Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/69

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The European Sky -God. 59

son of the druid Nuada ; and from him it came to his grandson Finn, son of Murni and Cumall.^

In the foregoing tale it is Balar, not Nuada, who is associated with the hazel-tree. But that makes little difference. For Balar (= * Belar) is etymologically one with Beli'^ the Celtic Zeus in his dark or chthonian character.^ Thus both the bright sky-god Nuada and his dark counterpart Balar were connected with the hazel, just as the bright sky-god Jupiter and his dark counter- part Vediovis were alike connected with the oak.^

The root BEL, which underlies both Beli and Balar, appears in yet another name Bile ( = * Belios), borne by the forefather of the Gaels and ancestor of the Milesian kings. Bile too, therefore, has been identified with the Celtic god of darkness and death.*^ This squares with the statement of Caesar, that all the Gauls claimed to be descended from Dis pater^ Moreover, it is interest- ing to find that Irel Faith, one of the Milesian kings claiming descent from Bile, was actually called Nuada Airgetlam,'^ just as the Julian gens, which had an an- cestral cult of Vediovis paterf bore a name that meant literally ' young Jupiter.' ^ In short, it would appear that Nuada the bright sky-god had as his dark counterpart, not only Balar, but also Bile.

But, on this showing. Bile, like Balar, should be con- nected with a tree sacred to the sky-god — perhaps an

^ Lady Gregory Gods and Fighting Men London 1 904 p. 269.

^D'Arbois Cycle mythologiqtie p. 225.

^ Supra p. 55. '^Folk-lore xvi. 280.

^Rhys Hibbert Lectures p. 91, D'Arbois Cycle mythologique p. 225 f.

«Caes. de bell. Gall. 6. 18.

" Supra p. 33. We remember too that Lot and Beli were alternative hus- bands of Anna (supra p. 55), while Lludd Llawereint was regarded as the youngest son of Beli (Rhys Hibbert Lectures p. 643). In both cases the association of the bright with the dark divinity deserves notice.

'^H. Dessau Inscriptiones Latinae selectae'Ee.rVm 1902 no. 2988, cp. Classical Review xviii. 363.

" Folk-lore xvi. 286 f.