Celtic and Irish Mythology

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Transcript Celtic and Irish Mythology

Ireland!
The Celts
Who were the Celts?
A nomadic tribe of warriors whose
appearance in Europe dates back to at
least 800 BC.
Although they are most normally
associated with Ireland, at their most
powerful the Celts controlled vast
areas ranging from Turkey all the way
to Ireland.
The Celts
The Celts are referenced by Roman
historians as well as in Greek mythology.
Herodotus (a classical Greek writer)
described the Celts in the following way:
 Light skin, hair, and eyes
 Boastful, proud, overly vain, but demonic in battle
 Childlike, ostentatious, but hospitable
 Fond of hunting, feasting, music, poetry,
glittering jewels and bright colors.
What happened to them?
With their energy and warlike
temperament, the Celts were able to
spread quickly through Europe.
Their free-spiritedness was no match for
the Roman Empire though.
The Celts were driven back to the
westernmost parts of Europe, on the Irish
Sea.
The Celtic Nations
Ireland was not the only place where the
Celts flourished.
There were other areas that managed to
hold on to their Celtic heritage.
Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Isle of Man
Brittany, France
 Cornwall, England
Ireland
The Celtic culture infused itself with the
already existing Irish culture to produce
what we see today.
Celtic Mythology
 Celtic mythology is made up of varied stories
from the different Celtic nations.
 While there are some stories and
characteristics that carry over from one
location to the next, there are also distinctly
different stories.
 Some of the most famous Celtic legends are:
 Morte D’Arthur (the stories of King Arthur)
 Boudica
Irish Mythology
A portion of Irish mythology
actually pre-dates the arrival of
the Celts.
No one knows for sure what this
civilization was like, and when
the Celts arrived for sure is
uncertain.
Irish Mythology
There are four different cycles of Irish
myth:
The Mythological Cycle
The Ulster Cycle-Cu’Chulain, Deidre
The Fenian Cycle- Finn MacCool
The Historical Cycle-Arthur and Boudica
Irish Mythology
Irish mythology differs from Greek
mythology in a lot of ways:
No real hierarchy of gods
Gods are less specifically drawn, no
distinct physical description is given.
The Irish didn’t have a Homer or a
Hesiod or a Herodotus to write their
stories.
Their stories are less romantic and more
battle-oriented.
The Irish Gods
There was no real “king” of the
gods.
Different gods had importance
with different regions and clans.
Important gods: Ériu, The Dagda,
The Morrigan, Lugh, Brigid
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The Dagda
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Irish Heroes
Each cycle has its own distinctive
hero.
These heroes have a multitude of
different stories about them.
Most of the mythology deals with
mortals, not gods.
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