Celtic Mythology

.. e Goddedd Ceridwen after taking a brew of her inspiration and wisdom. He was a Welsh bard, and was often connected into Arthurian legend as a wise man, teacher, and advisor to Arthur. He is said to have had to power to assume the form of whatever he wanted to be. I am the wind that blows across the sea; I am the wave of the deep; I am the roar of the ocean; I am the stag of seven battles; I am a hawk on the cliff; I am a ray of sunlight; I am the greenest of plants; I am a wild boar; I am a salmon in the river; I am a lake on the plane; I am the word of knowledge; I am the point of a spear; I am the lure beyond the ends of the earth; I can shift my shape like a god.

– from the Song of Amergin He used this power in order to allow a married woman, the sister of Morgause, to believe Uther Pendragonto be her husband and allow him to get her with child. This child was Arthur, and was to be the hope for unification and peace in Britain. A Brief History of Celtic Art Fig.1-1 Fig1-2 Architecture Most structures during the early age of the Celts, was compiled of large rough-hewn stones. Most were built for practical use, but later became more commonplace for artistic purposes. Fig.

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1-1 Din Lligwy settlement at Anglesey, shows the entrance of a late Iron Age (fourth century AD) circular hut. This is the common structure of a home. The hut faces the central courtyard of a small Celtic settlement. It consisted of two circular and seven rectangular dwellings, surrounded by a limestone wall; two of these contained evidence of iron smelteringin their hearths. The roofs to these dwelling would have been thatched.

Fig 1-3 Fig 1-4 Fig 1-2, Wayland’s Smithy, chambered long barrow, Oxfordshire England c.3500 BC, Wayland was the Norse smith god; legend stated that if a traveler left his horse at this sight, together with a coin for payment, the horse would he shod and the money gone by the time he returned. Such ancient monumental tombs were often mythologized by the Celts, who did not understand their original function. Another example of Celtics making sacred what they did not understand, is Fig. 1-3, ‘Ossian’s Grave’: a Neolithic grave above the Glen Ana, County Antrium Ireland. The monumental stone graves of earlier cultures were thought sacred by the Celts.

This grave is attributed to the Irish hero ‘Ossian.Simply to clarify, these were not a part of the Celtic architecture, but architecture that became part of Celtic mythology. The South door of the church of St. Mary and St. David in Kilpeck, near Hereford, England (Fig.1-4) is a rare example of Late Celtic Art in Medieval England. Dating from the twelfth century BC, this door shows the interlacing tendrils, dragons and warriors common in Celtic art.

Sculpture Fig 1-5 Fig 1-6 Celtic sculpture was small and rare. Things needed to be small, and portable. However, a few examples have been found. They feature the same traits.Flowing long hair, large eyes, wide faces, and small mouths.Fig 1-5, is the head of a Romano-British deity Antenociticus, found in a shine tohim at Benwell in England. It is dated c. 300 BC. This local Celtic god wasworshipped in a small temple near a Roman military fort on Hardian’s Wall.

The shrine provides evidence of the adaptation of native divinities by Roman soldiers. The head is carved in the classical manner, but it’s Celtic features show in the powerfully modeled hair and eyes. The Human head on a large bronze cauldron from Rynkeby Denmark, 100 BC, also shows the distinctly Celtic facial features. Many have asserted that this cauldron was used for animal sacrifices. On the outer panel of the same cauldron we see the sun god demonstrating his great power over men by holding wild boars (Fig.

1-6) These animals were seen as a source of strength, and leaders often took the names of animals with their own to show power in comparing themselves to powerful beasts. Though Denmark is outside the boundaries of the Celtic world, their influence can still be seen here, as styles have traveled. This piece, Base of the Cross of Cong ( Fig 1-7), shows the Viking influence on Late Celtic and Irish are with its interweaving tendrils and dragons. The use of a beast to support the cross symbolizes the triumph of Christianity over nature. The cross was made for the Hogh King of Ireland, Turlough O Conna. Fig 1-7 Conclusion The Celts were a romantic people, concerned with protecting their lands, gaining glory in battle, acknowledging beauty, magic, gods and goddesses.

They have entwined their history and mythology together, linking it all. It is hard to tell what is history and what is myth, and even the most serious student of the Celtic beliefs and impacts on history will find himself secretly believing in all of the magic and myth of this captivating culture. The sun is shining, clear and fair, And I can hear the sweet song of birds; All around me they sing in thickets And their songs are new. I see my own death coming, And I sing a lay which will be held most dear, And will not fail to touch lovers, For it is love which makes me long to die, Tristian, my friend, friend, friend, Here is my heart which I entrusted To your love; not a good place for it, And now I will die by your sword. Tristian, my friend, friend, friend Even though the gods despise my desire, My should shall swell in your spritit, In the lands of the blessed or in the Underworld.

Falling on Tristians sword Isolt followed him to the Underworld, and thus did the lovers return in death to King Mark’s fort at Tintagel. They were buried in two mounds, side by side, and the intertwining branches of two trees grew from their graves. -Tristian and Isolt Bibliography Works Consulted Gardner’s Art Through The Ages Tenth Edition c. 1996 King Arthur Norma Lorre Goodrich c. 1986 An Introduction to Celtic Mythology David Bellingham c.1990 Domesday A Search for the Roots of England Michael Wood c.1986 The Dark Ages Michael Wood c.1987 The Power of Myth Joseph Cambel with Bill Moyers c.1987 History Essays.

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