Goídel Glas

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Accordin tae an Erse an Scots medieval tradeetion, Goídel Glas (Latinised as Gathelus) is the creator o the Goidelic leids an the eponymous ancestor o the Gaels.

The tradeetion can be tracit tae the 11t-century Lebor Gabála Érenn. A Scots variant is due tae John o Fordun (d. 1384).

Lebor Gabála Érenn[eedit | eedit soorce]

The narrative in the Lebor Gabála Érenn is a pseudo-Biblical accoont o the oreegin o the Gaels as the stryndants o the Scythie prince Fénius Farsaid, ane o sevinty-twa chieftains who built the Touer o Babel. Goídel Glas wis the son o Nel, son o Fénius, sired on Scota, dochter o a Pharaoh o Egyp.[1] Goídel Glas is creditit wi the creation o Gaelic (proto-Erse leid) frae the oreeginal seiventy-twa leids that arose at the time o the dispersal o the naitions.[2] His stryndants, the Gaels, unnergo a series o trials an tribulations that are clearly modelled on those wi which the Israelites are treed in the Auld Testament. They flourish in Egyp at the time o Moses an leave durin the Exodus; they wander the warld for fower hunder an fowerty years afore eventually settlin in the Iberie Peninsula. Thare, Goídel's stryndant Breogán foonds a ceety cried Brigantia, an builds a touer frae the top o which his son Íth glimpses Ireland. Brigantia can probably be identifee'd wi A Coruña, north-wast Galicie, kent as Brigantium in Roman times;[3] A Roman lichthoose thare kent as the Touer o Hercules haes been claimit tae hae been built on the steid o Breogán's touer.[4]

A interestin anecdote in the LGE tells hou Gaidel Glas, son o Nel (Keating: Niul), wis cured o a serpent's sting when Moses made fervent prayer an touched his rod upon the lad's woond.[5] An inserted verse in an earlier passage says of Gaidel: "green were his arms and his vesture".[6] O'Clery's redaction o the Lebor Gabála adds that the snake bite left a green ring on the boy, frae which he earned his elkname o Gaidel Glas (meanin "Green").[7] Keating repeats this quotin a glossarial verse an aw, awtho he prefaces it wi a alternate derivation o the elk-name frae the wird for lock (Erse: glas‎)[8][9]

John o Fordun[eedit | eedit soorce]

A Scots version o the tale o Goídel Glas an Scota wis recordit bi John o Fordun. This is apparently no based on the main Erse Lebor Gabála accoont. Fordun refers tae multiple sources, an his version is taken tae be a attempt tae synthesise these multiple accoonts intae a single history.

In Fordun's version, Gaythelos, as he caws Goídel Glas, is the son o "a certain keeng o the kintras o Greece, Neolus, or Heolaus, bi name", who wis exiled tae Egyp an teuk service wi the Pharaoh, marryin Pharaoh's dochter Scota. Various accoonts o hou Gaythelos came tae be expelled frae Egyp—bi a revolt follaein the daith o Pharaoh an his airmy in the Reid Sea, pursuin Moses, or in terror frae the Plagues o Egyp, or efter a invasion bi Ethiopies—are gien, but the upshot is that Gaythelos an Scota are exiled thegither wi Greek an Egyptian nobles, an they settle in Hispania efter wanderin for mony years. In the Iberie Peninsula they settle in the laund's northwast corner, at a place called Brigancia (the ceety o A Coruña, that the Romans kent as Brigantium).

Footnotes[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. Macalister 1939, ¶140
  2. Macalister 1939, Vol. 2, p.13, ¶107 "It is Gaedel Glas who fashioned the Gaelic language out of the seventy-two.."; Macalister (p.5) adds "Kg(Keatingg) ascribes it to a different Gaedel, s.(son of) Ethor, unknown to LG"
  3. Encyclopaedia Britannica, "A Coruña".
  4. Harry Mountain, The Celtic Encyclopaedia, p. 380
  5. Macalister 1939, Volume II, pp. 59–61 (¶143–145)
  6. Macalister 1939, p.93 Poem No. XIII
  7. O'Cléirigh & Macalister 1916, LG, Vol. 1, p.197 "§128 Aaron went to Moses after that, and tells him the hearty welcome that Nel, son of Fenius, gave them, .. [Nel had a son, and ] a venomous serpent wound itself around him so that death was near him.. Moses made vehement and diligent prayer to God, when the boy reached him, and he struck the famous rod on the serpent till he cleft it in two. The boy was sound at once. There was a green ring on him in the place where the serpent had coiled about him, from that out to his death, so that thus Glas [" Green "] stuck to him as an extra name."
  8. Comyn & Dinneen 1902, vol2, p.19- (Keating, §16): "Some seanchas state that Moses fastened [his bracelet] with a lock.." etc.; the passage also seems to suggest the nickname also has to do with the word fleascach, glossed here as 'bracelet-bearer' denoting an authority figure, even though 'fleasc' normally means a staff or rod.
  9. Macalister's 5-volume edition of LGE, 1938–, see: Vol. 1, p. xxvii; Vol. 2, pp.4–5 (commentary, p. 35(¶119), pp. 59, 61 (¶143–145); p.123 (verse XVIII to ¶144), p.134(=notest to ¶119), p.157; Vol. 3, p. 198

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Broun, Dauvit, The Irish Identity of the Kingdom of the Scots in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Boydell, Woodbridge, 1999. ISBN 0-85115-375-5
  • Ferguson, William, The Identity of the Scottish Nation: An historic quest. Edinburgh U.p, Edinburgh, 1998. ISBN 0-7486-1071-5
  • Geoffrey Keating, History of Ireland, §16
    • Comyn, David; Dinneen, Patrick Stephen (1902), The history of Ireland (google), Irish Texts Society 2, London: D. Nutt [series: ITS Vols. 4, 8, 9, 15] (ed. & tr.)
  • John of Fordun, Chronicle of the Scottish Nation, ed. William Forbes Skene, tr. Felix J.H. Skene, 2 vols. Reprinted, Llanerch Press, Lampeter, 1993. ISBN 1-897853-05-X
  • MacKillop, James, The Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford U.P., Oxford, 1998. ISBN 0-19-860967-1
  • Macalister, Robert Alexander Stewart, 1870–1950 (1939), Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland (snippet) 2, Dublin: Irish Texts Society by the Educational Co. of Ireland 
  • O'Cléirigh, Micheál (1916), Leabhar Gabhála: The Book of Conquests of Ireland: The Recension of Micheál, Dublin: Irish Hodges, Figgis and Company