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An Introduction to Celtic Mythology. Mr. Pratt ASTEC Charter High School. Who are the Celts?. They were Known as the Gauls in some ancient texts. The Celts were a collection of tribes that share certain cultural elements, including language, art, and mythology.

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an introduction to celtic mythology

An Introduction to Celtic Mythology

Mr. Pratt

ASTEC Charter High School

who are the celts
Who are the Celts?
  • They were Known as the Gauls in some ancient texts.
  • The Celts were a collection of tribes that share certain cultural elements, including language, art, and mythology.
  • They date back to before 450 BCE and originated in central Europe.
  • At their height, they spread throughout most of Europe before being pushed west.
  • Modern Celtic culture is found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, and The Isle of Man.
characteristics of celtic mythology
Characteristics of Celtic Mythology
  • Like the Norse, the Celts practiced a polytheistic, pagan religion.
  • The myths are colorful, yet fragmented.
  • They focused on nature and seasons.
  • The number three is significant in many myths.
the invasion myths
The Invasion Myths

Any authentic Irish creation story has been lost to time. There are, however, stories that deal with early mythical races of people invaded and settled in Ireland. These invading races included the Fir Bolg, Tuatha De Danann, and the Fomorians.

tuatha d danann peoples of the goddess danu
TuathaDéDanann(peoples of the goddess Danu)
  • Named for the goddess Danu, a mother goddess.
  • They are the fifth race to conquer Ireland.
  • They are believed to have been pre-historic deities who have been anthropomorphized.
the dagda
The Dagda
  • A king and father figure of the TuathaDéDanan.
  • The Dagda was a powerful and mighty figure, but is also often depicted in comedic and crude ways.
  • He possessed a bottomless caldron and a club that could kill 9 men with a single blow and could also bring them back to life.
nuada of the silver hand
Nuada of the Silver Hand
  • Nuada was a powerful Warrior-king of the TuathaDéDanan.
  • He lost his arm in battle with the Fir Bolg.
  • It was replaced by a hand crafted of silver.
  • She is the daughter of The Dagda.
  • Brigit is often depicted as a triple goddess.
  • She was a goddess associated with poetry and healing.
  • In later Christian times, many of her legends and characteristics would be transposed onto Saint Brigit.
the morr gan
The Morrígan
  • A goddess of war and strife.
  • Like Brigit, she is sometimes depicted as a triple goddess
  • She takes various shapes, but most often transforms into a crow.
lugh the long arm
Lugh the Long Arm

Lugh was a great warrior associated with the sun. His mother gave birth to triplets, but he was the only one to survive an attempt to kill them as babies. He will eventually kill an extremely deadly Fomorian named Balor, who was his grandfather. His son would be a the great Celtic hero Cu Chulain.

the four jewels of the tuatha d danann
The four jewels of the TuathaDéDanann
  • The Stone of Fal(or The Stone of Destiny) it was said to produce a loud Roar if the high king Ireland would set his foot on it.
  • The Spear of Lughthe spear was believed to be so bloodthirsty that it had to be sedated when not being used in battle.
  • The Sword of Núadaa victim could never escape from it once it was drawn against them.
  • The Cauldron of the Dagdano one ever left from it unfulfilled.
balor of the evil eye
Balor of the Evil Eye

Balor was a giant king of the Formorians. A prophecy predicted he would be killed by his grandson. He attempted to prevent it by locking his daughter up in a crystal tower so she would never meet a man. This failed and she gave birth to triplets. He threw his three grandsons into the ocean but Lugh survived and eventually killed him. He had one powerful eye that could cause death to any that gazed on it.