Presented here are our links to Celtic websites of community, historical and cultural focus, and a number of electronic books; Australian websites have their own section (selected at right) including Australian Celtic community and folk festivals; and the Celtic seasons in Australia are explored on another page on which are also presented links to the modern pagan and herbs and permaculture websites, which have a clear affinity with the seasons. Below are annotated weblink resource lists to further assist internet searches.
A mystery connected with Rhiannon is the significance of how her horse is impossible to overtake no matter how fast or slow the pursuit may be; This may be part of the general phenomenon of temporal (and spatial) distortion which typically accompanies mortal intrusion into the Otherworld, especially in Celtic tradition. Author Jessica Hemming, University of Leeds, California Folklore Society Winter 1998.
A website providing a wealth of information of the horse goddess of Gaul, including archaeological, literary and inscriptional evidence of her worship, with valuable citations. A valuable sub-essay http://epona.net/later.html on the likely connection with Rhiannon is provided.
This paper examines the literary sources for Brigit and attempts to place them within two contexts, that of seventh and eighth century Ireland in which they were produced and that of contemporary scholarship. The evidence presented indicates that the figure of Brigit, and the traditions surrounding it, have pagan origins; this indicates the syncretic nature of early Irish Christianity.
To challenge Patrick and his Roman ways, Ireland exalted a saint of its own. Saint Brigit (452-525 AD) and the characteristics she represented in Irish hagiography clearly illustrated the ideal Irish saint. Ireland's reverence for nature, animals, and wisdom are all championed in the accounts of Brigit's existence.
The Grey Abbey Conservation Project is based in Kildare Town, County Kildare. The website includes historical and archaeological material relating to Grey Abbey and Kildare Town, and the work of the Project. The section of St. Brigid, to which this link points, provides excerpts of manuscripts, local press and recent celebrations of the lighting of St Brigid's flame.
Possibly one of the most widespread of all the Celtic deities he is also known as Belen, Belenus, Belinus, Bellinus, Bélénos, Belennos, Belenos, Bel, Bilé: The Shining God. A launch point for the Nemeton website's listing of Celtic deities.
This extensive essay provides an exploration of the link between the goddess Brigid and St Brigit of the 5th century tackling the often asked question whether St. Brigid and the goddess may be one and the same such that the saint is the goddess transformed and reinvented in a manner suited to the monastic hierarchy. To support this is explored the striking continuity of symbolism and a scarcity of differences that would clearly distinguish the daughter of the Dagda from the Patroness of Ireland. Presented by the University of North Carolina.
This section of Mythography provides brief descriptions of many Celtic dieties, with more detailed information when useful. Deities of Ireland, Britain and Gaul, and also the Heroes of these lands are included.
Alexei Kondratiev presents an analysis of Celtic perceptions of the god Lugh. The placement of Roman rule into the fabric of Celtic religion by Emperor Augustus in 10BC under the auspices of Lugus at the Temple of the Three Gauls is shown to be an important reminder of the sovereign guardianship provided by Lugus. Irish Lugh and Welsh Llew myths are shown to display the same qualities as continental Lugus. Originally published in An Tríbhs Mhór: The IMBAS Journal of Celtic Reconstructionism #1, Lúnasa 1997.
Michelle Zeigler provides insights into the concept of 'Brigantia'. Developing the theme that Brigantia represents three separate concepts, namely a goddess, a people, and a tribal federation. The relationships between Brigantia, Cartimandua and Gwenhwyfar are explored. The Heroic Age, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 1999.
An exploration of the attributes of Brigid, looking at the continued worship of the Triple Goddesses through her career as a Catholic saint and worship at Kildare, and points to her stories retaining remnants of other Goddesses from the ancient worlds including Roman Minerva and Egyptian Isis.
This weblink is included for reference to the spread of mystical religions into the Celtic world, and their impact of syncretism there. The cult of Isis was one of the most important of the empire wide cults in the later empire. In Lucius Apuleius' very strange novel, The Golden Ass (http://books.eserver.org/fiction/apuleius/), Isis appears to Lucius, and claims to be all goddesses, the Queen of Heaven, and principal of all the gods and goddesses.
Baptized Colum, or Columba, in later life he was given the name of Columcille or Clumkill, that is, Colum of the Cell or Church, an appropriate title for one who became the founder of so many monastic cells and religious establishments. Full rendition of the famous poem containing the words 'My Druid is Christ, the Son of God', showing its meaning in ful context - a rejection of druidism.
Lisa Spangenberg talks about the things we do know about Samhain from medieval Irish and Continental Celtic texts. Comprehensive and assertive, a look at texts, incidents in myth and a look at what connection Samhain has with Halloween.
Liam O Caiside presents a look at the origins and traditions of Bealtainn, the quarterly feast that marks the beginning of summer and the "light" or fertile half of the year; its origins in the far Celtic past and look at some Bealtainn customs from Scotland.
Richard Sermon presents an article of the Gloucester and District Archaeological Research Group that illustrates that much of the "Celtic Revival" calendar is of an Anglo-Saxon origin. Published in Glevensis Journal 34, 2000.
Blackbird Hollins presents insights into the mythical origins and meaning of Lughnasadh, its significance in ancient and modern times, and a look at how modern pagans can relate to and celebrate Lughnasadh.
Ancient Pathways provides compilations of works dealing with the Celtic Fire Feasts. An excellent source of a variety of views expressed by a wide range of writers. Selection is made from a menu provided on the linked page. An excellent entry point for exploring the esotic and spiritual dimensions of Celtic interest.
Presented by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, an overview of local legend surrounding St David is provided. The cleric was born in 530 and died 1st March 589 - the feast day of St David - and was recognized as a saint by Pope Calixtus in 1123 and recognized as the Patron Saint of Wales. Legend surrounding his birth, miracles including the synod meeting in Llandewi Brefi, pilgrimages, and the founding of the monastic settlement at Mynyw, the village of St David's, are all provided.
Presented by the St Piran Trust, this page provides an overview of the patron saint of tin miners and national saint of Cornwall. Legend surrounding his origins and his landing at Cornwall and the first smelting of tin are provided, and the parent website has valuable information about the site, the area of Gear sands and current excavations.
Eric P. Hamp provides an exposition of the word 'Mabinogi' - providing a derivation for 'the material pertaining to those of Maponos', perhaps 'the material pertaining to the family of Maponos'. Identification of an -on ending for divinities: Teyrnon, Rhiannon, Gofannon, Gwydion, and elsewhere Modron and Mabon, the last is to be compared with Mac(c) ind Óc whose mother, instead of being the River Marne, was the Boand, a natural divinity in a cattle culture. Celtica 23, University of Chicago, 1999.
Presented by medievalist Will Parker author of The Four Branches - Celtic Myth and Medieval Reality. 'The Four Branches of the Mabinogi' A Medieval Celtic Text: English Language Scholarship 1795-1997 examines the origins and developments of Mabinogi scholarship. It provides a critical survey of the highlights of Mabinogi scholarship in the English language, and includes references useful for researches into related linguistic, literary, cultural and historical aspects. A new translation of the Four Branches is presented in the parent website.
An in depth analysis of the Lebor Gabala Errenhttp://members.aol.com/lochlan2/lebor.htm of the Book of Leinster AD1150 and comparisons with the Historiam Britonum of Nenius, Scottish traditions and the Life of St Cadroe. This essay follows the development of the Irish version of the Trojan legend.
A lecture presented by Mark Adderley of Geogia tech Uni on the Southern Methodist University (Texas)'s Arthur Pedagogy pages. An exploration of the two poems and the characters and symbologies held within. The intimate relationship of these poems to Arthurian literature and Welsh mythology of the Four Branches is demonstrated, as is the relationship of Britain at this time to the new religion of Christianity. Further links to other lecture notes and summaries.
The text (and translation) of a poem taken from the fourteenth-century Llyfr Taliesin (Book of Taliesin) which makes intriguing mention of Arthur who apparently leads warriors on a raid of the Welsh "otherworld": Annwn. Hauntingly beautiful, it is nevertheless quite obscure in its language as well as its references, and recent consensus is that the poem is less about Arthur than it is about Taliesin and his bardic prowess.
Visible at low tides, the remains of an ancient forest can be seen along the coast between Tywyn and Aberdyfi, north of Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales, which may be the source of the lost lands of the legendary Cantre'r Gwaelod, 'the 'Lowland' or 'Bottom Hundred'.
The tale of Cantref Gwaelod seems never to have been published in its entirety; not in any compendium of folklore and certainly not on the internet. There were the various different and often incompatible versions of the tale which seem to have evolved over the centuries: a presentation of the myth.
Blackbird Hollins presents insight into the importance of the hazel tree in ancient societies on many levels and how it remains a useful and relevant tree to us today. Myth and legend concerning the hazel is provided, illustrating its vital role.
Part of the celtnet website, this page explores both the historic figure of the late sixth century and the entirely mythological figure whose legends were chronicled into the Ystoria Taliesin (Tale of Taliesin) by Elis Gruffydd in the mid sixteenth century.
Known in the Welsh as Trioedd Ynys Prydein, the Triads are groups of material in threes recounting events from Welsh history and mythology. They served as an index or device to jog the memory adopted by the cyfarwyddion, the storytellers of medieval Wales.
Translated by J. C. Rolfe, presented by Paul Halsall. [Arkenberg Introduction]. Rolfe's annotations appear in brackets with no attribution; Paul Halsall annotations are noted. Noted for section XXV, "He utterly abolished the cruel and inhuman religion of the Druids among the Gauls, which under Augustus had merely been prohibited to Roman citizens".
by Richard Hooker (1996). An overview of cultural development in Europe from 6000BC to the Iron Age. Brief outline in clear form of the emergent cultures and introduction of indo-european peoples and culture.
Geoffrey Sampson rebukes aspects of Stephen Oppenheimer's book The Origins of the British (2006) that argues that the Celts originated not in Central Europe as standardly believed, but in the region of Spain, and dating to the Neolithic. A work of scholarship that refutes his ideas was published just as he sent his own manuscript in to his publisher: Patrick Sims-Williams's Ancient Celtic Place-Names in Europe and Asia Minor (2006), examines place-names that are known to have been current in Roman times, demonstrating the incorrectness of Oppenheimer's concept.
Oppenheimer's ideas are outlined in http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2006/10/mythsofbritishancestry/", Prospect magazine's 2006 article Myths of British ancestry.
ed. by Peter Bellwood and Colin Renfrew (McDonald Institute Monographs). Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (Distributed by Oxbow Books, Oxford, UK). 2002. A review of collected conference papers researching the spread of indo-european languages hypothesised to be facilitated by farming.
Indo-European is the largest and best-documented language family in the world, yet the reconstruction of the Indo-European tree, first proposed in 1863, has remained controversial. This glottochronological study helps in understanding the pros and cons of setting constant rates of language change. This phylogenetic network permits the estimation of time in analogy to genetics, and this paper obtains tentative dates for Indo-European at about 8100 BC, and for the arrival of Celtic in Britain at 3200 BC. While this study has been met with major objections, it remains valuable in the research of indo-european languages.
Presented by W.G.Davey. A glottochronological study of indo-european, and part of a wider study of language. This study correlates to known historical and archaeological events; This study has accepted the strengths and weaknesses of glottochronology and seeks to find a reasoned middle ground.
PhD thesis of Duncan Campbell March 2009. University of Leicester. Download .pdf of thesis from this page. The work considers the role of the Danubian/central European people in the light of the recent archaeological disestablishment of the Celts as a pan-European culture and the rejection of their traditionally understood migration from Europe into the Balkans. The thesis indicates that the establishment of Galatia as a geopolitical entity was probably unrelated to the invasion of Macedonia and Greece in 280 BC as traditionally indicated by the primary sources, and that the invasions themselves were mis-used by some Greek states for their own political and social ends, exaggerating many of the incidents and falsely equating them with the Persian invasion two hundred years earlier.
Timothy Bridgman. Routeledge, 2005. In Greek mythology, Hyperboreans were a tribe who lived far to Greece's north. Contained in what has come down to us of Greek literary tradition are texts that identify the Hyperboreans with the Celts, or Hyperborean lands with Celtic ones. This groundbreaking book studies the texts that make or imply this identification, and provides reasons why some ancient Greek authors identified a mythical people with an actual one. Timothy P. Bridgman demonstrates not only that these authors mythologize history, but that they used the traditional Greek parallel mythical world to interpret history throughout ancient Greek culture, thought and literature.
Paper presented by Greg Woolf, School of Greek, Latin and Ancient History, University of St. Andrews. It is difficult to establish for certain how early a familiarity with the Roman concepts of civilization became widespread in Gaul, but there is some reason to think that the Gallo-Roman aristocracy of the early 1st C. were not ignorant of them, nor unaware of how they related to urbanization.
History and Environmental Impact of Mining Activity in Celtic Aeduan Territory Recorded in a Peat Bog (Morvan, France) / Abstract of: Environ. Sci. Technol., 2004, 38 (3), pp 665-673. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es034704v
The present study aims to document historical mining and smelting activities by means of geochemical and pollen analyses performed in a peat bog core collected around the Bibracte oppidum. The abundance of mineral resources, in addition to the strategic location, might explain why early settlers founded the city of Bibracte at that particular place.
Archeologists in Germany have discovered a 2,600-year-old Celtic tomb containing ornate jewellery of gold and amber. The subterranean chamber measuring four by five meters was uncovered near the prehistoric Heuneburg hill fort near the town of Herbertingen in south-western Germany. Its contents including the oak floor of the room are unusually well preserved. The intact oak should allow archeologists to ascertain the precise age of the tomb through tree-ring dating..
Celtic religious practice included the rites of the Sacral Kingship with the purpose of community good. Described in the 11th century Topographica Hibernica by Giraldus Cambrensis, the king-in-making literally mated with a white mare, which was then slaughtered, the blood and flesh collected and boiled in a cauldron. The king then bathed in and drank the broth and ate the flesh. By Tara NicScothach bean MacAnTsaoir.
This web page on the Plaid Cymru website provides a link to the historic agreement between the two major parties in the Welsh Assembly for the future prosperity of Wales, covering health, education, housing, the language, and further devolution from the Westminster parliament. The downloadable pdf is 177.2 kB.
An intimate journey retracing the origins and campaigns of the British revolt against Roman occupation lead by Boudica, queen of the Iceni in AD61. The presentation provides site location highlights and information. Boudica means 'victory' and was highly motivating in the Victorian age. A companion to the TV presentation 'Fact or Fiction: Boudica' (2002).
William Skene's anthology of dark-age Welsh Bardic poetry is one of the treasures of world literature. Extremely rare in printed form, here it is published on line by Sacred Texts. The poems, dating probably from the sixth century by internal evidence, are translated from four manuscripts: the Black Book of Caermarthen, the Red Book of Hergest, the Book of Taliessin and the Book of Aneurin, all of which were compiled from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries.
Here is presented the account provided by Tacitus (AD110-120) of the revolt by Boudica. A contemporary transcription of the English translation by Arthur Murphy 'Works of Tacitus' (1794) of the Latin recorded in The Annals (Book XIV). Companion pages. Source material. Presented in Athena Review. Journal of Archaeology, History, and Exploration. vol 1:1 (1996)
Christopher Snyder provides an introduction into the period of British history spanning the fifth and sixth centuries. With their independence from the Roman Empire, the sub-Roman Britons developed a culture comprising a hybrid of Roman, native British ie Celtic and Christian elements. The first two centuries of the Early Middle Ages, this period also saw the birth of new medieval kingdoms that would become England, Scotland, and Wales.
Neil Faulkner looks at the evidence that Roman culture was fading in Britain from as early as the early 200s and had all but gone a century later. This study shows that long before the withdrawal at the start of the fifth century, a gradual but inexorable collapse affected towns, villas and villages.
This site looks at the Tartan and its origins in Ireland and how the Scots carried on the tradition when they moved to re-found the kingdom of Dalriada. It describes how the leine was later changed to include stripes that signified the rank of the wearer, and explores the continuing evolution of the tartan into the plaid that is commonplace today, including the standardisation of the tartans for the clans and how at the time of the Highland Clearances in 1745, the wearing of the tartan was banned.
Peter Berresford Ellis provides a review of early Irish astronomical/astrological knowledge, the influence of the Arabic zodiacal systems in later times and the similarities to Vedic knowledge in Celtic systems. An excellent source for native Celtic terms and explanations for planets, constellations and practicioners of astrology. This article was first published in Réalta (vol 3. n. 3, 1996), the journal of The Irish Astrological Association.
Select the topic to enter; The Hallstatt period of Celtic development brings us to 550BC and the archaeological find that had remained untouched for 2500 years provided unambiguous information of the elite of early Celtic society. Presented by the University of North Carolina, also presented is a timeline of Celtic art and culture http://www.unc.edu/celtic/timemap/timeline/timeline.html covering the period 800BC to AD1000.
An immediate cause for the invasion in AD 43 was that war between the Celtic tribes of the southeast threatened to disrupt trade with Rome. This situation offered both a reason for invading and an opportunity to build an alliance with one tribe by offering military aid. Heather Wake provides insights into the invasion of Britain.
This timeline is focussed on the British Celtic culture and those cultures which had influence on the British Celts. It is also more specifically focused on those activities which would have had effect on the Brigantes tribe of Britain during the late British iron age.
Part of The Camelot Project website, this menu page provides access to a wealth of information about principle Knights and Ladies found in the Arthurian Romances, as well as magical items such as Excalibur.
This page forms a part of the Arthurian resources website and provides a bibliographical guide to the medieval Welsh manuscripts concerning the Arthurian legend. Fuller discussion and interpretation of these sources is found in other sections of the site including 'The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur' and 'Concepts of Arthur'.
This PDF document traces the meaning of the name Arthur, in both its British and Romano-British forms. The Bear-man as a rallying point for all in Britain opposed to the expansion of the Saxon and related invaders at once recalled the tenacity of the bear in defence as well as the constellation of the Bear and the bright star Acturus. Presented in Griffen, T 1994, Arthur's name, Celtic Studies Association of North America, Athens, Georgia.
The official website of Graham Phillips, this page serves as a gateway to the book King Arthur - The True Story by Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman (1992, Arrow) in which Owain Ddantgwyn is identified as Arthur, the Bear. Owain is placed in Powys, based in Viroconium. The Cunedda family is shown to be active throughout the British kingdoms following the time of Ambrosius. Badon and Camlann are explored.
An exploration of Cunoglasus, prince of Rhos and the identity of Arthur. The passage in Gildas 32:1-2 that refers to the 'Bear', central to many investigations into the historical referencing of Arthur is provided at http://www.angelfire.com/md/devere/gildas.html as an English translation with the Latin provided.
This page forms a part of the Kessler Associates website. Outlines the reasoning behind identifying Owain Ddantgwyn of Rhos as King Arthur. Explores the 'Bear' reference in Gildas (32: 1-2) and the father of Owain, Enniaun Yrth son of Cunedda and King of Gwynedd who would correspond to Uther Pendragon of Geoffrey's Historia.
An exploration of the text of Gildas (32: 1-2) in which the Prince of Rhos, Cynglas/Cunoglasus is condemned. He is called the 'Tawny Butcher', although Cynglas would normally be read as Blue Dog. An etymological journey
reveals the insult Gildas was delivering.
The text of a lecture presented by Ian Johnston for students in Liberal Studies at Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC, Canada, in December 2001 that explores the nature of the play as an Heroic Quest Narrative, and takes particular attention to scrutinise the virtues of Sir Gawain and his attempts to maintain their integrity in the face of temptation and adversity - and extends this to the character of Arthur's court, the civilised world it represents, and questions the capacity of individuals and societies to learn lessons from experience.
This page is part of a website providing an insight into the very ancient monuments in Ireland. The Hill of Tara is the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the Ard Rí, where stands the Lia Fáil or 'Stone of Destiny', one of the four treasures brought to Ireland by the Tuatha dé Danann. The Samhain feis is described, and the rebellious lighting of a paschal fire by Patrick in 433 explored.
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