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In the POLISTOIRE DEL EGLISE DE CHRIST DE CAUNTERBYRE, we are told that he made the sword later wielded by Gawain, back in the days when Christ was fourteen years old. Gaban may represent a survival of the ancient Celtic smith god Gobniu/Gofannon. # 156
GABRIEL HOUNDS RATCHETS
The hounds of the Wild Hunt which are heard yelping in the sky, sometimes believed to be the cries of migrating geese. These hounds are like those hunted by Arawn, King of Annwn, having red-tipped ears. See GWYNN AP NUDD.
The King of Scotland. He was made king when his brother Betis became King of England in the time of Alexander the Great. See: PERCEFOREST. # 156
(GAE BOLG) (ga bool'ga) The thrust of Gae Bolg taught by Skatha to CuChulain; CuChulain slays his son Connla by Gae Bolg; CuChulain slays Loch by Gae Bolg; Ferdia slain by Cuchulain with Gae Bolg. A spear furnished with barbs running in opposite directions and manipulated under water with the toes. CuChulain, who alone knew the use of this weapon, learned it from Scathach. # 166 - 562
Cymric language and Gaelic; Irish is probably an older form of Celtic speech than Welsh. This is shown by many philological pecularities of the Irish language, of which one of the most interesting may be briefly referred to. The Goidelic or Gaelic Celts, who, according to the usual theory, first colonised the British Islands, and who were forced by successive waves of invasion by their Continental kindred to the extreme west, had a peculiar dislike to the pronounciation of the letter P. Thus the Indo-European particle PARE, beside or close to, becomes in early Celtic Are, as in the name Are-morici (the Amoricans, those who dwell armuir, by the sea); Are-dunum (Ardin, in France); Are-cluta, the place beside the Clota (Clyde), now Dumbarton; Are-taunon, in Germany (near the Taunus Mountains) etc. When this letter was not simply dropped it was usually changed into C (K, G). But about the sixth century BC a remarkable change passed over the language of the Continental Celts. They gained in some unexplained way the faculty for pronouncing P, and even substituted it for existing C sounds; thus the original Cretanis became Pretanis, Britain, the numeral qetuares (four) became petuares, and so forth. Celtic place-names in Spain show that this change must have taken place before the Celtic conquest of that country, 500 BC. Now a comparison of many Irish and Welsh words shows distinctly this avoidance of P on the Irish side and lack of any objection to it on the Welsh. The following are a few illustrations:
The conclusion that Irish must represent the older form of the language seems obvious. It is remarkable that even to a comparatively late date the Irish preserved their dislike to P. Thus they turned the Latin Pascha (Easter) to Casg; purpur, purple, to corcair, pulsatio (through French pouls) to cuisle. It must be noted, however, that Nicholson in his "Keltic Researches" endeavours to show that the so-called Indo-European P - that is, P standing alone and uncombined with another consonant - was pronounced by the Goidelic Celts at an early period. The subject can hardly be said to be cleared up yet. See also: IRISH LANGUAGE, THE, and CELTS, THE. # 562
IRISH WELSH ENGLISH crann prenn tree mac map son cenn pen head clumh (cluv) pluv feather cúig pimp five
Sacrifices of children by Gaels to idol Crom Cruach. # 562
Celtic warriors, in battle of Clastidium. # 562
One of the sons of Lot and Morgause. At first he was the squire of his brother Gawain. He surprised Lamorak and Morgause in bed together and killed Morgause, for which Arthur banished him. With another brother, Agravain, he killed Lamorak. Gaheris was married to Lynette. He was killed by Lancelot during the rescue of Guinevere. Both he and another Gaheris were Knights of the Round Table. See: ERIES. # 156
In Wolfram, the father of Perceval. He went to the Orient and took service with the Baruc of Baghdad. He rescued the dark-skinned Belacane, Queen of Zazamanc, from a Scottish army and married her. He returned to Europe and married Herzeloyde, Queen of Wales and Northgalis. He returned to aid the Baruc and was killed. His sons were Perceval by Herzeloyde and the piebald Feirefiz by Belacane. # 156
One of Lancelot's fathers-in-law. # 156
1. The natural son of Lancelot. His name may be of Welsh origin or come from the place name Gilead in Palestine. His mother is variously called Elaine, Amite and Perevida. He was placed as a child in a nunnery, the abess there being his paternal great-aunt, and he was later knighted there by Lancelot. One day a sword in a stone was seen in a river by Arthur's knights. It was said in an inscription that only the world's best knight could pull out the sword. Galahad was led into Arthur's court where he sat in the Siege Perilous and then drew the sword out. When the Grail appeared in a vision at Arthur's court, Galahad was one of the knights sent on the Grail Quest. He was given a white shield, made by Evelake, with a red cross which Joseph of Arimathea had drawn in blood. In the course of the quest he joined up with Perceval, Bors and Perceval's sister. On Board Solomon's ship, Galahad obtained the sword of David. After the death of Perceval's sister, the remaining trio split up and, for a while, Perceval travelled with his father, Lancelot. He visited Evelake who then died. When he rejoined Bors and Perceval, they came to Carbonek and achieved the Grail. Galahad mended the broken sword, which the other two had failed to do, and Joseph of Arimathea appeared and celebrated Mass. Jesus appeared to the questers and told Galahad he would see the Grail more openly in Sarras. Galahad used the blood from the Grail Spear to anoint the Maimed King, so he was cured. With his companions he left and came to a ship with the Grail on board. On this they sailed to Sarras where the pagan king, Estorause, had them cast into prison where they were fed by the Grail.
They forgave Estorause before they died, and Gala had became the next King of Sarras. A year later he came upon Joseph of Arimathea saying Mass. He then beheld the Grail and requested that he should now die and this he was allowed to do. Galahad may quite possibly have been the creation of the author of the QUESTE, as it is there he first appears, but he may be taken from a Welsh character, Gwalhafed, mentioned in CULHWCH. The historical Saint Illtyd has also been suggested as his prototype. 2. A son of Arimathea, born in Britain. He became King of Wales, then called Hocelice. He was an ancestor of Urien. 3. Galahad was the original name of Lancelot himself. See: TWENTY-FOUR KNIGHTS. # 156
GALAHAUT, THE HAUTE PRINCE
He was Arthur's enemy but after his defeat at the hands of Lancelot, he became a devoted follower of that knight. He arranged the first secret meeting of the lovers and eventually died of grief when he heard a false report of Lancelot's death. # 418 - 454 - 517
About the year 300 BC one detachment of the wandering Celtic tribes penetrated into Asia Minor, and founded the Celtic State of Galatia, where, as St Jerome attests, a Celtic dialect was still spoken in the fourth century AD. # 562
The name of Lancelot's maternal grandfather; also the name of one of Arthur's knights. # 156
He was called 'the high prince', and was the ruler of the District Isles, Surluse and other kingdoms. His father was called Brunor and his mother was a giantess called Bagota. He invaded Britain but became a firm friend of Lancelot and, through him, a friend of Arthur. He was made a Knight of the Round Table. When he thought Lancelot was dead, he himself died from sickness and fasting. # 156
Galentivet was once involved in an attack on Escanor, which was regarded as treacherous and for which Gawain received the blame. He was the brother of Griflet. # 156
He aided Arthur while the latter was fighting the Saxons who were attacking the city of Clarence. When they were beaten, he was made Duke of Clarence. This is an anachronism: the duchy of Clarence was created in 1362 and the place name to which it related was Clare (Suffolk). He was the son of Arthur's sister Belisent and King Nentres of Garlot. # 156
GALLES, M. RENÉ
The remarkable tumulus of Mané-er-H'oeck in Brittany was explored in 1864 by René Galles, who describes it as absolutely intact - the surface of the earth unbroken, and everything as the builders left it. (Source: 'Revue Archéologique' t. xii., 1865, 'Fouilles de René Galles.') # 562
A famous medieval outlaw whose adventures rivalled those of the better known Robin Hood. Youngest son of a baron, Gamelyn is disinherited by a grasping older brother and is thereafter at war with all his siblings save one, Sir Ote, who befriends him. But Gamelyn is a man of great strength and short temper and was soon in trouble with the law. At the instigation of one of his brothers he is thrown into prison, escapes and is declared an outlaw. Soon made King of the Outlaws, he lives a life of adventure until he finally wins justice for himself and Ote, regaining his lands but retaining a friendly relationsship with the old outlaw band which he had once led. # 454
Gan-Ceann (without a head) is called the Love-Talker in some parts of Ireland. He appears in lovely places to single women and courts them, before leaving them as swiftly as he came, to pine away. # 100 - 454
According to Wolfram, the name of Perceval's grandfather. # 156
The twin sister of Merlin, she is found in both the VITA MERLINI and the Welsh poems where she is called Gwendydd. In the VITA she is the wife of Rhydderch and her adultery is spotted by Merlin. The idea of her being an adulteress may have stemmed from Jocelyn's LIFE OF ST KENTIGERN in which Rhydderch's wife, Languoreth, becomes enamoured of a soldier. The Welsh poems do not say definitely that Ganieda was married to Rhydderch. # 156
GARACH, THE BATTLE OF
The battle was joined on the Plain of Garach, in Meath. Fergus, wielding a two-handed sword, the sword which, it was said, when swung in battle made circles like the arch of a rainbow, swept down whole ranks of the Ulster men at each blow*, and the fierce Maeve charged thrice into the heart of the enemy. * [The sword of Fergus was a fairy weapon called the CALADCHOLG (hard dinter), a name of which Arthur's more famous 'Excalibur' is a Latinised corruption.] Fergus met Conor the King, and smote him on his golden-bordered shield, but Cormac, the king's son, begged for his father's life. Fergus then turned on Conall of the Victories. 'Too hot art thou,' said Conall, 'against thy people and thy race for a wanton,' [the reference is to Deirdre]. Fergus then turned from slaying the Ulstermen, but in his battle-fury he smote among the hills with his rainbow-sword, and struck off the tops of the three maela of Meath, so that they are flat-topped (mael) to this day. CuChulain in his stupor heard the crash of Fergus' blows, and coming slowly to himself he asked of Laeg what it meant. 'It is the swordplay of Fergus,' said Laeg. Then he sprang up, and his body dilated so that the wrappings and swathings that had been bound on him flew off, and he armed himself and rushed into the battle. Here he met Fergus. 'Turn hither, Fergus,' he shouted; 'I will wash thee as foam in a pool, I will go over thee as the tail goes over a cat, I will smite thee as a mother smites her infant.' 'Who speaks thus to me?' cried Fergus. 'CuChulain mac Sualtam; and now do thou avoid me as thou art pledged.' 'I have promised even that,' said Fergus [see: FERGUS, and CUCHULAIN], and then went out of the battle, and with him the men of Leinster and the men of Munster, leaving Maeve with her seven sons and the hosting of Connacht alone. It was midday when CuChulain came into the fight; when the evening sun was shining through the leaves of the trees his war-chariot was but two wheels and a handful of shattered ribs, and the host of Connacht was in full flight towards the border. CuChulain overtook Maeve, who crouched under her chariot and entreated grace. 'I am not wont to slay women,' said CuChulain, and he protected her till she had crossed the Shannon at Athlone. # 562
In Welsh tradition, a son of Kay. # 156
An ancestor of Arthur in a maternal pedigree by Gruffudd Hiraethog, a Welsh writer of the sixteenth century. The name Garcelos may be a corruption of Castellors, found in the pedigree provided by John of Glastonbury. # 156
An Arthurian knight who conquered the land of Kanedic whose king, Ecunaver, had announced his intention of attacking Arthur. Garel married Queen Laudame of Anfere. His exploits are recounted in the romance GAREL VON DEM BLÜENDEN TAL by Der Pleier. # 156
Son of Lot, King of Lothian and Orkney, by Arthur's sister, Morgause. He came to Arthur's court in disguise and was put to work in the kitchens where Kay gave him the contemptuous nickname 'Beaumains' ('Fair Hands' - indicating that they were unsullied by work). When Lynette came to Arthur looking for someone to help her sister Lyonors against the Red Knight of the Red Lands, Gareth went with her, accompanied by a dwarf who knew his identity. On the way he overcame Black, Green and Red Knights and finally the Red Knight of the Red Lands - despite the fact that he had to put up with Lynette's caustic tongue for she had no wish for her cause to be championed by a scullion, or kitchen drudge. Gareth eventually married Lyonors. His story, told by Malory, may have been based on a lost French romance. During Arthur's war against the Roman Emperor Thereus, Gareth killed King Datis of Tuscany. He himself was killed by Lancelot while the latter was rescuing Guinevere. # 156 - 418
A giant, the son of Grandgousier who was made by Merlin from a bull whale's bones and a phial of Lancelot's blood, and Gargamelle whom Merlin made from the bones of a cow whale and ten pounds of Guinevere's nail clippings. Gargantua served Arthur who supplied him with a sixty-foot club. The giant once had an encounter with Tom Thumb who placed him under an enchantment. # 156
One of Arthur's three mistresses, according to TRIAD 57 (q.v.). She was the daughter of Henin the Old. # 156
This character appeared in DIU CRONE and claimed that Guinevere was his wife and that she should leave Arthur and go with him. The choice being left with Guinevere, she refused, but her brother Gotegrim believed her refusal to be wrong so, in anger, he carried her off, intending to kill her. She was rescued by Gasozein who then fought Gawain over her but eventually admitted that his claim had been false. # 156
GAULOIS, LA RELIGION DES
In his valuable work, LA RELIGION DES GAULOIS, A. Bertrand distinguishes two elements among the Celts themselves. There are, besides the Megalithic People, the two groups of lowland Celts and mountain Celts. The lowland Celts, according to his view, started from the Danube and entered Gaul probably about 1200 BC. Unlike the Megalithic People, they spoke a Celtic tongue, though Bertrand seems to doubt their genuine racial affinity with the true Celts. They were perhaps Celticised rather than actually Celtic. They were not warlike, but a quiet folk of herdsmen, tilliers, and artificers. They did not bury, but burned their dead. At a great settlement of theirs, Golasecca, in Cisalpine Gaul, 6000 interments were found. In each case the body had been burned; there was not a single burial without previous burning. Bertrand, in his most interesting chapter on 'L'Irlande Celtique,' points out that very soon after the conversion of Ireland to Christianity, we find the country covered with monasteries, whose complete organisation seems to indicate that they were really Druidic colleges transformed 'en masse'. Caesar has told us that these colleges were like in Gaul.# 65 - 562
Caesar's account of Gauls: 'They who are thus interdicted [for refusing to obey a Druidical sentence] are reckoned in the number of the vile and wicked; all persons avoid and fly their company and discourse, lest they should receive any infection by contagion; they are not permitted to commence a suit; neither is any post entrusted to them...The Druids are generally freed from military service, and for paying taxes... Encouraged by such rewards, many of their own accord come to their schools, and are sent by their friends and relations. They are said there to get by heart a great number of verses. Some continue twenty years in their education.' Gauls also described by Diodorus Siculus, and by Ammianus Marcellinus, and by Dr. Rice Holmes; commerce on Mediterranean, Bay of Biscay, &c., of Gauls; religious beliefs and rites described by Julius Caesar; human sacrifices in Gaul; votive inscriptions to Aesus, Teutates, and Taranus found in Gaul; Dis, or Pluto, a most notable god of Gaul; dead carries from Gaul to Britain; Maon taken to Gaul. Ammianus Marcellinus described the Gauls thus: 'Nearly all the Gauls are of a lofty stature, fair and ruddy complexion: terrible from the sternness of their eyes, very quarrelsome, and of great pride and insolence. A whole troup of foreigners would not be able to withstand a single Gaul if he called his wife to his assistance who is usually very strong and with blue eyes; especially when, swelling her neck, gnashing her teeth, and brandishing her sallow arms of enormous size, she begins to strike blows mingled with kicks, as if they were so many missiles sent from the string of a catapult.' # 143 - 562
A warrior who married the ruler of Fluratrone, who abandoned him, but said she would return to him if he would capture three knights of Arthur for her. He did so. Afterwards, he spent a year with Arthur. He had a pet ram which he had trained to fight. The romance featuring him was German, written by Konrad von Stoffeln. # 156
(Sir Gawain). Fellowknight with Perceval. See also: GAWAIN. # 562
GAVRINIS, CHIROMANCY AT
In connexion with the great sepulcral monument of Gavrinis a very curious observation was made by M. Albert Maitre, an inspector of the Musée des Antiquités Nationales. There were found here - as commonly in other megalithic monuments in Ireland and Scotland - a number of stones sculptured with a singular and characteristic design in waving and concentric lines. Now if the curious lines traced upon the human hand at the roots and tips of the fingers be examined under a lens, it will be found that they bear an exact resemblance to these designs of megalithic sculpture.
One seems almost like a cast of the other. These lines on the human hand are so distinct and peculiar that, as is well known, they have been adopted as a method of identification of criminals. Can this resemblance be the result of chance? Nothing like these peculiar assemblages of sculptured lines has ever been found exept in connexion with these monuments. Have we not here a reference to chiromancy - a magical art much practised in ancient and even in modern times? The hand as a symbol of power was a well-known magical emblem, and has entered largely even into Christian symbolism- note, for instance, the great hand sculptured on the under side of one of the arms of the Cross of Muiredach at Monasterboice. # 562
1. The eldest son of King Lot and Morgause and one of Arthur's most prominent knights. In Welsh tradition his father is sometimes given as Gwyar, but sometimes Gwyar is said to be his mother. In French he is called variously Gauvain, Gauwain, Gayain etc. In Latin he is Walganus, in Dutch Walewein and in Irish Balbhuaidh. In Welsh his name is Gwalchmai (hawk of May or hawk of the plain). R. S. Loomis argues that Gawain and Gwalchmai were originally different characters and that the Welsh identified their hero Gwalchmai with the Continental Gawain. He suggests that Gawain is in origin the MABINOGION character Gwrvan Gwallt-avwy and that his name may have arisen from Welsh gwallt-avwyn (hair like rain) or gwallt-advwyn (fair hair). R. Bromwich disagrees and argues that Gawain and Gwalchmai were always identical. - The father of Gawain was King Lot who, in his early days, was a page to Arthur's sister, Morgause, on whom he fathered Gawain, who was baptized and set adrift in a cask.
(In DE ORTU WALUUANII his mother is called Anna rather than Morgause). He was rescued by fishermen and eventually found his way to Rome where he was knighted by Pope Sulpicius. Arriving at Arthur's court, he became one of the king's most important knights. In early romance he is depicted as a mighty champion, though in later stories, for example, French tales, and Malory whom they influenced, he is less likeable. He married in various tales Ragnell, Amurfine, the daughter of the Carl of Carlisle and the daughter of the king of Sorcha. In WALWEIN he became the husband or lover of Ysabele, while in Italian romance he was said to be the lover of Morgan's daughter, Pulzella Gaia. He had sons called Florence, Lovel and Guinglain. After Arthur's rift with Lancelot, he became violently opposed to that knight. He was killed with a club when Arthur was landing in Britain to oppose Mordred. Gawain had a peculiar gift that he grew stronger towards noon and this led to speculation about his being a solar hero in origin. Surprisingly, the same gift is attributed to Escanor, one of his opponents. Gawain's death did not mark his last appearance in the Arthurian saga for his ghost subsequently appeared to the king. According to Breton tradition, he actually survived Arthur's last battle and Arthur abdicated in his favour. Gawain's horse was called Gringalet. William of Malmesbury says his grave was dicovered at Ros, a place which cannot be identified with certainty, in the reign of King William II (1087-1100). His skull was supposed to be in Dover Castle. - The story of the beheading contest which features in the tales of Gawain and the Green Knight (see GREEN KNIGHT), the Carl of Carlisle (see CARL OF CARLISLE) and Gawain and the Turk (see GROMER) has a parallel in Irish mythology where Cu Roi, King of Munster, proclaimed CuChulain champion of Ireland. The decision was rejected by two other champions, so Cu Roi arrived in the guise of a giant at Emhain Macha (modern Navan Fort) where the King of Ulster had his court, and challenged each of the three to behead him, on condition that he could afterwards do the same to them. Each of CuChulain's rivals tried but, when the head was sliced off, Cu Roi replaced it and neither of them would let him have his turn. When CuChulain cut off Cu Roi's head and once again the latter replaced it on his shoulders, CuChulain was prepared to let him strike him as agreed, whereupon Cu Roi disclosed who he was and declared CuChulain unrivalled champion.
The similarity of these tales may indicate a common source, or even that Gawain is identical in origin with CuChulain as the tales about him may be indigenous to the north of England; in ancient times, the north-west of England contained a tribe called the Setantii, while the original name of CuChulain was Setanta. It may well have been that CuChulain was a Setantii hero with a reputation on both sides of the Irish sea, whose memory was kept alive under the name of Gawain by the medieval descendants of the Setantii in England. J. Matthews points out that the story of Gawain's birth and his being set adrift in a cask parallels that of his brother Mordred and suggests that originally Gawain was Arthur's son, who fathered him incestuously on his sister who, in the original story was Morgan. The adult Gawain became Morgan's knight and his story is predated by the mythical tale of the Celtic god Mabon whose mother, Modron (earlier Matrona), is the prototype of Morgan. He also suggests that Galahad replaced Gawain as a Grail quester because of Gawain's pagan associations. That Perceval similarly replaced Gawain was suggested earlier by J. L. Weston. 2. A knight called 'the Brown', who had the baby Gawain baptized. See: GREEN KNIGHT, and ULLABH. # 104 - 156 - 398 - 450 - 716
A kind of Taboo. See: GEIS.
GEENA MAC LUGA
Son of Luga, one of Finn's men; Finn teaches the maxims of the Fianna to Geena mac Luga. # 562
GEIS GEAS GEASE GES GEISSI
# 548: The violation of Gease (or Gessa, plur. for Geis) is such a sure omen of approaching death that it might almost be inferred that a hero is safe from harm while his gease remain inviolate. Then, as his time approaches its end, he finds himself in situations where he cannot avoid breaking them, just as Greek heroes unwittingly work their own undoing when their fated hour has come and their divine guardians have forsaken them. Nowhere is this process so dramatically depicted as in 'The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel, where in the course of the events which lead up to his death Conaire violates one after another the gease laid upon him, by the King of the Birds, before he was installed King of Ireland. These gease were:
# 562: Singular: Geas(gaysh), plural: Gease(gaysha). The law of the geas(or geis): The tale of Conary introduces us for the first time to the law or institution of the geis, which plays henceforward a very important part in Irish legend, the violation or observance of a geis being frequently the turning-point in a tragic narrative. We must therefore delay a moment to explain exactly what this peculiar institution was. Dineen's 'Irish Dictionary' explains the word geis as meaning 'a bond, a spell, a prohibition, a taboo, a magical injunction, the violation of which led to misfortune and death,' (The meaning quoted will be found in the Dictionary under the alternative form geas). Every Irish chieftain or personage of note had certain geise peculiar to himself which he must not transgress. These geise had sometimes reference to a code of chivalry - thus Dermot of the Love-spot, when appealed to by Grania to take her away from Finn, is under geise not to refuse protection to a woman. Or they may be merely superstitious or fantastic - thus Conary, as one of his geise, is forbidden to follow three red horse-men on a road, nor must he kill birds (this is because his totem was a bird). It is a geis to the Ulster champion, Fergus mac Roy, that he must not refuse an invitation to a feast; on this turns the Tragedy of the Sons of Usnach. It is not at all clear who imposed these geise or how any one found out what his personal geise were - all that was doubtless an affair of the Druids. But they were regarded as sacred obligations, and the worst misfortunes were to be apprehended from breaking them. Originally, no doubt, they were regarded as a means of keeping oneself in proper relations with the other world - the world of Faery - and were akin to the well-known Polynesian practice of the 'tabu.' Rolleston prefer, however, to retain the Irish word as the only fitting one for the Irish practice. # 189 - 377 - 383 p 315 ff - 548 - 562 - 769
- Thou shalt not go right-handwise round Tara and left-handwise round Brega.
- The crooked beasts of Cerna must not be hunted by thee.
- Thou shalt not be away from Tara for nine nights in succession.
- Thou shalt not stay a night in a house from which firelight can be seen after sunset and into which one can see from outside.
- Three Reds shall not go before thee to the house of Red.
- No plunder shall be taken in thy reign.
- After sunset a company of one woman or one man shall not enter the house in which thou art.
- Thou shalt not settle the quarrel of two of thy serfs.
Defeat of Hamilcar by Gelon at Himera. # 562
A warrior in the GODDODDIN, the great Celtic epic of battle and bravery. He is called 'the Gem of Baptism' because he gave extreme unction to the dying on the field of battle with his own blood. # 454 - 610
Knight of Arthur's court. # 562
In Thomas Heywood's LIFE OF MERLIN, a castle of Vortigern which takes the place of the tower that keeps falling down in other versions of the story. # 156
On the Continent, Genius Cucullatus ( a name given to certain distinctive cult images in Celtic Europe during the Roman period) appear as single images, often in the form of giants or dwarves, but in Britain, the deities are idiosyncratic in being frequently depicted as triple dwarfs. Continental representations display very overt fertility symbolism; the figures often carry eggs, for instance on a wooden image at Geneva. On occasions, the cucullus itself could be removed to expose a phallus. British Genii Cucullati (a CUCULLUS is a hood fastened to a cloak or coat) are destinctive in their triplistic imagery. They appear in two main distributional clusters: in the region of Hadrian's Wall and among the Dobunni of the Cotswolds. At Housesteads in Northumberland, a triple image from a small shrine, of perhaps third century AD, in the Vicus (the civil settlement) attached to the Roman fort, displays the trio swathed in heavy hooded capes reaching to their feet.
The interest in this particular group is that the face of the central divinity is clearly masculine, whilst his companions have softer, rounded facial contours, suggestive rather of female physiognomy. An alternative is that the faces instead reflect differing ages, an older deity flanked by two youths. This imagery may thus reflect either the presence of both male and female aspects of a given divine concept or the span of life, from youth to maturity. This latter pattern occurs among the Germanic Mother-goddesses. # 94 - 666 - 769
GENTLE ANNIS (ANNIE)
The weather spirit responsible for the south-westerly gales on the Firth of Cromarty. The Firth is well protected from the north and east, but a gap in the hills allows the entry of spasmodic squally gales. These gives Gentle Annis a bad reputation for treachery. A day will start fine and lure the fisher out, then, in a momemt, the storm sweeps round and his boat is imperilled. D. A. Mackenzie suggests that Gentle Annis is one aspect of the Cailleach Bheur. 'Annis' may come from the Celtic goddess Anu, which has been suggested, as the origins of Black Annis of the Dane Hills. It may be, however, that these half-jocular personifications have no connection with mythology. # 100 - 415
One of the many euphemistic names for the fairies, used in Ireland. As Kirk says, 'the Irish use to bless all they fear Harme of'. # 100 - 370
Geoffrey maintains she was a daughter of the Roman Emperor Claudius. She married Arviragus and, when Arviragus revolted against Claudius, she arranged peace between them. # 156
GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH
# 562: (1100?-1154) Bishop of St Asaph; his 'Historia Regum Britaniae' (The History of the Kings of Britain) written to commemorate Arthur's exploits. He also wrote Vita Merlini or Life of Merlin. # 100: Supposititious author (though the supposition is well supported) of the VITA MERLINI, who must be recorded as the first inspiration of the Arthurian Romances. His HISTORIA BRITONUM gives the history of Arthur from the intrigues which led to his birth, from his discovery and through his career to the time of his death. Arthur, who had been almost certainly a patriot and cavalry leader who led the defence of the Britons against the Saxons in post-Romans days, was already a legendary figure entwined with mythology and fairy-lore in Wales and Brittany, but it was the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth which introduced him to literature both in France and England. Geoffrey was a man versed in all the learning of his time and of considerable charm of manner, a member of the pleasant circle of the 12th-century scolars. Some people denounced HISTORIA as 'a lying book' and told jocular stories about how favourably it was received by possessing devils, but it had a considerable influence, and played a valuable part in welding the Saxons, Britons and Normans together into a nationality, as well as providing the Matter of Britain with a source upon which poets and romancers could draw from that time till the present day. # 100 - 243 - 562
(third-fourth century) Patron of England. He was martyred at Lydda in Palestine by being shod in red-hot shoes, broken on a spiked wheel and immersed in quick-lime. The legend of his having slain a dragon was very popular: he rescued a king's daughter from becoming the dragon's tribute and so managed to convert her people. Richard I (the Lionheart) was said to have had a vision of him and was able to restore the saint's tomb at Lydda. Edward III inaugurated the Order of the Garter under his patronage, and in 1415, Saint George was proclaimed chief patron of England when English soldiers, under Henry V, won the battle of Agincourt. Many mumming plays portray him in their dramas personae as the hero-king who fights for England, overcoming the invading Saracen. His feast-day is 23 April. # 454
Son of Goddess Ainé. # 562
The King of Dumnonia who married Enid and whose adventures are recounted in the Welsh romance of GEREINT AND ENID. In French romance the hero of this tale is Erec but, as Erec was not generally known amongst the Welsh, they substituted Gereint, one of their own heroes, for him. Gereint may be a historical figure, a cousin of Arthur, though J. Gantz denies his historicity. Although he is listed as Arthur's contemporary, he may have belonged to an older generation, as the DREAM OF RHONABWY says his son Cadwy was Arthur's contemporary. Gereint's father's name is given as Erbin but, in the LIFE OF ST CYBY, Erbin is called his son. CULHWCH supplies the names of two of his brothers, Ermid and Dywel. See also: ENID. # 156 - 346
An ancestor of Arthur and father of Conan, he was mentioned in Gallet's pedigree. # 156
(ghermawn - g as in get) Diuran and German, companions of Maeldun on his wonderful voyage. # 562
Many important Germanic words traceable to Celtic origin. # 562
Menace to classical civilisation of Germans, under names of Cimbri and Teutones; de Jubainville's explanation regarding Germans as a subject people; overthrow of Celtic supremacy by Germans; burial rites practised by Germans. # 562
Celtic elements in place-names of Germany. In Arthurian times, this country was the domain of various tribes, but the romance CLARIS ET LARIS has it ruled by Emperor Henry, father of Laris. # 156 - 562
A Roman leader who overthrew the rule of the historical Roman emperor, Constantine III, in Britain. # 156
GERVASE OF TILBURY
(1150?-1235?) An Englishman, born at Tilbury in the second half of the 12th century and brought up in Rome, who became a teacher of law in Bologna. While still a young man he was clerk in the household of the Archbishop of Rheims, but after a time he returned to England and became a close friend of young King Henry, the son of Henry II, who died before his father in 1183. After his death, he returned to the Continent and was appointed Marshal of the Kingdom of Arles by Otto IV, to whom he dedicated his great work, OTIA IMPERIALIA. the last years of his life were spent in England. One of his chief friends there was Ralph of Coggesshall, another writer of the Medieval Chronicles, to whom he communicated a good deal of information. The OTIA IMPERIALIA (finished in 1211) is in three parts, of which the third is of special interest for our knowledge of the folklore of the period, for it is a record of marvels, though Part One contains matter of some importance. From these too we obtain the story of the Portunes, the earliest record of diminutive fairies, and the Dracae of Brittany, about whom a Fairy Ointment story is told; also a version of the well-known story, 'The Hour has come but not the Man'. In the first part of the books he mentions the werewolves of England, and the Fairies, with the legend of the fairy horn, an example of thefts from the fairies. # 100 - 246
GIANT OF ST MICHEL'S MOUNT
This giant, who resided at Mont. St. Michel in Brittany, seized Helena, the niece of Hoel, the King of Brittany. Arthur, accompanied by Kay and Bedivere, set off after him. He found that Helene was already dead, but he slew the giant. # 156
# 701: Myths of every nation preserve the archetypal idea of a primordial race of giants, ruling the world before the present gods. England still has a portrait of one of the archaic giants, 180 feet tall, cut in the chalk of a Dorset hillside. He is the ithyphallic(!) Cerne Abbas giant, said to represent either the Saxon god Heill whose name meant 'virility' - or the Celtic Cernunnos, after whom the nearby town was named, and whose shrine was taken over by Christian monks for the local abbey. The enclosure for Maypole ceremonies was placed above this giant's head. Since the Maypole rituals anciently commemorated the god's sexual union with his Goddess, the position of both the giant and the Beltaine shrine in close association clearly points to preservation of the old religion. It was also widely believed that the Fairy Queen's name was Titania, which would have been a title of Mother Earth as the source of all Titans. Fairies, however, shrank in size over the centuries and went ever smaller and smaller than human.
# 100: Almost the only trait that giants have in common is their enormous size and strength. Some of them, such as Bran the Blessed, have obviously once been gods. Bran was so large that no house could contain him, so large indeed that he looked like an approaching mountain as he waded the channel between Wales and Ireland. His strength was tremendous, but he was essentially benevolent and his decapitated head brought a blessing wherever it was carried, and protected Britain from invaders so long as it was safely lodged in London. The two great hill figures that still remain in England, the Cerne Abbas Giant and the Long Man of Wilmington, represent god-like figures of the same kind. The Cerne Abbas giant is plainly a fertility god as well as a protective figure. Some kind and protective giants continue down to comparatively modern times. An example is the Giant of Grabbist, whose character and exploits are described by Ruth Tongue in COUNTY FOLKLORE VOL. VIII. He was one of the stone-throwing giants, of which many are reported, good and bad, and spent a good deal of his time in contests with the Devil. He was full, too, of active benevolence, and once lifted a fishing-boat that was in difficulties and set it down safely in harbour. There is a touch of comedy, even farce, in the tales about the Giant of Grabbist, and it is noticeable that as time went on the giants became gradually more foolish. The kind old Cornish giant of Carn Galva, whose sad story is told by Botrell in TRADITIONS AND HEARTHSIDE STORIES OF WEST CORNWALL, VOL. I, is an example: The giant of Carn Galva was more playful than warlike. Though the old works of the giant now stand desolate, we may still see, or get up and rock ourselves upon, the logan-stone which this dear old giant placed on the most westerly carn of the range, that he might log himself to sleep when he saw the sun dip into the waves and the seabirds fly to their homes in the cleaves.
Near the giant's rocking-seat, one may still see a pile of cubical rocks, which are almost as regular and shapely now as when the giant used to amuse himself in building them up, and kicking them down again, for exercise or play, when alone and when he had nothing else to do. The people of the northern hills have always had a loving regard for the memory of this giant, because he appears to have passed all his life at the carn in single blessedness, merely to protect his beloved people of Morvah and Zennor from the depredations of the less honest Titans who then dwelt on Lelant hills. Carn Galva giant never killed but one of the Morvah people in his life, and that happened all through loving play. The giant was very fond of a fine young fellow, of Choon, who used to take a turn over the carn, every now and then, just to see how the old giant was getting on, to cheer him up a bit, play a game of bob, or anything else to help him pass his lonely time away. One afternoon the giant was so well pleased with the good play they had together that, when the young fellow of Choon threw down his quoit to go away home, the giant, in a good-natured way, tapped his playfellow on the head with the tips of his fingers. At the same time he said, 'Be sure to come again tomorrow, my son, and we will have a capital game of bob.' Before the word 'bob' was well out of the giant's mouth, the young man dropped at his feet; - the giant's fingers had gone right through his playmate's skull. When, at last, the giant became sensible of the damage he had done to the brain-pan of the young man, he did his best to put inside workings of his mate's head to rights and plugged up his finger-holes, but all to no purpose; for the young man was stone dead, long before the giant ceased doctoring his head. When the poor giant found it was all over with his playmate, he took the body in his arms, and sitting down on the large square rock at the foot of the carn, he rocked himself to and fro; pressing the lifeless body to his bosom, he wailed and moaned over him, bellowing and crying louder than the booming billows braking on the rocks in Permoina. 'Oh, my son, my son, why didn't they make the shell of thy noddle stronger? A es as plum (soft) as a pie-crust, doughbaked, and made too thin by the half! How shall I ever pass the time without thee to play bob and mop-and-heede (hide-and-seek)?' The giant of Carn Galva never rejoiced any more, but, in seven years or so, he pined away and died of a broken heart. It seems as if these giants were half-playfully invented to account for scattered boulders or other natural features, or for prehistoric monuments. In contrast to these gentle, foolish giants, we have the cruel, bloodthirsty giants or Ogres, such as those which Jack the Giant-Killer conquered. Some of these were Monsters with several heads, most of them not overburdened with sense, all man-eaters. The Highland giants were much more astute, some of them Magicians, like that in 'The Battle of the Birds', the Highland version of Nicht Nought Nothing. The grim giant of 'A King of Albainn' in WAIFS AND STRAYS OF CELTIC TRADITION, VOL. II, collected by D. MacInnes, may be a magician as well as a giant, for a magical hare enticed his victims into the cave where the giant and his twelve sons were waiting for them and the giant gave them the choice of deadly games: 'the venomous apple' or 'the hot gridiron'. In the end they had to play both. There is another giant in the story, who has carried off the old king's daughter, an activity to which giants are very prone. Both giants are conquered by a supernatural helper called 'The Big Lad'. This may either be an incomplete version of 'a grateful dead' type of story, or more probably the ghost of the young king's father, for whom he has been mourning inordinately. Another dangerous and evil giant, 'The Bare-Stripping Hangman', also occurs in WAIFS AND STRAYS OF CELTIC TRADITION, VOL. III. This giant is a magician, for he has a Separable Soul which has to be destroyed before he can be killed. There is a series of giants to be destroyed, one-headed, two-headed and three-headed.
In the same volume is a story of a guileless giant who does not know how formidable his strength is, a human giant after the type of Tom Hickathrift, whose story Joseph Jacobs tells in MORE ENGLISH FAIRY STORIES. He was suckled by his mother for twenty years and so gained supernatural strength. His frightened master sets him a succession of tests in order to destroy him, but he succeeds in them all, and in the end settles down happily with his old mother in the house he has won for himself. It will be seen that there is a great variety of giants in British tradition. # 84 - 100 - 339 - 381 - 675 - 701 p 252-3
The Duke of Swales, he was the original owner of the dog Petitcrieu which he gave to Tristan. # 156
Alternative name for Tremeur, son of Trephina. See: CUNOMORUS. # 156
Saint Gildas was a British writer of the original Arthurian period. His work, DE EXCIDIO ET CONQUESTU BRITANNIAE, does not mention Arthur by name, though it does mention the Battle of Badon. According to story, he was the son of Caw and, when he was in Ireland, he learned that Arthur, his friend, has killed his brother Hueil, but this did not cause discord between himself and Arthur. T. D. O'Sullivan opines that Gildas wrote DE EXCIDIO as quite a young man. # 156 - 510
(ghil-VATH-ee) Son of Don. He desired his uncle Math's footholder, Goewin. His brother, Gwydion, helped him obtain her by raising war between Gwynedd and Dyfed. For his punishment, Gilfaethwy was changed, successively, into a hind, a boar, and a wolf-bitch and bore young to Gwydion who had been similarly enchanted. # 272 - 439 - 454
Story of Gilla Dacar (The Hard Gilly): The Chase of the Gilla Dacar is another Fian tale in which Dermot of the Love Spot plays a leading part. The Fianna, the story goes, were hunting one day on the hills and through the woods of Munster, and as Finn and his captains stood on a hillside listening to the baying of the hounds, and the notes of the Fian hunting-horn from the dark wood below, they saw coming towards them a huge, ugly, misshapen churl dragging along by a halter a great raw-boned mare. He announced himself as wishful to take service with Finn. The name he was called by, he said, was the Gilla Dacar, because he was the hardest servant ever a lord had to get service or obedience from. In spite of this unpromising beginning, Finn, whose principle it was never to refuse any suitor, took him into service; and the Fianna now began to make their uncouth comrade the butt of all sorts of rough jokes, which ended in thirteen of them, including Conan the Bald, all mounting up on Gilla Dacar's steed. On this the newcomer complained that he was being mocked, and he shambled away in great discontent till he was over the ridge of the hill, when he tucked up his skirts and ran westwards, faster than any March wind, toward the sea-shore in Co. Kerry. Thereupon at once the steed, which had stood still with drooping ears while the thirteen riders in vain belaboured it to make it move, suddenly threw up its head and started off in a furious gallop after its master. The Fianna ran alongside, as well as they could for laughter, while Conan, in terror and rage, reviled them for not rescuing him and his comrades. At last the thing became serious. The Gilla Dacar plunged into the sea, and the mare followed him with her thirteen riders, and one more who managed to cling to her tail just as she left the shore; and all of them soon disappeared towards the fabled region of the West. Dermot at the Well Finn and the remaining Fianna now took counsel together as to what should be done, and finally decided to fit out a ship and go in search of their comrades. After many days of voyaging they reached an island guarded by precipitous cliffs. Dermot O'Dyna, as the most agile of the party, was sent to climb them and to discover, if he could, some means of helping up the rest of the party. When he arrived at the top he found himself in a delightful land, full of the song of birds and the humming of bees and the murmur of streams, but with no sign of habitation. Going into a dark forest, he soon came to a well, by which hung a curiously wrought drinking-horn. As he filled it to drink, a low, threatening murmur came from the well, but his thirst was too keen to let him heed it and he drank his fill. In no long time there came through the wood an armed warrior, who violently upbraided him for drinking from his well.
The Knight of the Well and Dermot then fought all the afternoon without either of them prevailing over the other, when, as evening drew on, the knight suddenly leaped into the well and disappeared. Next day the same thing happened; on the third, however, Dermot, as the knight was about to take his leap, flung his arms around him, and both went down together. The Rescue of Fairyland Dermot, after a moment of darkness and trance, now found himself in Fairyland. A man of noble appearance roused him and led him away to the castle of a great king, where he was hospitably entertained. It was explained to him that the services of a champion like himself were needed to do combat against a rival monarch of Faery. It is the same motive which we find in the adventures of CuChulain with Fand, and which so frequently turns up in Celtic fairy lore. Finn and his companions, finding that Dermot did not return to them, found their way up the cliffs, and, having traversed the forest, entered a great cavern which ultimately led them out to the same land as that in which Dermot had arrived. There too, they are informed, are the fourteen Fianna who had been carried off on the mare of the Hard Gilly. He, of course, was the king who needed their services, and who had taken this method of decoying some thirty of the flower of Irish fighting men to his side. Finn and his men go into the battle with the best of goodwill and scatter the enemy like chaff; Oscar slays the son of the rival king (who is called the King of "Greece"). Finn wins the love of his daughter, Tasha of the White Arms, and the story closes with a delightful mixture of gaiety and mystery. 'What reward wilt thou have for thy good services?' asks the fairy king of Finn. 'Thou wert once in service with me,' replies Finn, 'and I mind not that I gave thee any recompense. Let one service stand against the other.' 'Never shall I agree to that,' cries Conan the Bald. 'Shall I have nought for being carried off on thy wild mare and haled oversea?' 'What wilt thou have?' asks the fairy king. 'None of thy gold or goods,' replies Conan, 'but mine honour hath suffered, and let mine honour be appeased. Set thirteen of thy fairest womenfolk on the wild mare, O King, and thine own wife clinging to her tail, and let them be transported to Erin in like manner as we were dragged here, and I shall deem the indignity we have suffered fitly atoned fore.' On this the king smiled and, turning to Finn, said: 'O Finn, behold thy men.' Finn turned to look at them, but when he looked round again the scene had changed - the fairy king and his host and all the world of Faery had disappeared, and he found himself with his companions and the fair-armed Tasha standing on the beach of the little bay in Kerry whence the Hard Gilly and the mare had taken the water and carried off his men. And then all started with cheerful hearts for the great standing camp of the Fianna on the Hill of Allen to celebrate the wedding feast of Finn and Tasha. # 562
A King of Ireland who aided Paschent when he invaded Britain. # 156
(ghil-VATH-ee) Son of Dôn (Don), nephew of Math; his love for Goewin, and its sequel. See: GILFAETHWY. # 562
He was an otherworld champion whose horse was unridable. Only Conan was able to mount it, with the intention of riding it to death. It carried him to Tir Tairngire where Fionn had to come and rescue him. See: GILLA DACAR. # 267 - 454 - 504
# 562:Testimony to the fairness of the Irish Celts. See: BLEHERIS. # 100: (1146?-1220?) Giraldus de Barri, called Cambrensis, belonged to one of the ancient families of Wales and was remarkable from childhood for his love of learning. It is therefore not surprising that he became one of the compilers of the Medieval Chronicles. Because of his high connections in Wales he was handicapped in his career in the Welsh Church by the Norman policy of appointing only Normans to the episcopacy, but he was made Chaplain to Henry II and sent to accompany Henry's son on his expedition to Ireland. He wrote TYPOGRAPHICA HIBERNICA on returning from his tour. He picked up some interesting pieces of folk tradition in Ireland, notably a sympathetic account of a pair of werewolves and a tradition of a disappearing island which was made visible by firing a fairy arrow at it, but the most interesting piece of fairy-lore is to be found in the ITINERARY THROUGH WALES the story of ELIDOR, our earliest account of fairies' social life.# 100-251-562
In a Cornish poem, a magic snake's egg for which Merlin was searching.# 156
A Manx form of the each-uisge. The Glaistyn had the ability to appear in human form which, though handsome, was betrayed by the horse-like ears. See: KELPIE. # 100 - 454
# 156: A small town in Somerset, the site of a medieval abbey, which was variously said to have been founded by Deruvian and Phagan, missionaries sent by the Pope to the British king, Lucius, and by Saint Patrick before his mission to the Irish. There is in fact no real evidence for an abbey there before the seventh century. In the romance PERLESVAUS, Glastonbury is identified with Avalon. Saint Joseph of Arimathea was thought to have founded the old Church there. In the Middle Ages, bones, which were identified by their discoverers as those of Arthur and Guinevere, were discovered there. Although most authorities regard the find as a hoax, this is not necessarily the case. According to a story found in the LIFE OF GILDAS, Melvas (Meleagaunce) abducted Guinevere and took her to Glastonbury, but Gildas mediated between him and Arthur. See: GILDAS, SAINT.
# 456: Glastonbury continues to attract pilgrims and visitors from all over the world and its unique aura of sanctity and mystery persists with undimmed potency. It has been so for centuries, as the wide-ranging anthology reveals. Scholars, mystics, occultists, antiquarians and seekers of all persuasions have been drawn to 'England's Ancient Avalon' in search of historical facts or spiritual enlightenment, and as John Matthews says in the introduction to A GLASTONBURY READER, 'The one word that can never be applied to Glastonbury is "ordinary"... What is undoubtedly true is the curious aura of "oddness" that surrounds the place...from the moment one enters Glastonbury one knows one is entering a sacred enclosure. "Welcome to England's Ancient Avalon" announces the sign as one approaches, showing that even the local authorities recognize the mystery of the place. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, antiquarian and mystical interests came together in the works of such people as Frederick Bligh Bond and Katherine Maltwood. Bond discovered, through psychic archaeology, the location of the lost Lady Chapel in Glastonbury's great abbey, while Maltwood claimed a vast terrestial zodiac impressed into landscape around the sacred site.
Early in this century the esotericist Dion Fortune resided in Glastonbury and found inspiration for much of her magical work there'. And John Michell add these words: 'There are many mysteries at Glastonbury, but they are all rooted in one great mystery: how is it that this small place, isolated among the Somerset marches, plays such a leading part in the spiritual history of Britain? Other religious centres, Canterbury, Westminster, Winchester, have had their periods of glory, but the fame of Glastonbury is unique and has endured longer than that of any other English sanctuary. In medieval Christendom the site of the first English church, at the west end of Glastonbury Abbey, was called the "holiest earth of England", and its precincts were sanctified as a model of earthly paradise, where the souls of the dead found their easiest passage to heaven. No traces have been found of any buildings from that period, but the great prehistoric earthwork, known as Ponter's Ball, which runs across high ground about two miles east of Glastonbury, is thought to have marked one of the boundaries of the sacred precinct. It is likely, therefore, that Glastonbury's special status as a heavenly sanctuary, beyond the ordinary laws of the land, was acknowledged long before the introduction of Christianity.' # 24 - 25 - 100 - 248 - 261 - 456 - 469 - 563
A cross unearthed at the excavation of Arthur's supposed grave at Glastonbury in 1191. The inscription on the cross read HIC IACET SEPULTUS INCLITUS REX ARTURIUS IN INSULA AVALONIA. The cross was lost but, in recent times, a pattern-maker named Derek Mahoney claimed to have found it and reburied it.
A thorn which was said to have come from a staff, planted by Joseph of Arimathea on Wearyall Hill, and which became a thorn tree, flowering every year at Christmas. The thorn is first mentioned in the LYFE OF JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA (c.1502).
The trunk of the tree was cut down by a Puritan zealot. The tree has a number of descendants alive today, notably in front of the Church of Saint John the Baptist, Glastonbury. They bloom in late December or early January. # 156
An ancient sacred hill with many legendary attributes. In Celtic tradition it is the home of Gwyn ap Nudd, Lord of the Underworld and Master of the Wild Hunt. Like many hilltop sacred sites, the Christian dedication is to Saint Michael, (the Archangel Michael), who replaced the old Celtic god of Light, known as Bel or Belenos.
However one personally understands the Tor - as a magnetic centre, as a cosmic power point, as a point for predicting eclipses, as a fairytale castle - the evidence unavoidably indicates the existence of a prehistoric culture deeply concerned with the forces of the earth and sky, forces which were depended upon, utilised, celebrated and understood in a way which has yet to be fully re-discovered. # 628 p 103 - 326 p 9.
# 421: In recent years detailed archaeological study has shown that in many parts of the world prehistoric man had a far deeper understanding of astronomy than traditional historians were willing to accept.
"The Round Table was constructed, not without great significance, upon the advice of Merlin. By its name the Round Table is meant to signify the round world and round canopy of the planets and the elements in the firmament, where are to be seen the stars and many other things." LA QUESTE DEL SAINT GRAAL. Time and opportunity are given to few to quest Merlin's Round Table of the Grail in the Valleys of Avalon. Glastonbury, the heart of legends of chivalry and sanctity dating back far beyond written records, has long excited the interest of scholars and seers. It was, however, not until the advent of aerial photography that its most dramatic secret was revealed. From studying these photographs and comparing them with the evidence of myth and detailed maps, Katherine Maltwood discovered a vast and complex pattern of figures in the contours and landmarks of the area. They form, in fact, a huge land of chart of the Zodiac. # 156: According to a theory which was advanced by K. Maltwood in A GUIDE TO GLASTONBURY'S TEMPLE OF THE STARS, carved in the landscape around Glastonbury are giant figures, delineated by various markings which correspond to the signs of the Zodiac in the sky above them. She related these figures to episodes in the Grail Quest. The existence of the Zodiac has not won scolarly recognition, though the idea has a number of adherents. # 126 - 156 - 326 - 420 - 421
Dwelling-place of Naisi and Deirdre. # 562
# 156: Arthur's porter in CULHWCH, to whom the epithet Gafaelfawr (great grasp) is applied. In the poem PA GUR, he figures as the gatekeeper who will not admit Arthur unless he identifies himself and his followers. See: TWENTY-FOUR KNIGHTS. # 454: He is the porter 'at the calends of January' - a task which he shared with four other men, according to CULHWCH AND OLWEN, wherein he has a riddling dialogue with Culhwch. There is a direct parallel between this exchange and that which Lugh is submitted to when he seeks to gain entrance to the hall of Nuadu. # 156 - 272 - 439 - 453 - 454
Gawain's squire, son of a German noble. Both he and Gawain fell in love with Beauté, Guinevere's maid, but she preferred Gliglois. # 156
The Queene of Faerie in Edmund Spenser's poem. In Spenser's allegory, he painted a portrait of Queen Elisabeth I of England. # 614
# 562: The second task in CULHWCH AND OLWEN is fulfilled when Mabon is released from prison in Gloucester. The 'nine sorceresses of Gloucester' was said to have been those who worked evils on the relatives of Peredur and he had been shown these evils things to incite him to avenge the wrong, and to prove his fitness for the task. On learning these matters Peredur, with the help of Arthur, attacked the sorceresses, who were slain every one, and the vengeance was accomplished.
# 702: In the Cathedral of Gloucester is a beautifully preserved lifesize effigy of Edward II, built by his son Edward III. The face of the effigy is said to have been copied from a death mask which had been made almost as soon as the King had died under the red-hot spit used by his torturers; this explains the grimace and sense of pain within the immobile features. The story of this effigy, resting in its exquisitely sculpted canopy, is one of the strangest in history, for it merges into mythology and magic in a unique way. The story begins with the murder of the ineffectual Edward II at Berkeley Castle in 1327 on the orders of Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer. The abbeys nearest to Berkeley - Bristol and Malmesbury - refused to bury the body, mainly for fear of the two powerful murderers, and by the time the Abbot of Gloucester, 'moved by pity', allowed it to be interred in the cathedral, the corpse was already far decayed. It was soon rumoured that the tomb was a miracle-worker, and that sick people could be cured magically by being placed near to it, with the result that the dead Edward, who had been ineffectual in life, became effectual in death as a Saint. His son, Edward III, who had been born at Windsor in 1312, was more adroit in political and military matters and introduced order into the chaos which his father had left behind. It was he who commisioned and paid for the tomb of his father in Gloucester, to mark the place of pilgrimage of the sick to the 'martyr Edward', leaving behind one of the most impressive alabaster effigies in Britain. It is said that pilgrims to this tomb were so numerous that the small charges made were sufficient to enable the Abbot to reconstruct the east end, the clerestory, and parts of the nave of the Cathedral itself. The castle at Berkeley, where the foul murder of Edward II was committed, is said still to be haunted by the spirit of the troubled king. Edward had not been one of the wisest of rulers, preferring the companionship of low-born men to that of his peers (for example, he appears to have befriended Robin Hood) - nor was he one of the most competent of fighting men. When he led an army of conquest against Scotland in 1314, he managed to have 28,000 men defeated by about a third of that number under Robert the Bruce at the English disaster of Bannockburn. # 562 - 702
The strong man of the Wee Folk. # 562
The builder of Ehangwen, the hall used by Arthur for feasting. T. F. O'Rahilly suggests his name may be a form of Gwydion, that of a Celtic god, the son of Nodens. # 156
One of Pwyll's hunt went by in the woods of Glyn Cuch. # 562
GOBAN THE SMITH GOBHAN SAOR
Brother of Kian and Sawan; corresponds to Wayland Smith in Germanic legend; Ollav Fôla compared with Goban The Smith. Analogous to Goibniu and Gofannon. He lives on as Gobhan Saor, a crafty smith or mason whose skill outwits the unwary. He is favourite character in Irish folk-stories.
# 173 - 454 - 562
(fifth century) To escape a family feud, the young Gobnet left her home in County Clare to live on one of the Aran islands. There she had a vision in which she learnt that this was not to be her final home, but that she must settle in the place where she found nine white deer grazing. So she came back to the mainland and journeyed to the south-east, until she saw such a herd near Dungarvan. There she founded a nunnery, overlooking the sea from the slopes of the Monavillagh Mountains, at the place which now bears her name, Kilgobnet. She was to become renowned for her skill as a bee-keeper. # 678
# 156: An Irish smith god who may have been identical in origin with Gwydion. See: TREBUCHET, and GOBAN THE SMITH.
# 678: Goibhniu, Luchta, Creidhne. There was a triad of Irish craftgods who belonged to the Tuatha De Danann: these were Goibhniu the smith, the most important of the three, Luchta the wright and Creidhne the metalworker. The three gods are called upon to forge weapons for Lugh and the Tuatha in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh, fought against the Fomorians. Each god makes a different part of the weapons: Goibhniu the head or blade, Luchta the shaft and Creidhne the rivets. Goibhniu's weapons are guaranteed always to fly true and always to inflict a fatal wound. Goighniu had another role, that of host of the Otherworld Feast: at this meal, the god provides a special ale, and those who drink it become immortal. # 156 - 678
GOD AND CYTHRAWL
God and Cythrawl, two primary existences in the Cymric cosmogony. They stand respectively for the principle of energy tending towards life, and the principle of destruction tending towards nothingness. Cythrawl is realised in Annwn (annoon - It was the word used in the early literature for Hades or Fairyland), which may be rendered, the Abyss, or Chaos. In the beginning there was nothing but God and Annwn. Organised life began by the Word-God pronounced His ineffable Name and the 'Manred' was formed. The Manred was the primal substance of the universe. It was conceived as a multitude of minute indivisible particles-atoms, in fact-each being a microcosm, for God is complete in each of them, while at the same time each is a part of God, the Whole.
The totality of being as it now exists is represented by three concentric circles. The innermost of them, where life sprang from Annwn, is called 'Abred', and is the stage of struggle and evolution - the contest of life with Cythrawl. The next is the circle of 'Gwynfyd,' or Purity, in which life is manifested as a pure, rejoicing force, having attained its triumph over evil. The last and outermost circle is called 'Ceugant,' or Infinity. Here all predicates fail us, and this circle, represented graphically not by a bounding line, but by divergent rays, is inhabited by God alone. The following extract from BARDDAS in which the alleged bardic teaching is conveyed in catechism form, will serve to show the order of ideas in which the writer's mind moved:
Q: Whence didst thou proceed? A: I came from the Great World, having my beginning in Annwn. Q: Where art thou now? and how camest thou to what thou art? A: I am in the Little World, whither I came having traversed the circle of Abred, and now I am a Man, at its termination and extreme limits. Q: What wert thou before thou didst become a man, in the circle of Abred? A: I was in Annwn the least possible that was capable of life and the nearest possible to absolute death; and I came in every form and through every form capable of a body and life to the state of man along the circle of Abred, where my condition was severe and grievous during the age of ages, ever since I was parted in Annwn from the dead, by the gift of God, and His great generosity, and His unlimited and endless love. Q: Through how many different forms didst thou come, and what happened unto thee? A: Through every form capable of life, in water, in earth, in air. And there happened unto me every severity, every hardship, every evil, and every suffering, and but little was the goodness or Gwynfyd before I became a man.... Gwynfyd cannot be obtained without seeing and knowing everything, but it is not possible to see or to know everything without suffering everything.... And there can be no full and perfect love that does not produce those things which are necessary to lead to the knowledge that causes Gwynfyd.
Every being, we are told, shall attain to the circle of Gwynfyd at last.
There is much here that reminds us of Gnostic or Oriental thought. It is certainly very unlike Christian orthodoxy of the sixteenth century. As a product of the Cymric mind of that period the reader may take it for what it is worth, without troubling himself either with antiquarian theories or with their refutations. But where 'Barddas' is mentioning Annwn as the state where life begins, the original Gnosticism doesn't operate with a beginning (because, if there is a beginning there also has to be an end) but with an eternal spiral which is life (i.e. God) and within this spiral are all the lesser (pulmonary) circulations or spirals, which contains evolutionary, individually but still indivisible lifes, who develop through the stages of mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms and again as pure spirit, ending each lesser spiral being 'One with God'. This stage may last for eons of 'time' but will automatically leads to another lesser spiral where it starts all over again, but always in a higher degree, and so on in eternity. Micro- Middle- and Macrocosm has and will always exist inside eachother). These thoughts can be read in the Danish writer Martinus'(1890-1981) work THE THIRD TESTAMENT (# 431) and may complete the Cymric (i.e. Celtic) cosmogony, and thus include Cythrawl as a part of Gods being, which some interpretations of Druidism also contains. # 111 - 431 - 562 - 612
Godgifu, wife of Leofric of Mercia. Her husband tyrannized the church and extracted heavy taxes from the people of Coventry. Godgifu begged him to relent and he agreed to do so if she would ride naked through Coventry on market-day. Clothed only in her hair, she did so and the citizens of Coventry averted their eyes, all except Peeping Tom who was stricken blind. # 282 - 454 - 717
GODS, THE PRINCIPAL
# 562: The Megalithic People did not imagine their deities under concrete personal form. Gods of Aryan Celts, equated by Caesar with Mercury, Apollo, Mars, &c.; triad of gods, Aesus, Teutates, and Taranus, mentioned by Lucan; Lugh, or Lugus, the god of Light.
# 730: The following list gives, in the first column, the Homeric (Celtic/Greek) names of the gods, with the Latin equivalent in brackets. The second column gives any alternative Celtic names and the third column the specific functions. It should be noted, however, that the equivalence is often only approximate. For example, Zeus was of a different nature from the Roman Jupiter, while the Celtologists are not certain of the attribution of some of the alternative Celtic names. There is indeed a definite confusion in the functions and origins of some of the gods that will never be resolved.
Zeus was worshipped under this name in Gaul and gave his name to Jeudi (Thursday), while his alternative Celtic name, Lug, has survived in the names of certain towns, such as Lyon, Laon and Leyden, which are all derived from Lugdunum, as is well attested. Athene's alternative name Okke was used by both the Celts and the Greeks, but the name Athene was itself definitely pre-Greek according to explanatory Greek dictionaries. Athene had no mother, as she emerged from the forehead of Zeus: the goddess of wisdom symbolized the 'third eye'. The identification of Borvon with Apollo is confirmed by the Latin inscription on a votive altar dating from the Gallo-Roman era: Deo Apollini Borvoni et Damonea C Daminius Ferox, Civis Lingonis, ex Voto. The name is preserved in many place-names in France, such as Bourbonl'Archembault, Bourbon-Lancy, La Bourboule, and by the Bourbon dynasty. Hermes gave his name to Mercredi (Wednesday) through his Latin equivalent, Mercury. Aphrodite gave her name to Vendredi (Friday) through her Latin equivalent Venus (Veneris Dies = day of Venus). The name of the Nordic gods live on in the names of the days of the week in the Germanic languages, for example in English:
Tuesday Tyr's day Wednesday Woden's day or Odin Thursday Thor's day or Donar (German Donnerstag) Friday Frigg's day or Freyja (wife of Odin) Saturday Sæter's day or day of Saturn Sunday Sun day Monday Moon day
The Indo-European origin of these gods, like those of the Celts, is well-established. For example Tyr corresponds to the Vedic god Diauh and to Zeus and his latinized version Jupiter (= Zeus-pater, ['Zeus the father'], via Zejup > Jup). - Galatea is called 'very famous' by Homer as she is the legendary mother of the Celtic peoples. The Celts, Gauls and Illyrians settled throughout Europe including western Greece, where Homer's orally transmitted epics would be put in writing. # 562 - 730
(go-ay'win) Daughter of Pebin. The virgin footholder of Math who was raped by Gilfaethwy. In order to compensate her for her disgrace, Math married her. # 272 - 439 - 454 - 562
# 384: The Searcher of Secrets, the Delver of Ore, the Digger of Treasure, the Refiner, the Shaper of Metal and the Master of the Forge. # 454: Son of Don. His story has become displaced from all but the meagre information of the TRIADS wherein he is described as the accidental slayer of his nephew, Dylan. Gofannon is the Welsh equivalent of Goibniu, and was a god of smithcraft. # 384 p 106 ff - # 272 - 439 - 454
GOG AND MAGOG GOGMAGOG
In the Middle Ages it was believed that Gog and Magog were nations that had been confined behind mountains by Alexander the Great, who had used 6000 bronze- and iron-workers to build a gate to hold them back. They attacked Arthur but the giant Gargantua helped him to overcome them. - The above is only one of several legends about Gog and Magog. See also: Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable p. 350 (sixteenth edition 1885). A giant who broke in upon the festivities of the newly landed Brutus and attacked his company. Corineus wrestled with him and cast him into the sea. In addition to the biblical references to Gog and Magog, there is, according to the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 'an independent legend of Gog Magog (which) surrounds the two colossal wooden effigies in the Guildhall in London. They are thought to represent survivors of a race of giants destroyed by Brutus the Trojan, legendary founder of London (Troianova, or New Troy) who brought these to act as porters at the gate of the royal palace. Effigies of Gog and Magog are known to have existed in London from the time of Henry V. The earlier figures were destroyed in the Great Fire (1666) and were replaced in 1708. The second pair was destroyed in an air raid in 1940 and replaced in 1953'. # 156 - 243 - 454 - 730
(gwiv'ni û) The smith of the Tuatha de Danaan; brewer of the ale that kept the Tuatha De Danann perpetually young. He forged the weapons by which the Fomorians were overcome. He killed Ruadan, the son of Brigit and of Bres, who had been sent to spy on his armoury and to kill him. Goibniu was healed of his wounds in the well of Slane. He is analogous to Welsh Gofannon. See also: GOBNIU. # 166 - 454 - 548
A great settlement of the Lowland Celts, in Cisalpine Gaul. # 562
Wife of Kilydd; mother of Culhwch (Kilhwch). In Welsh lore, Arthur's aunt and sister of Igraine. She gave birth to Culhwch after running mad in the forest and being frightened by pigs. Her mythos bears a marked resemblance to the mother of Tristan. # 156 - 272 - 439 - 454 - 562
GOLL MAC MORNA
(gûl' moc mor'na) Son of Daire Derc, also called Morna, captain of the Fianna of Erin; swears service to Finn; Finn recalls the great saying of Goll mac Morna; rescues Finn from the enchanted cave; Keva of the White Skin given as wife to Goll mac Morna; adventure with the wether. Slayer of Cumhal, Fionn's father, in the Battle of Cnucha; previously named Aed, but after he lost one of his eyes at Cumhal's hand, he was named Gol (One-Eyed, lit. blind). He later willingly relinquished his position in favour of Fionn whom he befriended without rancour. But at the last the feud between the two men caused the ending of the Fianna. # 166 - 267 - 454 - 504 - 562
The maid of Iseult in the YSTORIA TRYSTAN. This work is a Welsh version of the Tristan legend. # 156
Knight who trains Perceval (Peredur). # 562
A king of Ireland converted by Joseph of Arimathea. Because of the help he gave King Canor of Cornwall, Cornwall afterwards paid tribute to Ireland until Tristan killed Marhaus. # 156
GOOD PEOPLE, THE
Another example of euphemistic names for the fairies. # 100
# 156: The brother of the Fisher King, he was killed by Partinal. The sword broke in the commision of this act and rejoining it was one of the feats involved in achieving the Grail.
# 454: According to the CONTE DEL GRAAL of Chrétien de Troyes, Goon Desert was the father of the Grail maiden. However, his behaviour hardly matches up to that of a Grail guardian as he was responsible for the murder of a knight named Espinogee, whose nephew later took revenge upon him. When his body was brought home his daughter prophesied that the sword which had slain him, which was broken, would only be mended when the Grail was achieved. Her uncle, hastily picking up the pieces of broken blade, is wounded in the thigh by them. His wound, along with the sword, is only mended when Perceval comes to the castle of Quiguagrant, which had been Goon Desert's home. # 153 - 156 - 454
# 701: Caesar said the goose was sacred to Celtic tribes and was not considered edible, because of her connection with the Sun-Egg. For similar reasons, medieval superstition forbade the killing of a goose in midwinter, when the sun was thought to be in need of maternal care to gain strenght for the new seasons. Like other formerly sacred creatures, geese were said to contain souls of the unbaptized (pagans).
# 161: In the GALLIC WARS Caesar says the goose was taboo as food for the Britons, being a sacred bird. It was associated with both Celtic and Teutonic war gods, who were accompanied by a horse and a goose. In Gallic iconography epona, The Divine Horse, is depicted riding on a horned goose. The Norse did not eat the goose. # 769: Celtic war-deities were accompanied by geese in the iconography: a bronze figurine of a warrior-goddess at Dinéault in Brittany depicts her wearing a helmet with a goose crest. The Celtic Mars was associated with geese: he appears thus at Risingham in North Britain; and a goose was the companion of MARS THINCSUS (a Germanic deity) at Housesteads. The birs accompanies the peaceful healergod Mars Lenus at Caerwent, presumably being present here as a guardian against disease. # 161 - 701 p 402 - 769
'Historia Regum Britaniae' furnished subject for Gorboduc. # 562
A kingdom bordering on Scotland from which it was separated by the River Tember. Its capital city was Gailhom. If one of Arthur's knights entered it, only Lancelot could rescue him. It was accessible only by crossing one of two bridges, one like a sword, the other subaqueous. It is variously described as the realm of Urien or Bagdemagus. Although it has otherworldly features, it may preserve a memory of the Celtic kingdom of Rheged. See: SORHAUT. # 156
# 156: A cousin of Arthur who, on three occasions, is said to have rescued him from imprisonment. He was the son of Constantine by an unnamed daughter of Amlawdd Wledig. His name, meaning 'best', was earned by him for managing to gain entrance with his followers to Wrnach's stronghold. See: YSPADADDEN. # 454: Son of Custennin and an unnamed woman who was sister to Igraine. Goreu was one of twenty-four sons, all of whom were killed by Yspaddaden Pencawr, he alone escaping because his mother hid him in a cupboard. In CULHWCH AND OLWEN is he unnamed at the outset. He goes as a champion to Cei (Kay) who promises to guard the boy. During the fulfilment of one of Culhwch's tasks, the boy achieves a great feat of fighting through three courtyards of men to reach his companions who acclaim him 'The Best' or Goreu. This feat may once have been associated with the winning of the Sword or Glaive of Light, one of the HALLOWS. He finally beheads Yspaddaden, avenging Custennin. # 156 - 272 - 439 - 454
The City of Gorias. See Dana. One of the cities from which the Tuatha de Danaan came before coming to Ireland. Its master of wisdom was Esras, who provided the spear of Lugh. See: HALLOWS. # 166 - 454 - 562
Arthur's pet wolf who turned out to be a man enchanted by his faithless wife with the aid of his magic wand. Arthur obtained the wand and turned him back into a human. Gorlagon's tale is found in the Latin romance ARTHUR AND GORLAGON (fourteenth century). # 156
GORLOIS OF CORNWALL
First husband of Igraine whose semblance Uther took when he first copulated with that lady. Gorlois was slain in battle against Uther. The building called Carhules near Castle Dore in Cornwall may have been called after a person named Gourles, perhaps the original of Gorlois. See: DIONETA. Duke of Cornwall and husband of Igerna (Igraine) on whom Uther Pendragon doted. With the help of Merlin, Uther was disguised in Gorlois likeness and lay with Igerna. Her child was Arthur. Gorlois was slain at the moment of the child's conception. He was father of Morgan, Morgause and Elaine of Garlot. # 156 - 418 - 454
According to CULHWCH, Gormant was Arthur's brother on his mother's side. Gormant's father is called Rica, chief elder of Cornwall. The latter appears to occupy the position of Gorlois in the Welsh tradition. # 156
(pl. gormesiad;) Plagues, enchantments. # 438
GORNEMANT DE GOORT
Prince of Graherz and a Knight of the Round Table. His three sons, Schenteflurs, Lascoyt and Gurzgi, all met violent ends. He trained Perceval, hoping he would marry his daughter Liaze, but it was not to be. # 156
Assembly of Bards. # 383 p 221 ff
Born in Gaul, Gorvenal became the tutor and later the servant of Tristan. He married Brangien, Iseult's maidservant. When Tristan left Liones, Gorvenal became its king. See: PHARAMOND. # 156
Arthur's helmet, high of steel and thereon was many gemstone, all encompassed with gold, which, according to Layamon, was made by Wygar, the witty wright. # 697
Brother of Guinevere, he carried her off when she refused to go with Gasozein who claimed to be her husband. # 156
(Gabhra). References to Oscar's death at Gowra; battle of Gowra between Clan Bascna and Clan Morna; King of Ireland's death at Gowra. Version of the Battle of Gowra in J. G. Campbell's THE FIANS, from WAIFS AND STRAYS OF CELTIC TRADITION, Argyllshire Series. The tale was taken down in verse, word for word, from the dectation of Roderick mac Fadyen in Tiree, 1868. See also: CAMPBELL OF TIREE, JOHN GREGORSON. # 562
Hero of a little known Arthurian romance in which he is the son of a fiendish knight and a gently born lady. The boy proves to be of a savage disposition until the devilish tendencies are driven out of him by means of a self-inflicted penance. A rather pious story, but an interesting reflection of the way in which the chivalric romances were used as teaching aids by the Church. # 454 - 610
# 156: The Holy Grail was a vessel sought by the Knights of the Round Table. The word is derived from Old French GREAL, meaning a kind of dish. The earliest story of the Grail is that of Chrétien, in which Perceval is the hero. It is called 'a grail', a common noun, later becoming THE Grail. Perceval's failure to achieve the Grail at first is due to his not asking the Grail question (What is the grail? Whom does it serve?), thereby restoring the Maimed King to health and the land round about to fertility. The question that arises is, what sort of tradition lay behind the Grail story? In its final forms, the Grail was the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, the dish on the table at that event, or (in Wolfram) a stone. F. Anderson has argued that the Grail was, in origin, the holy object of a nearly worldwide mystery cult which showed the Trinity symbolically. J. L. Weston thought it part of a pagan fertility rite, involving a story similar to that of Adonis. Certainly, the idea of a sickly king and a correspondingly sickly land seems to indicate some kind of fertility story but, while Miss Weston felt it must be of oriental provenance, it may be of local Celtic origin. It was thought to serve people with food and this calls to mind the notion of a cauldron of plenty, which is found in Celtic mythology, and reminds one of the THIRTEEN TREASURES OF BRITAIN.
The recorded expedition of Arthur to the Otherworld, apparently to obtain a cauldron in PREIDDEU ANNWFN and, what is probably its variant, the story of Arthur's expedition to Ireland to obtain a cauldron in CULHWCH may be early forms of the story of a Grail quest. However, it has been suggested that the story may originally have been built around a vengeance motif, as indicated by the Welsh PEREDUR. D. D. R. Owen thinks that the original tale had to do with the naming of a hero who had a cup preferred to him and was asked whom it should serve. The idea of the Grail as a metaphor for the human body containing the Holy Spirit would seem to be a late development. In recent times the Holy Blood/Holy Grail theory has become widely known because of its appearance in popular books. These argue that the Grail was a bloodline descending from Christ and they postulate that the Cathars or Albigensians, a heretical body of the Middle Ages, were much involved. However, as the Cathars regarded sexual reproduction as evil, they would hardly have cherished a line of descent. Elaborations of this theory have involved beings from outer space and pre-Columbian contact with America. The Christian element in the story is widely thought to be a later overlay and is highlighted in works such as the QUESTE. P. Matarasso suggests that the Grail experience in the QUESTE may well have involved some form of perception of God by Galahad. - The hero who achieves the Grail is Perceval in the Chrétien continuations, in Wolfram and in PERLESVAUS; Galahad in the QUESTE and its derivatives; Gawain in DIU CRôNE; and, in Malory, Galahad, Perceval and Bors achieve it together, Bors alone now returning to Arthur's court. J. L. Weston has argued that Gawain was the original hero, later replaced by Perceval, while J. Matthews takes the view that Gawain was replaced by Galahad. According to the QUESTE, the Grail was carried to Heaven by a hand after Galahad's death.
# 562: Legends of the Grail; the tale of Peredur and the Grail; Crétien de Troyes story of the Grail; identical with the Cup of the Last Supper; Wolfram von Eschenbach's conception of the story; preserved in Castle of Munsalväsche; the Grail, a talisman of abundance; false derivation of the word grail, from gréable; true derivation; combination of Celtic poetry, German mysticism, Christian chivalry, and ancient sun-myths contained in the Grail.
# 730: The Grail is probably the most ancient, abstract and elusive symbol in European civilization. In the Christian version, the Grail was a very popular theme for medieval authors like Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach. In the Middle Ages, the Holy Grail was believed to contain the blood of Christ, thus symbolizing the Divine Grace given to His disciples. But it is well known that the theme of the Grail is much older than Christianity, its origin being lost in the mists of time. For the Celts, the Grail was a vase with magic powers, such as the cauldron of the god Dagda in Ireland. If ever there was a Grail in the physical sense, it might have looked like the Danish vase of Gundestrup, dating from the second century BC, which was used for initiation ceremonies, judging by its decorations. But ever since C. G. Jung, the father of the psychology of the subconscious, the Grail is considered to be the symbol of interiorization leading to communication with the divinity which is simultaneously in ourselves and in Heaven. The vase, which is open at the top, perfectly symbolizes both interiorization and communication. However, the most important aspect of the Grail is not the unattainable object itself, but the QUEST for it, which requires a very difficult spiritual voyage of the initiates. We may therefore assimilate the quest of the Grail with an initiation experience as Jean Markale confirms: 'it is certain that all versions of the quest are initiation stories. Converseley, the Odyssey, being an initiation story, is clearly a quest for the Grail, thus explaining the vase on the arms of Vlissingen. The ODYSSEY is therefore the oldest epic about the Grail, which was to be found exactly where, in the Bronze Age, the initiation rites were performed: on the Nolle beach between Dishoek and Vlissingen, the latter name meaning: 'the Rebirth of Ulysses', after its founder, the archetypal initiate of Homer's time. It is not surprising to find the Grail also in nearby Middelburg as this town was the centre of Hades' island. The city was originally built in a perfect circle, which is still evident today from the layout of the streets. In the eleventh century, a large abbey was built in the town centre around a sculpture of the Grail standing in the large inner courtyard. The present sculpture is modern, as the abbey was destroyed by air raids in the Second World War, but since rebuilt.
The Grail's transition from a Gnostic to a Christian symbol is described by Paul Le Cour, according to whom the first and last patrons of the Grail were Poseidon and St John, who were considered as the patrons of the initiates. This provides us not only with the explanation of why, of all Olympians, it is precisely Poseidon, god of the Ocean and the subconscious whose golden statue is maintained on top of the town hall of Zierikzee, once the site of Circe's Mystery school, but also why the tallest church tower of Middelburg, which was built close to the Grail, is called Sint Jan (St John). See also: GRAIL, HOLY. # 44-87-100-106-112-153-156-185-287-300-318-346-354-358-388-400-429-434-451-454-458-461-492-562-604-715-726-730-748-749
The Castle, known as Carbonek, in which the Grail was housed. # 156
The Grail's manifestation in and relationship to the earthly realms is dependent upon its guardian, or Grail King. This function was fulfilled by a line of Grail guardians, drawn from one family usually that of Joseph of Arimathea. It succeeds to Arthur's knights who are successful Grail Knights, Perceval and Galahad. It follows that those who find the Grail become its guardians. The early Grail Kings include Bran the Blessed, Pellam, Anfortas and Brons. In Welsh tradition, this role is assigned to Manawyddan and Pryderi. Each guardian or king is wounded: his mortality sits heavy upon him since he has tasted immortal things. When he passes on the role to his successor, he himself passes within to the Blessed Realms. # 441 - 454 - 461
GRAIL KNIGHTS QUESTERS
In the later Grail cycles Galahad is the Grail-winner, with Perceval and Bors as his companions, but in the earlier tales it is Perceval who is the sole successful Grail-winner. There were many other unsuccessful knights on the quest, including Gawain and Lancelot. # 434 - 454 - 461
The weapon with which the Roman centurion, Longinus, pierced the side of Christ on the Cross. It subsequently became one of the Hallows of the Grail, and was sought together with that object in Arthur's time. Fragment of a spear, said to be that of Longinus, were housed in the Vatican museum. The lance is related, natively, to the shining spear of Lugh or Llew, which came from Findias with the Tuatha de Danaan. See: LANCE OF LONGINUS. # 451 - 454 - 461
The procession observed by Perceval at the Grail Castle when the Grail was carried, according to Chrétien by a squire with a bleeding lance, two squires carrying ten-branched candlesticks, a damsel with the Grail and a damsel with a plate. In the DIDOT PERCEVAL, there was a squire with a lance, a damsel with two silver plates and cloths, and a squire with a vessel containing the blood of Jesus. The Welsh PEREDUR has two youths with a large spear from which blood flowed, followed by a maiden with a salver on which there was a head swimming with blood. See: LANCE OF LONGINUS. # 153 - 156 - 185 - 346
The Wasteland and the Wounded King can only be healed when someone asks the Grail question. Usually the Grail-seeker is seated at a banquet when the Hallows of the Grail are processed to the accompaniment of much mourning. The unworthy candidate usually remains silent, but the successful one is supposed to ask 'what does this mean?' This question is a perennial one since it should be applied to all material and spiritual problems, in order that they be solved and come to terms with. Both Perceval and Galahad successfully discovered the answer. # 454
# 156: This sword, fashioned by Trebuchet, was shattered when it struck down Goon Desert, brother of the Fisher King. Making it whole was part of the Grail quest. # 454: One of the Grail Hallows, sought by the Knights of the Round Table in their quest for the Grail. It was eventually found by Gawain, broken in two pieces; his quest subsequently was to mend the sword, which he did by taking it to its place of origin, the forge of Wayland. Perceval had a similar quest to mend the sword. It is natively associated with the sword of Light, or the sword of Nuadu, the original Celtic Wounded King. # 30 - 156 - 454 - 461
GRAIL TREE, THE
The Cabbalistic Tree of Life can be used with any magical or philosophical system. Here it relates to the Arthurian ethos. # 230 june - 92, pp 8-9.
Although the paganism of the Grail romances was concealed under a thin coating of Christian reinterpretation, scolars now have little doubt that there was no authentic tradition of the lost Last Supper chalice that Christians called the Holy Grail. The vessel was entirely pagan and feminine, another transformation of the Celt's Cauldron of Regeneration, the female body-symbolic bowl of lifegiving blood, often appearing in conjunction with a male symbol just as the Grail appeared in conjunction with the Holy Lance. The Grail shows its paganism and feminine orientation at every turn in the romances. Its sacred procession appeared in a fairy queen's castle, not in a church. All Europe was feverishly interested in the stories of the Grail cycle for several centuries, until the feminine connotations of the holy vessel began to show through in various ways. Almost overnight, the stories stopped coming. In fifteenth-century Brunswick there was an important popular festival called the Grail, held every seven years. It was outlawed in 1481. See also: GRAIL. # 701 p 90 ff
or Grania (grân'nye) # 454: Daughter of Cormac mac Art. She was promised in marriage to Fionn mac Cumhal, but when she saw his greying hair she wondered whether it was more fitting for her to marry his son, Oisin. She saw Diarmuid in the wedding party and, having given the company a sleeping draught, she laid a geasa upon him to run away with her. Their long flight from Fionn was aided by Angus mac Og, Diarmuid's foster-father. There are numerous cairns and stone-circles in Ireland which bear the name: 'the Bed of Diarmuid and Grainne', attesting to the prohibition set on them by Fionn, that they might not sleep in the same place on two consecutive nights.
# 769: Diarmaid and Gráinne flee all over Ireland, aided by Oenghus who gives them many pieces of advice, including a warning never to sleep two nights in one place. The couple arrive in the Forest of Duvnos, an enchanted wood guarded by a giant, Sharvan the Surly. There is a particular tree in the forest, a tree of immortality whose berries Sharvan is particularly anxious to guard. Gráinne desires some of the berries and presses Diarmaid to defy Sharvan and obtain some of the fruit for her. Diarmaid kills Sharvan, and both he and Gráinne eat some of the berries. Finn discovers the forest and the couple's hidingplace; Oenghus intervenes once again and spirits Gráinne away to safety. Eventually, Finn pardons Diarmaid after Oenghus intercedes on their behalf; the pair settle in Kerry and produce five children. The story of Gráinne and Diarmaid is one of a number of instances in Irish mythology of the eternal triangle of young man, young girl and ageing suitor. The situation is very similar to the tale of Naoise, Deirdre and Conchobar. There are many supernatural elements in the story: Gráinne herself is powerful and superhuman, though not herself divine. The intervention of the god Oenghus is important; and the presence of a tree of immortality, whose fruit is eaten by the lovers, raises the couple above human status. As seen in numerous cases, we also here have different versions of the same tale. Where the Matthews mention that Diarmuid and Grainne should not sleep two following nights in the same place as a prohibition from Finn, Miranda Green, Cross and Slover and Michael Scott has it, that it was one of the many advices to the couple from the god of love Oenghus (Angus mac Og). See also: DERMOT OF THE LOVE SPOT, and ALTERNATE SPELLING. # 166 - 267 - 454 - 582 - 654 - 769
This name may be associated with the Irish GRIAN or GRIANAINECH, a title for the god Oghma, meaning 'Sun-face'. Grannus was invoked by the Emperor Caracalla in 215 AD in association with Aesculapius and Serapis, both gods of the cult of the Therapeutae. Grannus is often found in association with Sirona, a goddess whose name means 'star'. This connection is reminiscent of the concept of Three Worlds (Star, Sun and Moon) which underpins Celtic mythology. # 628 p 108 ff
According to an unknown writer cited by Plutarch, who died about the year 120 of the present era, and also by Procopius, who wrote in the sixth century AD, 'the Land of the Dead' is the western extremity of Great Britain, separated from the eastern by an impassable wall. On the northern coast of Gaul, says the legend, is a populace of mariners whose business is to carry the dead across from the continent to their last abode in the island of Britain. The mariners, awakened in the night by the whisperings of some mysterious voice, arise and go down to the shore, where they find ships awaiting them which are not their own,* and in these invisible beings, under whose weight the vessels sink almost to the gunwales. They go on board, and with a single stroke of the oar, says one text, in one hour, says another, they arrive at their destination, though with their own vessels, aided by sails, it would have taken them at least a day and a night to reach the coast of Britain. When they come to the other shore the invisible passengers land, and at the same time the unloaded ships are seen to rise above the waves, and a voice is heard announcing the names of the new arrivals, who have just been added to the inhabitants of the Land of the Dead. 'One stroke of the oar, one hour's voyage at most, suffices for the midnight journey which transfers the Dead from the Gaulish continent to their final abode. Some mysterious law, indeed, brings together in the night the great spaces which divide the domain of the living from that of the dead in daytime. It was the same law which enabled Ith one fine winter evening to perceive from the Tower of Bregon, in the Land of the Dead, the shores of Ireland, or the Land of the Living. The phenomenon took place in winter; for winter is a sort of night; winter, like night, lowers the barriers between the regions of Death and those of Life; like night winter gives to life the semblance of death, and suppresses, as it were, the dread abyss that lies between the two.' The solar vessels found in dolmen carvings. Note that the Celtic spirits, though invisible, are material and have weight; not so those in Vergil and Dante. # 562
A nephew of Arthur and the hero of the Irish romance EACHTRA AN AMADAN MOR. Because his brothers were killed for plotting against Arthur, he was raised in obscurity in the woods. When he grew up he became a mighty warrior, defeating Gawain, the Purple Knight, the Red Knight, and the Speckled Knight. # 156
GREAT GIANT OF HENLLYS, THE
Like the Roaring Bull of Bagbury, the Great Giant of Henllys, whose story appeared in the ATHENAEUM in 1847, is the ghost of the dead man who turns into a demon, as the ghost of Glam did in the Icelandic saga, GRETTIR THE STRONG. It incidentally gives a typical account of how a ghost or a devil was traditionally laid. Some time in the eighteenth century there lived on the banks of the Wye a man so rich, wicked and tyrannous that he was called 'The Great Giant of Henllys'. All the countryside rejoiced when he died, but they did not rejoice long, for he came again in a form so terrible that no one dared to be out of doors after dark, and even the horses and cattle huddled round the farms. At length it was determined that he must be laid, and three clergymen went at dead of night to the church of Henllys to exorcize him. They drew a circle before the altar, and took their stand within it. Each man had a lighted candle in his hand, and together they began their prayers. Suddenly a terrible monster appeared in the church and came roaring up towards them, but when it came to the circle it stopped as if it had hit against a stone wall. They went on with their prayers, but so terrible were the roarings and so close did the monster come that one man's heart failed him, and the candle that he held went out. But they continued with their exorcism. Then the giant reappeared as a roaring lion, and then as a raging bull; then it seemed as if a wave of the sea was flooding the church, and then as if the west wall was falling down. The second man wavered in his faith, and the second candle went out. Still the third went on, though his candle was faint. At last the Great Giant appeared in his mortal form, and they questioned him, and asked him why he had come in such dreadful shapes. 'I was bad as a man,' he said, 'and I am worse now as a devil.' And he vanished in a flash of fire. Then their candles all burned up again and they prayed steadily, and the Great Giant appeared in smaller and smaller forms,until at last he was only a fly, and they conjured him into a tobacco box, and threw him into Llynwyn Pool, to lie there for ninety-nine years. Some say that it was for nine hundred and ninety-nine; but at any rate they are very careful not to disturb the tobacco box when they are dredging Llynwyn Pool. # 100
Greek wars in alliance with Celts; Greeks breaks monopoly of Carthaginian trade with Britain and Spain; secure overland route across France to Britain; type of civilisation, Greeks Celtica preserved. # 562
In the Medieval Chronicles, Ralph of Coggeshall tells of how a boy and a girl with green skin were found near a pit in Saint Mary of the Wolf-Pit. They would eat nothing but green food and spoke a foreign language. The boy died quite soon but the girl learned to talk and eat ordinary food, so that she became as an ordinary person and spoke of a land very like that described by ELIDOR in his adventures in Faery. # 100 - 424 - 454
1. A character featured in the classic poem SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT (fourteenth century) and its derivative THE GREEN KNIGHT (c.1500). This knight came into Arthur's hall and asked any one of his knights to trade blows. Gawain accepted this challenge and he was allowed to strike first. He cut off the Green Knight's head. The latter calmly picked it up and told Gawain to meet him on New Year's Morning for his turn. On his way to this meeting, Gawain lodged with a lord and each agreed to give the other what he had obtained during each day of Gawain's stay. On the first day, when the lord was out hunting, Gawain received a kiss from his wife which was duly passed on. On the second day, he received a brace of kisses which were also passed on. On the third day he was given three kisses and some green lace which would magically protect him, but only the three kisses were passed on. Having left the lord's residence, Gawain arrived at the Green Chapel where he was to meet the Green Knight. He knelt for the blow. The Green Knight aimed three blows at Gawain, but the first two did not make contact and the third but lightly cut his neck. The Green Knight turned out to be the lord with whom he had been staying and he said he would not have cut Gawain at all had the latter told him about the lace. The Green Knight was called Bertilak and he lived at Castle Hutton. The tale bears a striking resemblance to an Irish narrative in which Cu Roi takes the part of the Green Knight and CuChulain that of Gawain. The Green Knight may have been the Green Man, a wild man featured on inn signboards whose effigy was carried in civic processions.
2. Sir Pertolepe, a knight defeated by Gareth.
#454: Gawain won the game but, because he had shamefully accepted Lady Bertilak's help, had to wear on his arms for ever, the Green Garter (the endless knot or five-pointed star). The Green Knight revealed that he been enchanted by Morgan Le Fay. # 156 - 418 - 454 - 672
(The Hidden One - The Cylenchar) The next stage of the ecological revolution begins with the reawakening of the male counterpart of the Goddess, the Green Man, an archetype found in folklore and religious art from the earliest times, and especially linked with the Christian origins of modern science. Long suppressed, the archetype emerges now to challenge us to heal our relationship with nature. - It is likely that Green Man pillars were erected originally on the sites of sacred trees. The Green Man signifies irrepressible life. He is an image from the depths of prehistory: he appears and seems to die and then comes again after long forgettings at many periods in the past two thousand years. In his origins he is much elder than our Christian era. In all his appearances he is an image of renewal and rebirth. See also: JACK IN THE GREEN. # 20
The story of Green Sleeves, published in Peter Buchan's ANCIENT SCOTTISH TALES, is an exellent example of the supernatural wizard such as we find in the tales of Nicht Naught Nothing and the Battle of the Birds. These are all Celtic tales which have survived in Full, but of which fragments are to be found in England. 'Green Sleeves' is a story of the 'supernatural bride' type and is rich in motifs which seem peculiar to the Celtic genius, though it also contains many universal motifs.
To begin with, Green Sleeves procures the presence of the prince-hero by winning a game of skill against him. In most of the Celtic tales the game is chess, but in this it is skittles. Then we have the travels in search of the challenger, where the hero is helped successively by three very aged, almost immortal brothers. Then we come to the Swan Maiden theme with the three daughters of the wizard. The help of one of them is secured by taking her swan garment and returning it to her. We next move on to the miraculous tasks demanded by the wizard and performed for the hero by his daughter, the selection of the bride among a number of maidens who appear identical with her, the marriage and escape by means of an object which magically answers for the lovers. The flight and the pursuer delayed by magical objects, the separable soul and the death of the wizard are all a common sequence of motifs in this type of story. It is almost inevitably followed by the separation of the lovers because of the violation of a taboo, the theme of the bartered bed, the awakening of the husband's memory, and the final reunion of the lovers.
The theme of the would-be lovers magically delayed is treated as a complete story in 'The Three Feathers' included by Jacobs in his ENGLISH FAIRY TALES. The Aarne-Thompson Types 400, 'The Search for the Lost Bride' and 425, 'The Search for the Lost Husband' are combined in this tale. Its subject is plainly a journey into a supernatural world and the winning of a supernatural bride. The wizard enjoys a conditional and magical immortality which is paralleled by many of the Tuatha De Danann. Age and disease cannot kill them, but they can be killed by violence, as Aed the son of Dagda was killed by a blow from a jealous husband. Green Sleeves is typical of many supernatural wizards whose life is butressed by magic.
The summary which follows is taken from A DICTIONARY OF BRITISH FOLK TALES, PART A VOL. I.: A King of Scotland had a son who was devoted to gambling and excelled at the game of skittles, so that no one dared compete with him in that game. A strange old man suddenly appeared and challenged him to play, on condition that the winner might ask of the loser whatever he wished, and the loser must comply on pain of death. The old man won, and charged the prince to tell him his name and place of abode before that day twelve months. The prince took to his bed in despair, but was at last persuaded by his father, first to tell him the cause of his distress, and then to go and seek the answers to the old man's questions. After a long days travel an old man, sitting outside his cottage, told him the rogue was named Green Sleeves. He was 200 years old, and sent the Prince 200 miles on to his brother, 400 years older, with the aid of magic slippers and a ball to guide him. The slippers and ball would return of themselves on being kicked. Eight hundred miles on, the third brother, thousand years older, sent him to the river Ugie to intercept the three daughters of Green Sleeves, who would come to bathe, disguised as swans. He stole the swan-skin of the youngest, which had one blue wing, and so induced her to tell him the way to Green Sleeves' castle. Being unwillingly admitted by Green Sleeves, the prince found endless difficulties - a bed of broken glass fragments, fish-skins and mouldy bread to eat - and three impossible tasks were imposed on him by Green Sleeves, but Blue Wing secretly helped him through all, with the aid of a magic box containing thousands of fairies. The tasks were, first, to build a castle 1,000 miles in length, breadth and height, including a stone from every quarry in the world, and covered with feathers of every kind of bird. The next task was to sow, reap and replace in the cask from which it came, a quantity of lint seed, as before in the space of a single day.
Third and last was to clear a stable where 200 horses had stood for 200 years, and recover from it a golden needle lost by Green Sleeves' grandmother 1,000 years before. Green Sleeves now offered the prince one of his daughters in marriage. They would have murdered him, but Blue Wing, by a trick, again saved him and they fled. Magic cakes hung on their bed delayed the pursuit, but finally Green Sleeves in seven-leagued boots followed them. Magic obstacles, a forest, a great rock, and a rushing river, enabled the prince, directed by Blue Wing, to procure an egg from a certain bird's nest on top of a high hill. With this egg, aimed at a special point of his breast, Green Sleeves was slain, and the prince rode home to procure a fitting escort for his bride before making her known to his parents. Blue Wing warned him against being kissed, but a lap-dog sprang up and licked him, and he forgot her. Blue Wing hid in a tree above a pool, and two servants of a neighbouring goldsmith, mistaking her reflection for their own, refused, through pride in their supposed beauty, to serve him any more. Blue Wing took their place, and served the goldsmith, until two of his customers, a prince's groom first, and then the Duke of Marlborough himself, fell in love with her. She tricked them both, by magic, having promised to sleep with each of them for one night, and then kept them spell-bound to some menial task, and so made her way, as the duke's partner, to a ball at court. Here, when the dancing was over, and tales were told and songs sung. Blue Wing produced a golden cock and hen, which talked, and reminded the prince of all that had happened. The new bride to whom he had been promised was dismissed, and Blue Wing and the prince were married, with all honour and joy, and lived to see their large family grow up to take their place in due time. # 100 - 115 - 338
Situated about three miles from Ayr, this castle is built on the site of an Iron Age hill fort. N. L. Goodrich argues that this was the site of the original Camelot, though she also states that 'Camelot' was the name given to whatever stronghold Arthur was occupying at the time. She further identifies the site of Greenan Castle with Badon. # 156 - 255
This island, called Kalaallit Nunaat in Greenlandic, was conquered by Arthur, according to William Lambard in his ARCHAIONOMIA (1568). Hakluyt, the travel writer of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is of the opinion that Grocland was Greenland. Greenland may be meant by Granland, the territory ruled by Amangons in LE CHEVALIER AS DEUS ESPÉES (Old French). # 156
A ghost said to haunt Moel Arthur in Llanwist, Clwyd. R. Holland in his book, SUPERNATURAL CLWYD, Llanwist (1989), suggests she was thought to be the protectress of Arthur's treasure which is said to be buried there.# 156
GREY OF MACHA
CuChulain's horse, ridden by Sualtam to rouse men of Ulster; resists being harnessed by Laeg; mortally wounded by Erc; defends CuChulain. # 562
A king of Wales who gained his throne by murder, but was ousted by Meriadoc, the true heir to the throne. # 30 - 156
An Arthurian knight, the son of Do. His name is also rendered GIRFLET. He may be identical with Jaufré, the hero of a Provencal romance. In one version he, not Bedivere, was given the task of flinging Excalibur into the waters after Arthur's last battle. When he saw Arthur's tomb he became a hermit but he died shortly afterwards. Griflet's origins are Celtic: he is derived from Gilfaethwy, son of Don, in the MABINOGION story of MATH, SON OF MATHONWY, where he is the brother of Gwydion. As Gwydion seems to have been a British smith-god, Gilfaethwy was presumeably also a deity. Griflet's father, Don, seems to come from Don, the goddess who was Gilfaethwy's mother in British tradition. See: ESCANOR, and LORETE. # 156 - 418
(In Welsh: Kincaled) Gawain's horse. Accounts vary as to how it came into Gawain's possession. He was thought either to have won it in a duel with Escanor Le Grand, though it was Escanor's nephew's possession, given him by the fairy, Esclarimonde; or else to have taken it from the Saxon King Clarion. # 156 - 398 - 604
A knight who, by magic, was made to resemble a Turk. He and Gawain went to the Isle of Man where, after some adventures, they slew the king and Gromer, restored to his original shape by decapitation, became king in his place. Gromer's story is told in the poem of THE TURK AND GAWAIN (c.1500). Another bearer of this name was Gromer Somer Joure (q.v.) who once captured Arthur. # 156
GROMER SOMER JOURE
Powerful, magical shape-shifter who captured Arthur in the story of GAWAIN AND DAME RAGNELL. He demanded that Arthur discovered what it was that women most desired. Arthur was told by the Loathly Lady, Ragnell, who demanded marriage with Gawain as her reward. Gromer's name means 'Lord of the Summer's Day'. He is analogous to Hafgan in the story of Pwyll, and bears many similarities with Gawain's other adversary, the Green Knight. Gromer was under enchantment by Morgan. # 439 - 454 - 507
(gron'oo payber). Loved by Blodeuwedd; slain by Llew. When Llew was resuscitated by Gwydion, he begged mercy and was allowed to hold a large stone between himself and Llew's spear, but the weapon passed through both the stone and man. # 272 - 439 - 454 - 562
# 701: The sacred grove was the characteristic shrine of the Great Goddess Diana throughout the Roman empire. In Ireland her oak groves were called NEMED. Her consorts among the Celtic gods were known to the Romans as Silvanus, King of the Grove.
# 769: Whilst the Celts sometimes worshipped in built temples, their cult foci were frequently natural features in the landscape, like trees, forests or groves. The term 'nemeton' refers to a sacred place and, in particular, a sacred grove. In addition to the evidence for sacred groves themselves, goddesses with 'grovenames' were venerated. Thus we know of Arnemetia of Buxton and Nemetona, who was worshipped, for example, at Altripp near Speyer and at Bath. The Celto-German tribe of the Nemetes (in whose territory Nemetona was venerated) suggests that the tribe adopted this sacred name. At Grenoble, a group of female divinities was known as the Nemetiales (goddesses of the grove). See also: TREES. # 563 - 701 p 464 - #769
In the Highlands there is the fairy lady dressed in green with long golden hair, sometimes beautiful and sometimes wan and haggard, who is the guardian of the cattle. Mackenzie is inclined to think that she is truly 'the hairy one' which might be an epithet attached to a Glaistig, a fairy lady. The Gruagach appears in Scottish folklore as a kind of brownie or sometimes as a clever, green- or red-dressed male or female. They appears to be otherworldly beings of great magical power, able to enchant the unwary but also to aid mortals. They sometimes appears as the challenger and teacher of the boy-hero of folk-story, whom they provokes and is eventually outwitted by. In southern Ireland they occasionally appears as giants.
# 100 - 415 - 454
(gwai'ry). Arrested for murder, and tried at Tara by Dermot. # 562
(gwar'y). High King; taunts Sanchan Torpest about the 'Tain'. # 562
Daughter of Corineus. She was deserted by her husband, Locrinus, in favour of his mistress, Estrildis. Guendolena drowned her and killed Locrinus in battle. She ruled briefly before giving her realm to the hands of her son. # 243 - 454
The wife of Merlin in VITA MERLINI. She may be identical with Chwimleian, mentioned in AFOLLONAU, one of the Welsh Myrddin (Merlin) poems. She married Rhydderch Hael after Merlin ran mad. # 156 - 242 - 632
GUEST, LADY CHARLOTTE
Her collections of tales. See: MABINOGION.
A king of Britain who, according to Geoffrey, was killed during the Claudian invasion and was succeeded by his brother, Arviragus. # 156 - 243
The chaste wife of Caradoc Briefbras whose fidelity was shown by the mantle test. A boy brought a mantle to Arthur's court and asserted that it would fit only faithful wives. Various ladies tried it on but it fitted only Guignier. Guignier lost one of her breasts in dealing with a serpent magically wrapped around Caradoc's arm, but this was replaced by one made of gold with the aid of the knight Aarlardin who had once been enamoured of her. See: TEGAU. # 156
The brother of Ban and the elder Bors. Something of a wizard, he made a magic chessboard and caused a dance to continue perpetually. # 156
(In Welsh: Gwenhwyvar) The wife of Arthur, daughter of King Leodegrance of Cameliard in Malory. Welsh tradition calls her father Gogrvan or Ocvran, while in DIU CRONE he is called King Garlin of Galore. A late literary source, Thelwalls play THE FAIRY OF THE LAKE (1801), suggests that she is the daughter of Vortigern. Wace makes her Mordred's sister. In Geoffrey, she is of Roman stock, and while Arthur was fighting the Roman war, Mordred abducted her and made himself king. In the later version of the arthurian story she was the lover of Lancelot. Their intrigue discovered, Lancelot fled and Guinevere was duly sentenced to burning. Lancelot rescued her and war followed between him and Arthur. While Arthur was away, Mordred rebelled. Arthur returned to do battle with him and received his final wound. Guinevere took the veil. However, there are a different tales of her end. According to PERLESVAUS, she died in Arthur's lifetime, while Boece averred she ended her days as a prisoner of the Picts. She and Arthur had a son called Loholt, though he was also said to be the son of Arthur and Lionors. The ALLITERATIVE MORTE ARTHURE says that she and Mordred were the parents of two sons. B. Saklatvala has suggested she was really a Saxon named Winifred, and J. Markale has opined that Kay and Gawain were originally amongst her lovers. Welsh tradition stated that Arthur was married, not to one, but to three Guineveres. Some have argued that Guinevere is a mythical figure, representing the sovereignty of Britain, over which contenders fight; in this respect she is a parallel figure to Eriu, the goddess of the sovereignty of Ireland. C. Matthew's contends that this interpretation is supported by the legend of three Guineveres married to Arthur, saying these are not three separate persons but a single triune goddess. J. Matthews contends that Guinevere and Morgan are like two sides of a coin, the beneficent and maleficent aspects of sovereignty.
Efforts to connect Guinevere with Findabair, daughter of the Irish goddess Maeve, have not proven successful. Guinevere was very susceptible to being abducted and it has been suggested that her story is a parallel of the Irish story of Midir and Etain. In this, Etain was once an otherworldly bride of Midir but she retains no memory of this fact and is now married to an Irish king. Midir turns up to lure her back to the Otherworld. Similarly, it is said, Guinevere's abductor, be he Meleagaunce or Lancelot, Gasozein or Valerin is merely taking her back to the Otherworld whence she came.
We are told in the MABINOGION that Guinevere had a sister named Gwenhwyvach; in French romance that she had an identical half-sister who, for a while, took her place; and in the German DIU CRONE that she had a brother, Gotegrin. # 156 - 438 - 710
GUINEVERE, THE FALSE
Guinevere's identical half-sister, whom Leodegrance fathered on the same night as he fathered Guinevere. She claimed she was the true Guinevere and enticed Arthur into giving up her half-sister who took refuge in Sorelois. The False Guinevere and her champion Bertholai admitted in the end that they were deceivers and after two and a half years the real Guinevere was restored to Arthur. # 156 - 604
The son of Gawain and Ragnell. He appeared at Arthur's court ignorant of his name, so he was called Le Bel Inconnu ('The Fair Unknown'). A damsel turned up with a dwarf and asked for a knight to rescue her mistress, a princess, with 'the daring kiss'. Arthur sent Le Bel Inconnu. After a couple of adventures they came to the Golden Island where a fairy, Pucelle aux Blanche Mains, offered him love, but they went on to the palace of the princess. There, Guinglain defeated a knight with a horned and fire-breathing horse, and darkness fell everywhere. A snake appeared and kissed him and he heard a voice tell him his name and that he was Gawain's son. He fell asleep and when he awoke a princess called Blonde Esmerée was there. She told him she had been the snake, whom he had released from enchantment by receiving her kiss. After a sojourn with Pucelle on the Golden Island, Guinglain married the princess. # 156
GUNDESTRUP CAULDRON, THE
The richly ornamented silver cauldron from the Raeve Bog at Gundestrup, Jutland.
It was probably placed there in the fourth or third century BC.
All photos, Lennart Larsen, The National Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark.
In the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen is the celebrated silver cauldron found in Gundestrup, Jutland. It shows a curious blend of oriental imagery and techniques with apparently Celtic motifs, and preserves one of the best surviving records of Celtic warriors and their accoutrements (c.100 BC) There are helmets with bird or animal crests, the typical long shields, trousers-the idea of which the Celts probably borrowed from the East- and the long, animal-headed war trumpets. One relief depicts the sacrifice of a bull, which has a ritual significance all over the Celtic areas. The bowl itself had a ritualistic fate. Professor P. V. Glob considers it to be booty brought home by the Cimbri. And he suggests the cauldron was sunk in the Raeve Fen as an offering to turn the fortunes of war. In the magazine AMERICAN SCIENTIFIC, the English archaeologist Timothy Taylor stress that the motifs of the Gundestrup Cauldron inti-mately connect it to India and Hinduism. This notion isn't new at all, but Taylor suggests some new argumentation which underlines this connection. - Other scholars have another view, like Iman Wilkens in his survey of Troy (#730), where he says:...'It seems fairly safe to say that "wide Cnosus" (Iliad, XVIII, 591) was none other than the ""cap"" of Jutland, the extreme north of Denmark, where there is a region and a hill with a name unique in Europe, Knøsen. It is well established that the Celts lived in this area long before our own era, for archaeologists found there one of the most celebrated of all Celtic works of art, the Gundestrup silver cauldron (called after the village where it was found). This cauldron is decorated with a frieze showing what seems to be a human sacrifice to a god and it is precisely to human sacrifice that Knossos owed its notoriety throughout the ages. However, it was notsituated in the Mediterranean. It thus appears that the Celts had conquered Jutland already, before Homer's time, from more ancient peoples who had erected the many megalithic monuments found in the region. This may explain why Homer mentions various different peoples living in "Crete": There dwell Acheans, there great-hearted native Cretans, there Cydonians and Dorians of waving plumes and goodly Pelasgians. Among their cities is the great city Cnosus, where Minos reigned. (Od.XIX, 175-178)'
# 354: Extracts from SE GUNDESTRUP KARRET (SEEING THE GUNDESTRUP CAULDRON). In every respect is this a beautiful book with its handmade looking hardcover and its extraordinary size (A3) and inside at the pages the author takes a fresh look at the scenes on the plates of the Gundestrup Cauldron. Starting off with the ornamental leaves - which others have seen just as ornamental - he notes that they in fact are a kind of pointing arrows showing the direction of movements. This leads to another observation: there seems to be two complementary types of movements, horizontal and vertical, as seen in figs. A and B.
Fig.A Inner Plate "God Father""
In fig. A we see a male deity placed in an upper layer of running beasts with dotted furcoats. Their feet are pushing backwards thereby supporting the right-to-left movement of the winged creatures in the lower layer. The whole scene can be interpreted this way: a supreme male "God Father" is situated amongst the figures of the zodiac (heaven's equator) making the spheres turn. The lower layer is the winds - notice by the way the humorous detail of the helping deity supporting the winds in his own way! Below him we see a ram-headedsnake placed as symbol of this deity. The same symbolizing way a beast is placed below the female god in fig. B, telling that HER power is as strong as that of the zodiac, or of "God Father". This "God Mother" has turned her attention inwards, as seen by the positions of her arms almost crossed. She is counterbalancing the male side of the universal powers by turning the horizontal movements inwards, creating a vertical up-going stream of psychic energy (the kind of which is shown on the plates by leaves having small-dot pattern background).
Fig. B Inner Plate "God Mother"
Probably the God Mother was situated in the northern sky. Thus the circumpolar stars would come from both right and left, and elephants would be an exellent choice of figures to indicate the lower speed compared to the stars of the zodiac.
fig. C Inner plate: "The ever-running thoughts"
The male-female complementaries of the gods form a wholeness that in small scale can be found in every man or woman. One of the three last inner plates (fig. C) shows a man who three times tries to stop a bull or unicorn. This plate contains clearly three layers of running animals pushing each other with the feet just like the animals on the plate of God Father. Here it shows the part of the human mind that concerns the "male" expressive energies: the ever-running thoughts so difficult to stop. The top layer dotted animals probably represent divine powers uncontrollable to most people and the bottom layer probably lower animal (sexual?) instincts.
fig. D Inner plate:"Inner quietness"
The "female" way of dealing with the powers is shown in the plate(fig. D) where a person is sitting in a meditative-like position. Here the normal horizontal movements has been stopped, and all kinds of animals go to and fro in no apparent order. The person has reach the first goal - to stop the thoughts.
fig. E. Inner plate "Indian belief"
From here everything can happen. The last of the inner plates shows a lying plant as the central object. Seven soldiers stand below it, out of which six are touching the plant with the points of their spears. The last at the top of the plant wears a wild boar on his helmet.
If the plate is turned to make the plant stand up it becomes obvious that this is a "life-tree". Note the small-dot background connecting it to the psychic movements. In India this is known in the form of a system of Chakras - a flow of psychic energy flowing upwards in the body from the root (the genitals) along the spine to the top of the head.
fig. F. Outer plate "Life-energy"
At the root of the plant a small person is held upside-down by a larger figure above what is usually thought to be a vessel into which the small person is either baptized or made to offer his blood. The vessel, however, can also be seen as the female sex out of which the small person is born. This is very probable because it is placed right next to the root of the life-tree. Besides, even today when you begin working with your psychic energies it is often accompanied by dreams of death and re-birth.
According to Indian belief not just one but three streams of energy flow upwards, crossing each other in seven psychic centres - the chakras. To the right of the lying plant three men are blowing Celtic carnyxes. Above them a ram-headed snake tells us that what comes through the three tubes is the same sort of energy that symbolized the helper of God Father - and the same sort as the meditating person of the last plate held in his hand.
Following Indian thoughts the middle stream is the most important. It can only flow upwards when the two other streams, male and female, are balanced. This must be the reason why on the outer side of the cauldron the originally eight plates (only seven are found) are telling us in details how the powers of each level - chakra - should be balanced. The one extra plate shows the human's mind before starting his work of balancing his male and female sides.
As an example of the outer plates take a look at fig. F. It differs from the others found because its arms are in both active and passive positions at a time: one arm is streched upwards whilst the other is bent inwards. Thus it can be suggested that this plate symbolizes a function balanced in itself. It seems logical to presume that here we are at the level of solar plexus - at the solar chakra, concerning the reception and use of life energy through breathing.
Obviously the life energy came into the body with the air. On the left receptive side of the central figure a heraldic bird shows that something airy passes down here and is re-formed by a small figurine to create nourishment for the small human lying at the big figure's breast. On the active side a four-legged animal is changed to a bird showing that something is changed to air anew before it is returned to the same kind of heraldic bird that brought the life energy in the first place.
The right shoulder peculiarly continues beyond the raised right arm and a small figurine sits on it. Above her a creature flees upwards. This must be picturizing a very special kind of breathing out, namely the last, the terminal breath. The spirit or soul flees to heaven whereas the body as pointed by the figurine's right arm goes to the ground. Her left arm is held over solar plexus to show the seat of the life energy.
For accuracy it should be noted that according to Indian belief the life energy is connected to the fire-element, not to air. On the other hand, why should this not have been the same to the Celts and Thracians? Fire is clearly growing when blown at, and the other way round flames seem to change into smoke, or air, again...
The interpretation made by the Danish writer Bjerre Jørgensen of the GUNDESTRUP CAULDRON is in many ways unique and may give rise to new views from scholars in Celtic religious idiosyncrasy or ways in the Celtic initiation process.
Details from the basic plate, showing head of bull. Among other symbols, the plate contains one human, three dogs and a bull.
The interpretation from # 354 of this plate suggests that it may symbolize a moment of transformation, with the death of the old personality and the birth of a new, more beautiful, happier and a more vigorous one. # 220 -253 - 354 - 372 - 730 - 769 - 781
The king of Denmark, slain by Arthur for refusing to pay him tribute. # 156 - 243
A cannibal king whose son was slain by a giant who was, in turn, slain by Gawain. The son's corpse was cooked and eaten by Gurgurant's followers. When Gurgurant became a Christian his name was changed to Archier. He became a hermit near the Grail Castle. # 112 - 156
In Gottfried, the King of Ireland and father of Iseult. He was the son of an African king. The name probably comes from Gormund who, in Geoffrey, was an African king who conquered and established himself in Ireland. # 156
GUY OF WARWICK
A tenth-century legendary hero, said to have married the Earl of Warwick's daughter. He slew a monstrous boar and cow as well as a dragon who was about to devour a lion, which afterwards became his champion. He returned from the Holy Land to help King Ethelstan fight against the Danes and finally became a hermit. # 454
The mysterious prisoner of the poem, PRIDDEU ANNWN: 'Perfect was the captivity in Caer Sidi/According to the tale of PWYLL AND PRYDERI.' Gweir seems not to have been a personal name, but an alias or title which can be applied to the experiences of many characters within the MABINOGION, especially Mabon. He was said to have been released by Goreu. ># 104 - 272 - 439 - 454
(goo-ALKH-meh) Nephew of King Arthur. See also: GAWAIN. # 562
In CULHWCH, the son of Gwyar and brother of Gwalchmai (Gawain), perhaps the original of Galahad. # 156
GWARTHEG Y LLYN
(gwarrtheg er thlin) These, the fairy cattle of Wales, were among fairy animals very closely akin to the Crodh Mara of the Highlands, except that they are generally said to be milk-white, though in one story at least the cow is described as speckled or parti-coloured. These cattle in Wales were often given as part of the dowry of a Gwragedd Annwn, a Lake Maiden, but a water-bull would sometimes visit earthly herds with most fortunate results for the farmer. On one occasion at least a stray fairy cow attached herself to an earthly bull, and the farmer succeeded in catching her. From that moment his future was made. The number and quality of the calves born to the stray cow were unsurpassable. Never was such milk or butter or cheese. The farmer became the richest man in the countryside. But as years passed the rich farmer became prouder and more grasping. He began to think that the stray cow's heyday had passed and that it was time to fatten her for the market. She was as industrious at fattening as she has been at breeding or giving milk. Soon she was a prodigy of fatness. The butcher was called, the neighbours assembled to see the death of the far-famed cow. The butcher raised his sharp knife; but before the blow could be struck his arm was paralysed and the knife dropped from his hand. A piercing scream rang out, and the crowd saw a tall figure in green standing on the crag above Llyn Barfog. She chanted out in a great voice
'Come thou, Einion's Yellow One,
Stray-horns, the Particoloured Lake Cow
And the hornless Dodin;
Arise, come home.'
As she sang the stray cow broke loose, and followed by all her progeny, raced up the mountain-side to the fairy lady. The farmer followed frantically after them, only to see them surrounding the green lady, who formed them into ranks and led them into the dark waters of the lake. She waved her hand derisively to the farmer, and she and her herd disappeared into the dark waters, leaving only a cluster of yellow water-lilies to mark the place where they had sunk. The farmer became as poor as he had been rich. The Highland version of this story is the Elf-Bull, though no lake maiden appears. # 100
GWARWYN A THROT
(gwarrwin-a-throt) The hidden name of a Monmouthshire BWCA. # 100
# 562: (GOO-awl) Rival of Pwyll's for Rhiannon's hand. 2.Daughter of Coel and, possibly, wife of Cunedda. # 454: The former betrothed of Rhiannon. He came as a suppliant to the feast where she was to be married to Pwyll, who granted all Gwawl might desire. Gwawl asked for both the feast and Rhiannon. At the wedding feast of Gwawl and Rhiannon, Pwyll likewise came disguised as a suitor and begged for his bag to be filled with food. Gwawl assented, but the bag was bottomless. Pwyll explained that it would never be filled until a nobleman pressed down the contents with his feet. This Gwawl did, becoming enclosed in the bag and beaten by Pwyll's men in a game called 'Badger in the Bag' until he begged for mercy and relinquished Rhiannon. He was made to swear he would not seek revenge, but his maltreatment was avenged by his cousin, Llwyd ap Cil Coed. # 272 - 439 - 454 - 562
1. In DREAM OF RHONABWY a mantle of invisibility belonging to Arthur. 2. Arthur's maternal grandmother, the daughter of Cunedda, in Welsh tradition. 156 - 272 - 346
According to the Welsh Myrddin (Merlin) poems, Merlin's lord at the battle of Arthuret. His retinue was described as one of the six faithful retinues of the island of Britain for it continued to fight for six weeks after his death. In one of the TRIADS it states he had birds which had a yoke of gold and two corpses for dinner and supper. They were killed by Gall, son of Dysgyfdawd. In the VITA Merlin was on the side which opposed Gwenddolau at Arthuret. See: THIRTEEN TREASURES. # 156
The sister of Guinevere in Welsh tradition. She struck Guinevere and this led to the battle of Camlann. In Thomas Love Peacock's MISFORTUNES OF ELPHIN (1829), Gwenhwyvach is married to Mordred. # 104 - 156
(gwen'hoo-ivar). Wife of King Arthur. See also: GUINEVERE. # 562
GWENT YS COED
(guint uss coit) Welsh place-name from the Arthurian saga.
GWENWYNWYN In CULHWCH, Arthur's chief fighter. # 156 - 346
Son of Matholwch and Branwen; assumes sovranty of Ireland. He was thrown in the fire by his uncle, Efnissien. # 272 - 439 - 562
(See also Gwion Bach) The son of Gwreang who was left by Ceridwen to stir her cauldron. Drops from it landed on his finger which he sucked and at once understood everything that had happened or was to happen. He fled to avoid Ceridwen, both pursuer and pursued changing into different shapes. Gwion eventually changed himself into a grain of wheat and she changed herself into a hen and swallowed him. She became pregnant with him and bore him as Taliesin. All this may represent an initiatory process, as C. Matthews suggests. A certain similarity may be noted between Gwion and the Irish hero Finn (Fionn) mac Cool, who sucked his thumb when some of the essence of the Salmon of Knowledge was on it. The chewing of the thumb may recall a pagan practice of divination. R. Graves considers that Gwion was a historical person who discovered poetic mysteries and began to compose poetry, using the name of the legendary Taliesin. See: TALIESIN. # 156 - 259 - 272 - 439 - 508
Son of Gwreang; put to stir magic cauldron by Cerridwen; similar action to Finn. # 562
(goo-loo'lid). The dun oxen of Gwlwlyd. # 562
GWRACH Y RHIBYN
(gwrarch er hreebin) A form of Welsh banshee. Her name means 'Hag of the Warning'. She is nearer to the Cailleach Bheare/Bheur than the usual Sidhe-woman of Irish tradition. She always warns of a death and, like the Washer of the Ford, is often encountered at a crossroad or stream.
This rather obscure name is used in Cardiganshire for the Welsh Banshee, sometimes called y Cyhiareth. She would go invisibly beside the person she wished to warn, and if she came to cross-roads or to a stream she would burst out into a ghastly shriek, beating the ground or the water and crying out, 'My husband! My husband!' if she was accompanying a woman, or, 'My wife! if a woman's death was foretold. Or again, 'My little child! O my little child!' if it was a child who would die. Inarticulate screams meant the death of the hearer himself. She was described as very hideous, with tangled hair, long black teeth and long withered arms out of all proportion to the length of her body. Rhys, who gives this description of her in CELTIC FOLK-LORE, VOL.II, considers that she is generally regarded as an ancestral figure, but thinks it possible that she may be one of the mother goddesses, like Anu or the Cailleach Bheur. # 100 - 454 - 554
(gwrageth anoon) Of all the folk fairy tales of Wales, that of the Lake Maidens who married mortals has had the widest distribution and the longest life.
There are many sinister fairies in Welsh tradition, but the Welsh water-fairies are not among them. They are beautiful and desirable, but they are not sirens or nixies. John Rhys devotes a chapter in CELTIC FOLK-LORE to 'Undine's Kymric Sisters'.
The best-known and the earliest of the stories about the Gwragen Annwn is the story of the lady of Llyn y Van Ffach, a small and beautiful lake near the Black Mountains. It happened in the 12th century that a widow with a farm at Blaensawde, near Mydffai, used to send her only son two miles up the valley to graze their cattle on the shores of Llyn y Van Ffach. One day, as he was eating his midday snack, he saw the most beautiful lady he had ever seen , sitting on the surface of the lake combing the curls of her long golden hair with the smooth water as her mirror. He was at once fathoms deep in love, and held out his hands with the bread in them, beseeching her to come to shore. She looked kindly at him, but said, 'Your bread is baked too hard' and plunged into the lake. He went back and told his mother what had happened. She sympathized with him and gave him some unbaked dough to take next day. That was too soft, so the next day his mother gave him lightly baked bread. That passed the test, for three figures rose from the lake: an old man of noble and stately bearing with a beautiful daughter on each side of him. The old man spoke to the farmer saying that he was willing to part with his daughter if the young man could point out to him the one on whom his love was set. The fairy ladies were as like as two peas, and the farmer would have given it up in despair if one of them had not slightly moved her foot so that he recognized the distinctive lacing of her sandal and made the right choice. The fairy father gave her a dowry of as many cattle as she count in a breath - and she counted quickly - but warned her future husband that he must treat her kindly, and if he gave her three causeless blows she and her dowry would be lost to him for ever. They married and were very happy, and had three beautiful boys, but she had strange, fairy-like ways; she fell sometimes into a kind of trance, she was apt to weep when other people rejoiced, as at weddings, and to laugh and sing when other people were mourning, as at a child-funeral, and these peculiarities were the cause of his giving her three causeless blows, mere love-taps but a breach of the geasa or taboo, so that she was forced to leave him, taking with her all her cattle and their descendants, even to the slaughtered calf hanging against the wall. She did not forget her three sons, however, for she visited them and taught them deep secrets of medicine so that they became the famous physicians of Mydffai, and the skill descended in their family until it died out in the 19th century. This tale Rhys reproduced from THE PHYSICIANS OF MYDFFAI be Rees of Tonn, but he also recorded variations of it from oral collections, adding fresh details in some versions, though some were rudimentary.
Wirt Sikes in BRITISH GOBLINS tells the same story in considerable detail, but without giving his source, as Rhys is careful to do. In all the stories the taboo is, in the end, violated and the fairy disappears, just as the wedded Seal Maidens regain their skins and return to their element. # 100 - 554 - 596
(goo're-ang). Father of Gwion Bach. # 562
A maternal uncle of Arthur in CULHWCH. # 156 - 346
(GUR-heer) An interpreter at Arthur's court. When Culhwch and Arthur's men were searching for Mabon, Gwrhyr, who was able to speak the animals' tongues, asked the Blackbird of Cilgwri for directions. He referred them to the Stag of Rhedynfrc who passed them on to the Eagle of Gwernabwy who took them to the Salmon of Llyn Llw. # 156 - 346
(goor-nach). Giant; the sword of Gwrnach the Giant is one of the tasks which must be won in Culhwch and Olwen. # 562
A parent of Gawain. In the original Welsh tradition Gwyar may have been the father of Gwalchmai, but, when the Welsh came in contact with Continental tales that made Lot the father of Gawain, they may have decided Gwyar must have been his mother. Certainly, Gwyar is latterly so presented in Welsh sources. However, as 'Lot' is not really a personal name but a title or designation meaning 'Lothian-ruler', it is not impossible that he was actually called Gwyar. See: DIONETA. # 156
The killer of Kay who was, in turn, killed by Arthur in Welsh tradition. ># 156 - 346
The board (gwyddbwyll), is one of the hallows, and appears in the list of the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain. - An early Celtic board game, which Arthur played against Owain. It is the same as the Irish game FIDCHELL, meaning 'wood sense'. The board was seen as the world in miniature and the match between Arthur and Owain may have been a ritual. # 438
Horses of Gwyddno Garanhir drink of a stream poisoned by the cauldron of Ceridwen after Gwion had drained it of its goodness; hence the stream 'Poison of the Horses of Gwyddno Garanhir'. - The father of Elphin, who finds Taliesin. He possessed a weir which yielded many salmon and a MWYS or basket which could feed 100 persons at a time. In his recent book, TALIESIN (1991), J. Matthews suggests that Gwyddno may have been, in origin, a Celtic god. Many legends surround the father of Elphin, possibly stemming from a central lost tradition, since they seem to turn on one theme. He was the possessor of a magical container which could feed as many as took food from it. (cf. THIRTEEN TREASURES OF BRITAIN). His name is associated with a submerged kingdom in Cardigan Bay. # 104 - 272 - 439 - 454 - 562
(gwud-EEON) # 454: Son of Don the Enchanter. He was steward to Math, his uncle, but abused his trust by causing war between Gwynedd and Dyfed on account of his brother, Gilfaethwy's lust for Goewin, the virgin footholder in whose lap Math rested his feet when he was not at war.
The war was sparked off by Gwydion travelling in disguise to the court of Pryderi who had the only domesticated pigs given to him by Arawn. Gwydion made Pryderi part with them for horses, greyhounds and their trappings - all of which were made out of mushrooms and which returned to their own shapes the next day. The pigs were driven home and Pryderi's men pursued. In the ensuing combat Gwydion killed Pryderi while Gilfaethwy raped Goewin. The brothers were allowed no hospitality or shelter until they gave themselves up to Math who then turned Gwydion into a stag, a sow, and a wolf, successively. Gwydion fathered offspring while in animal guise. At the end of three years, both brothers were released from their punishment. When Math required a new footholder, Gwydion suggested his sister, Arianrhod, who submitting to a test of virginity bore two children - Dylan and Llew, the latter Gwydion raised and fostered. He enabled his protégé to overcome his mother's gease: to be nameless, weaponless and wifeless by means of his magic, and was helped by Math to make a wife out of flowers for Llew, Blodeuwedd. When the Flower-Bride betrayed Llew to his death, Gwydion searched for Llew's fetch - an eagle - and coaxed Llew back to life again. He cursed Blodeuwedd into owl-shape forever.
# 562: Place in Cymric mythology taken later by the god Artaius. Nephew of Math; The magical creation of Taliesin was the work of Gwydion, according to one tradition. Gwydion appears as a shapeshifter in the MABINOGION and may be, in origin, a Celtic deity.
# 100: The wizard and Bard of North Wales, who was the son of the Welsh goddess, Don, the equivalent of the Irish Dana. Don had three children: Gwydion the Wizard, Gofannon the Smith, and a daughter Arianhrod, the mother of Llew. In the MABINOGI OF MATH AB MATHONWY, Math and Gwydion make a bride for Llew - Blodeuwedd, the flower-like -who fell in love with another man and betrayed Llew to his death.
In the MABINOGION, Gwydion performed many works of magic against the men of southern Wales. # 100 - 240 - 272 - 439 - 454 - 562
In CULHWCH, a son of Arthur killed by the boar Twrch Trwyth. ># 156 - 346
A hero of the Celtic epic THE GODDODDIN. He joined the battle of Catreath (Catterick) and there fell to the lamentation of all. # 454 - 610
One of Arthur's three mistresses, according to TRIAD 57. She was the daughter of Gendawd. # 104 - 156
GWYN AP NUDD
# 562: (gwin ap neethe) A Cymric deity likened to Finn (Gaelic) and to Odin (Norse);
# 156: Originally a Celtic god, the son of Nodens; in later belief, a warrior. He and his followers fought the followers of Gwythr, son of Greidawl, for the maiden Creiddyled. To stop the general bloodshed, Arthur made an agreement for the pair of them to fight each other at May Kalends (or May Day) until Doomsday. The winner then would obtain the hand of Creiddyled. Arthur made Gwyn ruler of the demons of Annwn to stop them destroying humanity. Another story makes Gwyn suffer defeat by Saint Collen on Glastonbury Tor. He seems originally to have been the ruler of an Otherworld realm, of which Glastonbury Tor may have been a portal. # 454: He leads the Wild Hunt. In Welsh legend he is the Lord of the Dead. He abducted Creiddylad, over whom he fought with Gwythyr ap Greidawl. According to the medieval legend of Saint Collen, Gwynn inhabited an otherworld kingdom whose gateway was Glastonbury Tor.
# 100: The reputed king of the underworld since the earliest of the Arthurian Romances, KILHWCH AND OLWEN, appeared in the MABINOGION. there he is listed in the Court of King Arthur, but was said also to be confined to the underworld, where it was his duty to control the imprisoned devils and prevent them from destroying mankind. He had clearly been a Celtic Pluto. As time went on he dwindled to a fairy and became king of the Plant Annwn, the subterranean fairies. Evans Wentz, in his FAIRY-FAITH IN CELTIC COUNTRIES, mentions him in his examination of King Arthur and his followers as early Celtic gods dwindled into fairies, and a more sober assessment of him is given by John Rhys in CELTIC FOLKLORE. # 24 - 100 - 156 - 272 - 346 - 439 - 454 - 562
(gwin-ETH) Math, lord of Gwynedd (Wales). A medieval kingdom in North Wales, called in Latin Vendotia. The earlier kings are legendary, but about the Arthurian time are thought to have been Einion (until AD 443), Cadwallon I (AD 443-517) and the famous Maelgwyn (AD 517-47). Cadwallon is mentioned by Geoffrey as Arthur's contemporary. # 156 - 562
Purity. The second of three concentric circles representing the totality of being in the Cymric cosmogony, in which life is manifested as a pure, rejoicing force triumphant over evil. See: GOD AND CYTHRAWL. # 562
(GWIN-hwee-var) Arthur's wife.
GWYNNLYM King of Gwynllyg, he abducted Saint Gwladys whose father, Brychan, gave chase. Arthur, however, helped Gwynnlym to escape. Gwynnlym was the father of Saint Cadoc in Welsh tradition. # 156
GWYTHUR AP GREIDAWL
(See also: Gwyn ap Nudd) Victor, Son of Scorcher. Combat every May-day between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythur ap Greidawl. He was the intended husband of Creiddylad, but she was abducted by Gwynn ap Nudd whom he fought in perpetuity. Both men aided Culhwch and
Arthur in achieving thirty-nine impossible tasks set by the giant in CULHWCH AND OLWEN. # 272 - 439 - 454 - 562
In a modern work, Sir Walter Scott's BRIDAL OF TRIERMAIN (1813), daughter of Arthur by the half-fairy Gwendolen. Because of her cruelty, Merlin had her fall into an enchanted sleep from which she was awakened by Sir Roland de Vaux. # 156