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Lecture VI.


GODS, DEMONS AND HEROES.




Irish Mythography on the Gods and their Foes.

It will be convenient now to devote some space to a general consideration of the gods and heroes associated with the name of Danu and those which Irish mythology opposes to them; for the latter had its demons, so to say, as well as its gods and heroes of a more or less divine origin. The term Tuatha Dé Danann, or the Tribes of the goddess Danu, is somewhat vague, as are also others of the same import, such as Tuath Déa, 'the Tribe of the Goddess,' and Fir Déa, 'the Men of the Goddess;' but the important figures among them were never very numerous.[1] The Tuatha Dé Danann are represented fighting successively against other inhabitants or invaders of Ireland: these last bear the names of Fir Bolg, of Fomori, and of the Children of Mile or the Milesians, as they are sometimes called. The nature of their struggles has an interest which reaches beyond the limits of Celtic mythology; but in order to guess the signification of them, it is necessary to go into the legendary history of early Ireland at some length. The outlines of it were contained in the Book of the Dun,[2] so they date not later than the year 1106; still they clearly form a redaction—and relatively a late and clumsy one—of old materials by somebody who was acquainted with what passed for history among other nations. He was anxious, for example, to connect Irish legend with the Biblical account of Noah and his descendants.

So there had been, he says, five distinct invasions or colonizations of Erinn after the deluge, and the first took place under the leadership of one Partholon son of Sera, who arrived with twenty-four married pairs in his train. They multiplied in the land and became 5000, when in the course of one week they all died of a plague, except a single man destined to tell the story of his friends' fate. According to the usual custom of the Irish, whose good-nature does not permit them to abandon a favourite pagan to the risk of hell-fire, he is made to survive, after passing through many scenes and changes, to become a Christian, and the whole story is put into his mouth; but so far as regards this portion of it, the greatest puzzle it contains is the name Partholon, which has sometimes been supposed to be merely a form of the Biblical name Bartholomew: Giraldus calls him 'Bartholanus, Sere filius, de stirpe Japhet filii Noe.'[3] The next to take possession of the country was one of the same race as Partholon: he was called Nemed son of Agnoman, and he reached Erinn after suffering great hardships on the high seas, which in this instance are made to include the Caspian. When he landed in Ireland, his people consisted of only four married pairs; but they multiplied until they were no fewer than 34,000 such pairs. The next to come to take possession of the island was one Semion son of Stariath, and from him and his people descended the Fir Bolg, the Fir Domnann and the Gailióin, of whom more anon. Their leader is elsewhere sometimes called Simeon Brec or the Freckled (p. 213), and the invasion of the island under his command is collectively known as that by the Fir Bolg. These last survived there to fight with the next comers, who were led by Beothach son of Iardonel Fáith, that is I. the Vates or Seer (p. 202), and this was the race of the Tuatha Dé Danann, whose origin is unknown, except that the learned guess, as the writer says, that they were of the number of the exiles driven out of heaven; but he treats them as consisting of gods and not-gods, terms which he proceeds to apply to them as human inhabitants of the island, and to explain to mean men in political and professional authority, and men devoted to husbandry and farming respectively. So he knew no more than we what was originally meant by describing the Tuatha Dé as gods and not-gods;[4] and his story in the Book of the Dun is brought to an abrupt close owing to the loss of a part of the manuscript, but it is well known from other sources that the fifth invasion was that of Mile and his sons. His name means Soldier, and he is once called quidam miles Hispanicus,[5] for it is from Spain he is fabled to have come, which is to be regarded as a way of tracing the descent of the Milesian Irish from the Celtic Dis (pp. 90-1, 262-3). Mile is described as the father of two sons, Eremon and Eber or Emer, who divide the island between them; and it is not improbable that they represent the Aryan and the non-Aryan elements respectively in the population of ancient Ireland. At any rate it is only with this fifth invasion of the country we begin to have regularly to do with the human inhabitants of Erinn; not that it by any means follows that from the Milesian settlement forth the history of Ireland, such as it is, confines itself to real men and women; but the story of the previous invasions is scarcely human, except in that it is a product of the human mind.

Putting aside, then, the Milesian invasion, there remain for our consideration four mythic ones, namely, by Partholon, by Nemed, by the Fir Bolg, and by the Tuatha Dé Danann respectively. Now when Partholon and his people had been some time in the island, they were disturbed by a race called the Fomori, under the leadership of a giant and his mother,[6] and they had, according to some authors, as Keating tells us, been living by fishing and fowling 200 years in the island when they met with Partholon and his people. A great battle ere long took place, in which the latter destroy the Fomori, but not so as to prevent our hearing of them again more than once. It is of importance to notice that the Fomori are said to have landed at Inver Domnann or the Estuary of Domnu, which was probably Broadhaven in Irrus Domnann,[7] now called Erris, in the county of Mayo, and that this battle, the first said to have been fought in Ireland, occurred at a spot called Slemna Maige Itha.[8] Their leader is said to have been of the mythic race of Umór (p. 150): he was a Fomorian called Cichol Gri cen Chos or the Footless, and his followers have been described as not men, but demons and monsters with one hand and one foot each.[9] Cichol's mother's name is given as Lot, which means destruction; and the whole brood is always treated as foreigners in the legendary history of Ireland. The next invasion was that led by Nemed, who is to be identified with the Welsh Nevyᵭ, the owner, according to a Welsh triad (iij. 97), of the ship in which the human race was preserved from extinction by the deluge caused by the bursting of the Lake of Llion: so there is a certain fitness in making Nemed one of the first to take possession of the island-home of the Goidels. He and his sons, however, were not left in quiet possession of the country, for they had to struggle with the Fomori. Nemed and his sons, one of whom bore the unusual Irish name of Artur, conquered the Fomori in three or four battles, in which there fell of their leaders two called Gann and Genann, while another called Conaing (p. 262), having performed great feats of valour, survived to carry on the contest.[10] Nemed died, and the Fomori were now able to exercise great tyranny over his people; for Conaing, from whom Tor Conaing, or Conaing's Tower in Tory Island, took its name, and Morc, a name already familiar to you (p. 262), collected a fleet, by means of which they levied a heavy tribute in Erinn. This consisted in giving to them every Eve of Samhain or the Winter Calends no less than two-thirds of the children, of the corn and of the milk, besides other grievous exactions that were to be brought direct to Tory Island to More and Conaing. The warriors of the sons of Nemed mustered at length to fight the Fomori, to the number of 30,000 by land and as many by sea, and they succeeded in destroying Conaing's Tower, and in slaying Conaing himself and his sons: this is the tower described by Nennius as one of glass in the middle of the sea (p. 263). The Fomori now received reinforcements, consisting of a fleet brought from Africa by Morc; and in the battle which ensued the combatants were overwhelmed by the sea so that only a handful of the Nemedians escaped, the crew of one boat and three chiefs. After due preparations these left for the east, leaving their kinsmen under the complete tyranny of the Fomori, with Morc at their head; but there is another account more in keeping with Irish mythology, namely, one which makes Nemed and his sons leave Erinn for Spain, a name here to be interpreted to mean the other world.

When the Fir Bolg come, we read nothing about any collision between them and the Fomori: the reason will become evident as we go on. The former and their allies are said to have come to Ireland under five leaders called Slainge, who took possession of the old province of Leinster from the mouth of the Boyne to Waterford: Gann, who had South Munster; Sengann, who had the north of the same; Genann, who had Connaught; and Rudraige, who had Ulster. The Gailióin settled in Leinster under Slainge, the Fir Bolg in the two parts of Munster, and Fir Domnann in Ulster; and a site for the capital of the whole island was selected at a spot which came later to be known by the name of Tara.[11] The Tuatha Dé Danann came to Ireland next, and they had been in the island some time before they were aware that it contained any other inhabitants; but at length they showed themselves to the Fir Bolg, and the account they gave of their advent was that they had arrived on the wings of the wind. The Fir Bolg sent one of their chiefs called Sreng to parley with the Tuatha Dé Danann, who selected one of their number named Bres to meet him. Through him they asked the Fir Bolg for half the island as their own. This was declined, and the Tuatha Dé Danann posted themselves at Mount Belgadan in the present county of Mayo, and near it they fought a great battle on a plain or field called Mag Tured or Moytura, near Cong.[12] It began on Midsummer-day, and proved disastrous in the extreme to the Fir Bolg. Their king Echaid son of Erc was pursued and killed by three men, called Sons of Nemed, on the strand of Ballysadare, where a great cairn, raised over his body, became a well-known feature in the topography of the neighbourhood. There remained of the Fir Bolg only Sreng with three hundred men; but they were able to secure peace and possession of the province of Connaught, where descendants of Sreng were believed to live on almost to modern times.[13] In the course of the battle, Sreng clove the shield of Nuada, king of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, and cut off his arm, which compelled him to give up his office of king. It was then entrusted to Bres, who by descent was connected both with the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians. Bres held the government for seven years, during which he made himself so unpopular as to draw on himself the first satire ever made in Ireland, as was mentioned in another lecture (pp. 252-4). At last he was obliged to flee to his father Elathan the Fomorian, leaving Nuada, who had made himself eligible again by having had a silver hand made for him, to resume the kingly office. This brought on a war with the Fomori, though, according to another account, the cause was Lug's killing the tax-collectors of the Fomori, who held the country under a grievous tribute,[14] and who, after Lug's onslaught, sent an army under the leadership of Bres to ravage the western portion of the island, which was ruled by Bodb the Red, son of the Dagda. Lug successfully met Bres and forced him to make peace, as he, Lug, was preparing for a great battle that was to be fought with the Fomori on another Moytura.[15] The diverging versions of the story end with this battle of the northern Moytura, which came off on the last day of October, or the eve of the first day of winter. The leaders of the Fomori were Balor of the Mighty Blows, also called Balor of the Evil Eye, and Indech son of Déa Domnu, that is of the goddess Domnu or Domna. The result is usually described as a victory for the Tuatha Dé Danann; but in achieving it they lost their king, Nuada of the Silver Hand, who was killed by Balor, while this latter was only slain some time later by Lug in the manner mentioned in a previous lecture (p. 397). Besides, we read of the Dagda going to the camp of the Fomori to ask them for a truce of battle, which was granted him. It would seem, then, as if the story has made a series of struggles into one, the beginning of which was a defeat for the Tuatha Dé Danann, who lost their king, and the end a victory for them over Balor, slain by Lug, who was thereupon made king. As to the name Moytura, or Mag Tured, it is explained to mean the plain or the field of the pillars or towers, in reference to the sepulchral monuments for which both sites are remarkable:[16] the monuments mark real interments, no doubt, and they may be taken to account for the sites fixed by story for the two mythic battles: scenes of real interment are calculated to attract imaginary battles.

When the Milesians first arrived in the island, the Tuatha Dé Danann were defeated in a great battle at Tailltin or Teltown in Meath, and those who escaped entered the hills of Erinn as a sort of fairies forming an invisible world of their own (p. 148); they never figured afterwards as a people in the history of the country. Their power, however, did not come to an end, for though they gave up their possession of the land, they still had means of making their influence felt; for they proceeded to ruin the corn and the milk of the Milesians, so that the latter were forced to seek the friendship of the Dagda, who thenceforth spared them the produce both of their fields and their dairies.[17] In fact, the Milesians went still further in their desire to conciliate the Tuatha Dé Danann; for the nobles of the former were wont at one time, we are told, to become the foster-parents of the children of the fairies who lived nearest to them, in order that neither corn nor milk nor bloom should be lost in Erinn.[18] Not so with the Fir Bolg and the Fomori; for we read of the Milesians every now and then having wars with them; and the stories about them not unfrequently associate with the Fir Bolg the remains of the non-Celtic inhabitants under the name Ernai, a late form of the more ancient one of Ivernji or Ἰούερνιοι.

Such is a somewhat intentionally consistent version of the legend of the early invasions of Erinn; a little more use of stories avoided by the historians, though no more removed from the domain of real history than some of those they have in part accepted, would at once render the inconsistencies and contradictions much more glaring. Even as I have sketched them to vou they are sufficiently so, and in that the Fomori are, among other things, not made to fight against the Fir Bolg when these last come and divide the whole island between them. The reason was, it need hardly be said, that the names Fir Bolg and Fomori mean the same sort of mythic beings, which is confirmed by their common hostility against the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians. Their close kinship results also from other considerations,[19] but it must not be pressed too hard; for Irish literature never consciously identifies these Titans and Giants; so their names never

become quite synonymous. The Fir Bolg are more like the human race than are the Fomori, and through Sreng, Ailill of Cruachan and others, they are supposed to have been the ancestors of historical families in Ireland, whereas no family is known to have traced its descent directly to a Fomorian. This distinction may here be disregarded, as it seems only to mean that Sreng, Ailill and analogous figures, were, to certain tribes, forms of the ancestral Dis, and the identity of Fir Bolg and Fomori may for our present purpose be assumed. This is an important step in the simplification of the question before us, which is to discover an intelligible line of demarcation between them and the Tuatha Dé Danann. In order to come nearer to that, the names here in point have to be now more closely examined. Let us begin with the most intelligible of them, namely, that of the Fomori. It is derived partly from the Irish word muir, 'sea,' and Irish historians persistently treat it as meaning sea-rovers or pirates, as if they understood the whole compound to mean transmarini, whereas it can only mean submarini, as the prefix fo does not mean 'beyond, over or on,' but 'under or below.' There is a short story illustrative of this in a commentary on one of the old Irish laws: it runs thus:[20]

"One time then thereafter Fergus and his charioteer (Muena his name) set out to the sea, reached it, and they slept on the sea-shore. Now luchorpáin came to the

king and bore him out of his chariot, and they first took his sword from him. They afterwards took him as far as the sea, and Fergus perceived them when his feet touched the sea. Whereat he awoke and caught three of them, to wit, one in each of his two hands, and one on his breast. 'Life for life' (i.e. protection), say they. 'Let my three wishes (i.e. choices) be given,' says Fergus. 'Thou shalt have,' says the dwarf, 'save that which is impossible for us.' Fergus requested of him knowledge of passing under loughs and linns and seas. 'Thou shalt have,' says the dwarf, 'save one which I forbid to thee: thou shalt not go under Lough Rudraide [which] is in thine own country.' Thereafter the luchuirp (little bodies) put herbs into his ears and he used to go with them under seas. Others say it is the dwarf gave his cloak to him and that Fergus used to put it on his head and thus go under seas." The words luchuirp and luchorpáin appear to mean literally small bodies, and the word here rendered dwarf is in the Irish abac, the etymological equivalent of the Welsh avanc, the name by which certain water inhabitants of a mythic nature went in Welsh, such as the avanc of the lake killed by Peredur, and that other dragged out of the Conwy by Hu the Mighty and his two oxen: the stories of both imply that they had more or less completely the human form, and that the latter was of a large size.[21] So much by the way; I only wished, however, to point out that the preposition in the foregoing extract rendered by under is always fo, and under seas is fo muirib, that is to say, the very words which form the key to the compound Fomori, for which the adjectival form Fomoraig is also frequently to be met with. It thus appears that the monsters so called were imaginary creatures originally believed to have their abodes in or beneath the lakes and the sea, whence they paid unwelcome visits to the land. The Book of the Dun supplies us with a quaint account of the beginning of them and their kindred.[22] The writer sets out from the intoxication of Noah and the curse pronounced by him on his son Ham, who in consequence thereof became, as we are told, Cain's heir after the deluge, so that from Ham are descended Luchorpáin, Fomoraig, Goborchinn, and every human being of unshapely appearance. The term Goborchinn here introduced is said[23] to mean 'Horse-headed,' and the monsters so called were otherwise human, so that they contrasted curiously with the centaurs of Greek mythology, but corresponded to the figure of Midas with his asinine ears. In the same class must be placed a certain Echaid Echchenn, or Echaid Horse-head, king of Fomori;[24] and you are now familiar with the name of Morc or Margg (p. 262), in Welsh March, a word which means a steed or stallion. His other Irish name appears to have been Labraid, by which he goes in the famous legend of his equine ears, to which may be added the further story how Labraid chose to wife the daughter of the king of Fir Morca, or the Equine Men, in the west of Erinn. There is no reason to suppose that the monsters in question were all of the same form; and the name Caitchenn or Cenn-Cait, 'Cat's Head,' has already been mentioned (p. 313), namely, in connection with the Aithech Tuatha, a term sometimes rendered Peasant Tribes and sometimes Rent-paying Tribes, not to add that they have been ere now imagined to be the Atecotti[25] of Roman Britain. They are in reality to be regarded as belonging to the same category as the Fomori, and the term aithech, sometimes meaning a peasant, was applied to any boorish, ill-natured, ill-clad fellow. In a tale related in the Book of the Dun, it is used of a hideous, brutal giant who caught his victims by enveloping them in a thick fog, and he is introduced attacking successively the three Solar Heroes, Loegaire, Conall and Cúchulainn, the last of whom overcomes him.[26] He is not called a Fomorian, but the term would apply to him in most respects, and among others in that of stature; for I ought to have said that the Fomori are normally represented as giants. In fact, the singular, pronounced foawr in the Isle of Man, and in Scotch Gaelic somewhat similarly, though written fomhair, famhair and even foghmhair, has in those dialects respectively become the ordinary word for a giant: it is the one which occurs throughout the Gaelic in the well-known volumes of Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands. In a story already mentioned as relating how Cúchulainn rescued the daughter of Ruad king of the Isles (p. 464), the Fomori assume the place occupied by the dragon of the legends of other lands. The king's daughter had been exposed, as you will remember, on the sea-shore as tribute to the Fomori, three of whom were hourly expected to arrive from distant, islands to fetch her. Cúchulainn, on hearing this, hastened to the princess and learned her story from her own lips. She charged him to leave before the Fomori arrived, which he declined to do. The three Fomori came at last, and Cúchulainn slew them. The rest of the story is mostly of the usual kind; for in fighting with the last of the three, Cúchulainn was wounded in one of his fingers, and the princess, tearing a strip of her dress, tied it round the finger of her rescuer, who thereupon departed without giving his name. Then many a braggart asserted that it was he who had slain the Fomori, wherefore he claimed the princess to wife, according to the proclamation previously made by her father. But the princess believed none of them, and the claimants were called together, when Cúchulainn was recognized. In this story it will be observed that the three Fomori stand for so many heads of the dragon in the better known versions told among other peoples; but it is more perhaps to the point that the Welsh equivalent is the avanc of the Conwy, in whose name the counterpart of that of the Irish abac, as applied to one of the Luchorpáin, has been pointed out. The Welsh avanc was, however, no 'small body,' but a big monster, while a girl is involved in the oldest known version of the story of Hu the Mighty's feat, and in some respects the avanc in it behaves like a Scotch kelpie.

Lastly, the Fomori are known to the Irish of the present day, as I have had recently occasion to learn from a gentleman living in the neighbourhood of Killorglin, in the county of Kerry. When he was one day a few years ago exploring the recesses of an underground ráth, he was kindly warned by one of the peasants to beware of the Fomori or Fōwri, according to the modern pronunciation repeated to me. This would suggest that the Fomori may be encountered under ground as well as under water; but I take it that the modern ideas about them identify them to a certain extent with the fairies.

Having said most of what I had to say about the Fomori, I now come back to the Fir Bolg, and that version of the story about Fergus which says that the abac gave the king his cloak to put round his head when he wished to roam in lake or sea. This is the shining cap of salmon-skin that figures in Irish tales about lake fairies; for when one of them was caught on land and robbed of her cap, she could not go back into the world of waters. It figures also in a Welsh tale, where it is de trop, as the modern narrator knows no use for it.[27] I mention this as it is possible that this cap is the explanation of the bolg, 'bag,' in the term Fir Bolg, singular Fer Bolg, 'a Bag-man:' in any case it is as good an explanation as the one usually offered, to the effect that the Fir Bolg, before coming to Ireland, were slaves in Greece, where they were forced to carry earth in leathern bags to cover the rocks in that country, a passage taken from one of the legendary explanations of the name of the Myrmidons, as recorded by Strabo.[28] They left their work unfinished, for we are told that they fled, and converted their bolga or bags into coracles, in which they ventured on the sea. This last part of the story is the only one worth noticing, and it makes for the explanation which I have suggested: in other words, the latter would include it and render it intelligible. The conjectural interpretation offered to you of the term Fir Bolg[29] may be said to derive some confirmation from the name of their allies the Fir Domnann. Now Domnann should be the genitive of a name making in the nominative Domnu or Domna; and construing Dé Domnann in the same way as Dé Danann, I take Domnu to have been the name of a goddess and not of a god. Put it back into what must have been its early form, and you will have a nominative Dumnu and a genitive Dumnonos, implying a stem Dumnon: form from the latter an adjective Dumnonios, you will then have as its plural Dumnonii, the attested name of two peoples of Roman Britain, situated respectively by the Severn Sea and the Firth of Forth. The name meant a people who had something to do with Domnu, and that something may have been a claim to be the descendants or the favourite people of Domnu; while Domnu's own name, derived from the same origin as the Celtic words for 'deep,' probably meant the goddess of the deep.[30] Thus two historical peoples and one mythic had their names from this goddess, of whom nothing is otherwise known except that she was the mother of Indech, one of the leaders of the Fomori, and that several waters were called after her, such as Inver Domnann or Broadhaven, in the county of Sligo, and Malahide Bay, near Dublin (p. 583). In this last respect she resembled the Dee or Aerven, as she may have done in others likewise.

It now remains to say a word or two of the Gailióin. They mustered as a part of Ailill's forces on the Táin, and they were so much superior to the rest of the army in skill and especially magic, that Medb was jealous of their reputation and wished them killed, but she could only get them dispersed and incorporated among the other batallions.[31] It was not long afterwards ere the army surrounded a herd of no fewer than eight score wild deer, and they wounded them; but every one of the deer except five came where there stood a man of the Gailióin, and the rest of the army had to be content with the five alone.[32] No remark is made on the incident, but it would seem to imply that the Gailióin had a surpassing reputation as magicians. This, it would appear, was what made them hated as descendants of Simon (p. 213). Their name is puzzling, and it is sometimes said to have been borne by the province of Leinster, which agrees with the story of Slainge and his Gailióin. At first it looks as if we had in it a word of the same origin as the name of the Galli of the continent, a supposition which would tend to make of them a purely human and Aryan people. This would, however, be highly inconsistent with the usual habit of treating the Fir Bolg and the Fir Domnann as subjugated or enslaved tribes.[33] But this manner of speaking of them is somewhat misleading, and we should come nearer the truth if we called them an uncanny and detested race; and the means adopted to get rid of them are characteristic. Thus O'Curry, setting out from queen Medb's treatment of the Gailióin, uses the following words:[34] "Such, however, was the envy and jealousy, if not the fears, which their valour and fame had raised against them in the country, that the Druids of Erinn, whether at the instigation of Queen Medbh or not I cannot say, pronounced withering satires and incantations against them (according to the story); so that their whole race became extinct in the land, excepting a few, and these few of the 'Gallians,' as well as the whole of their fellow foreign tribes, the Laighinns and the Domnanns, were afterwards totally extirpated by the monarch Tuathal Teachtmar, on his accession to the throne of Erinn, A.D. 79." In other words, as you will see, the bulk of the Gailióin were not quelled by force of arms, but exorcised by the druids or magicians of Erinn: they were, in fact, mere personifications of the evil powers of nature. Keating[35] derives the name of the Gailióin from gái, 'a spear,' the ancient gaesum, and this etymology is the explanation of their name being rendered Viri Armorum in the Irish version of Nennius.[36] Further, their fellow-foreigners the Laighin, whose existence seems entirely based on the name of Leinster, for Lagin-setr (in Irish Lagin or Laighin), had an appellation of similar meaning,[37] as lagen meant a spear; but the coincidence which would make the same province successively bear two names referring equally to spears and spearmen of foreign origin is a little too much to pass; but Lagin, the genuine name, has probably been the means of fixing in connection with Leinster the other name Gailióin, which may be said to consist of an unfortunate contribution from the classics by an early pedant whose name is deservedly lost in oblivion.[38]

Those of the Fir Bolg and their allies who escaped from the battle of southern Moytura made their way into the islands[39] of Arann, Islay and Rathlin, the Western Islands of Scotland and many others, including, according to the Historia Brittonum of Nennius, the Isle of Man.[40] They are afterwards said to have been expelled the islands by the Picts, whereupon they obtained land subject to tribute from Cairbre Niafer king of Leinster; but the tribute drove them to Ailill and Medb in Connaught, a movement known as the migration of the Children of Umór (p. 150). From Medb they obtained lands; and not a few local names in the west are traced to them, such as Loch Cimbe (now Lough Hackett in the county of Galway), called after one of their chiefs named Cimbe

Cethairchenn or Cimbe the Four-headed, a name which reminds one of the Fomori.[41] Their betaking themselves to Medb whose husband was of the Fir Bolg, needs no explanation, and their fleeing to the islands is of a piece with the view taken of the sea by the Celts, who regarded the islands as the abodes of the departed, and the melancholy main as the lurking-place of darkness. It is also natural that the last thing heard of their leaders is their succumbing to the Solar Heroes Cúchulainn and Conall Cernach with their friends.[42]

Lastly, the three chief races in the legendary history of ancient Erinn are very summarily characterized in a poem[43] taken from an old book by Duald mac Firbis, a notable Irish antiquary of the 17th century. It makes the latest comers into a noble caste of warriors, and the Tuatha Dé Danann conquered by them into clever and artistic freemen, while the Fir Bolg vanquished by the Tuatha Dé Danann take their places at the bottom of the scale as thralls. This attempt to treat them as so many castes in the social system of ancient Ireland reminds one in some respects of the Norse lay[44] descriptive of the wandering Rig, supposed to be Heimdal, becoming the father of earls, churls and thralls respectively. But at least in his treatment of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fir Bolg, the Irish poet, whoever he was, has stopped short of effacing altogether their mythic features. The lines chiefly in point are to the following effect:

Every white man or brown, every bold man,
Every brave man, hardy in the fray,
lively man generous in deed without noise,
     Is of the Sons of Milè of great renown.
Every fair spoiler great on the plain,
Every artist, harmonious and musical,
Folk wont to resort to tricks of magic,
     Are of the host of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
Every blustering, vicious man . . . .
Every gross, lying, unholy fellow—
Remnants these of those three peoples,
     Of Gailióin, of Fir Bolg and of Fir Domnann.

Our business is more especially 'with these last at present, or rather with the Fir Bolg and the Fomori. They have a remarkable feature in common, namely, their hostility to man and their baneful influence on his works; while their pretty general connection with water would seem to suggest that their malevolence is a mythic way of describing the cold mists and baleful fogs that retard the growth of the farmer's crops, the excessive damp that robs living things of their bloom, and last, but by no means least, the subtle processes of corruption to which the dairy is now and then liable without any perceptible cause. The action of bacteria in milk is sometimes strange, and at all times so difficult of explanation that it has been reserved for modern science to detect its nature, while the ordinary peasant can in no way account for its effects, except on the supposition of its being produced by witchcraft or the intervention of Heaven to punish him for his sins. This malevolence towards man will be found an index to the classification of the spirits of the Celtic world; the classification, frequently made by writers on classical mythology, into light and dark divinities, fails entirely to meet the case before us, even if it does any other on a large scale, which may be doubted. For the Tuatha Dé Danann contain among them light and dark divinities, and those standing sometimes in the relation of parents and offspring to one another. Some members of the Irish pantheon are cruel and repellent characters, but on occasion they may prove friendly. Thus, though the Tuatha Dé Danann under the Dagda are accused of blighting the corn and spoiling the milk of the Milesians, the latter were said to conciliate them so as to make them spare both farmer and shepherd. This is not all; for when Redg and the other three Fomori that had escaped from the slaughter of Moytura were engaged in ruining the corn, the milk, the fruit-crops and the produce of the sea, they were expelled the country by the wily gods Mider and the Mac Óc, and the terrible goddesses the Bodb and the Mórrigu;[45] not to mention that a successful king's reign was marked by good seasons and plentiful crops, for the reason that he forced the Fomori to abstain from their ravages: thus we read of three triple-headed Fomori of vast voracity secured by Mac Cecht's valour as hostages at Conaire's court, that their kin would not spoil either corn or milk in Erinn as long as Conaire reigned.[46] But to return to the contest with Redg, it is to be observed that it is located at a spot called Slemna Maige Itha, which enables one to identify the engagement with the first battle said to have been fought in Ireland, namely, the one in which Partholon is represented annihilating the Fomori, which is by no means inconsistent with the later history of the Fomori, if their nature be taken into due account. That also was fought on Slemna Maige Itha, which literally means the Smooths or Clear Parts of the Plain of Ith; and one of the plains cleared in Partholon's time was also a Mag nItha; in fact, Mag nItha appears to have been not an uncommon place-name in Ireland, and even Slemna Maige Itha is said to have been that of a spot near Lough Swilly in the county of Donegal.[47] Ith is probably to be regarded as a name of racial significance,[48] but mythology may have had something to do with locating it, and we have indirect evidence that Mag nItha was a name figuring in Irish myths as late as the advent of the Norsemen; for the Eddic poem of the Volospá makes the Anses meet in the Field of Ith in the golden age to come:[49]

'The Anses shall meet on the Field of Ith,
And do judgments under the mighty Tree of the World.'

The Norse poet, it is evident, had not badly learnt his lesson in Irish mythology when he chose as the last meeting-place of the gods the spot where they had been wont to give battle to the blighting monsters and the malevolent giants.

On Welsh ground the contrast between the gods and the ill-disposed powers comes out very clearly in the story of Llûᵭ,[50] who had to contend with three scourges from which his realm suffered. One of them was the race of the Coranians, who were so knowing that any sound of speech that reached the wind would come to their ears: so it was hard to overcome them. To be rid of them, Llûᵭ was advised to invite them to a feast with his own people, and then to besprinkle all present with water in which a certain insect had been ground: it had the effect of killing the Coranians without harming anybody else. I do not profess to understand the story about the water, and our principal source of information about the Coranians is their name, in Welsh Coraniaid, from a singular Còran, derived from còr, 'a dwarf.' The Coranians were in the first instance dwarfs, corresponding to the diminutive folk called in Irish Luchorpáin, and they survive in Welsh folk-lore as a distinct kind of fairies signalized by their hideousness and mischievous habits.[51] Another scourge which Llûᵭ disposed of, and that by a hand-to-hand fight,[52] was a thieving giant who spread siren music and sleep around him and his operations, which consisted in carrying away Llûᵭ's banquets in a basket or creel that never seemed full. Here we have a Fomor described from the Welsh point of view, unless we should rather call him a Fer Bolg, and regard the Welsh basket as the counterpart of the Irish bag or sack in this instance, which would have the advantage of supplying us with an alternative explanation of the term Fer Bolg or Bag-man. This is all the more permissible as the giant conquered by Llûᵭ seems to survive in Welsh nurseries under the name of Sión y Cydau, or Jack with the Bags; for I have a lively recollection of being more than once threatened with the unwelcome advent of that formidable croque-mitaine, who, as I had been given to understand, dearly loved to chuck little boys into his bags and carry them away to his cave.

The remaining scourge was more terrible than the other two, and is described as a shout raised over every hearth in Britain on the eve of every First Day of May. It went through the hearts of the men, we are told, frightening them so much that they lost their colour and strength, and their women their expectations, while the young of both sexes lost their senses through it, and general fruitlessness overcame the beasts of the field, the woods, the fields and the waters.[53] The story proceeds to trace this mischief to the attempt of the dragon of a foreign race to overcome that of Britain. But in one of the Triads, iij. 11, the scourge so explained is distinguished from that of the First of May—the two accounts are not essentially inconsistent—and the latter is there further described as that of March Malaen. This is more usually written March Malen, 'the Steed of Malen,' and it enters into a proverb, 'A gasgler ar farch Malen dan ei dor yᵭ a;' that is to say, 'What is collected on Malen's horse's back will find its way under his belly,' or, as it is better known in English, 'What is got on the devil's back will be spent under his belly.' How far the English have been wont to ascribe to the devil the shape of a horse I know not; but with regard to the Welsh it may here be pointed out that they were familiar with a fancy of that kind, as in the story about Peredur tempted to mount the demon-steed, and in the identity of Brun de Morois with the horse called Du Moro (p. 370) in Welsh. Still more to the point is the story of March ab Meirchion's equine ears, and of the identity of his name with that of the Irish Morc or Margg, not to mention Labraid, who had the same peculiar ears, and had to wife the daughter of the king of Fir Morca (p. 593). Now More it was, who, according to the Irish story, acted as chief of the Fomori in levying tribute in Ireland from the Sons of Nemed, consisting of two-thirds of their children and of the produce of their husbandry in the corn-field and in the dairy. This agrees in substance with the effects of the shout on the First of May, as described in the story of Llûᵭ. In Malen's March we have a specimen of a monster such as would be in Irish an Echchenn, or Horse-head, and he is to be identified probably with Ellyll Malen, or Malen's Demon. In any case, Malen's scourge,[54] however designated, comes to Britain as a foreign oppression, just as Morc is said in Irish legend to bring his fleet from Africa (p. 584), the land peopled by the descendants of Ham, the reputed father of the whole brood, according to the story as modified to join on to the Bible. But Welsh literature has preserved no clear and sweeping distinction between the spirits of the pagan world, corresponding to the Irish division into Tuatha Dé on the one hand, and Fomori and Fir Bolg on the other. This Irish classification, otherwise expressed, assumes a quasi-historical aspect: the Ultonian cycle of stories substitute the Ultonians under Conchobar for the Tuatha Dé under Nuada, and the Men of Erinn, that is to say, of Leinster, Munster and Connaught, for Fomori and Fir Bolg, whilst Lug, the great warrior of the Tuatha Dé, has his counterpart among the Ultonians in Lug's later self, Cúchulainn. The ranging of the Ultonians or the Men of Ulster against the Men of the rest of Erinn, looks like an anticipation of the history of Ireland in later times; but that is accidental, since the district chiefly associated with the Ultonian heroes of Irish epic tales consists of a tract of country extending from beyond Armagh towards the site of Dublin.[55] The coast from the mouth of the Liffey to that of the Newry river may have been the first part of Ireland settled by Celtic invaders; and so far the mythological division into Ultonians and the Men of Erinn may have had a historical basis. This may be compared from that point of view with Welsh literature giving Vortigern (pp. 151-5) as his allies Picts and Scots and Saxons.


Greek and Norse Comparisons.

To return to Llûᵭ, the older form of his name was Nûᵭ, the exact equivalent of Nodens, in Irish Nuada; and his surname was Llawereint or Silver-handed, of the same import as the surname of Nuada; but in the case of Nuada we have the story, how, having lost one of his hands, he came to be provided with one of silver (pp. 120, 381), while the corresponding Welsh account is not extant. Had it been, it would have probably been something similar to the Irish version. At any rate, one cannot help seeing that the wars, in which Nuada engaged with the Fir Bolg and the Fomori, have their Welsh counterparts in those between Llûᵭ and the scourges just mentioned, though the treatment of the story is somewhat different. In both cases the hostile forces were identical—the blighting fogs, the malarious mists, the cold and stormy winds and the other hurtful forces of nature. If one wishes for comparisons beyond the limits of the mythology of the Celtic nations, one has only to turn to that of the Teutons, especially as represented in old Norse literature. There we are at once confronted with Thor the friend of the northern Aryan, "the husbandman's god, whose wrath and anger are ever directed against the evil powers that injure mortals and their possessions, whose bolt destroys the foul thick blights that betray the presence of the wicked ones, and smites through the huge cloud-masses that seem to be crushing the earth."[56] But the exact equivalent of the Irish Nuada of the Silver Hand, king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, in Welsh Nûᵭ or Llûᵭ of the Silver Hand, was Tiu, called in old Norse Týr; and it has already been briefly related how he lost his right hand in binding the Fenri Wolf (p. 121). The effort was successful as regards the Wolf, as he was left in bonds, which would hold him till the terrible day when the Anses, according to prophecy, were to meet their doom, and the Wolf again to break loose. Here the power of evil is concentrated into one great monster, while the Irish story places it in a motley host of monsters making war on the Tuatha Dé Danann; otherwise the rôle of Nuada, who wins a victory over the Fir Bolg, but loses his hand in the conflict, where it is cut off by Sreng the champion of his enemies (p. 120), corresponds to that of Týr. The surviving Fir Bolg flee to the islands to the Fomori, and the next great battle of the Tuatha Dé Danann is with the Fomori, when Nuada is killed by Balor of the Evil Eye, while Ogma and Indech mac Dé Domnann fall by each other's hands. Finally, however, Balor of the Evil Eye is slain by Lug, who is chosen king of the Tuatha Dé Danann after the battle. All this has its counterpart in Norse literature:[57] there is the mustering of the powers of evil under the lead of Swart 'the Black One' and of Loki, and, on the other hand, the blast of Heimdal's horn brings the Anses together: Heimdal fights with Loki, Frey with Swart, Woden with the Wolf, who swallows the god, but the latter's son Vidar kills the Wolf. Thor slays the World-dragon, but falls himself from the effects of the venom of the serpent; and lastly Týr fights with the hound Garm, and both die. Then Swart sets fire to the world, and the terrible flame plays against the canopy of heaven. Another fragment which is less allegoric runs thus:[58] "The sunshine shall wax dark, nor shall any summer follow, and all the winds shall turn to blight; the sea shall rise in tempest against the very heaven and cover the land, and the sky shall be rent, and out of it shall come snowstorms and mighty winds. I can see the sea a-fire and the land in flames, and every living thing shall suffer death, when . . . . . . . . . . the powers shall perish." Nevertheless there is to be a restoration, for the sibyl sings that a man and a woman will have survived, feeding on the dew of the morning, and becoming the parents of a new generation of men; for after the fire of Swart a scene follows which is described thus:[59] "I behold Earth rise again with its evergreen forests out of the deep; the waters fall in rapids; above hovers the eagle, that fisher of the falls. The Anses meet on Iᵭa-plain, they talk of the mighty Earth-serpent, and remember the great decrees, and the ancient mysteries of Fimbul-ty (the unknown God). There shall be found in the grass wonderful golden tables [dice or draughts], their own in days of yore. The fields unsown shall yield their increase. All sorrows shall be healed. Balder shall come back. Balder and Höᵭr shall dwell in Woden's mansions of bliss, in the holy places of the blessed Gods. . . . . Then shall Hœni choose the rods of divination aright, and the sons of the Twin-brethren shall inhabit the wide world of the winds. . . . . I see a hall, brighter than the sun, shingled with gold, standing on Gem-lea. The righteous shall dwell therein, and live in bliss for ever."

This, you will observe, is poetry of no mean order, and it takes the form of a prophecy about a golden age to come; in fact, one of the sibyls is made to resume silence with an allusion to the advent of the Messiah in words to the following effect:[60]

"Then there shall come One yet mightier,
Though I dare not name him.
There he hut few who can see further forward
Than the day when Woden shall meet the Wolf."

But, in my opinion, the pagan original which served as the basis of the lays of the chief sibyl was a nature myth descriptive of the conflict of the elements in winter and the re-appearance of the summer sun in the person of Balder, who is, however, accompanied by Höᵭr; for where the sun's light reaches, there darkness follows in its turn, bringing with it the alternation of day and night. But how, you will ask, came this Norse poetry to assume the form of prophecy? This the Irish story helps us to understand, for the great encounter between the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomori was expected beforehand: of the time and place of it they were well aware, so that preparations of all kinds were made by Lug and the nobles of the Tuatha Dé Danann for a long while in advance.[61] But this feature of the story is not always reproduced by those in whose hands myths are wrought into historical narrative, as it might be found hard of explanation. From the mythic point of view it is simple enough; for once you admit that it refers to a struggle between the forces of nature which takes place annually, no mystery remains or room for prophecy, except in assigning the days of its commencement. In the Irish version this is fixed on the last day of October or the first day of November, and there is a certain amount of fitness in the Irish dates: at midsummer the Tuatha Dé Danann have a great victory over the Fir Bolg, but later, at the beginning of winter, they enter on a conflict with the Fomori, which lasts an indefinite length of time, and which is fatal to many of their chiefs, until at last Lug rushes into the battle and slays Balor of the Evil Eye, which ought to be towards the beginning of summer. The battle of Fomorian Moytura was not exclusively fought, it ought to have been explained, with ordinary weapons of war: thus, for example, the druid of the Tuatha Dé Danann engaged to bring down in the faces of the Fomori three showers of fire, and the Dagda undertook to work as many such wonders as all his colleagues put together. But to bring into relief the similarities between the Celtic and Norse myths, it is necessary to compare them step by step, somewhat as follows:

1. The Anses resolve to bind the Fenri Wolf, of whom terrible things were prognosticated; they succeed, but at the expense of Týr's right hand.

The Tuatha Dé Danann fight with the Fir Bolg and conquer them, but at the cost of one of Nuada's hands, cut off by Sreng the champion of the Fir Bolg.

2. The sibyl's account of the array of the evil powers, with which the Wolf comes, is to the following effect:

"Swart shall come from the South with a plagueful staff of fire,
A brightness as of the sun shines from the Demon's sword;
Muspell's sons follow him . . . .
A ship shall sail from the West . . . . the Hell's brood shall come over the waves, and Loki shall steer her.
All the monster-brood shall march with the Beast,
Byleist'a brother's daughter [Hell] is with their company.
They that dwell with Hell shall lay waste the world whereon men dwell.
From the East, Rym shall drive out of Giant-land,
The Rime-ogres [Titans] follow him. . . ."

The Fomori with their allies, including the scattered remnants of the Fir Bolg, as well as the forces of Lochlann or the World beneath the Waters, muster agaiust the Tuatha Dé Danann, and form altogether an army, as the story goes, of the most hideous troops ever Been in Erinn, following as their leaders Balor of the Evil Eye, and Indech son of the Goddess of the Deep.

3. The Anses lose several of their leading men in the contest. Woden the Culture Hero is slain by the Wolf, while Týr and the hound Garm fall in mutual slaughter.

The Tuatha Dé Danann lose most of their chiefs in the battle, including their champion, Ogma the Culture Hero, who falls killing Indech, while Nuada of the Silver Hand is killed by Balor of the Evil Eye.

4. Thor the Son of Earth slays the Dragon, walks nine paces, and dies of the venom of the Serpent.

Echaid Ollathair, called the Dagda, dies of the venom of the wound which he received in fighting with Cethlenn the hag-wife of Balor.[62]

5. Swart was disposed of we know not how, while Balder the Sun-god appears as the great figure and inaugurates a golden age.

Balor of the Evil Eye, which it was death to behold, is killed towards the end of the contest by a sling-stone cast by Lug into the Evil Eye; and Lug, after the war is over, is elected king by the Tuatha Dé Danann: he reigns prosperously for many a long year.

This last item of comparison requires a remark or two: Swart carries a fiery sword, and he may naturally be supposed to represent the dark thunder-cloud from which the bright lightning flashes forth; and this fits the case of Scandinavia, where the thunderstorms take place mostly in winter. It would not be safe to go so far as to say that the fiery sword of Swart is not represented in the case of Balor; for the latter's evil eye may be treated as the equivalent. When he wished to make use of the evil eye, the eyelid had, as in the case of Yspyᵭaden (p. 491), to be lifted by an attendant,[63] and when that was done, it was death to those who saw it. The same feature is dimly attested in the name of Goronwy Pevr (p. 240), in which the epithet seems to refer to a peculiar glare of his eyes. Lastly, the silence of the Norse poem as to how Swart was conquered and how Balder came back, suggests the question whether originally Balder was not made to finish the conflict by killing Swart. As it is, Balder appears on the scene in the most mysterious way; but it would not be safe to suppose that the Norse myth was exactly what the Celtic versions would suggest. In any case they come very near, for the latter mentions no feat of arms ascribed to Lleu except the crowning one of slaying Goronwy by a cast of his spear through the mass of rock behind which the latter sheltered himself. The Norse myth, by having such a passage, would both account for the disappearance of Swart and lead up to the supremacy of Balder, and that without greatly jarring with the usual treatment of the latter as one who was cared for by others, especially as the Norse myth represents his great father at the time dead. Note in passing that we appear to have a Greek equivalent in the birth of Apollo, his rapid growth, and his immediate despatch of the Pytho with the first arrow discharged from his bow. But to return to Lleu and Balder: the protection and guardianship of them by their respective fathers and friends is a very remarkable feature of both versions, carrying out the idea that the Solar Hero was the youthful son of the Culture God; and it is not without its interest to mention that, though this is usually much obscured on Irish ground, where the two characters are wont to be merged into that of the son, one of the most detailed accounts of the battle of Moytura gives distinct evidence that this treatment was the original one in Irish likewise. I allude to a British Museum manuscript,[64] which, after giving the references to Lug sundry solar touches, including among them an epithet meaning 'half crimson,' on account, as it is there explained, of Lug's colour being red from sunset till morn,[65] and after relating how he had been the chief organizer of the battle, states that the Tuatha Dé Danann resolved to keep him out of the conflict himself 'on account of his comeliness,'[66] a motive which vividly recalls the care taken of Balder by the Anses. The former carried their resolution into effect by placing Lug under a guard of nine men. When, however, the war had been dragging on for an indefinite length of time, his guard had their attention drawn away from Lug, and he gave them the slip. He then rode away in his chariot, and appeared at the head of the forces of the Tuatha Dé Danann, exhorting them to deeds of valour; but no feat is reported of him till he met Balor of the Evil Eye, when a conflict took place which quickly ended with Lug's slaying Balor. Lug addressed him as the monster of Lugaid, a term which brings into curious rapport with one another the victorious antagonist of the Sun-god in the person of Cúchulainn (p. 471), and the vanquished foe of the same divinity in the person of Lug.


The results obtained by comparing the Celtic and Teutonic myths relating to the contests of the gods with the giants and the monsters, encourage one to look for comparisons somewhat further afield: so I now turn to Greek mythology, and there we find Zeus and the other dwellers of Olympus engaged in a series of conflicts, first with the Titans, then with the Giants, and lastly with the monster Typho that was a host in himself. All these antagonists of the gods are described as the offspring of earth; but at first it would seem as though the war of the giants with the gods should be merely another and needless repetition of that of the Titans with them. That is, however, not so, since not only are the two battles of Moytura required in Irish mythology, but the Welsh story of Llûᵭ and the Norse myth have just three conflicts, as in Greek. For besides that between the Anses and the Wolf when Týr loses his hand, and the great struggle when the Anses are killed, we read of one called the first war ever engaged in by them: it was against the Wanes, who broke into the burgh of the Anses and tramped over the war-wasted field.[67] It is curious here to notice that the Wanes occupy, as regards the Anses, the same sort of position as the Fir Bolg with regard to the Tuatha Dé Danann. The sequence of the conflicts between Zeus and the unwieldy children of earth is not altogether the same, it must be admitted, as that of the Teutonic ones; but their general nature is the same; and I venture to call attention in particular to the struggle between Zeus and Typho (p. 121), who is represented as a terrible monster born in Cilicia, and possessed of a human head, together with a hundred dragon heads and many other formidable features. He looked fire from his eyes and flames blazed forth from his many mouths; not to mention that he was formed on such a scale that he reached the stars on high. From the first he declared war against Zeus and the gods, who, when they saw him making for Olympus, fled in various brute forms to Egypt. Zeus alone kept his ground and hurled his thunderbolt at Typho, but without much effect; the monster drove him to the other side of Syria, where Zeus attacked him in close combat with his sickle; but he was taken in the coils of his multiform foe, who snatched the sickle out of his hands and with it cut out the muscles of the god's hands and feet; then he carried him on his shoulders through the sea to Cilicia in a helpless state and threw him into a cave, at the same time that he hid his muscles away in a bear's skin, which he set a dragon-maid to guard. Hermes, however, with the rural god Ægipan came and stole the tendons, which the former fitted back in Zeus's body. The god then recovering his strength and his liberty, careered forth presently from Olympus in his chariot drawn by winged chargers, and began anew to ply Typho with his lightning, which had at length the effect of reducing the monster to a scorched skin.[68]

Here Typho is represented fiery like Swart in the Norse lay, and his eyes glare fire, which reminds one of Balor's evil eye in the Irish tale. Still more remarkable is the fact that Hermes, who restores to Zeus the use of his hands and feet, has a fairly exact counterpart in Dian Cecht, the skilled physician of Irish mythology, which makes him provide Nuada with a silver hand of wonderful ingenuity to replace that which he had lost in the first battle of Moytura. Thus Zeus, who is found to be represented in Irish by Nuada, and in Teutonic by Tiu, Norse Týr, is overtaken by much the same sort of misfortune as Nuada and Týr in carrying on much the same sort of struggle with the same sort of antagonists, and he gets over his misfortune with the aid of the same sort of friend as Nuada did. The conclusion seems unavoidable that the coincidence is not the result of a mere accident; nor would it be to the point for the student of Greek literature to tell us, that the story of Zeus' conflict with Typho, or at any rate the details just mentioned, are only to be found in the writings of late authors, unless he could show that those late authors were the inventors of them; for even had no scrap of Greek literature been lost to this day, which is far from being the case, there is no reason to suppose that all the ancient legends and

folklore of Hellas were ever committed to writing. Perhaps the wonder in the present case is that two Greek authors of any kind should have been found disposed to place on record a story which represented the great ruler of Olympus in a plight than which none could have been conceived as more undignified and perilous.


The Distress of the Gods and the Sun Hero's Aid.

Enough has now perhaps been said to show that the stories once current among Celts, Teutons and Greeks, about contests between the gods and their monster antagonists under their various names, all represent in their way the same primæval Aryan myth; and we may say, taking the existence of that myth for granted, that none of the stories extant among the nations alluded to reproduce it in its entirety: one gives one part, and another another, while of some parts there are several variants; not to mention that the utmost freedom of treatment may be regarded as the rule throughout. Now the garbled and incomplete versions of one branch of the family help, however, to explain the equally garbled and incomplete versions of another branch, and the comparison enables one approximately to restore the original. Let us apply this view to the story of the contest between the Olympic gods and the giants. According to Apollodorus,[69] the chief giants were Porphyrio and Alcyoneus, who was immortal so long as he fought on the earth that gave him birth. He drove away the cattle of the sun from Erythria, and it had been foretold the gods that not one of the giants could be destroyed by them, and that they could only quell them if they called in the aid of a mortal. Earth was anxious to prevent this, but Zeus was beforehand with her, and the aid of Heracles was secured by Athene. Heracles then proceeded to direct his arrows at Alcyoneus, and having, at the suggestion of Athene, drawn him from where he was invincible, he slew him. The next to be killed by Heracles was Porphyrio, who, offering violence to Here, was assailed by her husband with the thunderbolt, while the other giants were attacked by the other gods; but not a single one of them could finish his antagonist without the aid of Heracles, who despatched them with his invincible arrows.

The question which this inevitably suggests is, why the gods should require the aid of a mortal, why they should not have succeeded without his alliance, and why there was a prophecy that they could not. Let us now turn to Celtic and Norse literature, and what do we there find? This, namely, that according to the interpretation of the myths in point adopted in these lectures, the sort of power wanted to give the gods victory was that of the sun, and more especially of the summer sun. Thus it is the Solar Hero Lug who ends the Fomorian battle of Moytura; and when the Anses have been killed by Swart and his allies, they only appear again after Balder has returned, and all ills are healed at his coming (p. 535). Further, we find that both Celts and Teutons regarded the Solar Hero as the son or offspring of the Culture Hero, and that there are reasons for regarding the latter, whether we call him Gwydion, Woden or Indra, as a man-god, that is to say a god who was by origin a man; by virtue of his descent from a human father, the offspring, namely the Solar Hero, would also reckon as a mortal. This explains the story of Apollodorus, in which Heracles abides most strictly within the limits of his solar character, achieving his victory by means of his arrows, which may be taken to represent the rays of the sun. It follows, moreover, that we are confirmed in the opinion that the contests between the gods of Olympus and the Titans, between them and the giants and Typho, are all to be regarded as climatic ones, fought with the evil powers of nature as the respective seasons of the year come round. But to regard the Solar Hero or Sun-god as the offspring of the Culture Hero belongs to such a primitive way of looking at things, that it would seem to have been always liable to be effaced. In Irish literature, for instance, the two characters are most frequently treated very unequally, and with the effect in the person of Diarmait, for example, that it is impossible at times to say whether he should be regarded as the Solar or as the Culture Hero—he is so like both rolled into one. It is found to be much the same with Owein ab Urien in Welsh; but Cúchulainn, though his father is reduced nearly to a cipher, remains decidedly the Solar Hero, as might be said also of Heracles; and the similarity between the two does not end here, as will be seen presently. The father of Cúchulainn is of no importance, and no Culture Hero is placed in close relationship to Heracles in Greek, excepting Prometheus released by him from bonds, and Hermes associated with Heracles as his protector.

The converse case seems possible, where the Solar Hero is kept more or less out of sight for the greater glorification of the Culture Hero; but the Welsh instance which first suggests itself as in point proves on examination to be but doubtfully so: it is that of Pwyỻ in the Mabinogi slaying Arawn's enemy for him;[70] for on the whole Pwyỻ is scarcely to be regarded a Sun-god in the same sense, for example, as Lug. Perhaps one might venture to treat him as a Sun-god in the sense in which the Celtic Zeus has been explained to have been solar (p. 575), or else he may be a Culture Hero. I find it hard to decide, though I am inclined to the former view. In either case it is to be noticed that Pwyỻ's action in slaying Arawn's foe is subjected by Arawn to a restriction which seems only capable of being accounted for on the supposition of its having originally applied only to the Solar Hero. I allude to Pwyỻ's being warned by Arawn not to deal the hitter's enemy more than one blow, as that single blow would be fatal to him, while we are left to infer that a second blow would have marred the effect of the first. It looks as though the habit of regarding the Sun-god finishing the contest by a single effort, as in the case of Lleu and Lug, had been generalized into a rule that the Sun-god was bound never to repeat the blow, and as though that rule had then been somewhat loosely extended to others. At any rate, it would be hard to explain how any such a limitation applied in the first instance either to the Culture Hero or to the Mars-Jupiter of the Celts. On the other hand, it readily applies to the case of the Sun-hero Cúchulainn, of whom we read that Labraid of the Swift Hand on the Sword had long craved Cúchulainn's aid; but that when the hero actually came, according to an old prophecy, and proceeded to deal slaughter among his friend's foes, Labraid became very anxious that he should not kill too many of them: at all events, no reason is suggested for his anxiety. The same idea is to be traced also in the story of Peredur, but in a somewhat different form: he deals the witch of Gloucester just one blow of his sword, and that suffices to quell the witch's courage, as she recognizes in Peredur a man of whom it had been prophesied that he should come and conquer her and her formidable sisters.[71] This prophecy is to be compared with the foreknowledge possessed by the Tuatha Dé Danann as to the final battle of Moytura, and the oracle which had warned the Olympic gods that they could only conquer the Giants with the aid of a mortal, who proved to be Heracles.

Thus far we have been looking to what extent Celtic and Teutonic forms of the myth elucidate the Greek versions; let us now turn round and see what light the latter may throw on the former. We may begin just where we left off, that is to say with Heracles, who was originally a θνητός or mortal, but became a god. This short and general method of distinguishing between heroes and gods, between men and the immortals, must have once been available in the like manner among both Celts and Teutons. For, as regards the latter, suffice it to mention the story of Goᵭmundr reigning over the Land of Immortality, in the far north (p. 457); while the former's idea of the immortality of the gods is indirectly exemplified by the length of life incidentally assigned, for instance, to the Welsh Mabon (p. 20) and to the Irish Mider (p. 145), in whose lifetime certain events occur severed by a millennium and more.[72] A very comprehensive proof offers itself in the fact that the ordinary Celtic word for a human being means, as already explained (p. 02), a mortal. But it happens that a remarkable expedient for giving expression to the pregnant distinction between mortals and the immortals is adopted in one Irish instance, and it has mainly to do with the Irish counterpart of Heracles, namely Cúchulainn. The latter, together with his father, belong to the court of the king of Ulster, but they differ from the king and his courtiers, and the difference is brought into relief in the following manner. The strange custom of the couvade, found to have existed here and there all over the world, was known in Ireland, at least in Ulster, and when the great invasion of that province took place under the leadership of Ailill and Medb, with their Fir Bolg and other forces, they found, as indeed they had intended to find, that all the adult males of the kingdom of Conchobar mac Nessa were laid up, so that none of them could stir hand or foot to defend his country against invasion, excepting Cúchulainn and his father alone. These two were, for reasons unknown to Irish literature—unless we suppose the foreign extraction of Cúchulainn, originally implied perhaps in calling him Setanta (p. 455), to be one of those reasons—free from the weakness which periodically afflicted the rest of the Ultonian warriors, the king included; and by dint of the most marvellous feats of valour, Cúchulainn kept the whole force of the enemy at bay for some time.

You will perhaps think it a strangely Irish treatment to make the gods languish en couvade while mortals went free; but it must be remembered that all Irish mythology, and Welsh also, reaches us through Christian channels, which usually make the gods into men liable to die like other men. Within the pagan period there was probably no lack of distinctions believed to exist between gods and men, and the idea of the former's deathlessness, or at any rate the millennial duration of their lives, must have been one of them. But it is remarkable that what in Irish is represented as merely an indisposition and inactivity on their part, amounts in the Norse Edda to nothing less than the actual death of the Anses at the hands of the powers of evil, followed though it be by their unexplained return to life when all ills are healed at the coming of Balder. Whether we call their inactivity death or mere indisposition, there was a mythological reason for it, as we shall presently see; but that reason may be regarded as having ceased to be intelligible at an early date, long probably before any Aryan wanderer had landed in these islands. So the persistence of the myth of which the Ultonian inactivity formed an integral part, would naturally come to be interpreted sooner or later in the light of the only custom that seemed to make it intelligible, namely, that of the couvade. The explanation was, it is needless to say, a mere expedient, but rather an ingenious one, though it proves, when you come to examine it a little more closely, to have been far from large enough. For instance, the Irish couvade (p. 363) should last only four days and five nights, a space of time out of all proportion to the interval during which the heroes of Ulster lay hors de combat, leaving Cúchulainn alone to face the enemy; besides, who ever heard of a couvade that included all the adult males of a whole province at one and the same time? It did well enough, however, to indicate the radical difference of nature that was supposed to exist between Cúchulainn's and that of the nobles of Ulster. Cúchulainn had inherited it from his father, who similarly differed from them before him; and this chimes in exactly with the conclusion drawn in these lectures as to Gwydion, Woden and Indra, that they were in point of origin human, and not divine. It is true that Cúchulainn's father's importance is reduced to a minimum; but so far as any distinctive character is left him, it coincides well enough with that of Gwydion and Woden: he devotes his attention to his son, who is however too strong-willed to be ruled by him, so that in the long run the father becomes the son's attendant and messenger.

The result, as regards the Solar Hero, is to prove the identity, so far as identity can be approached in such matters, of Cúchulainn with Heracles. It would take too much time to pursue this idea into the general similarity between certain of the labours of Heracles and those of Cúchulainn, and I will only call attention to one or two other points of resemblance. Thus I may observe that as Heracles was persecuted by Here the stern consort of Zeus, so the Mórrigu, or Great Queen of the Goidelic war-god, is described offended with Cúchulainn, and taking an active part against him at a moment when he was already formidably matched; but she, like Here, fails, and appears afterwards reconciled and friendly to him (p. 471). On the other hand, you will remember that the great friend and helper of Heracles was the grey-eyed goddess Athene, daughter of Zeus: she not only aided him when he was in dire distress, but provided for his ease and comfort when he felt tired and wearied after his great efforts: for example, she wove him a splendid peplos in which to lounge when he laid aside his armour, and she would on occasion make warm springs gush forth from the ground to provide her favourite hero with a refreshing bath.[73] Now the complement of the reasoning which would identify Cúchulainn with Heracles, would make the Ultonian court a counterpart in Irish of Olympus in Greek mythology, as I have already tried to explain (pp. 136—144); so the Irish counterpart of Athene should be a daughter of the king rendering kindly service to Cúchulainn. As a matter of fact, it happens that this part of the myth has not been wholly blotted out by the blanching touch of time: at any rate, it is just possible to read it in the light of the Greek idyll. Conchobar had a passing fair daughter called Fedelm of the Nine Forms (p. 378), for she had so many fair aspects, each of which was more beautiful, as we are told, than the others; and when Cúchulainn had, at the news of the approach of the enemy from the west, advanced with his father to the frontier of the realm, he suddenly hastened away in the evening to a place of secret meeting, where he knew Fedelm to have a bath got ready for him in order to prepare him for the morrow and his first encounter with the invading army. Fedelm, according to some accounts,[74] was the mother of Erc and Acall (p. 483); nor is she usually associated with Cúchulainn; and she is so abruptly introduced into the epic tale that the passage was a puzzle, some eight hundred years ago, to the writer of the oldest text now known of it. But, treated comparatively, it becomes intelligible, and carries us back a distance of time which might almost be characterized as geological.

All that we have thus far found with regard to the contests of the gods and their allies against the powers of evil and theirs, would seem to indicate that they were originally regarded as yearly struggles. This appears to be the meaning of the foreknowledge as to the final battle of Moytura, and as to the exact date of the engagement on the Plain of Fidga in which Cúchulainn assists Labraid of the Swift Hand on the Sword, a kind of Celtic Zeus or Mars-Jupiter as the ruler of an Elysium in the other world (p. 342). It was for a similar reason that the northern sibyl could predict that, after the Anses had been slain by Swart aided by the evil brood, Balder would come to reign, when all would be healed, and the Anses would meet again in the Field of Ith. Nor can the case have been materially different with the Greek gods, as proved by the allusion to the prophecy about the issue of the war with the giants. And this was not all; for we are told that the Cretans represented Zeus as born and bred and also buried in their island, a view sometimes formerly regarded as confirming the character ascribed to them for lying; but that deserves no serious consideration, and the Cretans in their mysteries are supposed to have represented the god going through the stages of his history every year.[75] A little beyond the limits of the Greek world a similar idea assumed a still more remarkable form, namely, among the Phrygians, who are said by Plutarch to have believed their god to sleep during the winter and resume his activity during the summer. The same author also states that the Paphlagonians were of opinion that the gods were shut up in a prison during winter and let loose in summer.[76] Of these peoples, the Phrygians at least appear to have been Aryan, and related by no means distantly to the Greeks; but nothing could resemble the Irish couvade of the Ultonian heroes more closely than the notion of the Phrygian god hibernating. This in its turn is not to be severed from the drastic account of the Zeus of the Greek Olympus reduced by Typho to a sinewless mass and thrown for a time into a cave in a state of utter helplessness. Thus we seem to be directed to the north as the original home of the Aryan nations; and there are other indications to the same effect, such as Woden's gold ring Draupnir, which I have taken (p. 366) to be symbolic of the ancient eight-day week: he places it on Balder's pile, and with him it disappears for a while into the nether world, which would seem to mean the cessation for a time of the vicissitude of day and night, as happens in midwinter within the Arctic circle. This might be claimed as exclusively Icelandic, but not if one can show traces, as I have attempted (pp. 365-75), of the same myth in Ireland. Further, a sort of complement to it is supplied by the fact that Cúchulainn the Sun Hero is made to fight several days and nights without having any sleep, which, though fixed at the wrong season of the year in the epic tale in its present form, may probably be regarded as originally referring to the sun remaining above the horizon continuously for several days in summer. Traces of the same idea betray themselves in Balder's son Forseti or the Judge, who, according to a passage in old Norse literature,[77] sits long hours at his court settling all causes in his palace of Glitnir in the skies. These points are mentioned as part of a hypothesis I have been forced to form for the interpretation of certain features of Aryan mythology; and that hypothesis, to say the least of it, will not now be considered so wild as it would have been a few years ago; for the recent researches of the students of language and ethnology have profoundly modified their views, and a few words must at this point be devoted to the change that has come over the scene. Among the great discoveries of modern times must undoubtedly be ranked that of the fact, that Sanskrit and the more important languages of Europe are closely akin; but this discovery was accompanied by several erroneous assumptions of far-reaching influence. One was that Sanskrit, if not the mother of the other Aryan languages, was at any rate their eldest sister; and altogether the importance of Sanskrit used to be greatly exaggerated. Another of these assumptions was that all the nations speaking Aryan languages were of the same race. Then we have to add to these and the like assumptions the long-standing habit of regarding all the nations of the west as of eastern origin. But within recent years the ruthless hand of critical inquiry has begun to sweep away these cobwebs, and Sanskrit, which will doubtless enjoy the reputation of always being a highly important and instructive language, has so far lost its exaggerated weight that Professor Sayce begins his Preface (dating in November, 1884) to the third edition of his 'Principles of Comparative Philology' with the following remarkable words: 'Since the publication of the second edition of my work in 1875, a revolution has taken place in the Comparative Philology of the Indo-European languages. Sanskrit has been dethroned from the high place it once occupied as the special representative of the Aryan Parent-Speech, and it has been recognized that primitive sounds and forms have, on the whole, been more faithfully preserved in the languages of Europe than in those of India.' The ethnologist, waking up likewise from the delusion which he had allowed his too impetuous brother, the student of language, to infect him with, finds that it is out of the question to suppose the various peoples speaking Aryan languages to be of the same race. It then remains that we should regard the original Aryans as having spread their language and institutions among other races by conquest, and that the various nations of the world speaking Aryan languages are not all equally Aryan in point of blood: so the question arises, what Aryan nation or nations most closely resemble the original stock of that name? It is argued with great probability, that it is the tall, blue-eyed, fair-skinned and light-haired inhabitants of Scandinavia and parts of North Germany. It is urged that this type was dominant also among the ancient Gauls, and that it is still so in a somewhat modified form in Slavonic lands; while it can be shown to have likewise enjoyed great prestige in ancient Italy and Greece, most of the great heroes and heroines of the latter land being described in the classics as ξανθόι or golden as to the colour of their hair. According to this view, the least Aryan in race would be the Hindus; and the Sanskrit-speaking conquerors of the Land of the Five Rivers must be regarded as the Eurasians of their time; accordingly it is found that the least swarthy of their descendants in our time belong to the highest caste. Thus to regard Sanskrit as the typical Aryan speech, and the Hindu as Aryan par excellence, is to begin at the wrong end, much as if you treated a Bombay Eurasian as a typical representative of the English people at home. The historian also calls attention to the direction of the Asiatic conquests of Macedon and Rome, of England and Russia, to the eastward migrations of Scythians and Thracians, also of the Gauls who left their name to Galatia, and to the spread southwards of Slaves and especially of Teutons. In fact, he would substitute for the irrepressible and inexplicable tendency supposed to have been innate in the ancient Aryan, and to have left him no peace of mind till he wandered to the west, reasons of no mysterious a nature. According to him, dire necessity and the prospect of material advantages were the motives that impelled the Aryan to conquer fresh territory towards the south and the east. Lastly, Dr. Latham's argument, forgotten for a time but never refuted, is again invoked, to the effect, that 'to deduce the Indo-Europeans of Europe from the Indo-Europeans of Asia, in ethnology, is like deriving the reptiles of Great Britain from those of Ireland in erpetology.'[78]

Thus the voice of recent research[79] is raised very decidedly in favour of Europe, though there is no complete unanimity as to the exact portion of Europe to regard as the early home of the Aryans; but the competition tends to lie between North Germany and Scandinavia, especially the south of Sweden. This last would probably do well enough as the country in which the Aryans may have consolidated and organized themselves before beginning to send forth their excess of population to conquer the other lands now possessed by nations speaking Aryan languages. Nor can one forget that all the great states of modern Europe, except that of the Sick Man, trace their history back to the conquests of the Norsemen who set out from the Scandinavian land which Jordanis[80] proudly calls officina gentium and vagina nationum. But I doubt whether the teachings of evolution may not force us to trace them still further towards the north: in any case, the mythological indications to which your attention has been called, point, if I am not mistaken, to some spot within the Arctic Circle, such, for example, as the region where Norse legend placed the Land of Immortality, somewhere in the north of Finland and the neighbourhood of the White Sea. There would, perhaps, be no difficulty in the way of supposing them to have thence in due time descended into Scandinavia, settling, among other places, at Upsala, which has all the appearance of being a most ancient site, lying as it does on a plain dotted with innumerable burial mounds of unknown antiquity. This, you will bear in mind, has to do only with the origin of the early Ayrans, and not with that of the human race generally; but it would be no fatal objection to the view here suggested, if it should be urged that the mythology of nations beside the Aryans, such as that of the Paphlagonians, in case of their not being Aryan, point likewise to the north; for it is not contended that the Aryans may be the only people of northern origin. Indeed, I may add that a theory was not long ago propounded by a distinguished French savant, to the effect that the entire human race originated on the shores of the Polar Sea at a time when the rest of the northern hemisphere was too hot to be inhabited by man. M. de Saporta,[81] for that is the learned writer's name, explains himself in clear and forcible terms; but how far his hypothesis may satisfy the other students of this fascinating subject I cannot say. It may, however, be observed in passing, that it need not disconcert even the most orthodox of men, for it supposes all races of mankind traceable to a single non-simian origin, and the Bible leaves it an open question where exactly and when the Garden of Eden flourished.

The gods' winter indisposition, inactivity or death, which led me to make this digression, must not be confounded with their voluntary visits to the nether world. Of these we have an instance in the Ultonian cycle of Irish stories, where Conchobar, who here stands in the position of a Celtic Zeus, goes with his men, including young Cúchulainn the Sun-god, to the house of Culann the smith to be entertained for the night (p. 446). Culann is to be regarded as one of the forms of the dark divinity or Dis of the Celts, and in Greek mythology he has his counterpart in Hephæstus, excepting that, owing to the departmental narrowing of the latter's characteristics, Culann was somewhat wider; for he was not only smith, but diviner and prophet, the owner of herds and flocks, and of a Cerberus that guarded his house and chattels until it was killed by Cúchulainn. That Culann is a form of the dark divinity is favoured by the fact that his name has sometimes become synonymous with that of the devil. He is sometimes associated with the Isle of Man, where he manufactured a sword, a spear and a shield, of such transcendent excellence for Conchobar, that he was invited by him to dwell in his realm: Culann, accepting the offer, settled on the Plain of Murthemne,[82] where the story of the Táin represents him living.[83] But that Plain was fabled to have been formerly situated beneath the sea, which reminds one of the Homeric story about Hephæstus working for nine years beneath the sea unknown to gods and men, excepting Eurynome and Thetis, who gave him shelter.[84] He had been thrown into the sea by his mother Here, who was ashamed of his ugliness: compare the drowning of Lug's brothers (p. 316), the taking of Corc into a small island outside Erinn (p. 309), and the haste with which Dylan made for the water-world (p. 307). The dark nature of Hephæstus may also be inferred from his union with such goddesses as Charis, Aglæa and Aphrodite, also Athene, the quasi-mother of Hephæstus' monster son Erichthonius. The same remark applies to his struggle with Zeus, who hurled him from Olympus, a nature myth otherwise expressed by the story of his accident with the fiery steeds of Phœbus; and we have the other side of the picture in the return of Hephæstus to Olympus with Dionysus, at the head of a following of silens and nymphs, that challenged comic treatment at the hands of poets and artists. The masterpieces of his art were, as in the case of the mob of lesser spirits associated with working in metals, not unfrequently wrought in malice and fraught with misfortune for those who accepted them. It was to the hall of Culann, then, a dark divinity corresponding to Hephæstus, that Conchobar and his court, that is to say the gods of the Ultonian cycle, resorted for a night's entertainment, which originally appears to have meant their sinking into the sea. In Norse mythology this has its counterpart in the Anses and Ansesses banqueting in the hall of the brewer of the gods. He was not one of them, but a sort of giant called Ægir.[85] The Greek version of the myth in question is to be seen in the flitting of the dwellers of Olympus in order to go and enjoy their hecatombs from time to time at the ever-laden table of the dark Ethiopians. According to the opening portion of the Odyssey, these mythic people, with their faces tanned by the scorching rays of the sun, inhabited the two regions of the world which were the most distant from one another: that where the sun rose in the morning and that where he descended in the evening:

Αἰθίοπας, τοὶ διχθὰ δεδαίαται, ἔσχατοι ἀνδρῶν,
Οἱ μὲν δυσομένου Ὑπερίονος, οἱ δ' ἀνιόντος

Such a myth requires no explanation; and possibly a veiled reference to the Table of the Ethiopians is to be detected, with an unexplained change of scene, in the story of Hephæstus limping about as cup-bearer to the gods on Olympus; but it is perhaps preferable to regard this as a mere piece of later humour, or else to compare it with the case of the Dagda acting as chef of the kitchen of Conaire the Great, or Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr discharging the duties of chief porter at Arthur's court on great occasions.[86]

It is not evident whether the myth of the imprisonment of the Celtic Zeus, as in the person of Merlin, should be reckoned with that of the inactivity or death of the gods, or else ranked with the flitting of the Olympians to feast at the Table of the Ethiopians; for in some versions of the myth the idea of imprisonment is not expressed, though it admits perhaps of being

dimly inferred. Take, for instance, the story of Labraid (p. 342), who from his island home ruled over a sort of martial Elysium, in which he required the aid of the Sun-god Cúchulainn against a people called the Men of Fidga. These were fabled to derive their origin from Britain,[87] which in this context means Hades (p. 90). In the next place, Labraid's wife and queen was Liban, in whom one recognizes the Lake Lady of the Merlin story (p. 150). Lastly, Labraid is not mentioned as quitting his realm to visit this world, but his wife goes and comes at will. Now the path to the region inhabited both by Labraid and the Men of Fidga led past two double-headed serpents; and when Liban fetched to her court a person destined to come back alive, she had, at the dangerous spot alluded to, specially to protect him by taking him by the shoulders.[88] This is probably the key to the story of the strange punishment selected for Pwyỻ's queen Rhiannon, when she was condemned to carry all visitors to the court on her shoulders from the horse-block into the hall (p. 498).[89] For the role of Pwyỻ Head of Hades is perhaps best interpreted as that of a Celtic Zeus in that world, while Rhiannon is to be regarded as a goddess with free access to both worlds.


Celtic Accounts of the Aryan Deluge.

The mythic struggles which led us away into the digression concerning origins, enable one to see to some extent how to classify the parties opposed in them: among other things, we are taught that it will not always do to take them according to their descent, since Prometheus, for example, though the son of a Titan, fights on the side of the gods; and we are further helped to distinguish the Olympic party into two groups, consisting respectively of the gods with Zeus at their head, and of the heroes who began their existence as mortals. Without attempting to pursue this question of classification further, I now wish to make some additional comparisons showing how some of the principal figures in the mythology of the Greeks and other Aryans had their counterparts in the theology of the ancient Celts. Treating Zeus as the central figure in the Hellenic pantheon, and assuming his identity with the Týr of the Norsemen and the Nuada of the Irish, let us turn our attention to Cronus, whom Zeus is represented as having superseded and expelled. Now Earth wishing to be rid of her husband Uranus or Sky, incited her sons the Titans to mutilate him, but they all hesitated except the youngest, who is characterized as ἀγκυλομήτης, or Cronus of crooked counsel. He accordingly accepted a sharp sickle from his mother and perpetrated the deed. His father Sky then cursed Cronus to suffer in his turn at the hands of his own offspring, wherefore Cronus took the strange precaution of devouring them as fast as they were born; but his wife Rhea succeeded in concealing one of them from his voracity. This was Zeus, and as soon as he grew to maturity he declared war on the Titans: proving victorious, he thrust Cronus and the other Titans into Tartarus, according to one account. Another, however, makes the dispossessed Cronus go to the Isles of the Blessed to reign over the happy dead. He is found also associated with harvest-time and abundance, the harvest month being called in parts of Greece Κρονιών after Cronus, and there was a harvest feast called Κρόνια which was celebrated with practices recalling a fabled age of golden prosperity, labourless plenty and social equality. On the other hand, his name was usually identified, especially by comic authors, with all that was antiquated and out of date.[90] The poets sometimes call him πολιόν and πρεσβύτην θεόν, also πατέρα πρεσβύτην Κρόνον,[91] not to mention that Greek philosophers and theologians at length made of him a god of time, and that his name Κρόνος, which is of uncertain meaning, came eventually to be explained as χρόνος, time.

On the one hand, Cronus is a crafty and cruel Titan of marvellous voracity; and on the other, he is an ancient father, king of the happy departed, and a god of abundance and mature plenty. The same peculiar combination is to be traced to some extent on Celtic ground; for Llûᵭ of the Silver Hand, the Welsh equivalent of the Irish Nuada, is represented as the youngest son of Beli the Great. The latter may, therefore, be taken to be in a sense one of our equivalents to Cronus. The name Beli appears to mean death, and to refer to the sinister aspect of his character; in Irish it is represented by that of Bile king of Spain, that is to say of Hades, and ancestor, through Mile, of the Milesian Goidels (pp. 90-1), while a related form Balor was restricted to what may be regarded perhaps as the same divinity with all his good attributes removed. Be that as it may, Beli and Bile wore doubtless forms of the Dis of the ancient Celts; but when, for instance, the time of Beli is referred to in Welsh literature as the golden age of Brythonic independence, one is induced to think that very possibly a Celtic counterpart of Cronus or Saturn has been confounded and identified with Beli: the analogy of the cognate myths would lead us to expect to find them closely associated but scarcely amalgamated. A more complete representative, however, of Cronus on Celtic ground is to be detected in the Irish Dagda, whose name seems to mean the 'good god' (p. 154). He is an Ollathair or Great Father, like Cronus, and, like him, his character readily lent itself to comic treatment, as, for instance, in a description of his making a heavy meal of porridge, of which he was over-fond; like Cronus also, he was deprived of his house and home by his Mac Óc or Young Son, for that, and not Nuada, is the name in this connection of the counterpart of young Zeus; but the triumph of his son is made the result of a trick (p. 147), and not of a battle as in the case of Cronus. In the next place, he, duly conciliated, is said both himself to abstain, and to cause the other gods to abstain, from blighting the crops and spoiling the milk of the Milesian Irish. So here again he may be compared to Cronus, and regarded as the god to be propitiated by the farmer and the shepherd. This would naturally imply that he had power to a certain extent over the atmosphere near the earth, which is borne out by his promising that at the final battle of Moytura he would himself work as many atmospheric wonders as all the druids of the Tuatha Dé Danann put together. Thus it would seem that he was one of the Celtic gods who had the thunderbolt, which Greek mythology tends to place at the exclusive disposal of Zeus; even Cronus' influence over the harvest and the ripening crops would seem to postulate the assigning of a certain amount of atmospheric power to him also. It is, however, not to be doubted that Cronus is left with comparatively little influence as compared with this Celtic counterpart of his, for there were, as we shall see, several others belonging to other cycles of sagas, Irish and Welsh.

Before leaving this mention of the Dagda, it is worth while pointing out his Norse equivalent, whom we seem to have in Thor. This will appear from the following summary of Thor's attributes by Yigfusson and Powell, in their Corpus Poeticum Boreale, ij. 463: "Wide is the contrast between Woden and Thunder in the lays of the earlier poets. Thor is a less complex divinity, with a well-marked and individual character; the friend of man, the husbandman's god, whose wrath and anger are ever directed against the evil powers that injure mortals and their possessions, whose bolt destroys the foul thick blights that betray the presence of the wicked ones, and smites through the huge cloud-masses that seem to be crushing the earth. Thus we see him ever associated with Earth, who bore him to Heaven . . . . ; her proudest titles are the Mother of the Giant-killer, the Mother of the Ill-dam's foe. So also he is 'husband of Sif,' the golden-haired goddess [the Corn-field, Ceres]. . . . . The homely features of Thor's character mark him out for humorous treatment, and the anonymous Aristophanes of the West, and Snorri himself, deal so with him. Alone of all the gods we find his image carved on stocks and stones, a long-bearded face with the hammer hung beneath; and the hammer itself, a primitive stone-headed short-hafted instrument, is found separately as a charm. The 'Anse,' or 'the God of the country,' or 'the Mighty God' in the old carmina of oaths and vows, always refers to Thor. It is curious to notice how ill the sturdy farmer's friend suits the new Walhall. The poets get out of the difficulty by making him stay away fighting giants; his uncouth might is scarcely needed when Woden has a host of chosen warriors ever ready to defend himself and his friends." I will only add that the word áss or anse, as applied to Thor, has its etymological equivalent, as observed in a previous lecture (p. 61), in the name Esus of the Gaulish god, usually equipped with a long-hafted hammer and an axe or bill, with which he is sometimes represented lopping the branches of a tree. The identity is, roughly speaking, fairly certain.

Another parallel in Celtic to Cronus must now be mentioned, namely, Fergus mac Róig, whose story belongs to the Ultonian cycle, in which the place occupied in Greek theology by Zeus is held by Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster. The latter's predecessor in power was Fergus, and it was briefly told in another lecture (p. 137), how Fergus was done out of his kingdom by the boy Conchobar aided by his mother Nessa, how he was beaten in the war that ensued, and how he went as an exile to the court of Medb in Connaught. There he became the father of several of Medb's numerous offspring, and he acted as one of the chief leaders of Ailill and Medb's expedition into Ulster. When they reached Ulster, the Ultonian braves were in their couvade, and the frontier was left in the charge of Cúchulainn and his father. But when at last the Ultonians career forth in their war-chariots and pursue the western foe in his retreat, Conohobar and Fergus meet face to face in battle, and the former reminds the latter of his having driven him forth from his lands and inheritance to the haunts of the deer, the hare and the fox: we seem to be going to have a wordy description of a mighty combat; but the epic author hesitates, and the combatants are separated.[92] So he leaves unmodified the salient fact of the defeat and banishment of Fergus by Conchobar, who got possession of his kingdom by the craft of his mother. The comparison with the Mac Óc's treatment of the Dagda and Zeus's dealings with regard to Cronus is obvious, though the story of Fergus went further, in that it gave him a second lease of power in Ulster[93] and a second exile in the west, which discloses the secret of the myth as one originally referring to the alternation of day and night. One of the gessa or prohibitions which Fergus durst not violate was to refuse a feast offered him, which may perhaps be set over against Thor's eating three whole oxen at supper,[94] if not against the appetite of Cronus.

In a previous lecture it was suggested that Fergus was the same mythic person originally as Fergus Fairge or the Sea Fergus, and the connection with the sea, to which I wish now to call your attention, is by no means confined to tins instance in the case of the counterparts of Cronus. The association of Cronus with the sea is not much emphasized: one version of his story makes him sail away to the Isles of the Blessed, but another represents him wandering for a long time on sea, and at last arriving on the west coast of Italy, whence he sailed up the Tiber as far as the Janiculum, where he is said to have been kindly received by Janus who lived there.[95] For the Romans identified Cronus, and doubtless on the whole correctly, with their own Saturn. He was then believed to have taught Janus and his subjects various useful arts, such as that of ship-building and coining money, whence the Roman pieces with the head of Janus on one side and the ship of Saturn on the other; to which may be added the fact that the cellar beneath the latter's temple came to be the treasury of the city. Above all, Saturn was associated in many ways with agriculture: thus his name in its oldest form of Saeturnus appears to have referred to sowing; and the practice of manuring the ground was traced to him, whence he derived such epithets as Sterculus, Stercutus and the like. Moreover, the Saturnalia recalled his name, and the Saturnia Regna or the golden age of peace and plenty, when he was supposed to have reigned.[96] It is not easy to determine exactly the extent of the influence of Greek mythology on the Saturn legend and cult, but I see no reason to suppose that the habit of associating him either with farming or shipping was an imported one.

My object in dwelling so long on this is not to draw another parallel between Cronus or Saturn and Fergus in his connection with the sea, as that would be impossible from the lack of data relative to the latter. It is not so, however, in the case of another mythical person, in whom we have, as I wish now to point out, a third representative of Cronus, namely, Nemed, who has been mentioned in the earlier portion of this lecture (p. 580). from which I must now repeat two or three remarks. Nemed was one of the earliest colonizers of Erinn after the flood; he and his fleet set out from the east; but for what reason they left their own country we are, I believe, nowhere told. They wandered, at any rate, so long on sea, and suffered so much from hunger and thirst, that only a mere handful landed with Nemed in Erinn. Now Nemed's Welsh namesake is, as already mentioned, Nevyᵭ, the builder of the ship in which a man and a woman, Dwyvan and Dwyvach, were saved when the rest of the race was drowned. He it is also to whom Welsh poetry ascribes, under the kindred name of Nevwy, a sort of Noachian rôle; and he is likewise called Neivion, which has come to be treated as the Welsh for Neptune. So Nemed and Nevyᵭ taken together fully reflect the naval touch in the story of Cronus.[97] But Cronus is represented received by Rhadamanthus in the other world, and this also has a sort of counterpart in the story about Nemed, or, to be more accurate, in a story about a Nemed; for the stories as we know them are not usually regarded as in any way connected. Now the one in point relates how Nemed married the widow of the murdered king, Conaire the Great, who has been treated (p. 135) as one of the forms of the Celtic Zeus, and how Nemed, sheltering the murderer Ingcél, was overwhelmed with him in the vengeance wreaked on them by Conaire's children, the three Cairbres. This I take to be the same Nemed as the early colonizer, differently treated in a story belonging to a different cycle; and his marrying Conaire's widow, that is to say the Dawn-goddess, makes him into a god of darkness, as does also his alliance with Ingcél; nor need it occasion any surprise that Nemed here comes before us more as the chief character instead of appearing as a new-comer befriended by the cyclops Ingcél (p. 135); for so also Cronus, received by Rhadamanthus, takes rank as judge

above the latter.[98] Irish mythography treats Nemed's colonization of Ireland as only the second after the deluge, the first one being that of Partholon of unexplained name; but, as already suggested, there is every reason to regard his story and that of Nemed as very similar to one another, and to treat what is said of the one as mostly applying in a sense to the other likewise. Now in the case of Partholon the reason is given why he left his own land, and why his people died out in Ireland: it was because he had killed his own father.[99] This is undoubtedly an Irish version of Cronus mutilating his father Uranus, and of his having later to wander on the high seas. In the course of these remarks I have set over against Cronus and Saturn no less than four Irish personages, the Dagda, Fergus, Nemed and Partholon, while on the Welsh side allusion has been made chiefly to Nevyᵭ, to whom should be added Vortigern driven out of his realm by the boy Merlin Ambrosius. Both of these characters (pp. 151-5) history misled has been, as already explained, in the habit of claiming as her own.

These remarks would lack completeness without some further reference to the representatives of Cronus and Saturn in Aryan theologies other than Celtic: Thor has already been brought into the comparison, though nothing was said of him in relation to the sea. Perhaps you may think that there is good reason for the silence, that, in fact, he had nothing to do with the sea. But this would not be quite right, for he is described going forth on a memorable occasion in a boat to fish, and one of the names applied to him was kióla valdi, keel-wielder or master of the ship,[100] not to mention that he was invoked in perils at sea, and that one of the colonisers of Iceland is represented consulting Thor's oracle as to the spot where he should land and settle.[101] Thor, however, was not the only Teutonic counterpart of Cronus; for, as was pointed out on another occasion, Zeus has his counterpart not only in Týr, but also probably in the Swedish Frey, or the 'Lord;' and so Frey's father would have as much right, to say the least of it, to be set over against Cronus and the Dagda as Thor. This is borne out by what Norse literature says of Niörᵭr, for that was his name. Thus Niörᵭr, who was himself one of the Wanes and not of the Anses, was the father of Frey, who is called the best among the Anses,[102] just as Cronus the Titan was the father of Zeus the god. Niörᵭr came among the Anses as the hostage of the Wanes, and in the Doom of the Age he was to return to them;[103] but the Wanes were the enemies of the Anses, and they made the first war on them when they broke into the Anses' burgh. The Doom of the Age means the final contest and overthrow of the Anses by Swart and his allies, so that indirectly the latter are identified in a manner with the Wanes, who in any case take up a position in Norse mythology analogous to that of the Titans in Greek and of the Fir Bolg in Irish: it follows that the presence of Niörᵭr for a time among the Anses, and his finally taking sides with the Wanes in their war against the Anses, may be compared with the Titan Cronus ruling over the gods until he and the other Titans were utterly routed. So much of the darker side of Niörᵭr's character; and as to his connection with the sea, an Aristophanic touch in one of the Eddic poems[104] identifies him with it. Further, a fragment of a lost poem[105] describes a difficulty between Niörᵭr and his consort Skadi, who as a great huntress was fond of the rocks and the mountains, while her husband loved the sea. As regards Niörᵭr's attitude towards man, both he and Frey were held to be the givers of wealth,[106] and the father is referred to in terms that would have applied equally to Thor, as the guileless helper of man;[107] and he was invoked at sea as the ruler of the wind and the waves. The order of the toasts at the public festivals was that the first should be drunk to Woden: next came Niörᵭr's toast and Frey's for good seasons and peace.[108] Lastly, with regard to Niörᵭr's cult, he is represented as ruling over countless temples and high places;[109] and at Noatún, where he had built him a hall, he has a high-timbered altar-place.[110]

Let us now turn to the Vedic pantheon of the ancient Hindus, and see what great figure there takes up a position like that of Cronus and his counterparts in the theologies of the Western Aryans. One soon lights on Yama as showing a certain similarity to the character we are in quest of. His name, according to Vedic scholars, means 'a twin;'[111] he is represented as the first man, and his sister and wife[112] Yamî as the first woman. This double relationship reminds one of a reproach made by Loki to the Norse Niörᵭr.[113] Now Yama as the first man was the first of the dead,[114] so he functions as their lord and king; but he is not satisfied with the number of the subjects he has. He is accordingly described actively engaged in adding to their number; so he is not only king of the dead, but also death.[115] He is sometimes represented as personally fetching the dead or making himself the ψυχοπομπός.[116] He had, however, two terrible hounds, described as guardians of the road to him,[117] and sometimes as his messengers wandering forth among men in quest of those about to die.[118] The way to Yama's home was long, and a canoe to cross a river is mentioned.[119] He is said in the Rig-Veda to have crossed the rapid waters, to have shown the way to many, and to have first known the path taken by the fathers in crossing subsequently.[120] The protecting aid also of a god called Pûshan is sometimes described as requisite:[121] in what relation the latter stood to Yama does not very clearly appear, but at any rate there was no guide like him, as he was familiar with all ways and paths, including that which the dead had to pursue. He was besides the guardian of the flock and the augmentor of wealth, and in his love for his sister Sûryâ, the Sun, he stood on the level of Yama. But then he was an ancient god who had lost his teeth, and therefore lived, like the Dagda, on porridge or pap, and used, like Thor, to be drawn by goats when he chose to drive forth in his glory.[122] To come back to the dead, their destination was the abode of Yama, which is called the house of the gods and Hades:[123] it was far aloft in a remote quarter of the three-storied heaven[124] of which fancy made this nether world the under structure. There in that heaven of his, Yama sits drinking with the gods under a widely spreading tree with large leaves, and there he welcomes the fathers of the human race to share the delights of a land whose every brook runs with honey, whose heavenly cows, that kick not, offer their milk of their own accord, whose pleasures lack nought of the delights of the harem, and whose dwellers never suffer from old age or decay.[125] In the like manner, Zend literature makes Yima, the Zend namesake of Yama, inaugurate a golden age during which the human race enjoyed itself in his spacious paradise in immunity from death, until Yima by lying lost his majesty, and with it his dominion, which, together with Yima's life, was taken by the dragon Dahâka.[126] The end of Yima recalls Adam as the first of men and lord of the Garden of Eden till he was expelled, owing to the wiles of the serpent, and became subject to death. What may be the exact relationship between the two stories is a question which does not concern the present subject; but they prove beyond a doubt that Hebrew and Persian ideas must have, some time or other, come in contact with one another. All this, however, leaves us in considerable uncertainty as to the relative positions of Pûshan and Yama; but the former as the world's herdsman who never loses a beast[127] may be compared with Yspyᵭaden's shepherd (p. 488), and perhaps with the Norse god Heimdal, while Yama is left us to compare with Cronus and the Dagda. At any rate, Yama's being considered the first man to have died cannot be reckoned as radically distinguishing him from the other dark gods. For the model on which they were, one and all, fashioned in the first instance by fear and fancy was probably that of the dead ancestor, as the nature of the sacrifices with which different nations have been wont to propitiate them would seem to indicate.

Having touched on Yama, there are reasons, as will appear later, why I should say a little more about him, so I begin with the habit which Sanskrit mythology has of associating,[128] not to say confounding, Yama and Varuṇa with one another. This implies locating both Yama and Varuṇa in the skies, and it involves at least two distinct questions. One is that of the use in Sanskrit literature of the name Varuṇa as that of a great god, instead of letting it sink into comparative disrepute like Uranus. This has been touched upon before (p. 181), and the case was put from a Western Aryan's point of view, as though Varuṇa had exchanged places with Dyaus, the counterpart, etymologically speaking, of Zeus and Týr. Neither Dyaus, however, nor Varuṇa is out of place in the skies; but how comes Yama to be there? how comes the ruler of the dead and his subjects to be aloft, and not in some region below? That is the other question I had in view; but I have no answer except that cremation would seem naturally to point upwards, and especially the idea that the dead vanished aloft with the flames of the funeral pile.[129] Possibly one ought not to leave altogether out of the reckoning the sultriness of Indian climate, which makes the dweller on the plain sigh for the hills, and the English official migrate, if he can, to their breezier heights every year as the hot season sets in. Perhaps it was also partly an idea derived from some non-Aryan race with which the Aryan conqueror of India came into close contact. But whatever the reason may have been, there is no denying the fact that the aristocratic authors of the hymns of the Rig-Veda set their faces against the idea of going below after death. Sanskrit scholars tell us that, some time or other after the Vedic period, Yama came to be regarded as lord and king of the dead in the nether world.[130] This may be true in the limited sense that the idea of Yama reigning over the dead in the nether world finds no explicit expression in the Rig-Veda; but to convince a student of Aryan mythology as a whole, that such an idea only grew up in India posterior to the Vedic times, would, it seems to me, be out of the question; nor, in fact, did the authors of the Rig succeed in keeping it wholly out of their hymns. Thus one of them, speaking of inhumation, says that the tomb should drip with butter, in other words, that it should be well supplied with the proper food for the dead; and another breathes a prayer to Yama that he and the Pitaras or ancestors might be pleased to make the dwelling of the dead in the tomb steadfast.[131] These are traces of a belief which probably obtained among the people at the time when the Vedic priests looked forward to an Elysium on high, whither the smoke of the funeral pile wafted the deceased, with the aid of the fire-god Agni, who was the natural ψυχοπομπός of this system. Hence it followed that the sun was considered one of the principal abodes of the dead, and that Agni, supposed to descend from heaven and to take mankind away, came to be regarded as intimately connected with the origin of the human race.[132] The incompatibility of the two views is placed in very clear light in connection with the question, whither those Pitaras had gone who had not been cremated but buried in the earth. According to one account, they had gone aloft, but according to another, that could not be.[133] So even the hymns of the Rig-Veda may be taken as indirectly proving in a variety of ways, that Yama did not originally dwell on high, though the view predominant in them, and mainly representative of the cremation period, transports him to the neighbourhood of Varuṇa. Before closing these remarks on Yama, I would revert for a moment to his double character of one of the dead, namely, their king, and of one actively engaged in adding to their number, whereby he assumes the part of Death—an association of ideas not unfamiliar to the Celts (p. 567), as, for example, when the Bretons give Death as one of his names that of arMaró, which literally means the Dead One. It is this double rôle of King of a Golden Age and of grim Death, that is to be regarded as the key to the incompatible attributes of Beli, of Fergus as the friend of Cúchulainn and the ally of Ailill with his Fir Bolg, of Niörᵭr as a benignant god and as a Wane hostile to the Anses, and of Cronus as ruler of the Happy Isles and as a cruel Titan of revolting voracity.

Sanskrit mythology is not content with one origin of the human race, for besides Yama and other offspring, Vivasvant, their father, had a son called Manu. He was the mythic legislator of the Hindus, and his name signifies Man: how he was the ancestor of men is explained by the story of a deluge occurring in his days. This was predicted to him by a fish[134] whose life he spared on its being accidentally brought to him one morning in the water with which he was to wash. The fish advised Manu to build him an ark; and when he entered it, at the coming of the deluge, the fish undertook to guide the ark to the place where it was to remain until the waters subsided. When at length Manu was able to leave the ark, he meditated and sacrificed to the waters, pouring into them libations of clarified butter, milk, whey and curds, until at the end of a year's time there came forth a lovely maiden, emerging from the midst of the libations, with which she was all dripping. She told Manu that she was his daughter, for he, she said, had brought her into being by his prayers and sacrifices of clarified butter, milk, whey and curds, which he had thrown into the waters. She was called Iḍâ; she became Manu's wife and bore him children.[135] Manu, though reckoned among divine beings, figures in Sanskrit as man par excellence, and he was regarded as the father of men;[136] while in Greek the literal namesake of Manu-s was Μίνω-ς. Now Minos was the mythic ruler and legislator of ancient Crete:

he was a potentate of great power, acquired by means of his fleet; but though Greek mythology has several deluges to speak of, it does not associate any of them with Minos; it does, however, with Deucalion, who, according to some accounts, was son of Minos. For Zeus is said to have become so enraged with the human race that he determined to sweep it off the face of the earth. So Deucalion was warned by Prometheus, whose son he is sometimes called—hence it is that some take two Deucalions for granted—and counselled him to prepare himself by building him an ark. Deucalion did as he had been advised, and he became the father of a son Hellen, the eponymus of the Hellenic people.[137] On the other hand, the story of Iḍâ has an unmistakable counterpart in Greek literature in that of the foam-born Aphrodite; and from the Hindu version, together with the fate of the Norse Hymi (p. 115), one may conclude that the churning of the ocean which resulted from the mutilation of Uranus and ended with the evolution of Aphrodite, was part and parcel of the mythic event which Celts, Teutons and Hindus regarded as a deluge, that which one may briefly term the Aryan flood. Nay, it is by no means improbable that it is the part ascribed to Minos in a lost Greek story about that deluge, such as his making an ark, entering it and wandering in it on the face of the deep till it moored itself in Crete, that formed the basis of the euhemeristic account of him as a great naval potentate. Lastly, as Cronus was sometimes associated with Rhadamanthus and the departed, so was Minos even more; for the double aspect of the powers of the other world is reflected in his story: Minos was not only reckoned brother to Rhadamanthus, but he became himself a judge of the dead, an office in which he enjoyed a reputation for the most complete impartiality, whereas he was regarded during his life in this world as the cruel tyrant who exacted from Athens a tribute of boys and girls to be devoured underground by the Minotaur, a monster with a human body and a bovine head. With this Cretan Fomor compare the horse-headed Morc, or March, and his Fomorian fleets, with their head-quarters on Tory Island, exacting from the men of Erinn a tribute consisting, besides other grievous exactions, of two-thirds of their children every year as the Winter Calends came round (p. 584). The story of Cúchulainn slaying the three Fomori who came on November-eve to carry away the King of the Isles' daughter (p. 464), reduces the tribute to a single person, and forms a connecting link between the Celtic idea of Fomorian demons and the dragon of the stories of our childhood.

Let us now take the words Manu-s and Μίνω-ς as our clue and see if we can identify any others here in point. First may be mentioned Manes or Manis, said to have been the name of an ancestral king of the Phrygians;[138] but the connection remains doubtful, and one is safer under the guidance of Tacitus in the Germania, where he mentions Mannus as the ancestor of the ancient Germans, and as the son of Teuto or Tuisco. We are not told whether he was reckoned a giant or a god; but the position given him in the pedigree hardly suggests that he was regarded as a mere man; while he who escaped the deluge, occasioned by the mutilation of the cosmic person of Hymi in the Norse story (p. 115), is named Ber-gelmir and called a wise giant,[139] which excludes him from being one of the Anses, just as Cronus and his brothers were Titans, and not of the number of the gods strictly so-called. It is not said, however, that he saved the human race in his ark; but that the original story was to that effect, may be inferred from the cognate ones in Greek and in Welsh. In the latter the name found given to the rescuer of the human race is Nevyᵭ; but the one we are now seeking should be the etymological counterpart of the Greek and Sanskrit forms serving as our clue, and traces of it offer themselves in the Welsh Manawyᵭan and the Irish Manannán. Now the latter is fabled to have been the name of the first king of the Isle of Man, whence that appellation has sometimes been assumed to be derived. But this is an error, and it inverts the relation of the names; for the matter is not as simple as it looks. It comes briefly to this: Manannán gave his original name, in a form corresponding to Manu and its congeners, to the island, making it Manavia Insula or Μινώϊα Νῆσος, as it were, for which we have in Welsh and Irish respectively Manaw and Manann.[140] Then. from these names of the island the god derives his, in its attested forms of Manawyᵭan and Manannán, which would seem to mark an epoch when he had become famous in connection with the Isle of Man. The name Manaw or Manann, however, was not confined to the island, as it is found fixed also in the neighbourhood of the Forth, where it survives in Clackmannan on the north and in Slamannan Moor on the south of that river.[141] As to Manannán's attributes, no story is known to associate him with the deluge; but he was regarded as a god of the sea, and we read of him in Cormac's Glossary,[142] as follows: "Manannan mac Lir, a celebrated merchant who was in the Isle of Mann. He was the best pilot that was in the west of Europe. He used to know by studying the heavens [i. e. using the sky], the period which would be the fine weather and the bad weather, and when each of these two times would change. Inde Scoti et Brittones eum deum vocaverunt maris, et inde filium maris esse dixerunt, i.e. mac lir, 'son of sea.' Et de nomine Manannan the Isle of Mann dictus est." To this euhemeristic account of the god, O'Donovan has added the following note: "He was son of Allot, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann chieftains. He was otherwise called Orbsen, whence Loch Orbsen now Lough Corrib. He is still vividly rememberd in the mountainous district of Derry and Donegal, and is said to have an enchanted castle in Lough Foyle. According to the traditions in the Isle of Man and the Eastern counties of Leinster this first man of Man rolled on three legs like a wheel

through the mist," But in Irish literature he figures mostly as the chief of the fairies in the Land of Promise (p. 355). Of course his character was as self-contradictory as that of Cronus, for he appears mostly as the tricky druid of the other world; but, on the other hand, things were so managed at his court that no one's food there would get cooked if, while it was on the fire, one told a story which was untrue;[143] and it is to Manannán we are perhaps to ascribe the banishment of three men from fairy-land to the Irish court of Tara: they were, we are told, to remain there for the space of three reigns as a punishment for lying or acting unjustly.[144] In the Welsh Mabinogi, bearing the name of Manannán's counterpart Manawyᵭan, the latter is not much associated with the sea, excepting perhaps his sojourn with Brân's Head in the lonely island of Gresholm (p. 90). It makes him, however, take to agriculture, especially the growing of wheat,[145] which reminds one of Saturn. He is also called one of the three Golden Cordwainers of Britain, owing to his having engaged successively in the making of saddles, shields and shoes, and taught it to Pryderi, son of Pwyỻ Head of Hades.[146] This may perhaps be set over against Saturn instructing Janus in the arts of building ships and coining money.[147] The sinister aspect of Manannán is scarcely reflected by Manawyᵭan, who is represented as gentle, scrupulously just, and always a peacemaker; neither is he described as a magician; but he is made to baffle utterly one of the greatest wizards known to Welsh literature.[148] His connection with the other world is to be inferred, among other things, from his marked attachment to his brother Brân,[149] the terrene god mentioned in the first lecture (p. 94). Further Manawyᵭan, like Cronus vagrant, figures as one of the three landless monarchs of Britain.[150] This description only ceases to be altogether applicable to him when, late in life, he becomes the husband of Rhiannon, widow of Pwyỻ Head of Hades, and accepts as his own a district in the territory of Pwyỻ's son and successor Pryderi. How he came to be without land and without power is partially explained in the Mabinogion: while Manawyᵭan was away with his brother Brân, possession was taken of the throne of this country by their kinsman Caswaỻawn son of Beli (p. 153). For Caswaỻawn had put on a magic tartan that made him all invisible except the sword with which

he cut down all resistance to his rule.[151] This garb of invisibility has its counterpart in the invisible cloak sometimes ascribed to Aengus, perhaps also in his portable glass bower, and even in the pellucid walls of Merlin's prison. So Caswaỻawn clad in the invisibility of his magic, is the Celtic Zeus surrounded with unapproachable brilliance driving away his enemies, among whom we here find Manawyᵭan.

What the enchanted palace of Manannán in Lough Foyle may have resembled, I have nowhere read; but the strangest thing said of Manawyᵭan is, that it was he that caused to be built the Stronghold of Oeth and Annoeth. This is described as a huge prison-house of the shape of a bee-hive, nor was it seemingly much less elaborate in its numerous compartments both above and below the ground. The walls of the dismal edifice consisted wholly of human bones built with mortar. The euhemerist,[152] however, explains it to have been meant for prisoners taken in war and for malefactors, the cells under-ground being specially reserved for those guilty of treason against the state; but we read nothing of the kind in the Mabinogion, where Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr boasts of his having been there; and the Triads only tell us that Arthur was once incarcerated there for three nights, when he found in a youth named Goreu a Theseus to liberate him.[153] One cannot, it seems to me, help seeing, in Manawyᵭan's ghastly bone-prison the Welsh counterpart of the ill-famed labyrinth made in Crete in the reign of Minos, and used for the reception of the boys and girls destined by him for the death-monster abiding in its recesses.

You will have observed that it is very hard to keep the Celtic congeners of Cronus and Minos from encroaching on one another. Greek analogy, however, helps us a little: thus, as compared with Nemed, Partholon, who slew his own parents, is more exactly Cronus than the former could be said to be. On the other hand, both Nevyᵭ and Manawyᵭan are comparable to both Cronus and Minos. Perhaps one or even both of these two last names originally belonged to the god or demon of darkness and the other world, whither Cronus, driven from Olympus, retired to reign. At any rate, it is probable that the struggle between him and Zeus, though raised to the dignity of an article of the theogonic faith of the Greeks, was in its origin a nature myth representing the commonplace contest between darkness and light, as in the case of Fergus and Conchobar.

The earliest Creed of the Celts inferred.

When the Aryan languages in use or on record had been for some time subjected to a comparative study as to vocabulary and word-building, a glottologist was now and then found to try the experiment of putting a short fable or a simple story back into the Aryan parent speech inferred, and we might at this point essay something analogous on the mythology of the early Celts of pre-historic times. The object is to enable you roughly to realize what sort of a mosaic the bits I have handled in these lectures would make, when restored to their proper places with regard to one another and the whole design. It is needless to say that the difficulty is great, both on account of the later materials mixed up with the original pieces, and of the lacunæ left by the original ones which are still missing; so we have to shift as best we can by comparing and by borrowing from cognate sources. But in other respects the aid to be derived from without is not so considerable as might be expected; for, though Aryan mythology started well with the identification of the Zeus of the Greeks with his congeners in the myths of the other Aryan nations, it can hardly be said to have as yet advanced very much further; its attention has of late been a good deal given to the important matter of improving the methods adopted, and of giving the instruments used more precision. So the summary I am now going to give you is to be taken strictly for what it is, a mere guess:—

In the beginning Earth and Heaven were great world-giants, and they were the parents of a numerous offspring; but the Heaven in those days lay upon the Earth, and their children crowded between them were unhappy and without light, as was also their mother. So she and they took counsel together against Heaven, and one of his sons, who was bolder than the others, undertook shamefully to mutilate Heaven; nay, he and his brothers stayed not their hands till they had cut the world-giant their father into many pieces. Out of his skull they made the firmament, and the spilling of the blood of his body caused a great flood, which, as it settled in the hollows of the earth, made up the sea.

Some of the children of Earth and Heaven were born bright beings or gods, who mostly loved the light and the upper air; and some were Giants or Titans, who were of a darker and gloomier hue. These latter hated the gods, and the gods hated them. The daring son of Earth who began the mutilation of the world-giant was one of the Titans, and he became their king; but the gods did not wish him to rule over them and their abode, so he was driven from his throne by his youngest son, who was born a god. The king, beaten in battle, sailed away to other parts of his realm; and after much wandering on the sea, he was at last received in the country of the happy departed, whence he was afterwards thought to bless the farmer's toil and to help man in other ways.

When the great flood caused by the mangling of the world-giant took place, all men were drowned save a single pair saved in a ship. He who made and owned the ship was not a man, nor did the gods own him as one of them; but he was a Giant or Titan who was kindly disposed towards the race; and when he had safely landed them where they were to dwell, he went away to the same place as the dethroned king. For he was of his kith and kin, unless perhaps those are to be followed who thought the two were but one and the same person, and that person no other than the ruler of the departed himself, the god of all beginning and all end. Viewed through the medium of the latter, he appeared to be the demon of darkness and horror and death, ever busily adding to the number of his victims; but through the former he was seen to be the first father and great parent of all; so it was ever a matter of piety to reckon darkness before light, the night before the day, and winter before summer.

The new king of the gods was of a passing brilliant nature; so they called him Bright and Day and Father Sky. He was a mighty warrior; but he had terrible foes, who forced him to take part in many a fearful struggle. When he fought in summer he always triumphed, but he fared ill in the winter conflicts. On one occasion he was badly wounded, and would never have recovered his former strength and form but for the timely aid of a man who was a cunning leech; and on another he and the other gods would have been hard beset had they not taken care to secure the help of the Sun-hero. This last was not a god, but the youthful son of a mortal. There was, however, no spearman anywhere to equal him, and his father was so wise and crafty that he had forced the gods to treat mankind far better than they had before been wont to do. For the good things bestowed on man were often begrudged by the gods, and most of all by the owners of the wealth of the nether world and the land of the happy dead. They hated this mortal, so kind to his race, and made him suffer untold pain and torture; but he always succeeded in the end in all that he set his mind on achieving, as when, for example, he cheated them of the dog that was to be the hunter's friend and servant; also of the other animals he stole from them as likely to be of use to his kindred. It was from the same nether country that he likewise obtained by craft and falsehood the strong drink that was to cheer man, to give him the dreams of poets and the visions of prophets. These and other boons, too many to name one by one, made him very famous and beloved, more so in some lands than even the king of the gods himself.

Thus far the summary of the creed of the earliest Celts: if approximately correct, it would require scarcely any important modification in order to apply equally to the Aryans in the distant epoch of their pro-ethnic unity. It errs mostly, perhaps, in not leaving more inconsistencies and contradictions on the surface; for it is hard to place one's mind on the low level of the infantile intelligence of a savage such as early man must have been. But some aid to that end may be found in the perusal of what the savages of modern times think. The widely spread occurrence of a story more or less like that of Uranus has already been alluded to (p. 114); and one may also borrow illustrations from the animistic ideas which certain savages have entertained of the sun, the moon and the stars. "In early philosophy throughout the world," says Dr. Tylor,[154] "the Sun and Moon are alive and as it were human in their nature. Usually contrasted as male and female, they nevertheless differ in the sex assigned to each, as well as in their relations to one another. Among the Mbocobis of South America, the Moon is a man and the Sun his wife, and the story is told how she once fell down and an Indian put her up again, but she fell a second time and set the forest blazing in a deluge of fire." Or take the curious conversation of some Algonquin Indians with one of the Jesuit missionaries of the seventeenth century:[155] "Je leur ay demandé d'ou venoit l'Eclipse de Lune et de Soleil; ils m'ont respondu que la Lime s'éclipsoit ou paroissoit noire, à cause qu'elle tenoit son fils entre ses bras, qui empeschoit que l'on ne vist sa clarté. Si la Lune a un fils, elle est mariée, ou l'a été, leur dis-je. Oüy dea, me dirent-ils, le Soleil est son mary, qui marche tout le jour, et elle toute la nuict; et s'il s'éclipse, ou s'il s'obscurcit, c'est qu'il prend aussi par fois le fils qu'il a eu de la Lune entre ses bras. Oüy, mais ny la Lune ny le Soleil n'ont point de bras, leur disois-je. Tu n'as point d'esprit; ils tiennent tousiours leurs ares bandés deuant eux, voilà pourquoy leurs bras ne paroissent point. Et sur qui veulent-ils tirer? Hé qu'en scavons nous." Nevertheless, the American who helped the Sun to her feet could scarcely hope to attain to the privileged audacity of the druids of ancient Erinn, who maintained that they were the creators of the heavens and the earth.[156] On the other hand, had there been a missionary to question the ancient Aryans on the difficulties which their ideas of the origin of things presented to his mind, he would doubtless have often received in effect the Algonquin reply, Hé qu'en savons nous?

The notions which I have ascribed to the ancient Aryans and, among them, to the earliest Celts, may be termed cosmogonic or theogonic, but no word, however convenient, must be allowed to obscure the probable fact that at one time they formed part and parcel of their ordinary beliefs. For what may seem to one generation of men a mere matter of mythology, is frequently found to have belonged to the serious theology of a previous one; and, conversely, those whom sentiment prevents from placing the starting point of the Aryan family on a low level, must forego the full enjoyment of the luxury of contemplating its prolonged rise, such as it is faithfully registered in the archæological record of speech and myth, of rudely made tools, and other material remains of Aryan handiwork. Science proudly and justly makes much of evolution in its more visible aspects; but even more absorbing is the interest attaching to its subtler workings in the world of intellect and morals. In our Aryan branch of the human family we have found traces of them carried out on the lines of the ideas of religion and morality which found favour from time to time in the eyes of our ancestors, from the grey dawn of their pre-history onwards to our own era. It remains for ever true that the proper study of mankind is man; and even early man is not beneath contempt, especially when he proves to have had within him the makings of a great race, with its highest notions of duty and right, and all else that is noblest in the human soul.

NotesEdit

    English Eager as the name of the Bore in the Trent and other Anglian rivers; but modern phonologists find a difficulty in the vowels.

  1. They were Echaid Ollathar or the Dagda Mór, Nuada of the Silver Hand, Ogma, Dian Cecht, Goibniu, Lug, Bodb the Red, Lir, Mider, Echald Airem and Echaid Feidlech, and the triad Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht and Mac Gréine, together with a few others, including Danu herself and a sister sometimes ascribed to her, called Bé-Cuill or the Wife of Coll.
  2. Facsimile, pp. 15a—16b.
  3. Giraldus, Topographia Hibernica, Dist. iij. cap. ij. (Rolls ed. Vol. v. p. 140); see also the Four Masters, A.M. 2520, note.
  4. It is evidently an old formula: it ocean in the Bk. of the Dun, 16b, 77a; Bk. of Leinster, 9a, 75b; and it has been suggested to me to compare it with the Sanskrit deva and adeva.
  5. San-Marte's Nennius et Gildas, § 13 (p. 35).
  6. Keating, pp. 68—71.
  7. According to O'Curry, the Bay of Malahide in the county of Dublin was formerly called Inver Domnann; but it is not improbable there may have been more than one water so named. I have followed Mr. Hennessy, Bk. of Fenagh, p. 18, note.
  8. The Four Masters, A.M. 2530: Keating gives the name, pp. 70-1, less precisely as Magh Iotha.
  9. Umór is also written Ughmór and Uthmór, whence Sliab Umór, Ughmór or Uthmór, which O'Curry believed to have been the Goidelic name for the Caucasus: see his Manners, ij. 232. Cichol Gri is compared by M. d. A. de Jubainville, Cycle Myth. p. 32, with the Hindu demon Vritra; and as to the other demons, the same author, p. 95, quotes the Bk. of Leinster, 5a, and Hennessy's Chronicum Scotorum p. 6. See also the Four Masters, A.M. 2530, and Keating, pp 68—71, by both of whon Cichol's name is written Cioccal or Ciocal.
  10. Keating, pp. 84-7.
  11. O'Curry, p. 244.
  12. Ib. p. 245.
  13. O'Curry, p. 246.
  14. Joyce, Old Celtic Romances, p. 37.
  15. About fifty miles from the Moytura where they had measured swords with the Fir Bolg: the spot in question was in the parish of Kilmactranny, in the barony of Tirerrill, in the present county of Sligo (Joyce, pp. 406-7). Had it been history, one would naturally suspect the two Moytura battles of being originally one, as, in fact, they have been treated more than once; but I am by no means convinced that the suspicion is warranted in this case of mythology.
  16. O'Curry, MS. Materials, pp. 217, 250.
  17. Bk. of Leinster, p. 245b.
  18. Irish MS. Series (of the Proc. of the R. Ir. Acad.), i. 169.
  19. Such are the following: (1) Of the five leaders of the Fir Bolg, three may be said to have been Ganns, for they were Gann, Sen-gann or Old Gann, and Genann or Little Gann, while Gann and Genann also appear (Keating, p. 85) as leaders of the Fomori in battles won over them by Nemed and his Sons (compare also the three Genans in Stokes & Windisch, Ir. Texte, ij. 122, 153). As to the remaining two Fir Bolg leaders, Slainge and Rudraige, these were also the names of sons of Partholon, and Rudraige was important as a chief ancestor of the Picts and Scots of Ulster, or the Ulster men who were reckoned 'True Ultonians,' and represented the ancient non-Celtic inhabitants. He is probably the same with Rugraide, great-grandson of Fomor, placed long afterwards in the Four Masters' arrangement of the legendary history of Ireland, A.M. 4981. (2) Next may be mentioned the circumstance that one of the leaders of the Fomori in the battle of the northern Moytura was Indech son of the goddess Domnu, at whose inver the Fomori were said to have landed before the time of Partholon (Keating, p. 70); while the Fir Domnann or Men of Domnu formed one of the chief peoples engaged in the Fir Bolg invasion; according to some versions of the story, they also landed at the same inver of the goddess Domnu (Four Masters, A.M. 3266). (3) On the other hand, the Fomori in the time of Nemed had to encounter him and his sons as their enemies, while three men called Sons of Nemed were the slayers of Echaid, king of the Fir Bolg, at the battle of the southern Moytura (p. 586). (4) Some accounts bring Fir Domnann and Gailióin or Gailiúin into Ireland in the train of Labraid Longsech, and these strangers, in Irish gaill, are sometimes made into Galli or Gauls (O'Curry, ij. 256-7), while the Bk. of Leinster, 159a, speaks of them as Dub-gaill, or Black Strangers, following Labraid from Denmark under one Ernoll. The fact, however, is that Labraid's coming with Fir Domnann and Gailióin is merely another version of Morc's arrival with a fleet from Africa to aid the Fomori in Tory Island: in short, one would probably not be far wrong in taking Labraid to have been one of the names of Morc, otherwise called Margg, steward of the king of Fomori (Bk. of Leinster, 160a), in Welsh, March (ab Meirchion), who had a horse's ears (Cymmrodor, vi. 181-3): compare the Breton story of the king of Portzmarch (Rev. Celt. ij. 507). In Irish, the owner of the equine ears usually bears the name of Labraid (ib. ij. 197-8). (5) Four of the Fomori are said to have escaped from the battle of the northern Moytura and to have employed themselves in ruining the corn and milk, the fruit-crops and sea-produce of the Tuatha Dé Danann: one of these was called Redg (ib. i. 41). As the Fomori were the enemies of Lug, so the Fir Bolg, under Ailill of Cruachan, who was one of them, were arrayed against Cúchulainn, and finally under Erc they triumphed over him. It is to be noticed that on the Táin one of the foes killed by Cúchulainn was called Marc (Bk. of the Dun, 70b); also that the person bearing the very uncommon name of Redg was likewise in Ailill's retinue, and on one occasion engaged by him to compass the great Ultonian's death, when he fell at the latter's hand, the victim of his own stratagem. He is described in the Bk. of the Dun, 70b, as Ailill's satirist, that is to say, one whose business was the formidable one of pronouncing baleful incantations: it was planned by Ailill that he should introduce himself to Cúchulainn and ask him for a gift, with the customary choice of naming it: this turned out to be Cúchulainn's spear or javelin, and that in the hour of his greatest straits. Cúchulainn said he had more need of it than Redg, and that he would give him treasure instead. No, he would accept nothing but the javelin: so Cúchulainn threw the weapon at him with the but end foremost, and with such force that the recipient declared that it was more than enough of a gift, as it went through his body. The same tactics were employed by Erc and his Gailióin on Cúchulainn's fatal day (Bk. of Leinster, 119a, Rev. Celt. iij. 178-80), and though he killed the boon-begging satirists successively, his enemies found the manœuvre answer their purpose.
  20. Senchus Mór, i. 70-1: it has been published also by stokes in the Rev. Celt. i. 256-7, with the translation here borrowed word for word from him.
  21. See R. B. Mab. pp. 223-4, 226; Guest, i. 341, 343, 345; Evans' Dict. of the Welsh Lang. s. v. afanc; Triads, iij. 97.
  22. Bk. of the Dun, 2a; also the Rev. Celt. i. 257, where the passage has been published by Stokes.
  23. It is not quite certain that it should not be rendered 'goat-headed.' Cormac's Glossary (Stokes-O'Donovan ed. p. 83) explains that gabur was a goat, while gobur meant a horse.
  24. The Four Masters, A.M. 3520.
  25. I have tried in my Celtic Britain, p. 279, to explain this name; but whatever scholars may think of the attempt, our charlatans, as I have seen more than once of late, repeat the absurd old notion which identifies the Atecotti with the Aithech Tuatha.
  26. Fol. 105a; Windisch, Irische Texte, pp. 272-3, 357. It is similarly used of Searbhan (pp. 356-7) in The Pursuit, ij. §§ 15, 17.
  27. The Cymmrodor, v. 87-8, 92-3.
  28. See Meineke's (Teubner's) edition, Bk. viij. 6, 16 (p. 532): Μυρμιδόνος δὲ κληθῆναί φασιν . . . . ὅτι μυρμήκων τροπον ὀρύττοντες τὴν γῆν ἐπιφέροιεν ἐπὶ τὰς πέτρας ὥστ' ἔχειν γεωργεῖν, ἐν δὲ τοῖς ὀρύγμασιν φειδόμενοι πλίνθων.
  29. Fir Bolg is possibly connected with the story of the sacks containing armed men, from which Dunbolg is supposed to have derived its name, and also with that of the slaughter of the nobles of Erinn, said to have been effected by the Aithech Tuatha at a place called Mag Bolg or the Bag Plain, now called Moybolgue, in the county of Cavan (Four Masters, A.D. 76). Other place-names involving the same vocable occur in Wales and Scotland. Their history is obscure, but one at least of them dates from the Roman occupation, namely, Blatobulgium, which must have meant the Meal-bag: it is supposed to have been at Middleby Kirk, near the river Annan: see my Celtic Britain, pp. 268-9, 280-1.
  30. Possibly the name should be compared rather with Lat. dominus.
  31. Bk. of the Dun, 56b, 57a.
  32. Ib. 57 a.
  33. O'Curry, Manners, &c. (Sullivan's Introduction), pp, xxvij, xxix.
  34. Ib. ij. 261.
  35. Pp. 100-1.
  36. Pp. 44-5.
  37. Bk. of Leinster, p. 159a.
  38. One is put on the right track of the history of the term Gailióin in the Irish version of Nennius (pp. 130-1), where the Cruithni or Picts are traced to Scythia, on the strength partly of the similarity of sound between Scotti and Scythia, and partly of such lines in the Georgics of Vergil as ij. 114-5:

    'Aspice et extremis domitum cultoribus orbem,
    Eoasque domus Arabum, pictosque Gelonos.'

    Or iij. 461-3:

    'Bisaltae quo more solent, acerque Gelonus,
    Quum fugit in Rhodopen, atque in deserta Getarum,
    Et lac concretum cum sanguine potat equino.'

    In the Nennian passage, Gelonus son of Hercules by Echidna becomes Geleón mac Ercoil, and the Picts appear as his offspring. Having begun their wanderings, they reach Gaul, where they build a city called Pictava, now Poictiers, and in due time they reach Erinn, landing at the mouth of the Slaney at Wexford (Ir. Nen. pp. 122-3, 134-5), where Labraid Longsech and his Gailióin are also said to have come to land (Four Masters, A.M. 4658; O'Curry, p. 257). In fact, they form the same invasion, and this is one of the reasons why the Gailióin are reckoned among those in Ireland who were not of Goidelic descent, as in the Irish Nennius (pp. 268-9). On the other hand, they are treated, in a passage published in the Senchus Mór, i. 70, as one of three chief peoples of ancient Erinn, which seems to mean that the name was regarded as merely synonymous with that of Lagin, or Leinster men. The editors of the Irish Nennius have only given us, at p. 120, the faulty form Gueleon and the shorter one Gleoin, but at p. 130 they have the regular genitive Geleoin (more correctly Geleóin), corresponding to a nominative Geleón; and as the Irish for the classical genitive Geloni was Geleóin, the plural Geloni should yield Geleóin. Here, however, a false etymology introduced a gái, 'spear,' making the spelling into Gaileóin, of which we have an alternative spelling in Gailióin, seemingly tho oldest form occurring. This yielded a variant written Gailiuin; further, the genitive of Gailióin would be Gailión, which had a variant Gailián, also written Galian, as in the Bk. of Leinster, 44b, where O'Curry, p. 482, loosely explains it as 'an ancient name of Leinster.'

  39. Keating, pp. 106-8.
  40. See San-Marte's Nennius et Gildas, §14 (p. 36), where one reads: Builc autem cum suis tenuit Euboniam insulam, et alias circiter.
  41. Bk. of Leinster, 152a; Keating, pp. 106-9; O'Curry, Manners, ij. 121-3.
  42. Keating, pp. 108-9; Bk. of Leinster, 152a.
  43. O'Curry, pp. 580 and 215-27.
  44. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 235-42.
  45. Bk. of Fermoy, 24b2, quoted by Hennessy in the Rev. Celt. i. 41.
  46. Bk. of the Dun, 89b, 90a: see also Celtic Britain, p. 64.
  47. The Four Masters, A. M. 2530, note, and 2550.
  48. Ith is said in Irish legend to have been the name of an uncle of Mile, and he may have been a god-ancestor of the Ivernians: see my Celtic Britain, p. 268. Whether there has not been some confusion with the Irish word ith, 'corn,' gen. etho, is not quite certain. One may now consult the story of the place-name in the Bk. of Ballymote (Dublin, 1887), fol. 399.
  49. Corpus Poet. Bor. ij. 628; see also i. 194, 201, and ij. 633, where tho Norse is Iᵭa-völlr, while in the other passages we have the words 'a Iᵭa-velli.'
  50. R. B. Mab. p. 96; Guest, iij. 311.
  51. The Cymmrodor, v. 55. It is hopeless, so far as I can see, to expect our charlatans to leave off identifying the mythic Coranians with the historical Coritani of Roman Britain.
  52. R. B. Mab. pp. 94-5, 97-9; Guest, iij. 308, 312, 314-5.
  53. R. B. Mab. p. 94; Guest, iij. 308.
  54. For Malen's Demon, see Triads, i. 70 = ij. 45 = iij. 95, and for the foreign origin of March Malen, see Triad, iij. 11. The word Malen, Malaen, Melen or Melan, for all these forms occur, are very obscure; but they seem to represent a feminine to be regarded as possibly derived from the same origin as mall or mallt, whose meaning can be somewhat more nearly defined. Now mall being used in the feminine becomes with the definite article Y Vall (written y Fall, meaning the evil one), a personification which enters into the term Plant y Fall, which might be Englished by disregarding the gender into 'Children of Belial or the devil's imps.' Moreover, the Yellow Plague is called Y Fall Felen, 'the Yellow Mall,' also Y Fad Felen, or 'the Yellow Death;' and the word mall sometimes has the force of the adjective evil or bad in the widest sense, but the verb mallu means to be spoiled, said of such a thing as dough when it fails to rise after it has been leavened. Further, as ll not unfrequently stands for an older llt, we have also a form mallt in the term mwci mallt, 'the evil one or the evil goblin,' and in that of Mallt y Nos, 'the Night Mallt,' a sort of she-demon associated with the cold malarious fogs that lie on marshy lands during the hours of the night. Lastly, the compound term madfall, a newt or blindworm, which literally seems to mean 'the good Mall,' in the sense presumably of the harmless Mall, would seem indirectly to prove that Y Fall, as the personification of evil, was supposed to take the form of a reptile.
  55. Compare what was said at p. 455 respecting Cúchulainn's name Setanta and that of the British people of the Setantii. As to the southern boundary of ancient Ulster, see p. 140 above, and O'Curry, p. 269; also the Rev. Celt. viij. 52-5.
  56. Vigfusson & Powell's Corpus Poet. Bor. ij. 463.
  57. See Vigfusson & Powell's Corpus, i. 198—200, ij. 626-30.
  58. Ib. ij. 630.
  59. Ib. i. 200-1; compare also ij. 628-9.
  60. Vigfusson & Powell's Corpus, ij. 630.
  61. See O'Curry, p. 249; Joyce, pp. 50, 62, 84, 406.
  62. The Four Masters, A.M. 3450, note.
  63. The British Museum MS. Harl. 5280, fol. 69a (58a).
  64. It is Harl. 5280, repeatedly cited in these lectures; and the story in question is the one drawn upon by O'Curry as quoted by me at p. 253 above. He says, p. 250, that he had it copied by his son in 1855; but though it is mythologically most curious, it has not yet been published, which is much to be regretted. M. d'A. de Jubainville, Essai d'un Cat. p. 80, assigns it to the fifteenth century.
  65. Fol. 69b (58b), alug letsuanaigh, which is glossed .i. dath. derc nobid fair ofuine greni comaidin. Here suanaigh should probably be sianaigh, from sion, 'digitalis.'
  66. The MS. reads, 67a (56a), aracoime, which may be supposed to stand for arachoime. Taken, however, as it stands, it would perhaps be admissible to render it 'on account of their fondness (for him);' but coime usually means loveliness, comeliness, or the aggregate qualities which make one pleasing to others.
  67. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 196, ij. 624, where a reference also is made to Freyja being given 'to the kindred of the Giants,' which would seem to challenge comparison with Branwen married to Matholwch, in the Mabinogi called after her: compare also i. 81-2.
  68. See Apollodorus' Bibliotheca (in Westermann's Scriptores Poeticæ Historiæ Græci), i. 6, 3; but there is another version of the story of the tendons on record, for which see Nonnus' Dionysiaca, i. 363—534, to the effect that Zeus in his direst need was aided by Cadmus, who, disguised as a shepherd, charmed the monster with music, and obtained from him the tendons of Zeus, on the pretence of his going to use them as strings for his lyre, while in reality he carefully preserved them for the god's triumph. It would take too much time here to discuss the relation between Cadmus and Hermes, or how the latter is sometimes called Cadmus and Cadmilus or Casmilus (Preller, i. 310). It is curious that the name of the alphabet hero should appear in this context just as that of Ogma, associated with writing by the Irish, should be mentioned as that of the champion of the Tuatha Dé Danann in the second battle of Moytura where Nuada fell.
  69. Bibliotheca, i. 6, 1.
  70. Perhaps the story of Cadmus helping Zeus might he cited here, and it may be that the case of Cadmus is to be regarded as not so unlike those of Gwydion and Woden as it might seem at first sight, for he had a grandson called Pentheus, whose name recalls weeping; so it is just possible that in Pentheus we have a dim counterpart of Balder, the god bewailed with many bitter tears. Lastly, may it not be that the term Καδμογενής, as applied to Heracles, referred, in spite of the usual explanation (Preller's Gr. Myth. ij. 179), to a tradition representing Heracles as son or grandson of the Culture Hero Cadmus?
  71. R. B. Mab. pp. 210, 243; Guest, i. 323, 370.
  72. Windisch's Ir. Text, p. 131.
  73. See Preller's Gr. Myth, ij. 161, 189; also his note (on the former page) on the vase inscription, Ἡρακλέους Κόρη, 'd .i. Geliebte des Heracles.'
  74. O'Curry, p. 514.
  75. Pauly's Real-Encycl. (s. v. Jupiter), v. 597.
  76. De Iside et Osiride (the Didot ed.), 69.
  77. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 71; Simrock, p. 296.
  78. Latham's Germania of Tacitus, Epilegomena, p. cxlij.
  79. See more especially Penka's Origines Ariacæ, Vienna, 1883; Schrader's Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte, Jena, 1885; Wilser's Herkunft der Deutschen, Carlsruhe, 1885; and Penka's Herkunft der Arier, Vienna, 1886.
  80. De Origine Actibusque Getarum, ed. Holder, cap. 4 (p. 6).
  81. Revue des Deux Mondes, Vol. lvij. (1883), where pp. 81—119 are devoted to an article entitled, 'Un Essai de Synthase paléoethnique:' see also Warren's Paradise Found, published at Boston in the United States in 1885.
  82. Trans. of the Kilkenny Arch. Soc. for 1852-3, ij. 32-3; also the Manx Society, Vol. xv. 129.
  83. Bk. of the Dun, 60b, 61a; R. Irish Acad. (Stowe MS.) D. iv. 2, fol. 81c; British Museum MS. (Harl. 5280), fol. 20b.
  84. Iliad, xviij. 394—409.
  85. Jacob Grimm, in his Deutsche Mythologie, suggested an etymological connection between Ægir and the Anglo-Saxon Edgor, 'sea,' and
  86. Bk. of the Dun, 94; R. B. Mab. p. 103; Guest, ij. 254: see also p. 372 above.
  87. See the Bk. of Leinster, 15a, where they are also called Tuath Fidga or Fidba, and said to have used poisoned weapons.
  88. Windisch, Irische Texte, pp. 210, 219 (§ 14, & § 34, lines 21-3); Rev. Celt. v. 231.
  89. R. B. Mab. pp. 20, 23, and Guest, iij. 63, 67-8.
  90. Preller'a Gr. Myth. i. 43—47.
  91. Lucian, Τὰ πρὸς Κρόνον, 5; Æschylus, Eumenides, 641.
  92. Bk. of Leinster, 102b; O'Curry, ij. 321.
  93. According to the Bk. of the Dun, 22a, he regains only a part of his kingdom, the Plain of Murthemne, which was in Cúchulainn's charge; but two other versions published by Stokes and Windisch in their Irische Texte, ij. 212, restore to Fergus the kingship of Ulster without any qualification, and that is clearly the older story.
  94. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 222; but as to the gess of Fergus, see Stokes & Windisch, ij. 125, 129, 156, 159.
  95. Vergil's Æneid, viij. 319-58; Ovid's Fasti, i. 233-43, v. 625-8.
  96. Preller's Röm. Myth. pp. 163, 409—415.
  97. Possibly they might be said to do more, for when one comes to examine their names they prove to be derivatives from nem and nev or nef, the Irish and Welsh respectively for sky or heaven, so that they appear to have described their bearers as in some way connected with the sky or heaven: in what way it would be difficult to decide. But one explanation is readily suggested by such Greek words as οὐράνιος and especially Οὐρανίδαι, which referred to the Titans as the offspring of Οὐρανός. Nevwy will be found in the Black Bk., the Bk. of Taliessin and the Red Bk. (Skene, ij. 39, 147, 206, 301). In the third of these passages Nevwy is seemingly used for the Irish Nemed as it is brought into close contact with Ard-nevon, by which was doubtless meant the island of Ard-Nemid, or Nemed's Height, now known as the Great Island, near Cork (Four Masters, A.M. 2859, note): the poet's theme was Cadwaỻawn's return from Ireland. Difficulty attaches to Neivion (also Neivon), for the Welsh Noah is called in a Triad, iij. 97, Nevyᵭ Nâv Neivion, where possibly Nevyᵭ Nâv may be compared with the Irish Nemed mac Nama, which sometimes occur; but it is probably for an earlier Nemed Nama, where Nama might be regarded as of the same origin as Nâv. In any case, Nevyᵭ Nâv probably meant 'N. the Lord:' compare Vortigern, interpreted to mean a supreme lord (p. 154). Neivion is derived from Nâv, and forms a sort of reduplication of it to be compared with March Meirchion and the like (p. 271); but Neivion is also used alone as the Welsh for Neptune; and in the passage from the Bk. of Taliessin translated at p. 258 above, it would seem to have meant 'the Lord,' in reference to the Christ of the line immediately following.
  98. Preller's Gr. Myth. i. 671.
  99. See Keating, pp. 68-9, where, it is right to explain, the historian says that Partholon had killed both his parents, namely, in an attempt to wrest the kingdom from his brother. The source whence Keating took the story is unknown to me, so I cannot say how far the historicizing of the myth is of his own doing.
  100. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 222.
  101. See Vigfusson & Powell's Corpus, i. 412, where they quote from the Landnáma Bók a passage which will be found at pp. 148-9 (iij. 14, 1-3) of the first volume of their Icelandic Origins.
  102. Ib. i. 106.
  103. Ib. i. 66.
  104. The Loka-senna: see tho Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 106.
  105. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 126; see also Simrock, p. 293.
  106. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 274.
  107. Ib. i. 71; Simrock, p. 293.
  108. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 404.
  109. Ib. i. 66.
  110. Ib. i. 71.
  111. B. & Roth's Dict. s. v. Yama.
  112. Bergaigne's Religion Védique, i. 90 (Rig-Veda, x. 10, 3).
  113. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 106.
  114. Zimmer's Altindisches Leben (Berlin, 1879), p. 421.
  115. Bergaigne, i. 85, 90-2; Zimmer's Altindisches Leben, p. 422 (R. Ved. ix. 113, 8, x. 14, 1, x. 165, 4).
  116. Bergaigne, ibid.
  117. Ib. i. 93 (R. Ved. x. 14, 10-12).
  118. Zimmer, p. 422 (R. Ved. ibid.).
  119. Ib. p. 409 (R. Ved. x. 63, 10).
  120. Max Müller's Lectures8, ij. 563 (R. Ved. x. 14, 1 & 2).
  121. Zimmer, p. 409.
  122. B. & Roth's Dict. s.v. Pûshan (R. Ved. x. 17, 3-4, x. 17, 6).
  123. Zimmer, p. 410 (R. Ved. i. 35, 6, x. 135, 7).
  124. Bergaigne, i. 85; Zimmer, p. 409.
  125. Zimmer, pp. 410-13.
  126. Justi's Handbuch der Zendsprache, s. v. Yima.
  127. See the Rig-Veda, x. 17, 3, where Ludwig has Vich, though Grassmann preferred ein Reich: the original is anashṭapaçur, which R. & Roth render—der von seiner Heerde nichts verliert.
  128. See Max Müller's Lectures8, ij. 561, where he quotes the Rig-Veda, x. 14, 7.
  129. This would seem to be M. Bergaigne's view, i. 78-9.
  130. B. & Roth's Sansk. Dict. s. v. Yama: 'Die nachvedische Zeit sieht in ihm den Beherrscher der Todten in der Unterwelt und fasst seinen Namen als Bändiger.'
  131. Bergaigne, i. 77, 91 (R. Ved. x. 18, 10-13).
  132. Ib. i. 82-3 (R. Ved. i. 109, 7, i. 125, 6, x. 107, 2).
  133. Bergaigne, i. 78-9, 83-4 (Rig-Veda, ix. 83, 1, x. 15, 14).
  134. With this prescient fish should perhaps be compared the Irish Salmon of Knowledge (p. 554); but Manu was warned about the deluge as a reward for his kindness to the fish, which reminds one of Welsh stories about stranded mermaids on being helped to the sea warning the fishermen who show kindness to them of the coming of storms, or else leaving their captors a piece of homely and useful advice: see the Cymmrodor, v. 119-20, and the story of Tibal in the Kilkenny Arch. Society's Journal for 1852-3, p. 32; Manx Soc. xv. 129. Compare also Norse stories to much the same effect about captured mermen, and see, for example, Vigfusson & Powell's Corpus, ij. 359; also their Icelandic Origins, i. 54 (ij. 5, 2), and the legend of Half in Rafn's Fornaldar Sögur, ij. 31-3. It is needless to relate the story of Proteus caught by Menelaus: see the Odyssey, iv. 382 & seq.
  135. Max Müller's History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature (London, 1860), pp. 425-27 (Çatapathabrâhmaṇa, i. 8. 1, 1).
  136. B. & Roth's Dict. s. v. Manu.
  137. Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, i. 7. 1, iii. 1. 1.
  138. Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, xxiv.; Fick3, i. 166.
  139. Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 66.
  140. Manann (also written Manand) is the genitive, but it is also used as the nominative, which should have been Manu: compare the case of Danann, p. 89. But a dative Mane implies another nominative, which Stokes (Celtic Declension, p. 18) doubtfully reads Manavia for Pliny's Monapia, while Manu, Manann, should stand for an earlier Manavju, Manavjunos. Welsh seems likewise to have had two forms of the name: we have one in the attested Manaw for an early Manavis or Manavja; and Manawyᵭan testifies to a longer one, Manawyᵭ, for an early Manavija.
  141. Celtic Britain, p. 154.
  142. The Stokes-O'Donovan ed. p. 114.
  143. Kilkenny Soc. 1852-3, pp. 32-4; Manx Soc. xv. 134.
  144. See the story of Bruden da Derga in the Bk. of the Dun, 96a, b.
  145. R. B. Mab. pp. 52-3; Guest, iij. 175.
  146. R. B. Mab. 47-9, 52; Guest, iij. 167-9, 174; Triads, i. 77 = ij. 58. The first of the Mabinogion passages referred to contains a mythic account of the origin of the Celtic art of enamelling, for some references to which, see Elton's Origins of English History, p. 305. The great place given to certain of the useful arts in the Mabinogi of Manawyᵭan is in some degree due perhaps to a false etymology associating with his name the Welsh for an awl, which is mynawyd (Breton ménaoued, mod. Irish meanadh). So one sometimes finds him called Manawyt (with a t not standing for ᵭ), as in the Bks. of Aneurin and Taliessin: see Skene, ij. 63 and 155, in the latter of which Manawyt and Pryderi are associated with Caer Sidi (p. 249).
  147. Preller's Röm. Myth2. p. 411.
  148. R. B. Mab. pp. 53-8; Guest, iij. 175-84.
  149. He appears very sparingly in Irish as Manannán's brother: he is called 'Bron, the son of Allott, and brother of Mananann [sic] mac Lir, by Brash, who, p. 210, cites the manuscript Bk. of Lecain.
  150. R. B. Mab. p. 44; Guest, iij. 163; Triads, i. 14 = ij. 35 = iij. 38.
  151. R. B. Mab. pp. 41, 44; Guest, iij. 126, 162-3; see also p. 153 of this volume, where Caswaỻawn should not have been called a solar hero without some qualification; for he seems to combine inseparably the attributes of a Celtic sun hero with those of a Celtic Zeus.
  152. I mean the author, in the Iolo MSS. pp. 187, 599, of the only account I know of the Prison of Oeth, &c.; however mistaken he was in his views, the tract is valuable and curious. See also the Gorugiau Triplets in the same volume, pp. 263, 668.
  153. R. B. Mab. pp. 104, 306; Guest, ij. 256; Triads, i. 50 = ij. 49. The earliest reference to Oeth and Annoeth is one in the Stanzas of the Graves in the Black Bk. of Carmarthen (Skene, ij. 31), where the Household of Oeth and Annoeth are ascribed 'the long graves in Gwanas.' But the passage raises a number of questions which cannot be discussed here; suffice it to say that its Gwanas ought to be somewhere in Gower, a far more likely locality also for the Prison of Oeth than where the Iolo MSS. fix it, in the neighbourhood of Margam in the same county of Glamorgan.
  154. Primitive Culture2, i. 288.
  155. Ibid., from Le Jeune's communications in the Relations des Jesuites dans la Nonvelle France, 1634, p. 26.
  156. O'Curry, ij. 21.