Celtic mythology : tales of gods, goddesses, and heroes by Philip Freeman

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By Philip Freeman

Most folk have heard of the Celts--the elusive, old tribal those who resided in present-day England, eire, Scotland and France. satirically characterised as either barbaric and blameless, the Celts attract the fashionable global as an emblem of a bygone period, an international destroyed through the ambition of empire and the unfold of Christianity all through Western Europe. regardless of the pervasive cultural and literary impression of the Celts, shockingly little is understood in their lifestyle and ideology, simply because only a few files in their tales exist. during this booklet, for the 1st time, Philip Freeman brings jointly the easiest tales of Celtic mythology.

Everyone this present day understands concerning the gods and heroes of the traditional Greeks, resembling Zeus, Hera, and Hercules, yet what number of people have heard of the Gaulish god Lugus or the mystical Welsh queen Rhiannon or the good Irish warrior Cú Chulainn? We nonetheless thrill to the tale of the Trojan battle, however the epic battles of the Irish Táin Bó Cuailgne are identified merely to a couple. And but those that have learn the tales of Celtic fable and legend-among them writers like J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis-have been deeply moved and prompted by means of those outstanding stories, for there's not anything on this planet particularly like them. In those tales a mysterious and invisible realm of gods and spirits exists along and occasionally crosses over into our personal human global; fierce girls warriors conflict with kings and heroes, or even the principles of time and house might be suspended. Captured in vibrant prose those shadowy figures-gods, goddesses, and heroes-come to existence for the fashionable reader.

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Her popularity among the Romans springs from her adoption by cavalrymen of the legions stationed in Gaul who took her worship home. In her depictions she always is accompanied by a horse. Sometimes she rides side-​saddle on a mare carrying fruit and bread, while at other times she feeds a foal from a shallow dish. Her symbolism is complex and her role as a goddess was clearly much more than simply as the patroness of horses and riders. There are also elements of fertility, motherhood, healing, and rebirth in her worship.

Tar raised Étaín in his home along with fifty daughters of kings who waited on her. One day the girls were washing themselves in a river near the sea when they saw a horseman on the plain, coming toward them. He was riding a brown horse and was dressed in green with red embroidery. He wore a golden brooch and carried a silver shield and a five-​ pointed spear. His fair yellow hair was braided and a band of gold held it from his face. He paused and looked at the girls bathing, then recited a poem: Étaín is here, swallowed in the cup of Étar’s wife.

He declared that he was a prince of the Tuatha Dé Danann and it was for Étaín that he had come. “I cannot give her to you,” said Ailill. “Your race and standing are far above my own. ” “Then I will buy her from you outright,” said Óengus. ” “Name the price,” said Óengus. ” “It will be done,” answered Óengus, Óengus knew there was no way he could accomplish such an immense task himself. He went therefore to his 34 34 | C eltic M ythology father the Dagda, who listened to his son’s plight and cleared the plains for him in a single night.

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