Peter By: Peter

celtic god Teutates

In the lower half, a line of warriors bearing spears and shields, accompanied by carnyx players march to the left. On the left side, a large figure - the god Teutates ? - is immersing a man in a cauldron. In the upper half, facing away from the cauldron are warriors on horseback. This has been interpreted as an initiation scene, the god elevating normal warriors to knights.



  • mikescottnz 4y

    (Plate E)
    On the left-most side of the plate, the standing god wears what seems to be a (?pigtail or a) tight-fitting knitted cap with a tassel. He is much larger than the rest thus dominating the whole scene. He holds a small man upside down over a bucket-shaped object; he seems to be either plunging the man in the bucket or pulling him out. Before the god, under the bucket, a dog is depicted in midair as if leaping up. The rest of the scene is filled with two rows of warriors vertically arranged along with the dividing stem of a tree in between: the upper warriors are horse-riders and the lower warriors are foot-warriors holding spears and shields. The last three men in the lower row are blowing musical instruments which are safely identified as the Celtic instrument, carnyx. Over the carnyx in the far right corner is depicted a ram-headed serpent similar to that on plate (A).

    Along with the plate (A), plate (E) is said to be the most Celtic in its iconography because of the presence of the carnyx. It consists of a long thin tube at the top of which is added a boar’s head with jaws wide open and a projecting mane on the back. The decorated helmets of the warriors in the upper row are also Celtic. Here, we have five different types of helmets: one has a boar on top, one a pair of crooked thin horns ending in knobs, one a crescent shape with concave side down, one a bird (raven) with its wings folded. These helmets with various adornment fit with Poseidonius’s description. Besides, Olmsted (1979) notes that the weapons of the soldiers such as shields with circular bosses are those of western and central Europe.

    However, there are some details which are not apparently as Celtic (?). For example, the distinctive (braccae/ breeches) costumes of the men, of the same type as those elsewhere on the bowl, are not characteristic of Celtic Gaul, as Müller observed long ago. Most notably, the round disc securing the straps on the horse is exactly the same type as an iron phalera from southern Europe. Both discs consist of a round central decoration surrounded by smaller circles at the circumference. Based on this observation, Bergquist argues that it points to the eastern origin or manufacture of the cauldron: he quotes from Allen(1971: 24) that the auxiliary horsemen of the Romans, many of whom came from Thrace rode on horses "plentifully decked with phalerae" and that such cavalry are possible agents of the transmission of the phalerae across Europe (well after the Celts! ) . Also, the similar arrangement of figures and plant pattern is found in the Thracian helmet from Agighiol on which the horse riders are depicted in parallel below the horizontal line of ivy pattern. (Bergquist and Taylor:14)

    Concerning the symbolic content of the scene, quite a few interpretations have been made. The most widely accepted one is that the scene portrays a ritual dipping and that the bucket-shaped object is a/ the cauldron of rebirth. This cauldron of rebirth is associated with Celtic gods, particularly the Dagda in later Irish literature. Since the scene depicts the warriors and the idea of the dead being reborn into an after life is common to Celtic mythology, the theme of rebirth seems quite convincing. In favor of this interpretation, Ellis Davidson reads the dog and the horned serpent as symbols of the Other world. On the other hand, Gricourt (1954) suggests that the scene depicts the dead warriors marching in as spear men below and riding away alive as horsemen above. However, there seems to be no guarantee for his interpretation. Olmsted challenges this usual interpretation by asking why the resurrected warriors rise in rank, marching up as dead foot soldiers to ride off as horsemen after resurrection. Furthermore Olmsted argues that the bucket shaped object is not a cauldron and that the scene depicts a death by drowning which is often found in Irish tales such as Aided Muirchertaig maic Erca and Aided Diarmada. Another quite interesting interpretation is made by Kimmig (1965). He suggests that the foot soldiers are carrying a tree which is to be placed as a votive offering into one of the sacred pit shafts which have been excavated on Celtic territory.
  • mikescottnz 4y

    Option three ...This hound ...under the cauldron perhaps like a 'rhapsode' the greatest possession an individual will ever own, "Was better than wealth ever known" and like the Light Bearer has that quality of fire, "a ball of fire every night", and thrown into the water of life, "Mead or wine would grow of it".Bran was associated with the Celtic king Cunobelin in the Welsh stories, whose name means "shining hound" with shining meaning wisdom.

    Welsh or Cymric overlapping associations...
    Plate E is the next , third ,most well nown and undoubtedly the most complex in terms of its symbology. The bottom of the plate shows a row of warriors bearing shields supporting a tree on their spears. These are accompanied by three figures playing boar-headed carnyxes. Above the tree ride four wariors, each with a icon-crested helmet (two of these are bearing spears). To the left of these figures there is a dog, apparently leaping up at the tree. On the left-hand side of the panel is a giant figure who is immersing a figure in a cauldron. This plate has been referred to as depicting a 'warrior initiation' though the symbology may be more like that of Bendigeidfran's cauldron of resurrection in the Mabinogi of Branwen ferch Llŷr.
  • Codrin Bucur 4y

    Excellent picture! Would be great if you would be open to allow it on Wikipedia and replace this lower quality one:
  • Codrin Bucur 4y

    May you wish to pitch into this conversation here:

    I tried adding the celtic helmet from Romania to the "Gundestrup cauldron" article, but was immediately removed as original research since I didn't mention any scholarly source. If you know any books that have this connection noted, please bring them forward.

  • mikescottnz 4y

    Sometimes Celtic Scholars lag behind the amateur enthusiast ( such as myself) .
  • Codrin Bucur 4y

    :-) I agree! So really no books about this? The connection is obvious to me
  • mikescottnz 4y

    Various scholars in books or journals such as Olmsted do offer educated opinions.
  • mikescottnz 4y

  • mikescottnz 4y

    The Description of Greece
    Pausanias (fl. 2nd c. CE) XIX.

    [10] When the Gallic horsemen were engaged, the servants remained behind the ranks and proved useful in the following way. Should a horseman or his horse fall, the slave brought him a horse to mount; if the rider was killed, the slave mounted the horse in his master's place; if both rider and horse were killed, there was a mounted man ready. When a rider was wounded, one slave brought back to camp the wounded man, while the other took his vacant place in the ranks.

    [11] I believe that the Gauls in adopting these methods copied the Persian regiment of the Ten Thousand, who were called the Immortals*. There was, however, this difference. The Persians used to wait until the battle was over before replacing casualties, while the Gauls kept reinforcing the horsemen to their full number during the height of the action. This organization is called in their native speech trimarcisia, for I would have you know that marca is the Celtic name for a horse.

    (marca: This still holds true; march is the Welsh-Cymric word for horse)

    [8] It was then that Brennos, both in public meetings and also in personal talks with individual Gallic officers, strongly urged a campaign against Greece, enlarging on the weakness of Greece at the time, on the wealth of the Greek states, and on the even greater wealth in sanctuaries, including votive offerings and coined silver and gold. So he induced the Gauls to march against Greece. Among the officers he chose to be his colleagues was Acichorius.

    (Some writers had supposed that Brennus and Acichorius are the same persons, the former being only a title and the latter the real name)
  • mikescottnz 3y

    TEUTATES ("tribu") : il était avec Esus et Taranis l'un des dieux sanguinaires de la Gaule (sacrifice des humains par noyade?). Les Romains l'identifièrent au dieu Mars. Il revêt autant de formes qu'il existe de groupes humains, on en a dénombré environ quatre cents, dont un grand nombre d'avatars féminins. Teutates a pu être simplement un nom de chef ou héros divinisé dans la tribu, ce qui expliquerait qu'on le trouve partout sous des noms et formes différents. Il est le protecteur de la tribu et symbolise le serment donné. A droite (détail du chaudron de Gundestrup), avant de partir au combat, les Celtes offrent un sacrifices humains au dieu Teutates.
    Voir la page : Les sacrifices humains ont-ils existé chez les Gaulois ?

    Teutates ("tribe"): he was with Taranis and Esus one of the bloodthirsty gods of Gaul (human sacrifice by drowning?). The Romans identified him with their god Mars. It takes as many forms as there are human groups, we were about four hundred, including many female avatars. Teutates could be just a name chef or deified hero of the tribe, which would explain it is found everywhere under different names and forms. He is the protector of the tribe and symbolizes the pledge given. On the right (detail of Gundestrup cauldron), before going into battle, the Celts offer human sacrifices? to the god Teutates.

    See (below ) : Human sacrifices have they existed among the Gauls?

    - The sanctuary of Gournay-sur-Aronde (Oise)

    Jean-Louis Brunaux directs excavations for several years on this shrine which is located near a marshy pond (the Gauls assigning water bodies to the living dead of their gods).
    The sanctuary was created in the third century BC by the Belgians/ [Belgae tribes] who come south to settle in Gaul. The sacred space of 40 m square, is surrounded by a wooden palisade. Within this enclosure, around the fence, a ditch 2.50m wide and 2m deep is dug. This gap will act as a sacred 'dumping ground' for two centuries, he will receive the remains of trophies taken from the defeated and the remains of animal sacrifices.
    In the centre of the sanctuary, there is a large pit surrounded by nine smaller ones. In the great pit, we put rotting carcasses of cattle sacrificed to the gods. The other nine pits could be used either temporary storage of weapons or deposits of animal victims.
    Two kinds of sacrifices were performed:
    - The sacrifice to the gods benevolent: the men ate, so ritual meat sacrificed sheep and pigs in the form of legs and hams.
    - The chthonic sacrifice: he spoke to the gods infernal, men did not participate in the feast in this case. We put an old ox to death, then the applicant to rot 6 to 8 months in the large central pit. The rotting flesh was to be a food for the subterranean deities who ensured the fertility of the herds. Putrefaction is completed, the pit was carefully cleaned and cleared of the carcass was thrown into the gap closing. The skulls of cattle were exposed with human skulls and weapons on the porch at the entrance of the sanctuary. Weapons (shields, swords, scabbards) were themselves sacrificed, were bent, twisted, broken, cut or torn. All these [votive ] offerings were tied in a bundle and a dozen human skulls they were associated. It is unclear if the weapons were those taken from the enemy or if they were offerings to the gods of the victors.

    - The trophy Ribemont-sur-Ancre (Somme in):

    Jean-Louis Brunaux has revealed the secret of this website which has long been considered a sanctuary. In fact, Ribemont-sur-Ancre, we are dealing with a warrior trophy erected at the site of a great battle. This battle took place around 260 BC, it was between 10,000 infantry and cavalry: Belgae people of the Gauls, the Bretons. The Belgians have won and later called themselves Ambiens.
    The trophy place dominates the landscape, it faces the west, such as funerary enclosures and is separated from the profane world by a moat. The enclosure was polygonal in shape and surrounded by a wall 6 m high. But outside of this fold is also found a worship space. In fact, we are dealing with two trophies, the winners and the losers.
    Outside the enclosure, the trophy of the conquered, they found thousands of human bones in mass grave, mixed with two hundred pieces of weapons: shields, spears, swords. These bones are from strong men, between 15 and 40yrs, they were transported to two kilometers and received blows which could cause fatal injuries. The remains of these men, decapitated, with their weapons, had been installed in three wooden buildings on raised floors slatted, they were suspended from cranes, pressed against each other to dry. After decomposition, when the bones were thoroughly cleaned (after one year), they were ritually collected and treated. After grinding, the bones were used as offerings to the gods chthonic (underground). The bones found in mass grave from the bodies that have fallen accidentally on the floor during decomposition, considered unclean (soiled the floor?), They were not treated for the gods.

    In the closed polygonal enclosure, the trophy of the victors, they found a veritable ossuary: a pile of human limbs and bones of horses, about two miles long bones, arranged in a sort of altar cemented with mud and the earth. Inside the altar hollow, were found thousands of human bones carefully crushed and burned to feed the subterranean deities (these are the bones of the vanquished to dry in the sanctuary described above). It was also found in this space the long bones of twenty individuals with their weapons and ceramics belonging to the winners. Sandstone steles were associated with the remains of these brave warriors. The bodies of these warriors victors were emaciated in the open air by birds. [Like in ancient Iranic , Sycthian and steppes tribes?].Only after this treatment the body would join the gods and the site will be transformed into a place of worship. The Roman ,Flavius, ​​confirms this practice among the Celts of the armies of Hannibal "If we want the soul [to ] join the gods; must be left hungry vultures to feed upon the flesh."
    So we are in the presence of a memorial which shows that war is an act of God for the Celts. After the fight, the battlefield is transformed ritual, the body of the dead must return to the tutelary deities. The winner takes the head of his victim and is authorized to retain the trophy in person. The rest of the remains is then transported to the place of worship for treatment of how we have described above, the losers are not treated the same way as the victors.
    The enclosure of the vanquished was kept for more than two centuries while the number of victors was destroyed rapidly, the long bones were recovered, the walls of the enclosure were slaughtered, burned and the remains of the bodies were 'dumped' in the trench of the fence will be closed. But on the outskirts of the sacred space of the victors, animal sacrifices, offerings of weapons, banquets will perpetuate the memory of heroes-warriors lionised for two and a half centuries.

    - Human sacrifices of Acy-Romance (Ardennes):

    Bernard Lambot made singular discoveries to Acy-Romance:
    - It updates on a wide esplanade, 19 young men, rolled into a ball, his head between his legs, with remarkably well-preserved anatomical connections, and buried in shallow circular pits. The odd position of these bodies is because they were mummified naturally in a dry well ventilated to 7.60 m deep, which is found in the temple. The bodies were placed in a box, his hands tied behind his back, then came down into the well to dryness. Thus, moods and bodily fluids could flow into the earth to feed the subterranean deities. Once reassembled, the bodies were again dried in a ventilated area before being buried.
    - Another body of a young man, hands tied behind his back, was found concealed along the wall of a house. The [ritual ] death was caused by a violent chop firmly told right temporal, while he was kneeling.
    - Three (token number) other mummified skeletons were discovered in another place, buried in line at 4 m from each other in square pits. They were exposed to the sun, sitting cross-legged, back straight.
    These deaths, in particular postures, buried (although at that time are incinerated) are for B. Lambot, sacrificed humans. These killings took place between the late second century and the early first century BC, that is to say at a time when human sacrifices were no longer [commonly ] practiced. This raises the question why the Gauls have broken the ban, was it to avert a natural disaster? One can also wonder about the identity of victims: slaves, prisoners, members of the tribe?
    JL Brunaux is more cautious to talk about 'human sacrifice'. While many ancient authors speak of human sacrifices of the Gauls, are they reliable? Is their goal is not to prove the barbarity of the Celts? Moreover, the practice of human sacrifice existed also in Rome until the second century BC. Cesar explains why human sacrifices of the Gauls: the chthonic deities called for lives and in exchange, they make new generations. But this ritual is performed and controlled by the Druids and from the second century BC, these sacrifices are replaced by capital punishment. So the living offering to the gods would be recruited from among criminals. JL Brunaux for the remains of Acy-Romance are more of these executions (as Fesques) as human sacrifices. Those sentenced to death were hung from porches until they die, because it was forbidden to shed blood.
    B. Lambot believes him, it is because of sacrifices performed on 19 young men, 11 were in winter, at regular periods over 80 years.
    But if there were human sacrifice, it would have remained exceptional.

    Main sources: "Our ancestors the Gauls" Renée Grimaud. Ed West France.
    Sciences et Avenir No. 662 April 2002

    Human sacrifices have they existed among the Gauls?

    According to "History" No. 176. "Human sacrifices have they existed" Jean-Louis Cadoux

    "Their thoughtlessness is also accompanied by barbarism and savagery, as so often among the peoples of the North: I think that this use is to hang from the neck of the horse heads of their enemies when they return from battle, and to take home to nail them at the gates. [...] It was the Romans who put an end to these customs, and also to all the practices of sacrifice and divination contrary to our customs, for they [the Gauls] looking for omens in the convulsions of a man identified as victim of the beating in the back of a sword. They never sacrificed without a druid being present. It also cites several forms of human sacrifice at home: for example, some victims were killed with arrows, or they were crucified in the temples, or they sewed a giant effigy of straw , [ wicker ? ] and wood, and having thrown in the cattle and wild animals of all kinds and men, they made it a holocaust. "
    Thus Strabo speaks or claims of the Gauls in his description of the world ("Geography") to 18 AD.

    According to Jean-Louis Cadoux, that speech was a stereotype , which would make bloodthirsty 'barbarians' of Gaul, we find a few variations in Caesar that inspire other authors. But Caesar had copied himself from Greek sources, in particular, Posidonius of Apamea (c. 135-51 BC) who had traveled to Gaul in the early first century BC. All authors who speak of Gaul would return the same 'shots' , in that they draw from the same source.

    For them, the bravery of the Gauls is explained by their belief in metempsychosis, which removes their fear of death, since life is a passage through. This presentation of things, it would justify the Roman conquest and presenting their opponents as warrior fanatics via the Druids and excuse some stinging defeats of the Romans.

    Details of human sacrifice from Sholes also Berne, added to the Pharsalia of Lucan. These explanatory notes written by a grammarian late (not earlier than the fourth century AD) on passages evoking the bloodthirsty gods Teutates, Esus, Taranis.

    We can provide a rough translation:

    "This is among the Gauls which satisfies Teutates Mercury: a man is immersed in the head in a basin to suffocation. Here's what satisfied Hesus March: a man hanging from a tree until, with blood flow, its members fall apart [or, until in the beating, he has torn the members]. Here's how Taranis [Romanised as] Dis Pater is satisfied with them: men are burned in a sort of wooden hive. " But we must be careful to not to take this text literally because there are many uncertainties about the words. The contribution of archeology, and in particular the recent excavations of the sanctuary Picard, completely renews the Gallic approach to religion. Jean-Louis Cadoux refers to an article by Jean-Louis Brunaux, "The Gallic shrines" which reports on the excavations he conducted in the sanctuary of Gournay-sur-Aronde, near Compiegne, in the Oise . In the pits we found sheep, pigs and some dogs sacrificed and consumed locally. But the Gauls had also killed cattle, instead of being consumed, had been deposited in the pit to rot. This is a rare rite which is to feed the gods of the basement / earth with the flesh of sacrificial victims. But the pit was also delivered arms broken or bent and long bones with traces of human beating or cutting, fragments of human skull were found on the floor near the entrance. François Poplin offers an explanation: 'severed heads were hanging on the porch, as the pillars of Roquepertuse and d'Entremont. " We immediately think that this could be the heads of defeated enemies and taken from the battlefield. It would be in the presence of trophies, made with the body and arms of enemies decapitated, placed in shrines as protectors of the newly conquered territory. The excavation site Ribemont-sur-Ancre, near Amiens, can confirm this. Sixty headless body, with arms, were found. The position of the body shows that they have fallen a medium height. One can imagine the bodies hanging in a sort of granary on stilts, the bodies in this medium high and airy, would naturally mummified.
    This hypothesis trophies could call into question the idea that there were massive human sacrifice among the Gauls. Ownership of human remains is not the same as a human sacrifice.

    Similarly, one may question the cuts found on the corpses in the pits, they are not caused by war wounds, and why is it always the limb bones? This suggests possible cannibalistic practices, or more likely the burial customs of the conservation of parts of dead bodies: to feed the members of the ossuaries and the heads of mummified ancestors idealised, which would confirm the hypothesis of spiked skulls in the middle of 'habitat.

    It also appears that one might find in these pits, not just the men (warriors) but also women and children.

    So we have to be very careful about the literary sources that have the Gauls as human priests. We certainly found pits decapitated human corpses, remains whether these men were put to death for the gods, or if these are merely corpses taken from the battlefield or even idealised heroic dead (think of cults relics, so we did not hesitate to cut up as holy, revered as the heart in one place, the right arm to another ...)

    According to "History" No. 176 (04/1994) "Human sacrifices have they existed" Jean-Louis Cadoux

    Human sacrifices have they existed among the Gauls?

    (Google Translate)
  • mikescottnz 3y

    © Kevin Jones.BA Archaeology & History 2001
  • mikescottnz 3y

    For a comparison ...of the four horsemen and ten warriors on the later Celtic / La Tene period Gundestrup Cauldron found broken up in a peat bog in Jutland or the peninsula land of the Cimbri tribe.
    Copenhagen, national museum - interior panel, Gundestrup cauldron by h_savill

    This earlier Hallstatt Celtic wagon was found in a grave at Strettweg in present day Austria. The grave in which this wagon was found was a cremation grave in the seventh century BCE. This bronze wagon has four wheels and each of them has eight spokes. It may have a symbolic meaning because its construction does not seem to be intend a carriage. On the body, there are bronze figures (see details). Twelve warrior-like figures, four horses, and two stags(?) are placed almost symmetrically (see photographs from other directions). In the centre, a tall female figure or diety is standing. She raise her hands skyward to lift a plate on which probably a cauldron would be placed.

    Celtic Wagons in Hallstatt Period: Its Technology and Use..
    The wagons in Hochdorf and Vix are different from the wagons in the former Yugoslavia and Strettweg in their appearances. It may suggest the difference of the character and the use of wagons between them. Amount of the loads, the latter could convey, is apparently less than the former. They were made for different purpose. Although the wagons in Hochdorf and Vix are used as carriages of the funeral goods or the body in the last stage of funeral, the wagons from Yugoslavia and Strettweg have a certain meaning of symbol. Their figures of human and animal may suggest their belief, rite, or funeral ceremony, which we do not know exactly about their religion.
    Pare classifies ceremonial wagons in the Early Iron Age into four groups according the form.

    1.The so-called "Beckenwagen"
    2.The wagons bearing zoomorphic or ornithomorphic vessels
    3.The so-called "Kesselwagen" bearing a bronze vessel
    (The Strettweg wagon is classified in this group by Pare.)
    4.The ‘Kesselwagen’with ornithomorphic protomes.

    In this classification, (4) includes the wagon with symbolism of water-bird, as the ritual vehicle found in former Yugoslavia. The symbolism of the combination of wheel, vessel, and water-bird was found in the central and western Europe including Italy from previous period. It continued in Hallstatt era and even beyond it. Pare introduced the record of use of wagons by Antigonos of Carystos in the third century BCE.

    "They say that in Crannon in Thessaly there are only two ravens. This is why two ravens on a bronze avian wagon (two, because more than two are never seen) are represented on written treaties of friendship as the distinguishing emblem of the city, which it is usual to add in all cases. The wagon was attached for the following reason (for this might seem a strange thing to do): they have a bronze wagon set up as a votive offering which, in times of drought, they shake, praying to the god for water; and this, they say, is then granted. Theopompos reported something even more remarkable. The ravens, according to him, stay in Crannon only until they hatch their young; when they have done this, they leave their young behind and depart. Ktesias tells of something similar in Ecbatana and in Persia. But since...... Myrsilos of Lesbos reports that in the Lepetymnos mountains in Lesbos there is a temple of Apollo and a heroon of Leperymnos, where (as in Crannon) there are only two ravens, although there are many ravens in the places round about" (qtd. in Pare 185).
  • mikescottnz 3y

    The Irish sea god Manannán was associated with a "cauldron of regeneration". This is seen in the tale of Cormac mac Airt, among other tales. Here, he appeared at Cormac's ramparts in the guise of a warrior who told him he came from a land where old age, sickness, death, decay, and falsehood were unknown (the Otherworld was also known as the "Land of Youth" or the "Land of the Living").
  • mikescottnz 2y

    The importance of the raven, and birds of prey in general, in Celtic culture and religion is archaeologically confirmed by their frequent appearance on Celtic artifacts and coins. For example, of the more than 500 Celtic brooches with representational decoration now known, from Bulgaria in the east to Spain in the west, more than half depict birds. (Megaw 2001: 87) On the Balkans birds of prey also appear on artifacts such as the Celtic helmet from Ciumesti (Romania), similar examples of which are depicted on the Letnitza treasure and the Gundestrup cauldron (here) – both produced by the Scordisci in northwestern Bulgaria. Depictions of birds of prey are also found on the Celtic chariot fittings from Mezek in southern Bulgaria (Thrace) , and the Celtic sacrificial daggers from Romania and Bulgaria.
  • mikescottnz 1y

    The Cauldron of Dyrnwch the Giant.....

    The cauldron (pair) of Dyrnwch the Giant is said to discriminate between cowards and brave men: whereas it would not boil meat for a coward, it would boil quickly if that meat belonged to a brave man.[10] The description probably goes back to a story similar to that found in the Middle Welsh tale Culhwch ac Olwen, in which the cauldron of Diwrnach the Irishman, steward (maer) to Odgar son of Aedd, King of Ireland, is among the anoetheu which Culhwch is required to obtain for the wedding banquet. King Arthur requests the cauldron from King Odgar, but Diwrnach refuses to give up his prized possession. Arthur goes to visit Diwrnach in Ireland, accompanied by a small party, and is received at his house, but when Diwrnach refuses to answer Arthur's request a second time, Bedwyr (Arthur's champion) seizes the cauldron and entrusts it to one of Arthur's servants, who is to carry the load on his back. In a single sweep with the sword called Caledfwlch, Llenlleawg the Irishman kills off Diwrnach and all his men. A confrontation with Irish forces ensues, but Arthur and his men fight them off. They board their ship Prydwen and, taking with them the cauldron loaded with the spoils of war, return to Britain.[11]

    In Culhwch, Diwrnach's cauldron is not attributed with any special power. However, the earlier poem Preiddeu Annwfn (The Spoils of Annwfn), refers to an adventure by Arthur and his men to obtain a cauldron with magical properties equivalent to the one in the lists of the thirteen treasures. In this poem the owner of the cauldron is not an Irish lord but the king of Annwn, the Welsh Otherworld, suggesting that the version of the story in Culhwch is a later attempt to euhemerize an older tale.[12][13]

    Diwrnach's name, which derives from Irish Diugurach and exhibits no literary provenance, may have been selected by the author of Culhwch ac Olwen to emphasize the Irish setting of his story.[13] Although Dyrnwch is not himself described as an Irishman, it is probable that his name goes back to Diwrnach.[13] The extant manuscripts of Tri Thlws ar Ddeg also present such variant spellings as Dyrnog and Tyrnog, without the Irish-sounding ending, but on balance, these are best explained as Welsh approximations of a foreign name.


    The Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain (Welsh: Tri Thlws ar Ddeg Ynys Prydain) are a series of items in late medieval Welsh tradition. Lists of the items appear in texts dating to the 15th and 16th centuries.[2] Most of the items are placed in the Hen Ogledd or "Old North", the Brittonic-speaking parts of what is now southern Scotland and Northern England; some early manuscripts refer to the whole list specifically as treasures "that were in the North".[2] The number of treasures is always given as thirteen, but some later versions list different items, replacing or combining entries to maintain the number.[2] Later versions also supplement the plain list with explanatory comments about each treasure.
  • mikescottnz 1y

    From a book review in Oct 2011 : Animals in Celtic Life and Myth by Miranda Aldhouse-Green 1998......3rd edition 2002.

    "The most fascinating animal-adorned (Celtic) helmet is the Romanian one at Ciumestri, dating probably to the third or second century BC. This is the one with the large figure of a raven crouched on the top, with hinged wings which flapped up and down when its wearer moved at speed… this latter represents pure aggression, designed to terrify the opponent facing the raven-bearer. It is almost certain that the raven was a Celtic battle emblem… We know of other helmet-crests bearing animal motifs: the classical author Diodorus Siculus alludes to the practice among the Celts of attaching projecting animal figures to helmets. Boar and bird crests are depicted on coinage, and on the Gundestrup Cauldron armed horsemen are clearly shown with boars and birds attached to the tops of their helmets. Perhaps indeed such helmets were normally worn by cavalrymen, although one of the foot-soldiers on the Gundestrup scene wears a boar crest. The little bronze figurine of a bristling boar at Hounslow in Middlesex looks like a freestanding statuette, but it was probably a helmet crest. Horns, too adorned helmets: Diodorus mentions this, and there is the superb example of a late Celtic Iron Age horned parade helmet from the Thames at Waterloo Bridge in London."
  • mikescottnz 1y

    The sound of the carnyx !

    A man playing the battle horn ....
  • mikescottnz 1y

    MacCulloch, John A. Celtic Mythology. Academy Chicago Pub, February 1996. (p. 157-158)

    They [the Setanii and Brigantes] had a well-known god, Esus, whom d'Arbonis identifies with Cuchulainn; whence the story (of Cuchulainn) is of Gaulish origin, perhaps taught by the Druids; and it was ultimately carried to Ulster, where it was received with enthusiasm.* The identification rests on certain figured monuments, in the persons, names, or episodes of which M. d'Arbois sees those of the saga. On one altar Esus is cutting down a tree, while on the same altar is figured a bull on which are perched three birds, this animal being entitled Tarvos Trigaranos -- "the bull with three cranes" (garanus), unless the cranes are a rebus for the three horns (karenos) of divine animals. On another altar from Treves a god is cutting down a tree, and in its branches are a bull's head and two birds -- a possible combination of the incidents on the other altar. M. d'Arbois regards this as illustrating the Tain. Esus, the woodsman, is Cuchulainn; his action depicts what the hero did -- cutting down trees to bar the way of Medb's host; "Esus" is derived from words meaning "anger," "rapid motion," such as Cuchulainn often displayed. The bull is the Brown Bull; the birds are the forms in which Morrigan and her sisters appeared,** though these bird-forms were those of the crow, not the crane; the personal names Donnotaurus is found in Gaul and is equivalent of the Donn Tarb -- the "Brown Bull."***

    *D'Arbois [b], pp. 25, 65 f.,RCel xx. 89 (1899).
    **D'Arbois [b], pp. 63, RCel xix. 246 (1898), xxviii. 41 (1907); cf. S Reinach, in RCel xviii. 253 f. (1897).
    ***Caesar, De bello Gallico, vii. 65; d'Arbois [b], p. 49, and RCel xxvii. 324 (1906).
  • mikescottnz 9mo

    One of the most iconic symbols on Celtic coinage, the oval shield appears either alone or as a central element in the artistic composition on Celtic coins (and other artifacts) across Europe and Asia-Minor in the 3-1 century BC period, as well as being represented on numerous Greek and Roman images depicting Celtic military equipment.
  • mikescottnz 8mo

    “On their heads they put bronze helmets which have large embossed figures standing out from them and give an appearance of great size to those who wear them; for in some cases horns are attached to the helmet so as to form a single piece, in other cases images of the fore-parts of birds or four footed animals”.

    Diodorus Siculus (on Celtic helmets) (History V.30.2)

    In the transportation of the soul from one world to the next Birds of Prey played a central role:
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