Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/38

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2 8 The European Sky -God.

relating to the former is, thanks to their still extant literature, far more certain and complete than the evidence relating to the latter.

TJie Insular Celts. A position partly analogous to that of Zeus in Greek mythology is occupied by a god called Nuada in Irish mythology.^ As Zeus was king of the Olympian gods, so Nuada was king of the Tuatha De Danann or 'Tribes of the goddess Danu ' — a name given to the Irish gods collectively as descendants of the goddess Danu. Again, as Zeus had to fight the Giants and Titans, so Nuada had to fight first the Fir Bolg, or ' Bag Men,' and then the Fomore, monstrous gods of darkness and death.'^ The comparison can be pressed further. For, though Zeus was at first successful in his struggle with Typhon, owing to his thunderbolts and his adamantine sickle, yet in the end Typhon wrested the said sickle from him and, having cut out the sinews of his hands and feet, carried off the god on his shoulders to the Corycian cave : here Zeus was guarded by the snake Delphyne till Hermes and Aegipan contrived to steal the divine sinews, which Typhon had wrapped in a bear's skin for

by philologists. I have extended it by including the suggestion of Prof. J. Rhys (Celtae and Galli p. 55 ff., extr. from the Proceedings of the British Academy vol. 2) that ' Celtican ' should be distinguished from ' Gaulish ' : a similar cleavage between a qu- and a /-dialect is recognised by H. Hirt Die Indogermanen Strassburg 1905 i. 1 67 f.

^The analogy is pointed out by Prof. J. Rh^s The Hibbert Lectures 1886 'On the Origin and Growth of Religion as illustrated by Celtic Heathendom' ed. 3 1898 p. 119 fif., Prof. H. D'Arbois de Jubainville Les Celtes Paris 1904 p. 33 f.

^ The Fir Bolg were human and quasi-historical foes ; the Fomore were divine and mythical. The legend of the second battle of Mag-Tured, that against the Fomore, appears to be much more ancient than the legend of the first battle of Mag-Tured, that against the Fir Bolg : see D'Arbois Le cycle viythologique irlandais et la mythologie celtique Paris 1884 p. 156 ff., C. Squire The Mythology of the British Islands London 1905 p. 75 fif.