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secherbernard
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« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2010, 10:40:05 AM »

The story of Bell Beaker is complex and confusing. Specialists looking at one part of the evidence often conflict with those looking at another part of the evidence. I have tried to pull it all together in Beaker Folk to Celts and Italics.
I think there is an interesting point about Bell Beakers: there were sailors (at least at the beginning of Bell Beaker spread).
If you look at the Bell Beaker sites, you see that many of them are all along the sea shores or along rivers.
It is clear in Mediterranean: Spain, South France, West Italy, Sicily, North Africa, but also on the Atlantic shores: Portugal, Brittany, ..., or along Rhone river, Loire river, Seine river, Rhine river...
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 10:44:21 AM by secherbernard » Logged

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A.D.
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« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2010, 12:08:49 PM »

The Formorians were according to legend the ones who bought farming to Ireland. Their leader Balor of the single eye was a solar diety (replaced by Lugh). They are credited as coming from Africa, being of `olive skin dark hair and dark eyes'  and introducing the linguistic trait of combing words like I-TA and AM-ME into a single word TAIM. This is also done for YOU- YOUS (PLURAL)- HE/SHE etc. Balor has also been compaired to Ba'al as in the Carthaginian god. They inhabited the western isle Tory Island is surposed to been the main one. Lugh was the grandson of Balor on his mothers side. In `Gaelic' tradition this has no bearing on  the right to kingship this is passed from farther to son unlike the Cruithne from mother to son. This works out well for the Ui Niel. I can't help but think that the Lebar Gabala Erenn is a compolation of oral traditions patched together by monks to suit the needs of `Royal' clans. Many truths but no one truth. I don't think it should be dismissed but looked at  differently and some new things may be discovered.   
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Jean M
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« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2010, 01:19:47 PM »

The Formorians were according to legend the ones who bought farming to Ireland.

Which legend says that? Certainly not the Lebor Gabála Érenn, which doesn't mention them at all. Geoffrey Keating/Seathrún Céitinn claimed in the 17th century that the Fomorians, led by Cíocal, had arrived two hundred years before Partholon and lived on fish and fowl until Partholon came, bringing the plough and oxen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fomorians

Over the centuries before modern critical scholarship, there were various attempts to create a history of Ireland. The Lebor Gabála Érenn is a Medieval  attempt. Geoffrey Keating's history was a 17th-century one. Such authors tried to make sense of mention of tribes/peoples, such as the Formorians or Fir Bolg or whatever in the body of stories like the Ulster Cycle. They tried to fit them into a chronology. One must have arrived before the other, they reasoned. So if the Formorians were mentioned in legends, but not in the  Lebor Gabála Érenn, then you can see Keating thinking that they must have been there before Partholon.

Modern scholars would see this as just  piling one misguided speculation upon another. Stories circulating orally about the 6th century AD would be wildly unlikely to incorporate any memories going back to 4000 BC.  

« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 02:26:51 PM by Jean M » Logged
A.D.
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« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2010, 02:25:40 PM »

I actually heard this from an old local Folkloreist/storyteller in letterkenny Donegal about 15 years ago. He certainly had loads of local Knowledge with stories to match. most differed to the written versions. He claimed they were handed down the family. His 1st language was Geailge, he was a fisherman and boat builder (wicker and skin type) he claimed to have learned this in the Arrrans. He also said that other areas had different versions and place associations but insisted his were the right ones (naturally). My point was these legends have had numerous versions and what was written down was edited/adapted to suite someones needs. Christian monks dileberatly manipulated legends to suit their own agenda (the obvious case is Finnula's Bain) In the case of Lebar gabala Erenn I think it was the UiNiel. As far as the longivity of  these legends what about Micheal Woods `In Search of the Trojan War plenty of places fitted Homer's discription... so maybe.     
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Jean M
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« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2010, 02:27:10 PM »

The Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language has this to say:

Quote
fomóir i, and guttural, m., fomórach o,m. a `Fomorian',  the name of a mythical people entering largely into the  legendary history of Ireland, see O'Rahilly's  Early Ir. Hist. and Myth. , 523 - 525 . They were said to have reached  Ireland in the time of Partholón: cetchath Herend robriss Partholón ... for Cichol ṅGricenchos d'Fomórchaib ┐ fir  co n-oenlámaib ┐ co n-oenchossaib roḟersat friss in cath  LL 5 a 21  (cf.   BB 372 a 42  =  Dinds. 41 ). Elsewhere in early lit. they appear as two-legged and two-handed beings, but  generally of great stature and evil nature ... In later Mid. Ir. and Early Mod. period the word signifies variously a giant or pirate; Giraldus Cambrensis calls the opponents of Partholón gigantes ( Top. Hib. III cap. ii ).

The word is by Irish writers commonly associated with muir `sea ' (see  BB 253 a 29 and  Keat. i p. 182  cited below), a view adopted by K. Meyer and by Rhys,  Hibbert Lect. 1885, p. 591 ; but by Stokes,  Ling. Val. Ir. Annals 63 , and Thurneysen,  Heldensage 64 , with A.S. mara, Germ. Mahr `phantom ' (cf.  Engl. night-mare, Fr. cauchemar); by A. De Jubainville,  Cycle Mythol. ch. V 3  with mór, már `great .' (a) Acc. to Meyer,  Ält. Ir. Dicht. ii 6 ,  Wortk.

The oldest form of the word is perhaps fomoire, a derivative of *fomuir `land lying towards the sea ,' `shore-land


Sounds like sea-raiders - precursors of the Vikings. Possibly island-hopping from Norway or just the Western Isles of Scotland.
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Jean M
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« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2010, 03:16:50 PM »

I actually heard this from an old local Folkloreist/storyteller in letterkenny Donegal about 15 years ago. He certainly had loads of local Knowledge with stories to match. most differed to the written versions. He claimed they were handed down the family.   

Very likely, but not for 6,000 years. Garbling of stories can happen very fast - think Chinese whispers. I can vouch for the inability in my own family to pass down accurately information about the family over more than one generation. Studies have found that oral record is useless past three generations. 

Someone could read a bit of O'Rahilly's Early Irish History and Mythology (1946), or have it read to them in school. By the time he or she comes to tell stories from it to his her children in the 1950s or 60s, they could come out as a half-remembered mixture of the actual early tale and O'Rahilly's interpretation, significantly different from the version in print, and even more different from the original text of the Ulster Cycle stories as first written down. For centuries Keating's history of Ireland was treated as accurate. Garbled recollection from that is the most likely source for your local folklorist. 

Sorry to be so crushing. I understand the temptation to feel that somewhere in the legends there is a kernel of truth.  But what truth can be extracted is most likely to be clues about how people lived and thought in Ireland just before Christianity.   
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A.D.
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« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2010, 03:54:28 PM »

I heard it from an old guy who told stories in Donegal about 15 years ago. He had great local knowledge and related stories to places etc The legends were said to be handed down ehrough generations and so on. He was really good no wonder his vesion is what comes to mind 1st. He siad there were lots of version but his were the real ones (of course lol) My point was there were lots of versions adapted to suite someone or others needs.These legends were history, politics, religion etc very powerful to pre-christian Irish.  Monks hijacked legends to fit their agenda eg St Brigid all the time. Micheal Woods looked in to the oral tradition in `In Search of the Trojan War' including an Irish Storyteller. Don't you think Lebar Gabála Érenn does a lovely PR job for the UiNiel claim to kingship.
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A.D.
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« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2010, 04:17:26 PM »

Fir=men Mor= big great in modern Donegal  (Ulster) Irish. So giant
The Irish/African connection is still an ify topic. Boats and sails have intresting simalarities, a barbary ape skull was found at Emhain Macha there is even a theory that Coptic Christians reached Ireland long before St Patriag. There is documented evidance of pirates from the Med. captureing an Irish town but this is much later.The legend poem is all about the poor chatholic Irish being terrorized by heathens. The documentation says it was a protestant plantation town. Versions.
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Jean M
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« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2010, 05:25:29 PM »

We know that people from what is now Western Scotland were raiding Ireland and taking slaves in St Patrick's day, because he wrote to chide them severely for doing it, and the letter survives.

It is within the realms of possibility therefore that sea-borne raiders from the Highlands and Islands were known before Patrick and before writing.
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A.D.
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« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2010, 05:26:04 PM »


Lebor Gabála Érenn: The Book of Invasions
§39-54: The Nemedians and the Fir Bolg


§44. The progeny of Nemed were under great oppression after his time in Ireland, at the hands of More, s. Dela and of Conand s. Febar [from whom is the Tower of Conand named, which to-day is called Toirinis Cetne. In it was the great fleet of the Fomoraig]. Two thirds of the progeny, the wheat, and the milk of the people of Ireland (had to be brought) every Samain to Mag Cetne. Wrath and sadness seized on the men of Ireland for the burden of the tax. They all went to fight against the Fomoraig. They had three champions, Semul s. Iarbonel the Soothsayer s. Nemed, Erglan s. Beoan s. Starn s. Nemed, Fergus Red-Side s. Nemed. Thirty thousand on sea, other thirty thousand on land, these assaulted the tower. Conand and his progeny fell.
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alan trowel hands.
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« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2010, 06:57:08 PM »

Certainly the Tuatha De Dannan and the Fomoire are thought to be the old gods and forces of darkness type demons respectively.  I am really amazed when people try and reach history into them.  As for the other 'waves'.  Parthalon=Bartholomew (i.e. a biblical borrowing), Nemed just means sacred (in fact it also was a class term in early Ireland).  I think the only people in these early invasions histories with even a foot in reality were the Fir Bolg/Domnainn/Galleon group but I think all that survived were the names and the rest was forgotten and the blanks filled in using imaginination.  One thing I think people find hardest to get out of their heads is the Goidels or Gaels themselves.  There really was probably never a wave of Gaels as such.  The term is not Irish.  It is a British/Welsh term meaning savage or wild men of the woods, basically an insulting term for the Irish probably not borrowed into Irish until the end of the Roman period/start of the Early Christian period.  The idea of a wave that was 'the Irish' or the Gaels' seems to have no solid foundation and appears to be a fabrication by the monks trying to create a unified national history for a country that was very disunited in reality.  The real truth is probably that a form of Celtic somehow got to Ireland that was originally the same as everywhere else and it was only later through a period of isolation that it came to look more archaic than elsewhere.  The word Gael was probably a borrowing because there was no ethnic term that covered all the Irish other than saying 'people of Ireland' which is essentially a geographical rather than ethnic term.  The other term for the Irish was Scotti which is not really attested in native Irish or other Celtic sources. It was the standard Latin term for the Irish for many centuries but it is not used in non-Latin sources.  
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 07:17:20 PM by alan trowel hands. » Logged
alan trowel hands.
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« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2010, 07:14:57 PM »

I actually heard this from an old local Folkloreist/storyteller in letterkenny Donegal about 15 years ago. He certainly had loads of local Knowledge with stories to match. most differed to the written versions. He claimed they were handed down the family.  

Very likely, but not for 6,000 years. Garbling of stories can happen very fast - think Chinese whispers. I can vouch for the inability in my own family to pass down accurately information about the family over more than one generation. Studies have found that oral record is useless past three generations.  

Someone could read a bit of O'Rahilly's Early Irish History and Mythology (1946), or have it read to them in school. By the time he or she comes to tell stories from it to his her children in the 1950s or 60s, they could come out as a half-remembered mixture of the actual early tale and O'Rahilly's interpretation, significantly different from the version in print, and even more different from the original text of the Ulster Cycle stories as first written down. For centuries Keating's history of Ireland was treated as accurate. Garbled recollection from that is the most likely source for your local folklorist.  

Sorry to be so crushing. I understand the temptation to feel that somewhere in the legends there is a kernel of truth.  But what truth can be extracted is most likely to be clues about how people lived and thought in Ireland just before Christianity.    

That is an interesting point.  I think a lot of families have had people in the last 2 or 3 generations who basically 'book learned' stuff and passed it on to others giving the impression that its some sort ancient oral history.  Southern Ireland as a new state had a very nationalistic phase in the early to mid 20th century when an effort was made to reconstruct what had been lost and there was probably heavy dozes of folklore in schools, summer schools, the radio, cinema etc.  A lot of that probably was passed on from them to grandchildren giving the false impression that it was timeless rural illiterate oral history when it is not.  I think a hell of a lot has been learned that way by motivated people.  In a nutshell I think a heck of a lot of people now know a lot more about ancient Irish legends than their great or great great grandparents, who in many cases probably knew next to nothing about them.  I think there was a serious void and loss of native Irish tradition for a several generations before patriotism drew people to relearn from books.  
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 07:16:35 PM by alan trowel hands. » Logged
Jean M
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« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2010, 06:40:13 AM »

That is an interesting point.  I think a lot of families have had people in the last 2 or 3 generations who basically 'book learned' stuff and passed it on to others giving the impression that its some sort ancient oral history.  

The clue here is the claim that the Formorians brought agriculture to Ireland and had 'olive skin dark hair and dark eyes'. This has the hallmarks of relatively modern interpretation. Back in pre-Christian Ireland no-one would have any idea of an Ireland without agriculture or that farming had come from the Near East.
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A.D.
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« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2010, 09:29:00 AM »


What does anyone think of the idea that stone monuments, carvings and the like were used to reinforce elements of legends maybe tales were told as part of a ritual at places with stones and carvings used as a kind of illustration. this could have been done at certain times of the year for certian `gods' eg the tales of Lugh Lamhfada at Samhain (halloween). Lugh is surpossed to have led the Sidh into battle, Samhain is still assosiated with the otherword it's even catholic all souls day.       
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