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Alex Fantalov.





Chapter 2. Mythological characters of West European barbarians


Mythological images of the Irish sagas.

Now it is necessary to look, what mean these Gallic deities were transformed in medieval Irish sagas. Celt Taranis has disappeared completely. The heavenly thunder belongs to Christian God-father extremely. The God of Sky - Gallic Teutat quite we shall identify with Irish Nuadha, whose name is translated as "the Lord of clouds". To tell the truth, heavenly function by him is practically lost. But the role of the chapter of breeding collective (in sagas Nuadha represents itself as king of Tribes of goddess Danu or Tuatha De Danann - the basic class of good mythological characters) is kept. In terms of line of attributes and the connected plots he corresponds with Scandinavian Odin (about what wrote Dumezil and that will be considered at the analysis of the Scandinavian pantheon).

Celt Cernunnos as the embodiment of a bottom, was saved. Henceforth he referred to Dahghda - "the Good god" that is a tracing-paper from a name of other Cernunnos's embodiment - Hes. One more epithet Dahghda is "Father of all", and reminds Caesar's phrase that Gauls above all esteem the god (the Romans identified him with the Dis Pater) from which they are descended. The following epithet - "Powerful by great knowledge" allows to characterize Dahghda as the god of druids (Mac Cana, 1973). He had two special attributes: a cudgel which one end killed living, and another recovered dead; and the magic boiler of abundance. (Role of similar boilers was very great in Celtic culture, since the boiler from Gundestrup and finishing a bowl sacred Graal). The boiler clearly characterises Dahghda as a deity of fertility. He "was imperous above elements and above a crop of people". (Legends and myths of medieval Ireland, 1991, 60). Under some versions, he has given Tuatha De Danann marvellous hills in which they began to live after have suffered defeat from people. All these data allow to name Dahghda variant of the God of Earth Powers.

The well-known Ireland saga "The second Battle of Maige Turedh" (concerning to the Mythological cycle) contains the description of how Dahghda has got intimacy with Morrighan - the Celtic goddess of war. This event which has happened in Ireland holiday (November 1) is sometimes treated as variant of "a sacred marriage" king and the goddess. Nevertheless, Dahghda's wife was the idolized river Bojn. Their son Mac Ok ("the Son of Young one") was very popular deity, the patron in love. Him is identified with Gaulish and Britain Maponos, called Gaulish Apollo. In Britain Maponos was venerated as the hunter and as "Mabon, son of Modron " (that is the son of Great mother) has come in Arthur cycle.

Especially important female deity was daughter Dagda Brighid, (in Britain Brigantia) patroness of poetry, doctoring and crafts. Probably her Caesar named the Gailish Minerva. After a victory of Christianity she began to be esteemed as sacred Brighid. Sometimes spoke about sisters - "three Brighid", represented by birds with a human head or it is simple cranes. From here it is absolutely close to the image of the Great Goddess of the boiler from Gundestrup. We shall recollect the Gallo-Roman relief representing three herons, worth on the bull (1 c. A.D.). It serves as one more acknowledgement to consider Dahghda late transformation of Cernunnos.

The role of the patroness of weaving is an attribute, allowing to attribute Brighid

to type of the Great Goddess which other embodiments it is possible to count the Irish goddesses of war, goddesses - patronesses of Ireland and Goddess Danu, progenitoress about which a little that is known. Division is no time a complete image confirms theory Holan.

Dahghda has kept pagan features of Cernunnos most completely. Nevertheless, he does not exhaust all medieval embodiments ancient Celtic god. Splitting of image Cernunnos in medieval epoch is connected to unequal recognition of his various aspects by christianised Irishs. The aesthetic aspect of the god as patron with deers (whether this concurrence is casual?).

On the other hand, image Cernunnos has penetrated into medieval art, and his characteristic of the lord dead (recognizing in Christian Europe is negative) here was beaten. Bober results the image of Stuttgart text that shows, that miniaturist was well informed on the Gallo-Roman monuments. In a stage of descent from Limb he has placed stag horned Cernunnos in a traditional pose and even with ram headed snake in the bent niche (Bober, 1951). At last, in the reduced kind, Celtic god continued to live in late folklore. He is submitted and at Shakespeare as "the Horned hunter".

Anna Ross has paid attention to other embodiment Cernunnos in the Irish sagas. Conall Cernah - second main hero of Ulad (after Cuchulain) is conformable to the Gallic god not only a name. In some saga the following case is described. Conall, travelling on continent, attacks the certain fortress protected by the terrible snake. Last jumps on the hero, but gets inside of his belt. "Then Conall has let out the snake, and anybody from them has not harmed another". Doctor Ross explains this episode, referring to statues Cernunnos from Sommerecourt and Autun which show the god feeding ram headed snakes, twisting his waist " (Mac Cana, 1973). If the given likening is true, military function of the God of Earth Powers here is expressed, in addition to priestly and productive, that contradicts G. Dumezil's theory about division of these functions between various deities.

The image of the Cultural Hero has broken up to some characters (that in general typically for the given type in many mythologies). However, similar division as it was shown, existed in Gaulish epoch when along with Smertrius - Ogmios, Lugh

(Mercury) was venerated. As for to the Irish sagas, image Ogmios he began to be called Oghma) was added to following fig. First, Oghma attributed creation of the pagan letters, which have arisen in 4 century A.D. and named ogam. Second, mentioned his characteristic as the god - connector finds acknowledgement in a plot "Tain Bo Cuailnge" (the Cattle-Raid of Cuailnge) when Cuchulain (the main Irish hero) wishing to detain enemy army, has braided in unit a tree and has traced on it ogamic symbols. At last, from "The second Battle of Maige Turedh" it is known about destruction of Oghma from hands of demons - Fomhoire, that frequently happens with heroes.

Is more popular in the Irish sagas (as well as in general in the Celt culture) Lugh - "Shining". On his name such cities, as Leiden, Lyons, Liegnitz are named. His other epithet - "Master of hundred crafts". It was already marked, that this Celtic god was identified by the Romans with Hermes /Mercury. Lugh has occupied a sacred royal throne, having replaced Nuadha (the given pair surprisingly corresponds to the Scandinavian pair Scandinavian Odin / Tyr which will be considered below). Lugh has brought great contribution to a victory of Tribes of Goddess Danu above sea demons Fomhoire (the struggle similar to an opposition of the Greek Olympians and titans, the Scandinavian gods and mountainous giants, the Indian gods and asuras). Thus he has struck Fomorian king, monstrous one-eyed Balar, that is, perhaps, the central episode of all Irish mythology. The given duel sometimes treats as variant of struggle between the Thunder god and his opponent though the Lugh has no any attitude to a thunder. The opinion of is more convincing. The opinion that a duel Lugh with Balar is display typical for the Celts oppositions between old king and his young contender is more serious. (Mac Cana, 1973).

"The second Battle of Maige Turedh" represents huge interest. In already mentioned Wallis (Britten) mythological tradition there is a saga "Branven, Llir's daughter" which very much reminds "Battle", but with one main difference: it is as though written from the point of Fomhoire view (which role here played by Brittens). To show their mirror similarity, it is necessary to state the basic marks of both sagas.

"The second Battle of Maige Turedh" /Legends and myths of medieval Ireland 1991.

King of Tribes of Goddess Danu Nuadha, has lost a hand in one of battles, and Tuatha De Danann choose the new monarch fine Bres, husband Brighid. Mother of him occured from Tribes of the Goddess, father was one of Fomhoire kings. However Bres began severely Tuatha De Danann, and by them was deposed. He then has gone to the father, to Britain or Scotland to ask the help. At this time, Tribes of the Goddess have proclaimed king at first again was Nuadha, but last has transferred a throne to Lugh, as to more skilful. Lugh, on the father, was grandson Dian- Cecht, of the god - healer, on mother his grandfather the master was Balar, Supreme Fomhoire king. (That is we see recurrence of origin Bres, but with the opposite is familiar - Lugh a figure positive). When Fomhoires have attacked from the east Ireland to return throne to Bres, fight was played. In it Tribes of Goddess Danu had advantage - wonderful spring in which Dian- Cecht recovered killed warriors. However Fomhoires have stoned it. Deciding moment became a duel between Lugh and Balar, whose unique eye had magical ability to take away force at on whom to address. Balar's eyelid was so hardly, that rose specially passed through it a stick four soldiers (similarly to Slavic Vey and to some other barbarous mythological characters). But Lugh has had time to strike an eye with the wonderful spear (variant: a stone). Balor has run, and with him and all Fomhoires. Lugh has caught up the opponent and a compartment to it a head. Before death Balar asked the light god to set up his chopped off head on the ("that happiness and valour of Balar has passed to Lugh"). But the god has set up it on a stone column (thus poison flows from it and has split a stone). Tuatha De Danann

have won, however soon between of them conflicts begin and they concede a ground part of Ireland to Milesians - to legendary people.



"Branwen, Lir's daughter" /Magic legends of Wales, 1995.

The giant, king of Britain Bran, son of Lir (the sea being an embodiment) marries sister Branven to Irish king Matholwch. However last was offended in Britain and, after returning, began to address severely with Branwen. Wishing to release the sister, Bran it is sent with an army to Ireland. Matholwch to avoid blood shed offers to transfer a throne to Branwen's son. But Bran's brother Efnisien throws the boy in fire, as enemy creature. There is a fight, and Irish recover killed in the magic boiler. Then Efnisien, by the life, destroys the boiler. All Irish soldiers are killed, but also Britts there is seven persons. Bran poisoned with arrow orders to cut off the head and to bury in London the person to continent. When soldiers have returned to Britain, they have found out, that some tribes win their country.

As we see, here all up to a paradoxically is similar: motive of a marriage between two hostile groups; their geographical localisation and connection of east newcomers with the sea; the reasons of war; the spring and the boiler of revival; the chopped off head and poison; a tragic victory of heroes. All is similar, but as if "is turned out inside out". It is necessary to note, that Irish and Britains (Wallis) belong to two various branches of the Celts, accordingly, to Q- Celts and P- Celts (named so owing to replacement agreeable q on p). Perhaps, we deal, with a collision similar to that was played between ancient Indians and Iranians. It is accepted to count, that in the period the unities of the Indians and the Iranians, given peoples esteemed a class of supernatural essences into which entered as characters under the general name "Deva" - "shining", and images called "Asura" - "having vital force" (the last are allocated special magical force), and some are simultaneously both "Deva", and "Asura" - is similar Varuna and Mitra. Such situation is fixed in "Rigveda". When there was a delimitation Indians and Iranians (that, probably, was not peace), the Indian inhabitants of heaven have kept the name "deva" while "asura" henceforth called demonic opponents of gods (However, some early representations - for example were kept, was considered, that killed asuras leave in Varuna's empire). In Iran there was a return process though and more slowly and has found the maximum expression in radical religious reform Zaratustra. Asura (is more exact, Ahura) were declared by good essences, assistants to creator Ahuramazda (in this god G. Dumezil, not without justification, sees the amplified parallel Indian Varuna - see. Dumezil, 1986). Divs appeared in a role of demons, and in number of the last have got and Indian God of Thunder Indra and twins Nasatja (Asvinau). Dumezil explains this collision proceeding from the three-functional theory: the god - magician Varuna, was venerated by Zaratustra as priest (but the Twins patronising peasants and, it is especially Indra patronising aristocracy are alien for him). Nevertheless, on surburbs of Iran reverence of the divs proceeded.

From some sagas the plot of Lugh's destruction, but as usually in a case with the Hero, it is not final is known. At last - and it is important, Lugh is considered the father of most famous hero Cuchulain, which for the Irish epos has the same value, as for example, Ahilles for Greek.

From the Irish sagas such characters, probably, particles of an image of the Cultural Hero contain in the images, as the god of doctoring Dian- Cecht and god - smith Goibhniu are known also. Their existence in ancient Celtic epoch proves to are true the Roman authors speaking about Gallic Asclepius and Volcano. But as the given characters are strongly specialised (each of them owns unique function), it is necessary to assume them be relative later an origin.

Thus, after close examination of Celtic arts and crafts, and also the literature, containing mythological images and plots, it is possible to draw a conclusion that Celtic pantheon is grouped according to the concept of a structural nucleus offered in the given work. To the god of the Clear Sky corresponds with Gallic Teutat

(Irish Nuadha); to the God of the Thunder - Celt Taranis ; to the God of Earth Powers - Gallic Cernunnos/ Hes (Irish Daghda); to the Cultural Hero - Gallic Smertrius/ Ogmios (Irish Oghma); to the Great Goddess - various Gallic deities and Irish Goddess Danu, Brigit, Morrighan. We see division on numerous late deities such as the Cultural Hero (in connection with his intensive development) and especially the Great Goddess (it represents natural consequence of division of her there is no time universal type). From the point of view of socio-historical aspect it is visible, as in epoch of domination of priestly estate of druids role Cernunnos (besides, practically unique Celtic god known in the Gallo-Roman syncretic epoch under an own name and with specific Celtic attributes) has sharply grown. The cult of the Hero ( Lugh ), supported in parallel accrued and at the Roman domination. The big value of Lugh as the patron of sacred royal authority had and in Ireland where long time there were independent kingdoms. Thus till 6 c. A.D. the authority of priests was not subverted and the Irish embodiment of the God of Earth Powers ( Dahghda ) was one of central in a pantheon.


2.3. Mythological characters in Germanic-Scandinavian culture

Characters of gods in the Scandinavian mythological texts.



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