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Author Topic: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult  (Read 644 times)

Offline OB

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Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« on: August 11, 2020, 07:45:07 AM »
I've been digging about researching ancient Irish clothing colours and the appearance of members of the Fénnid Warrior Cult (the Fianna).  If you're interested in either you might like to have a read.  It should be useful for those painting Irish figures too.

https://youdonotknowthenorth.blogspot.com

Offline Commander Carnage

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2020, 01:30:03 PM »
Thanks for posting, that was an excellent quick read.
"Just don't roll a one!"

Offline has.been

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2020, 02:16:11 PM »
Also thanks for posting.

Offline OB

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2020, 02:56:15 PM »
Thank you both.  Apart from my own interest I hoped it would prove handy to others to have the info' in one place.

Offline WuZhuiQiu

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2020, 10:53:11 PM »
Thank you!

Offline Dr Mathias

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2020, 12:14:26 AM »
Interesting! Would the colors available be more or less the same in the early medieval period?
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Offline cadbren

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2020, 12:30:25 AM »
Interesting read. What do you make of the Clonycavan man?

Offline Emir of Askaristan

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2020, 05:48:59 AM »
Interesting reading, thanks for sharing.

Offline OB

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2020, 08:48:17 AM »
Thanks everyone.

Dr Mathias yes it would our sources were written down in Late Antiquity/the early medieval period.

Cadbren if you are thinking about the hair style it does make you wonder.  The remains are a lot earlier of course.

Offline Ragnar

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2020, 10:41:12 AM »
Interesting read, thanks!
Gods, monsters and men,
Will die together in the end.

Offline pallard

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2020, 01:08:28 PM »
Your article is of much interest. But I failed to find any reference to these Irish warriors in my very modest sources ( mainly Dillon-Chadwick's The Celtic Realms, Penguin's Early Irish Myths and Sagas, Stephen Allen's Celtic Warrior, John Haywood's Historical Atlas of the Celtic World, and works in french by Le Roux-Guyonvarc'h ).
Are they related to the Attecoti ? And do you have any reliable information about these?
I might propose one option for the explanation of the symbolic situation of these "outlaw" warriors. If they are related to Brigit-d, one of the figures of a Celtic goddess of war, and as Brigit was not actually fighting, but presiding over the army of the Gods who did fight ( the Thuata de Danaan, pardon my poor Irish!), could these young warriors be pretending to replay the mythic war band for her? As such, they would not be under the human laws no more, but maybe under the law of the gods?
Philippe


Offline OB

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2020, 02:17:04 PM »
Thanks Ragnar and you too Philippe.  I hope the following answers your questions.

They appear in the various Scéla as the Fianna and in the various stories of Fíonn MacCumhal who leads them.  It's decades since I read Chadwick but I'd guess the Fianna got a mention.   The Fianna are the Fénnid of my article.  A lot of work has been done on the Irish Law texts since the time Chadwick wrote and it's there we get information about the Fénnid. 

I currently take the view that the Gallic Gaesati mentioned in classical sources are pretty much the same thing.  I think they got miss labelled in the 10th century as 'spear men' when they should have been 'oath men'.  The two words are very similar in Celtic and while 'Gae' the word for spear had some classical currency the Celtic word for oath didn't.  I could see a native Greek speaker thinking it was a spelling mistake and correcting it with a sense of scholarly satisfaction.

I wrote a blog on it if that's of interest just click the Gaesati label.

On the Attecoti, it is a Latinisation of an Irish word.  it simply means subject people-people who supply warriors and pay tribute to a stronger polity.  Rather than repeat things here you can find a discussion of the Attecoti on my blog.  Just click the Britannia link in the side bar.  If you would like a more scholarly piece Phillip Rance's Irish Federates is an excellent read.

The theology of the Fénnid is beyond our capture I think.  We can only speculate. The early sources are all written by Christians who hated and feared them not least because they seem to have had a strong affiliation to the Druids.

Offline pallard

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2020, 06:17:27 PM »
Thanks OB.
I jump back on your site.
Philippe

Offline pallard

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2020, 07:56:37 PM »
OB
your etymology for gaesati as geis is quite possible at first sight. It would need a closer study so to confirm that a celtic gei could be rendered in greek or latin by gae (did Polybios  use gaesatai? I don"t have the greek text).
Your difficulties with Gallic words are alas the poor reality: we miss in France and Belgium almost everything of our ancestor's language, apart from those words fossilized into place names. Lucky Irish people! The Bretons, whatever they may say, are not linguistically linked to the Gauls, but to the Britons.
I was quite familiar with the word geis from the time of my studies of old Arthurian litterature. The french Romans bretons, as they were known, are full of "welsh" and Irish celtic concepts and traditions. For instance the scene of the first ever Grail appearance, in Chrétien de Troyes' Roman de Perceval, shows the attributes of the Celtic gods: the spear of Lug, the drinking cup, the cauldron of life, the sword given to Perceval by the Roi Pêcheur.
 The whole thing seems to have been a political agenda, as we might say today: that of the Anglo-Norman court of England ( think of Marie de France's Lay du Chèvrefeuille, the first appearance of Tristan and Iseult ) or of its allies in France: the counts of Champagne prominently ( the lord of Chrétien de Troyes). The point was to convince the opinion, in England but also out of England, of a cultural bridge between the Celtic tradition and the Norman power over the Anglo-Saxon culture. Glastonbury was probably a center place related to this agenda. There must have been some form of intense research at the time for the Celtic lore.
 
As for geis, many forms of spells and strange interdictions in this  Arturian litterature are clearly linked to it. But I thought that geis was a pact with the Other World, which as you say is the Underworld, the land of the dead and of the Gods. Or at least that this Underworld was involved at least in some element of the geis, even if established between human beings.
Would you say that this is wrong related to the Irish tradition?
Philippe

Offline OB

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Re: Ancient Irish Clothing Colours and the Fénnid Warrior Cult
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2020, 10:14:24 AM »
Yes, having someone like JT Koch consider the Gae/ Geis issue would resolve it.  It's beyond my skills.  But, as you say at first glance it looks possible.

Current thinking is that the Celtic languages diverged by the 5th Century AD.  Before that it seems Gauls, Britons, Irish and Picts could have readily communicated.  After that it was different.  Koch has an interesting theory that the Celtic elites spoke a 'High Celtic' that was erased after the conversion to Christianity.  I'm interested in this extract for Sidonius from 474AD.

"I will forget that your schooldays brought us a veritable confluence of learners and the learned from all quarters, and that if our nobles were imbued with the love of eloquence and poetry, if they resolved to forsake the barbarous Celtic dialect, it was to your personality that they owed all. [3] Nothing so kindled their universal regard for you as this, that you first made Romans of them and never allowed them to relapse again."

Clearly the elite of Gaul were still speaking Celtic in the twilight of the Roman Empire.

I'd share you view on the political agenda of the Arthurian revival.

The geis predates Christianity and its regulation must have involved Druids and the old gods.  It survives the Conversion in Ireland and probably elsewhere too.  Currently I see it as a form of regulation on the powerful.  A limitation on their power if you like.  The geis of the King of Leinster prohibiting him from campaigning in Dysart seems to be utterly practical.   He was ritually prohibited from taking an army into Dysart because Dysart couldn't feed an army.  This sounds like a lesson previously well learned and embedded in the body politic of Leinster.

It would be an interesting exercise to collect and study all the examples of individual geis we have and to see what they tell us.

 

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