day." Hyde reasons that instances of truth suggest general believability. MacManus also argues for the veracity of the "senachie", or Gaelic historian: "We know that the senachie and the poet were honoured next to

the king, because of the tremendous value the people set upon recording and preserving their history. (Both) took advantage of their artistic privelege to colour their narratives...but it was with the details that they were granted this liberty. The big essential facts had to remain unaltered." Our use of "hyperborean" revives another Norman word, which approximates the Anglo-Saxon "treowe nord", the English "true north". We have preferred to speak of the hyperborean world because it connotates people rather than a mere place. The Old French confiscated Latin and Greek forms of the word. The original Greek combined "hyper" with "boreal", the first indicating "over or beyond"; the second, indicating Apollo, god of the wind and messenger of the gods. The southern Greeks understood hyperborean as descriptive of the worshippers of Apollo, northern Greeks or Macedonian tribesmen. In English, the shortened boreas, still respresents the north wind personified, while boreal is anything pertaining to the north. The Greeks considered the original hyberboreans to be the oldest race on earth, "joyous and virtuous, free of disease, blessed by peace, and normally living in excess of one thousand years". Their hyperborea was a region of "perpetual warmth and sunshine with fields so fertile they yield double harvests." Nevertheless, both Herodotus and Pliny mentioned that the atmosphere was sometimes filled with falling "feathers", suggesting this north-land was within the snow-belt. Such allusions may have led Virgil to relocate hyerborea in the vicinity of the North Pole. Earlier writers had noted that the north-lands were inaccessible by land or sea and this appeared true of the place the Greek geographer Strabo called Thule. Commenting on the voyages of a countryman named Pythias, who lived about 300 B.C., Strabo said that the mariner had explored a very strange place which "neither earth, water nor air" but a substance in which all seems "suspended". As European chart-makers had no single word to decribe the North Atlantic surround they revived hyperborea as a collective for all the northernly lands of the New World and the Old. Biographers had a tendancy to limit use of the word to terrestial and mountainous parts of the globe surrounding the "Mara Glaciale" (Frozen Sea), but geographers redefined it as "all parts of Europe and America, facing on the Atlantic Ocean, where the mean temperature never exceeeds 18 deegrees centigrade (64.4 F). A little later, when the Atlantic lands were more fully explored, this use

fell away and hyperborean was used to name the arctic people of eastern Siberia, Canada and Greenland. The name Thule was similarly given to less general use, describing an Innu culture that flourished in the region between 1000 and 1900 A.D. The fifth Thule Expedition, led by Knud Rasmussen established a trading and scientific station on the northwest coast of Greenland in 1910, and that coast has since been called Thule. The land of "feathers" is usually a place of grim reality, but the legend of hidden lands of heat has survived since classical times and some strange observations have been made over the years. Robert E. Peary, travelling in the Arctic in 1899 spotted a mountainous island laying northwest of Ellesmere Island. He surveyed and charted it, and named it after Morris K. Jesup, the New York backer of his expedition. There is absolutely nothing but ice-pack northwest of Ellesmere. The American explorer Frederick A. Cooke claimed to have attained the Pole on April 21, 1908. Once there he saw what he hoped were mirages: "Peaks of snow were transformed into volcanoes belching smoke; out of the mist rose marvellous cities with strange castles; in the clouds waved golden pennants from pinnacles and domes of many-coloured splendour. Huge creatures, misshapen and grotesque, writhed along the horizon and performed amusing antics. Beginning now, and rarely absent, these spectral denizens of the North accompanied us during the entire journey. Later, when fagged of brain and sapped of bodily strength, I felt my mind swimming in a sea of half-conciousness, they filled me almost with horror, impressing me as do the monsters one sees in a nightmare." This was wind and frost magic, well known to many of our kind. Thoreau said that snowflakes were surely the chariot wheels which fell from winter battles in the sky. Much earlier the frost-giants withheld summer from northern Europe until they were assaulted by Thor, Odin, Baldur and his kin, and half of the year was assigned to gentler spirits. There is a similar myth in eastern North America, where Glooscap arranged a marriage between the giant of winter and the giantess called summer, creating a gentler season for the people of Earth World. The control of the north wind was universally credited to giants or gods, whose seat was often supposed to be the Pole Star, which was noted to be fixed in the sky, and central to the circular movement of lesser stars. In both American and European myth this super god-giant has been

referred to as the Great Bear. Known as Balkin, among certain northern Anglo-Saxon tribesmen, the Great Boar, or Bear, or Borr of the North, was still an active part of mythology in 1665 when Reginald Scott interviewed an "authentic" brownie on the Pomonia, the largest island in the Orkney group. This little man explained that the "Lord of the Northern Mountains" was "shaped like a satyr and fed upon the air, having wife and children in the number of twelve thousand, which were the brood of the northern fairies, inhabiting Sutherland and Catenes (Caithness, Scotland), with the adjacent islands...these were the companies of spirits that hold continual wars with the fiery spirits in the mountain Heckla, that vomits fire in Islandia (Iceland). That their speech was ancient Irish (Gaelic), and their dwellings the caverns of rocks and mountains, is recorded in the antiquities of Pomonia." Being one of these, the brownie named Luridan was one of those involved in the war against the fire spirits. Scot said that the creatures of the air god often met "in violent troops upon the sea. And at such times many of the fiery spirits are destroyed (and later reincarnated) when the enemy hath lured them off the mountains to fight over the water. On the contrary, when the battle is upon the mountain itself, the spirits of the air are often worsted, and then great moanings and doleful noises are heard in Iceland, and Russia, and Norway, for many days after."1 Earlier still, all of what is now Britain was called Myrddin's Clae (Enclosure) after a Cymric deity, who the Anglo-Normans referred to as Merlin. Merlin is now remembered for his part in the medieval romances concerning King Arthur, but folklore insisted that the megaliths in the ancient monument called Stonehenge were "flown" from distant parts by this magician. The Egyptologist W.M. Flinders Petrie noted that the earliest accounts said nothing of wind-power, but, rather, that the magician had the "engines" necessary for such heavy work. It would now appear that Stonehenge was built too early for Merlin to have been the general contractor. Stonehenge was started about the year 2000 B.C., while Merlin was only born "of a daemon and a Welsh princess" during the fifth century. Even the Celtic Myrddin may have been too late to participate in raising the inner stones. It is interesting to note that Stonehenge was not considered the

Reginald Scott, Deicoverie of Witchcraft, (London, 1665) b. 2 c.4.


greatest wonder of the medieval age, this honour going, instead, to "a wild wind that issues from a cavern in the earth at the mountain called Pec." The mountain and the wind are no longer known but the resident god of this place may have been Myrddin, or perhaps the Celtic underword deity called Gwyn, the hunter god, who rode the north wind conducting souls of the slain from earth to Annwn. In later Welsh tales Gwyn was identified as the chief king of the Tylwyth Teg (little people) and his underworld as the home of the home of the dead and these fay-folk. The wild, wandering winds of hyperborea undoubtedly had a part in creating the ice which lay on the land. This material was not always regarded as a source of spiritual or physiacl danger, since it did allow for the winter transit of heavy loads. It is now known that the central stones in Stonehenge were not flown in from Ireland, and I suggest that they may have been slid south from the mountains on river-ice. When the Christian missionaries arrived in Britain the Nathir of the Gaels, Wyn ab Nudd of the Welsh and the other wind-gods were supplanted by a new wind-god. Thus Elihu said to Job: "By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast." By any ordinary consideration of the work-order, the stones may have seemed to fly to their places. What the wind carried depended upon air temperature, which has never been a constant in hyperborea. Snow that falls on the land either melts in the following summer, or piles up, in which case it compresses and turns to ice. "Whenever and wherever one year's snowfall doesn't melt before the next year's snow, a glacier is born. If it goes on long enough, you have an ice sheet."2 Ice sheets have been a feature of the earths's geographic poles for the past 2.5 million years. Continental glaciers have waxed and waned, so that in the past the amount of water tied up as ice has been as much as three times what it is at present. The most recent peak of accumulation occurred only 18,000 years ago when ice covered the Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes, all of the Atlantic Provinces and most of New England north of Cape Cod. Tongues of ice penetrated the Ohio and Mississippi River

Reid Bryson, University of Wisconsin climatologist, quoted in "Ice on the World", National Geographic Magazine, January, 1987, p. 79.


valleys, covered the mid-west of the United States and the west coast as far south as Puget Sound. In Europe a similart situation existed with Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea, the North SEa and all but southern Britain completely inundated. There was ice on the Low Countries, nortern Germany, Poland, Russia and Siberia and parts of Alaska. Clearly, these were the days when the "frost-giants" held sway. The so-called Pleistocene glaciers have advanced at least nine times in the last million years, each push south being followed by interglacial, or warming, periods. Usually the cold spells took up about 100,000 years, the interglacial spans being only 10,000 years on the average. The last withdrawal has been uneven since 16,000 B.C. There was a noted warming about 13,000 years ago and another 10,000 years in the past. Legends of world-flooding are sometimes connected with latter time, but the biggest jump in temperatures came about 6,000 B.C., which climatologists refer to as the Thermal Maximum or Climatic Optimum. The removal of the ice cover has always had two effects on the underlying earth. With this mass removed there has been a tendancy for the surface to rebound, but this has usually been over-ridden by the fact that meltwater added to the oceans increased the height of sea-level in most regions. The net result has been the loss of significant real-estate, so that much of old Atlantic Canada now lies as much as 200 miles out beneath the Atlantic. The British Isles were once attached to continental Europe but they are now isolated. The same flooding has created similar islands in Atlantic Canada. In spite of that warming 8,000 years ago there have been returns to wet, cold conditions notably in 2,000 B.C. and again commencing with the year 1200 A.D. This last "Little Ice Age" bothered mankind until the 1800s, regenerating glaciers in Alaska and the Alps, and eliminating the Norse colonies established in Greenland about the year 1000 A.D. Since then we have had higher temperatures than any seen since the Optimum, and since 1880 we have had winters warmer than the average for any time during this particular interglacial period. It has been suggested that sea-levels have been raised by 360 feet since the last continental glacier commenced to melt and there is still a reservoir of ice in the Arctic Ocean. In the past, changes in temperature have been blamed on alterations in the earth's orbit and spin, but it is suspected that the

current increase is due to increased solar radiation, because of the pollution of the world's atmosphere. Men have been present in Hyperborea for hundreds of thousands of years, but they have had to flee before the ice, and current myths and legends appear to be limited to the past 18,000 years of interglacial warming. In remembering the past, it has to be remembered that the climate of the present is not the norm for our planet, and that the coastline has varied greatly under different amounts of ice and water.

THE ANTEDILUVIANS The concept of a universal flood is as persistent as the idea of strange worlds in the north. In the Norse tales the frost giants were called into being by the Allfather before the the earth was created by the gods. Their kind were spoken of as the decendants of Ymir, or Fortjotnr, given life among the icebergs of the Ginnunga-gap (Beginning Gap). The creator-god provided Ymir with a giant-cow, whose milk sustained him. Unfortunately, the Allfather had a twisted sense of humour and willed the cow to lick the form of the first god from a block of sea-ice. The giants and the gods reproduced asexually and warred, the first race representing the hostile and negative parts of Nature, the last being personifications of the sun, warmth and civilized life. The antagonists fought to a draw but the Great Borr of the North, the son of the first god, Buri impregnated a gaintess and the three sons, Odin, Hoenir and Loki joined the cause of the gods. As a result, Ymir was cut down and his blood poured out into the Gap drowning all but one of the giants. The first conservationists, the gods used Ymir's body parts to construct Middle Earth, in the centre of what had been the Ginnunga-gap. His eyebrows went to build an enclosure about that land (later called Denmark), his soild parts became land, his blood, the oceans, his bones, hills, his teeth, sheer cliffs, and his hair, vegetation. In all, the gods created Nine Worlds in the north, one occupied by the only surviving frost-giant, Bergelmeir. He found a mate in a goddess of Jotunheim (home of the big eaters) and their offspring restablished the frost giants, who continued to war against the gods. The Biblical flood described in Genesis is a less colourful than that of the Northmen, and there is an antidiluvian footnote in Celtic lore: Although Noah's relatives considered him a harmless crank, most of them attempted to escape the Great Flood when it actually manifested itself. Ships were not unknown, and few of the immediate family of Bith, a grandson of Noah, made an attempt to flee the rising waters, leaving the Mediterranean for the ancient island now called Ireland. They got away

well enough under the leadership of his daughter, the Lady Cassir. Unfortunately they sailed with fifty women and only three men. We are not told the reason for Bith's death, but he was buried in the new land at the foot of an Irish mountain that carries his name. The legends are more pointed concerning Ladhra who cohabited with and died from "an excess of women." Perhaps symbolicaaly, he was buried at the top of a mountain named after him. By that time the flood-waters caught up with the colonists, and Lady Cassir was carried to her death by flood waters which surprised her at "near Boyle's limpis fountain". The remaining forty-nine women were also swept to their deaths, but in the tradition of the Norse tale, there was a survivor, who put his energies into building a "tul-tunna" (flood-barrel) rather than diverting himself with sex. This enterprising lad was named Finntan. He anchored his barrel to the summit of the mountain still called Tul-tunna, "and slept for a year, while waters encumbered the earth". In those days it was a rule of the game, that no one would be subjected to double jeopardy. Having missed his proper fate, Finntann was afterwards overlooked by the gods becoming a virtual immortal. He settled quietly in Dun Tulcha, southwestern Kerry, reappearing at several points in Irish history to settle land claims. In the reign of Diarmund Maccarroll, in the sixth century after Christ, he was still avaliable to give testimony concerning a dispute over the royal land boundaries. When he arrived at the palace this aged gentleman was accompanied by eighty-one clans of his descendants. Asked about his age Fintaan said he had once brought home a red berry from a yew tree, planted it and watched it grow until it was so large one hundred people could shelter beneath it. Eventually it fell from old age and he used the wood to construct vats, pitchers and yew-kegs. The latter he filled with mead and kept until they fell apart of old age. He refashioned a few utensils out of bits of salvaged wood and kept these until time finished them. He continued : "These all are dust, and I leave it to Almighty God that I do not know where that dust lies now, but I remain as you see me!" The flood struck Scandinavia, Ireland and the Middle East, but the most severe damage was done to the legendary Atlantis. It has been guessed that Atlantis was based on an obscure tradition of a continent, or islands, far to the west in the Atlantic Ocean. The Athenian sage and lawgiver named Solon (639 B.C.) had come across legends of this land while visiting the libraries at Sais, Egypt. An old priest is supposed to have deciphered an ancient papyrus for him describing the rise and decline

of an island empire. Solon returned to his homeland, and told the story of Atlantis to his relatives and friends, the information being held by a man named Critias in the fifth century B.C. Transcribing what he heard from Solon by way of Critias, Plato wrote about the sunken continent in a book entitled Timaeus. Speaking from the point of view of the Egyptian priest, Plato wrote: "Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state (Athens) in our histories. But one exceeds all these in greatness and valour. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end. This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable (like a lake); and there were islands situated in front of (on the seaward side of)the pillars of Hercules (Straits of Messina). This island was larger than Libya and Asia Minor put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean." This island he described as: "a vast power, gathered into one, which endeavoured to subdue at a blow our country (Egypt) and yours (Greece) and the whole of the region within the straits (the Mediterranean Sea). Fortunately, Solon, your country shone forth with superior couargae and military skill. Athens was the leader of the Hellenes, and when the others were defeated she stood alone, defeated and triumphed over the Atlantean invaders, and preserved all from slavery, liberating those who had been defeated. Afterwards, there occured violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of terror all of that war-like race was swallowed by cracks in the earth, and the island of Atlantis, likewise, disappeared into the depths of the sea. For this reason, the ocean in those parts is yet impassable and impenetrable because of shoals of mud, left by the subsidence of the island." In a second book, the Critias, Plato described the island itself. In the middle of it there was a fertile agricultural region, surrounded by mountains. Here stood the capital city, built on a circular plan, with radiating roads. The royal palace was supposedly "a marvel to behold for size and beauty." It was well equipped with running water and hot and cold baths. There were temples there to the sea-gods and these were decorated with gold, silver and ivory. Atlantis was rich in minerals, metrals and timber and possessed the animals and plants usually found in

Africa. The coast-line was faced with steep cliffs, but there were many fine protected harbours, which were always crowded with shipping. Plato suggested that there were ten kings governing Atlantis, all descendants of ancient unions between gods of the sea and a mortal ancestress named Cleito. The laws of their empire requiored that they meet every five years to administer the laws and make new judgements, but first they were required to hunt down one of the bulls which ranged freely on their island. This they captured alive using staves and nooses. The gods of the sea required that a bull be sacrificed yearly and the blood let so that it flooded over their bronze pillar of laws. Richard Cavendish has said: "Speculation about Atlantis has occupied every generation since the Renaissance. (It) grew during the eighteenth century with the type of antiquarianism which delighted in discovering the religion of the druids from three or four classical references..." 3 In summary, it would appear that the Atlanteans may correpond with the Hespirides, Although the Hesperides were land dwellers said to live in "The Fortunate Isles", they are classed as nymphs, or sea-maidens, daughters the Triton giant Atlas, who gave his name to Atlantas. Atlas was supposed to have been among giants who warred against the Olympian gods, having been subdued he was magically bound to Mount Atlas in northern Africa, where he was forced to support the weight of the heavens on his back. One of the labours of Hercules was to obtain the golden apples of youth from the Atlanteans, who guarded them for the goddess Hera. The seeds for these apples had been proivided by the earth-goddess as a wedding present to Hera. They were grown in a grove tended by the nympha nd guarded by a dragon. Not knowing where the Fortunate Isles were located, Hercules went to Atlas, promising him time off in exchange for the apples. Atlas obtained the apples and was tricked into taking the weight of the heavens from Hercules. In Bory de Saint Vincent's "Essais sur les Isles Fortunees" he

Richard Cavendish, Encyclopedia of the Unexplained, (London, 1974). See pp. 45-46 for dissertation concerning the connection between Atlantis and the occult, particularly as it touches on the Nazi movement known as the "Volkische."


inserted a conjectural map of Atlantis, indicating that the Amazons, Gorgons and Tritons were citizens, but most authorities place the Amazons in the Middle East, and there are not enough references to the snake-headed Gorgons to say where they lived. The fact that Atlas was a Triton who warred against the gods and that he fathered the "Atlantides" helps that connection. Oceanus and Tethys were the origianl rulers of the deep sea. When Zeus (or Jove) overcame this pair, Neptune and his wife Amphitriute replaced them as sea deities. The impiety of the Atlanteans was their preference for the older sea-gods, and the Greeks imagined that the destruction of Atlantis was arranged by the Olmpian gods. Geologists and oceanographers have agreed that no part of the Atlantic Ocean floor has been subject to a calamity which caused it to subside. Further, the mid-Atlantic ridge is not treated as the remnant of a sunken continent. It is true that this submarine rift and ridge, lying at an average depth of one mile, comes to the surface as Iceland and minor islands such as Heimsay, Surtsey, the Azores and the Ascensions, but these have been raised from the floor by vulcanism, rather than the floor depressed. Geologists also agree that there were no vast earth convulsions in the year 10,000 B.C., when Atlantis is supposed to have submerged. Several alternatives have been suggested, including the idea of a tsunmi generated by the loss of a small earth moon as it plunged into the Atlantic, the crater now being hidden by the waters of the ocean. Unfortunately these waters have been plumbed with modern gear and nothing showing the expected configuration has been found. This leaves the possibilty that the location was at fault, pushing the legend to other parts of the world. Some, starting with K. T. Frost, of Qieen's University, Belfast, have suggested that Atlantis was actually Crete, which was devastated about that time, but this seems implausible considering the supposed size of Atlantis. In his book, The Voices of Africa, (1913), L. Frobenius theorized that the lost continent was once a attached to Nigeria. When J. Spanuth wrote, Atlantis, The Mystery Unravelled in 1956, he was certain that he had seen the walls of the island kingdom on a submarine reef near the Danish Heligoland. In 1964 Sprague and Catherine de Camp associated it with the ancient Spanish city of Tarteusse (or Tarhish as the Greeks called it) which was decidedly beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Like Atlantis it had precipitous sea-cliffs and an interior plain. It vanished, but in 500, rather than 10,000 B.C.

The old Celtic peninsula of Bres, in Brittany was one of the traditional locations given for the sea-giants, who were supposed to maintain underwater residences just offshore. A similar story is recorded for Tory Island, northwest of Ireland was said to be the land base of Fomorian sea-giants, who had their underwater castles in waters near the Isle of Man. In the race of waters separating Denmark and Sweden, men have located the sea-dwelling Vanas. I.W. Cornwall, a lecturer at London University in 1964 suggested that Europe at the extreme of the latest glaciation might have had a sea-level depressed by as much as 600 feet. While this does not seem like a great height, it means that the sea-water was, 18,000 years ago, below the level of the underwater banks which now constitute the continental shelf. He notes that "even at maximum regression there were no land bridges between Europe and Africa save at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. That Sea is very deep, the only major land gains being north east of Italy. The North Sea shelf is a different matter. All of Ireland was once under ice, but the south of England was never beneath the ice. The exposed continental shelf between there and France, and from there westward comprised an area of dry land equal to all of the British Isles then under ice. Perhaps by coincidence this was the region later identified with the sea-giants who lived west of France. To help our argument Cornwall notes that islands may be classified as continental or oceanic, England belonging to the former and the Azores to the latter. He sees continental islands as essentially part of the main land-masses of the world, separated from them by shallow seas. Oceanic islands on the other hand, are always small and volcanic and completely independent of other lands. In the region where Atlantis is mapped by Saint Vincent there is nothing but oceanic islands, but if Atlantis was on the shelf, a little to the north, of the charted position (but still west of the Gates of Hercules) it becomes plausable as a huge principality. While the distribution of land and water hasn't changed much in the last few thousand years it is apparent from our map that many continental islands have not always been isolated. As the glacier melted, the shelf flooded, but even at a reduced estimate of 360 feet of lowered sea level as the extreme, it was entirely possible for men to cross the English Channel without water-wings. As flooding increased, the worst that

stood in the way were a few shallow lakes. Cornwall thinks this situation persisted until 10,000 years in the past, which is coincident with the loss of Atlantis. For many years the uplift of land as the ice mass was reduced probably kept the waters from gaining on the land. The situation for the Irish Channel must have been different, for there were, "only two narrow land bridges between Anglesey and Dublin and Lleyn Peninsula and Wicklow Head which would have emerged briefly at the last glacial maximum." 4 The old topography can only be guessed at, but the development of Atlantic islands, which were finally lost to the sea was inevitable. Whether the loss was catastrophic or not, the legend of Atlantis and habitations below the sea is not an impossibilty. The Atlantic coastline was once similarly exposed with huge areas, inluding all of the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine and the extensive Nova Scotian, Newfoundland and Labrador shelves exposed in 10,000 B.C. We know that men and animals lived there at exactly this time as their remains, their weapons and camp-fire debris have been accidentally dredged from places like Gerorges Bank, where the depth of the sea, many miles from the coast is still no more than thirty feet. Islands have disappeared from submergence and erosion on this coast, and if "Atlantis" was not on the European shelf, it must be remembered that America lies due west of the Pillars of Hercules.


I.W. Cornwall, The World of Ancient Man, (Toronto, 1966),

p. 117.

THE POSTDILUVIAN WORLD In point of fact, the forerrunners of modern men were in England as long as 500,000 years ago and Homo sapiens has been in the British Isles for 50,000 years. Since glaciation buried the relics of these first men, and melt waters inundated relics from 10,000 years in the past, most of what we know of men in this part of the world pertains to the relatively "modern" culture, termed Aurignacian. These people are thought to have originated in the Near East settled in France and pursued game across the land bridge to England some 30,000 years ago. These nomads were sometime residents of southern England; Scotland and Ireland still being under the ice. It is suspected that they may have been driven out by the final advance of glaciation sinces the caves they inhabited have been found blocked by glacial till. After the Aurignacians came the Gravettians, a culture of herdsmen who came out of southern Russia by way of Spain. THey may have been associated with the Solutreans, who also came to England from France and Spain. These people lived in a time when bison, horses, wild oxen, mammoths, reindeer and the woolly rhinoceros were the chief game animals of the region. At that, few humans preferred Britain and it has been estimated that the winter population was no more than 250 people. As the cold and the ice receded, some of these hunters settled the far west. By 10,000 B.C., the Magdalenian culture had come to the Continent. These people were a highly advanced stone-age culture, but there equal was not found in Britain. Some archaeologists have suggested

that the islands were too cold to attract the newcomers, but otherrs suggest that by then the North Sea had developed out of melt-water separating the ancient islanders from the advantages of commerce with the rest of Europe. After the North Sea separation other immigrants began to arrive, presumably by boat, although the first "sea voyages" involved nothing more than crossing what would now be considered a wide river. The earliest arrivals were the Tardenoisians, users of flint tools, who brought with them the first dogs and either assimilated or were incorporated into other tribes already on the islands. The oceans were better established when the shore-loving Azilians arrived. "They hunted with dogs, fished and rarely pushed inland from the coast. Some of them survived into the bronze age." In legend, a similar people are recalled as the Fomors (Gaelic fo+mor, under+the sea). They are remembered by their numerous enemies as "gloomy sea-giants...warlike and very troublesome to the world." Some said that they were "sea-demons...creatures of darkness and ill." It was generally agreed that all of their kind were huge, deformed in some way, often with a single eye (and sometimes a single arm and leg to match), or with the heads of animals. The malignant giants of fairy-tales and nursery rhymes were invariably sea-giants, the land-giants being regarded as a separate race, who damaged through bumbling misadventure rather than with purpose. Aside from their "wild, unsociable, behaviour", the Fomors had the nasty habits of shape-changing and anthrophagy (i.e.they ate people). The Fomors were supposedly led by an immortal sea-god named Ler (Gaelic) or Llyr (Cymric), who was singular among their kind. It was guessed that the Fomorians originally lived far out in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean in caverns where they were able to breathe the oxygen of the water. Although they could remain beneath ordinary water for long periods, it was agreed that they could drown like ordinary men when deprived of their "sea-suits". These took various forms including that of seals and large ocean-going fish. Sometimes the seapeople travelled as creatures that appeared to be men from the waist up and fish from their down. It was noticed that giants who were deprived of their ocean-gear were unable to return to the sea. Most historians argue that the Fomors were "African" sea-rovers, in

which case they might have been surviving descendants of the seapeoples worshipped by the Atlanteans. The animal heads could have been masks, and shape-changing a primitive misconception. The first men mounted on horseback were sometimes mistaken as unusual four-footed creatures who might also appear in two-footed form. The Innu in his kayak apppears to walk waist high in the water. Taking events at face value, he removes his "tail" on land, and cannot satisfactorily re-enter the water without it. Since primitive people knew nothing of the curvature of the earth ships coming to shore seemed to rise out of the water; while those departing, went to some subterraneran kingdom. The accusations of cannibalism have to be taken in context, since the Fomors were rarely allowed to characterize themselves. It was later maintained that witches feasted off roast babies (and) the same charge was levelled at the Jews in the Middle Ages and in Nazi Germany. At one time the Roman Catholics made a similar criticism of the Protestant Clergy, while they charged monks, nuns and priests with the same vice. The Irish historian, Katherine Scherman has noted: "This race surfaces time and again through The Book of Invasions, always uncouth and vicious, always seeping in from the shore and being driven back again by the more civilized and better equipped newcomers." The first protagonists were the Partholans (whose descendants are called the Macfarlanes). They landed on the ancient land, now called Ireland, with nine thousand settlers. The Fomors seemed to have favoured the western coast of that island, a major stronghold being located on Tory Island, to the northwest, with others of their kind located on the Isle of Man and inb the Hebrides. The Fomors built towers on the plains of Sligo in Connaught County and it is presumed they were herders since, "they made sheep land". They were apparently not an agricultural people, and Partholon, the patriarch of the opposing race, noted that they had no control of fire and "ate poorly". He was the first to note that they possessed only "one foot, one hand and one eye", but nevertheless he found them worthy antagonists. Scherman supects that the Fomors "represent a faint memory of mesolithic man, who crept about the edges of the country catching what food he could with his rude stone weapons...presenting his infelicitous countenance and his paltry resistence to more progressive successors." 5 Other scholars surmised that the Fomorians represented older sea-gods

Scherman, The Flowering of Ireland, p. 255.

worshipped throughout Ireland before the Celtic deities arrived. There is even blood of this race in the Celtic Cailleach Bheur, who has been described as a one-eyed giantess, who sometimes shape-changed into a gray mare. The "winter hag" had charge of the "geamhradh" (season of thunter), and had care and charge of the animals of the wilderness. Celts who harvested these animals were careful to propitiate this spirit, who strode from mountain to mountain carrying a staff which showered snow and could blast men with lightning. The creature known as the fachan (creature with the "false" or strangling hand) still occupies the western coastline of Scotland. Unipods killed one of the leaders of a Norse expedition to North America shortly after 1,000 A.D. They also attracted the attention of the early European explorers of Africa and were supposedly seen by Jacques Cartier in Atlantic Canada. The kookwees, or giants were an important part of Abenaki legend and a similar race was known to the Innuktituut as the Tornit. The latter were said to have lived among the residents of the central Canadaian Arctic, and were considered kin-folk of men, "but much taller and stronger". They lived with the Innuktituut in stone houses of large size, and these ruins are still pointed out as conclusive evidence of their former existence. This group seemed more advanced than their Irish-based relatives as they carried "lamps with which to cook the meat of seals" under their long deerskin coats. They were inferior to their smaller cousins in being unable to make stone implements. They also had to steal bows and arrows and kaiaks from the eskimos, since they lacked the skill to make these useful tools. The Innuktituut were at first afraid to defend their property until a young man drilled a hole in the skull of one while he slept. This ruined a general supposition that the Tornit were invincible, and the "giants" fled to the polar ice cap. After that they were rarely seen hunting at the head of fjords. These descriptions of pre stone-age peoples do not correspond with the Fomorians that Nemed encountered when he sailed his thirty-four ships out of the Caspian Sea into the boundless Atlantic: "There appeared to them a golden tower in the sea close at hand. Thus also it was: when the sea was in ebb the tower appeared above it and when it flowed the water rose above the tower. Nemed went with his people towards it for

greed of gold."6 Their first sorties were ineffectual and they were forced to retreat to Ireland. There they dammed the rivers to create new lakes and cleared plains for farming. They were harassed by the Fomorians who demanded two-thirds of their milk, corn and children as "crop insurance". The Nemedians sent word to their Greecian allies that they were being oppressed. Their plea must have been persuasive for soon help came in the form of "an immense host of warriors, along with druids and druidesses, all accompanied by venomous animals, hurtful, strange creatures." Whatever the nature of this beast, it helped them take the sea-towers of the Fomorians. They lived in prosperity until "a great wave" swept in from the sea and "drowned an annihilated" both men and giants. Some Nemedians surviver this catastrophe but "downcast and fearful of the plague" these neolithic farmers abandoned Ireland for England and ultimately returned to the Near East. The sea-islands presumably returned to the control of the Fomors while "the land of Ireland was desert for the space of two hundred years." The Firbolgs and roving Firgallians Came next like the waves in their flow; The Firdonnans arrived in battalions. And landed in Erris - Mayo. 7 Not much can be said of the Firgallions and Firdonnans except to note that the Gaelic word "fir" is the plural of "fear" (a man). The modifying words that follow indicate "yellow" and "brown", respectively. The Firbolgs have had a larger part in hyperborean legend, which claims that they were industrious and competent peasnt-farmers, whose ancestors worked the Greecian peninsula. Gerald S. Hawkins interprets "bolg" as "bag" and explains that these people created fertile fields through the labour-intensive practise of carrying sub-soil to their land in leather bags: "They made clovery plains of the rough-headed hills with clay from elsewhere." These "people of the bags" found the work tedious and their

Padraic Colum, A Treasury of Irish Folklore, New York, 1962, p. 43. Padraic Colum, Ibid. Taken by the author from an anonymous 1913 street-ballad which listed the successive conquests of Ireland in poetic form. p. 54.


masters, "the well-greaved Acheans", increasingly demanding. In the end, they grew "tired, weary and despondent", and threw off their "intolerable bondage." Creating "fair vessels of the skins of animals" they quit the Mediterranean for the lands of northwestern Europe. 8 Hartley Alexander, a one-time professor of philsophy at the University of Nebraska, has identified these Firbolg races as "a dark population of short stature, believed to have Iberian (Spanish) affinities. He equated them with the Silures, another pre-Celtic people who occupied southern Wales. His translation of Firbolg was "people of the goddess Bolg".The Irish historian Catherine Scherman considers them to have been "an offshoot ofd the continental tribe known as the Belgae." This is tenuous since the Belgae were first recorded in Caesar's time as "residents of northern France and Belgium." The Firbolgs, on the other hand, were in position in Ireland before the arrival of the Celts in 1,000 B.C. The argument that they were people of Bolg is more likely, this goddess having given her name to the waterway known as the River Boyne in Ireland. "Boyne" is a combination word, the latest spelling variation in a long line of phoenetic interpretations of local dialects. The Gaelic "bo" indicates cow, while the obsolete "ann" corresponds with both the Cymric "tan" and the Gaelic "teine" (fire). Bolg, or Boann, was in fact a firegoddess corresponding closely with the Teutonic god Donar, or Thor, master of the north wind, lightning and thunder. It is also noteworthy that the prosperity of the Firbolgs ultimately depended herding cattle, explaining their choice of deity. This fact also explains the erection of their capital on the eastern side of the Island, at a place later called Tara, the site of the best pastures in Ireland. The Scottish clans bearing the Gaelic prefix "mhac" (son of) or "mhic" (sons of), or "O'" (grandsons of) frequently claim descent from the Firbolgs, although this ancestory is far from certain. Scherman says they held their own against the Fomorian sea-giants because of "their war like aristocracy". They brought other novelties to the Island; a system of monarchy and bronze weapons. This last marked the end of the stone-age. "They did not disappear from the story like

Gerald S. Hawkins, Stonehenge Decoded, New York, 1965,

p. 29.

those that had gone before, but left descendants. Patrician as they were in their time the remnants of this race was enslaved by Irelands last preChristian conquerors." 9 Scherman has identified the Firbolg tribes with the Picts, who were displaced from Ireland to northern Scotland. The Scottish historian MacNeill also feels the Picts were in Ireland ahead of the Gaels and inhabited portions of Scotland at the same time. On the other hand, Seumas MacManus thinks that the Picts arrived well after the Firbolg settlement, landing in the southwest where they assisted Gaelic tribesmen in driving off a tribe of marauding Britons. Afterwards they had quarrels with Crimthann, the chief of that quarter of the land, and he arranged their resettlement in Alba (Scotland). Whatever their origin and lines of descent, the Firbolgs were notably mismatched with the next arrivals who were called the Tuatha daoine (northern people). Pronounced "tootha dannan" ("tootha doonu" in Scottish Gaelic) , this race was "notably skilled in the crafts if not the arts". It was said of them: "(they) lived in the northern islands of the world learning lore and magic and druidism and wizardry and cunning, until they surpassed the sages of the arts of heathendom. There were four cities in which they learned their crafts and sciences and the diabolic arts: Falias and Gorias, Murias and Findias. Out of Falias was brought the Stone of Fal (now called the Lia Fal, or Coronation Stone). Anciently this magic stone legitimized the king of the country by "singing" aloud when he placed his foot on it. Common folk were judged by changes in their appearance when they stood upon this "centre stone": the innocent blanched white, but those guilty of a crime turned beet red. A woman approaching the stone knew she was destined not to give birth if the Lia Fail oozed blood. If it exuded milk the supplicant was known to be pregnant. This "stone of destiny" rested at first with the Tuathan kings of Tara. One historian notes that the Lia Fail "was moved from its original place and now stands to commemorate the spot where insurgents died in a skirmish with the English in 1798." 10


Katherine Scherman, Ibid, p. 255. Katherine Scherman, Ibid, p. 62.


Out of Gorias was brought "the spear that Lugh had. No battle was ever won against it or him who held it in his hand." The sword of Nuada came from the city of Findias, and when drawn would magically seek blood; "no one ever escaped from it, it was irresitible." Finally from Murias came the Dagda's cauldron; "no company departed from it unthankful". since it was perpetually full of food and drink. The exact lands from which the Tuatha daoine came is unknown but they had no intention of returning there. Once they beached their vessels on the strands of ancient Ireland, they burned them so that they could not be used by the Firbolgs, or tempt them to retreat. This done they wrapped their host in an impenetrible black cloud and marched inland. When the Firbolgs became aware of their peril the Tuathans were entrenched on a mountain near the Plains of Sligo in the western province later called Connaught. The Firbolgs were conscious of their own numerical superiority, but disliked the tales of irrestible weapons, and did not immediately respond to demands for battle or capitulation. When the two armies were drawn up at Mag Tured (Moytura, on the Mayo-Galway border), the Firbolgs insisted that the etiquette of war be observed. While the Tuathans shuffled impatiently, emissaries explained that time would be needed to sharpen swords and spears. On another day it was found that armour needed refurbishing, and weeks later, the Firbolgs insisted on time to refurbish their helmets. Not to be rushed into warfre, the dark curlyhaired clansmen insisted on the perfection of their last wickerwork shield before they would march. In fairness, they observed that the Tuathans lacked the heavy spears that they carried and insisted that their enemies have time to equip themselves. On the other hand, the Firbolgs noted that they needed a few weeks to forge the light-weight swords preferrred by the Tuathans. Altogether, the Firbolgs managed tom keep the Tuatha daoine fuming and freting and impotent for a hundred and five days before any conflict took place. While the Tuathans were technologically superior it seemed that they lost the war known as trickery, but they did manage one point: As the Firbolgs had obvious numerical superiority, the Tuthans suggested that the armies should fight one-on-one, excluding the majority of Firbolgs. The latter were reluctant to go this far with the ethics of battle, but recognized the justice of the argument and agreed.

When the battle came, it raged for four days. The Firbolgs seeing themselves cut down, arranged a truce and suggested that casulties be restricted by pitting 300 hundred men from each side against one another in the concluding fray. Some reporters said that the Firbolgs were absolutely "routed to the outermost isles of the sea," but it appears that the Tuathans gained a pyrrhic victory: "So bravely had the losing ones fought, and so sorely exhausted the De Dannan, that the latter, to end the struggle, were glad to leave to the Firbolgs that quarter of the Island wherein they fought (Connaught)."11 Scherman has another version of the fate of the Firbolgs: "The subordinate people retreated to the wild places of the south and east, the provinces of Munster and Leinster, to pursue a style of life simpler and rougher than that of the new aristocracy..." 12 Where they went is unimportant. A major event of the battle at southern Moytura was the slaying of the High King Eochaid, the Horseman of Heaven. He fought so notably he was incorporated as a god-spirit of the Tuatha daoine. Sreng, a fierce warrior of the Firbolg side had cut off the hand of the Tuathan king called Nuada. This was not an irreplacable member since the new race included Creidne a master of mechanical magic, who created a new articulated hand made of silver. Unfortunately, one of the laws of the Tuatha daoine excluded men with physical blemishes from holding leadership, any defect being seen as a weakening of the god-spirit of the king. Nuada was therefore forced into retirement with consequences which we will outline in the next chapter. As for the Firbolgs, those banished to the outer islands (presumably the Hebrides of Scotland) returned to the larger Island in the second century of the Christian era. Their chief was Angus, a leader of Clann Umor. They were given an unpleasant welcome in Ulster and eventually took the side of southerners under Queen Maeve of Connaught. For this, they were granted the seaboard of Galway and Clare and the Arran Isles. On Inishmore, one of these islands, they built Dun Angus, a notable redoubt whose dry-stone walls were up to twelve feet in thickness. The seaward wall of this fortress once overlooked a sheer cliff two hundred feet above the water,

11 12

Macmanus, Ibid., p. 3. Katherine Scherman, Ibid, p. 260.

but much has eroded away. Nevertheless, it is still obvious that this holding place of the ancient Firbolgs once covered eleven acres of the Island. Among the Gaels the Pictii (Latin, painted ones) were termed the Cruithnians (wheat-eaters). They became confounded with the Firbolgs because they occupied common lands, were equally obscure in origins, and shared a matriarchal system of government, with descent in the royal line according to female succession. According to legend, Crimthann in the interest of resettling these violent folk gave them Irish wives to take to Alba with them. This was done on condition that inheritance favour these women, and this became a hereditary condition among the Scottish Picts.

The Tuatha Daoine The Tuatha Daoine (sometimes written Tuatha Danann or Tuatha De Danann) were also a matriarchal people, and it has been suggested that the origin of "daoine" (still retained in Gaelic to describe people) was Don, Dan, or Danu, the name given their progenitor. This earth-mother was later adopted as a deity by Celtic tribesmen, although she continued to be recognized as the ancestress of the Tuatha daoine. Gerald Hawkins has identified their original "northern isles" as belonging to the Greecian landfall, rather than the far north of Scandinavia. In addition to their lore, magic, druidism, wisdom and cunning, the Tuathans came to Ireland as possessors of "the diabolic arts" and were practitioners of "every sort of paganism". Their magic included arts of conciliation, for it is recorded that they "travelled between the Athenians and Philistines", apparently as mediators. According to one legend, the Tuatha daoine were descendants of a few Nemedians who had returned to Greece after their abortive settlement of Ireland. The old homeland was not forgotten and they sailed away "in great speckled ships" to reclaim the land of their forefathers. It is said that they came specifically "to take the land from the Firbolg". They landed on the first day of May, which they perceived as the annual time for the final battle between winter and summer. They equated themselves with the gods of light and the Firbolgs with those of darkness, thus this augured well for the beginning of combat. In putting down the Firbolgs, the Tuathans had assistance from the Fomorians, the alliance being firmed up by marriage between the two tribes. Among their champions, the warrior-magicians numbered Breas, whose mother was a Tuathan princess, while his father Elatha was chieftain of Fomorian sea-pirates from the Hebrides. Unlike most of his Fomorian kin, Breas was a handsome youth and completely without blemish. When King Nuada lost his hand and throne, the Tuathans assembled and elected this young man as his successor. Breas managed to keep Ireland for seven years. The Tuatha daoine

expected him to show favouritism toward his fathers race, but were incensed when he refused to take action against the Fomorians who raided their villages. He was not, however, deposed for mismanagement as much as meaness. In those days an open hand was more important than a open heart, patronage being expected of the high king. "The knives of his people", it was noted, "were not greased at his table, nor did their breath smell of ale at the banquet. Neither their poets, nor their bards, nor their satirists, nor their harpers, nor their pipers, nor their trumpeters, nor their jugglers, nor their buffons, were ever seen engaged in amusing them in assembly at his court." As a consequence there was constant grumbling among his retainers for the king represented the collective spirit of his people and meaness was considered a disgrace. To compound his niggarliness, Breas committed the unforgivable sin of insulting Cairbre, the greatest poet and songsmith in the land. The poets required a minimum of twelve years of apprenticeship. The lowest grade of bard had mastery of sixteen of the three hundred and fifty different metres of poetry. The king-bard had mastered all of these forms and could compose impromtu shorter poems on any subject which happened to be suggested. The poet-ollam was, additionally, a master of history, the antiquities and genealogies of the leading families of the land, and could recount them on request. Although poets were attached to certain principalities, they frequently went on circuit, visiting minor and major kings, chanting their praises in direct proportion to the patronage they received. Every poet travelled with a retinue of from ten to twenty-four attendants, but the most famous travelled with three or four times this prescribed number. All courts and residences were thrown open to a visit from the ollam which was usually restricted to a single night. In later days, poets sometimes imposed themselves on a particular prince for days, weeks, months or even years, his company being supported by the host. The tongues of the poets were feared because of their ability with satire, and the fees they received were usually voluntary and generous. Breas may have been unfamiliar with the customs of the Tuatha daoine respecting their poets. Cairbre expected a lavish banquet and quarters, but the King placed him in a bare cold apartment and presented him with a few dried oat-cakes on a small platter. The ollam said nothing but departed with unusual haste and composed a withering satire, which

was repeated throughout the land. Incensed by this final evidence of avarice, the people rose and drove this boorish Fomorian from the throne of Tara. They recalled King Nuada Airgead Lam (of the Silver Hand) and restated him as king in spite of his "blemish". Breas fled to the Hebrides, where he complained to his father Elatha. The latter collected a mighty sea-fleet and soon filled the ocean from Scotland to Eirinn with a host of Fomorians. Among these was Balor Beimann, a chieftain whose people occupied Tory Island, off the northwestern coast of the Tuathan island. Balor was reputed to live in a "crystal" palace which had the ability to collect, focus and direct sunlight with devastating effect against distant targets. It may be relevant that the Gaelic verb "bailim" still means "to gather or collect". This "bal-or", or "god of the sun" has been represented not as a technologist but as "Balor of the Evil Eye" or "Balor of the Piercing Eye" in Celtic myth: "His one eye was never opened but on the battlefield, when four men thrust a polished handle throught the lid to lift it. Then men died by the thousands from the venomous fumed that emanated from it."13 The palace of Balor was constructed by the Goban Saor (Gaelic, "mouthy sawyer, or carpenter). He and his son finished their construction for the this Fomorian but, "he did not wish to let them go back (to Eirinn), for fear they should make for another man a palace as good as his." While the builders were on the topmost scaffolds, Balor ordered the lower parts taken away, "for he wanted to let them die on the top of the building." This might have been the end of both carpenters, but the younger sawyer had developed a friendship with a girl of the clan, and passing, she suggested, "...It is easier to throw seven stones down than to put one up..." The young man was able to reasonthis out, and soon he and his father began throwing stones to the ground. Hearing their fall, Balor rushed out and ordered the scaffolding replaced. Knowing they were not out of danger, the Goban Saor noted, "there is a crookedness in your work, and had I three tools left at home, I would straighten this wall, so that their would be no palace in the world comparable with this! My tools are: Crooked against crooked; corner

Scherman, Ibid, p. 56.

against corner; and engine against deceit, and no man can bring them back but your son!" Hearing this, Balor allowed his son to voyage to Eirinn where he approached the wife of Goban Saor with the key-words. She immediately recognized them as a plea for help and led the Fomorian lad to a deep carpenter's chest. She asked the boy to retrieve the tools, and while he was bent over, pushed him in and locked the chest. She then sent word to Balor that his son was a hostage until young Goban and old Goban arrived safely home. The two sawyers were released with full pay, and Balor's son returned. Surprisingly, the Fomorian asked his departing guests to recommend a blacksmith "for putting irons on his palace, except the Gloss (champion cow)." 14 The two departing "guests" suggested Gavidjeen Go. When they arrived back in Eirinn, the Saors strongly urged Gavidjeen Go to be careful in contracting with Balor Beimann and accept nothing less than the Gloss as compensation for his work. It was generally known that this cow could fill twenty barrels with milk in a single day, so the man who possessed her would be wealthy. Balor consented to this agreement, knowing that the Gloss would only follow where the magical bye-rope was given. Since he did not give the rope to Mr. Go, Balor knew that the champion would eventually return to his own barns. Gavidjen Go was a practised blacksmith so he was able to promise swords to those who minded his new cow. One of these was Kian, son of Contje, who pledged his head against the loss of the animal. Kian managed this for the full day, but that evening, on returning her, was met by the Laughing Knight, who ran out to Kian and said, "The smith is about to temper your sword, and unless you are there to hold it, there will be no power with it when you weild it." Hearing this, Kian complied, but inside the smithery he was asked, "Where is the Gloss?" Kian thought she stood just outside the door, but rushing there he found the "Knight" and the Gloss gone.


Colum, Ibid, p. 535.

"Then you have forfeited your head! cut it off," demanded Go.

Lay it upon the anvil that I may

"Give me three days and it will be returned." "I will allow that," said his adversary. Kian afterwrds tracked the Gloss to the northwestern corner of the land. Losing the trail at the edge of the ocean, "he wandered up and down the shore, plucking his hair from his head, in trouble after the Gloss." 15 Entirely at a loss, he noticed a man travelling on the sea in a currach (half spherical hide-covered boat). Kian called to him, and was soon confronted by Manaun MacLir, one of the gods of the sea. Manaun was one of two immortals in the Fomorian host, the other his father Ler, the supreme god of the sea. The former god lived in the deeps off the shores of the Isle of Man, but also had a land residence on the island itself. It was said that he sometimes harassed the Irish countryside, coming ashore on foggy nights in the form of an animated triskelion. The triskelion was three bent legs radiating from a common centre; it became a three-armed swastika, the current symbol of the Isle of Man. Fortunately for Kian, Manaun was allied with the Tuathans and had little sympathy for Balor. When the quest was explained, the sea-god offered transportation to Tory Island in return for half of anything taken from the island, excepting the Gavidjeen Gloss. Although he travelled in a simple currach Kian found himself instantly transported to his destination. On the far shore he found the Fomorians eating raw food, and being a culinary expert he welcomed them to his fire and a new taste experience. These individuals went to Balor Beimann, who hired Kian as tender of fire, cook and story-teller to his court. The two sons of Balor, in training as druid on another island, had warned his father that his destiny was to be killed by a son of his own daughter. As a consequence, Balor had isolated her, and personally attended to providing her with food. Since she was always in the presence of a guardian woman, the Fomorian chieftain felt certain she would never

Colum, Ibid, p. 536.

become impregnated. In his own interest, Manaun had gifted Kian with an enchantment that allowed him to open locks and shut them behind himself, knowing this would give him access to the hidden treasure of his rival. Noticing Balors unusal food delivery schedule, Kian followed him and unlocked a door in the inner keep where he found the two woman. He introduced them to his cookery and even if the elder woman had not been mute, she afterwards favoured the stranger. This was even more true of Balor's daughter for in nine months "a child happened to her." Discovering this Kian thought it might be wise to resign from service. When asked why he was leaving Kian would only admit: "It is because accidents have happened to me since I came to this island." Not content with this, Balor consulted one of his sons who was home on leave. The lad was not certain what Kian meant but suggested, "your story-teller, cook and fireman will give you sufficiency of trouble." Overhearing them, Kian decided on an early departure and went to his girl-friend, who agreed that he had little choice. As a parting gift she gave him the byre-rope which magically drew the Gloss after it as well as charge of their infant son. THe Tuathan went immediately to the place where Manaun had deposited him on the shoreline and whistled down the wind, after which the god came "in an instant". Balor was not far behind and Manaun advised, "Make haste for Balor will try to drown us. Nevertheless, have little fear for my magic is greater than his!" Kian jumped into the currach, and the gloss followed the rope. Bal;or used his eye to raise the sea behind them, but Manaun countered by raising a hand which immedistely calmed the sea before them. In his wrath Balor set fire to the sea, but Manuaun threw asingle magical stone into the waters and the fires went out. On the Irish shore the sea god turned to Kian son of Contje for half of the "treasure" of Tory Island. "I have nothing but this boy," admitted the Tuathan, "and him I will not divide but give to you entirely." "For this, thanks," returned Manaun, "this is a prize. Here is the champion who will be known as Dul Dauna (Gaelic, the one who will cause another to fall), and he will defeat Balor of the Evil Eye. Among the Tuathans, this god-giant was later called Lugh. Presumably he was about sixteen feet at maturity for this was a later meaning of the word "lug". This word also described a powerful but clumsy individual but the godson of Manaun MacLir was hardly a clumsy oaf, this connotation having arisen after the worshippers of Lugh were defeated by a race known as the Anglo-Saxons.

These events seem to have occurred while Kian was spying in Ireland on behalf of the Tuatha daoine. Lugh was not only the foster-son of a god, but possessed many of the "mortal powers", or magic, of his birth-father's people. Because of this he was also named Sab Ildanach (Gaelic, the stem of all arts). When the Tuatha daoine contemplated an actual invasion they sent Lugh ahead as a scout. He went the court of KIng Eochais at Tara, supposedly seeking employment. In those days foreigners were not excluded, but no one was admitted membership in the inner circle unless he could add a unique skill to the court. The doorkeeper, who barred Lugh's way asked the ground for his admission. Lugh noted that he was a saer (Gaelic, sawyer or carpenter), but the guardian assured him they had one in residence. Well, suggested Lugh "I am a very good goban (smith)." They also had an able goban. "A champion?" That post was also filled. In turn Lugh offered to serve as a filid (bard), baobh (magician), cupbearer, goldsmith, or cupbearer. Told that the Firbolgs had an expert in all these formsa of magic, Lugh responded finallyu with these words: "Go then, warden to your king. Ask him if any stands within these walls who is master of all these arts, for they are my profession. If there is my equal, I will not insist on admittance to Tara." King Eochaid was overjoyed to add this well-favoured man-god to his court, and afterwards created the post of ard-ollam (chief poet) for him, declaring Lugh the chief professor of all arts and sciences. Unfortunately, Lugh afterwards abandoned this tribe and assisted the Tuatha daoine. In the legends, Lugh has been particularly noted as a builder of chariots, a worker in metals, a medicine-man, a poet and a composer of novel magical spells. He was later declared the god of music since he was able to charm people into sleep when he played on his harp. Among warriors he was termed Lugh of the Long Arm because of his proficiency with the spear and the sling, and it was rumoured that he could defeat an entire army without assistance. He was named the father of the moretal gods, in particular Cuchulain, who shared this last attribute. It may be recalled that it was Lugh who carried a flesh-seeking magic spear with him to Ireland from the islands of the north. These abilities were useful in the conquest of the Firbolgs and their confrontation with the Fomorians. The latter situation seemed to have

been regarded very seriously, for legend says that the Tuatha daoine "summoned every man, from the chief sorcerer and the cupbearer to the smith and the charioteer, to contribute his special talent to the confounding of the enemy." The druids assured the chieftains that they would cast the twelve mountains of Ireland against the enemy "and roll their summits against the ground." Others of their profession said they would arrange "three showers of sky-fire to rain upon the faces of the Fomorian host," an act guaranteed to rob them of "two-thirds of their strength". This battle also marked the first use of the witch-bottle, which is still a tool of that craft. This required obtaining urine, hair and nail-parings from the enemy. These were placed in bottles and heated to cause evaporation of the liquid. All during the process it was considered that this act would "bind urine in their own bodies" and terminate in the death of the giants when the substance was entirely gone. The druids arranged a similar fate for the horses of the enemy. The first meeting of the Tuatha daoine and the Fomorians was in the western sea off Ireland. The Dul Dauna and his mentor, Manaun MacLir were at sea when they saw the fleet of Balor Beimann sailing in their direction. Lugh put a "ring" (the precursor of the telescope) to his eye and saw his grandfather pacing the deck of his ship. According to some accounts, Balor was killed on this occassion when Lugh shot a "dart" into his eye.16 Others say he survived to participate in the lands battle at Sligo. This is probably the case, as he is known to have felled King Nuada with his venomous eye. This effective weapon of war was in part matched by the magic "cauldron of the deep" which the Tuatha daoine had stolen from Ler himself. It was employed by the "leech", or medicine-man, named Diancecht who was said to have used it to make fighting men of the dead, provided their heads were intact and their spinal cords unsevered. Unfortunately this process did not restore the souls of men, and thousands were lost before Balor confronted Lugh. Challenged by "the light and fearless one" Beimann opened his single gigantic eye, "to look upon this babbler who converses with me." In that instant a stone entered his eye with such force it carried the organ through the back of Balor's skull." Lugh seems to have been unaware that this act killed his grandfather and fulfilled a druidic prophecy.

Padraic Colum, Ibid, p. 538.

After that, the slaying of the giants was likened to the fall of stars "as many as are in the flakes of snow, as the blades of grass beneath the herds."17 THe Fomorians were then beaten back into the sea, "from which they never again emerged." In truth, they never did return in force, and their passing is marked on the plain of Sligo by numerous rock cairns and pillars. The plain itself is even now referred to in Gaelic as "the Plain of the Pillars of the Fomorians." The masters of Ogygia (Greek,the most ancient place) were decidely the warrior-magicians. Since Nuada had passed on to some future reincarnation the high-kingship went to Lugh who established the Lugnasad or Lunastain (August 1) in honour of his foster-mother, Taillte. This consort of Manaun MacLir had a town in Ulster named after her (now renamed Telltown). Here a yearly fair was instituted noted particularly for its athletic contests. In time, Taillte also became famous as a marriage mart. While The Lugnasad had religious and political rites attached to it, the Tailltean Games embraced the entire first week of August. The last fair at this place was celebrated in 1169, the year when the first Anglo-Saxons invaded Ireland. At that time the crowd thronging the roads between Taillte and Kells extended over a distance of six miles. In spite of his reputation as an immortal, Lugh seems to have "passed on" leaving the throne to the Dagda. If Lugh was the stem of the crafts and sciences, Dagda was styled "the Lord of All Knowledge and the Sun of All Sciences." In comon with Lugh, he was a great harpist

Katherine Scherman,Ibid, p. 56 quoting The Second Battle of Mag Tured from Ancient Irish Tales.