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Scáthach is a figur in the Ulster Cycle o Erse meethologie. She is a legendar Scots warrior wumman an mairtial airts teacher who trains the legendar Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the airts o combat. Texts describe her hameland as Scotland (Alpae); she is especially associatit wi the Isle o Skye, whaur her residence Dún Scáith (Fort o Shadaes) staunds.

Appearances[eedit | eedit soorce]

Scáthach's instruction o the young hero Cú Chulainn notably appears in Tochmarc Emire (The Wooin o Emer), an early Erse foretale tae the great epic Táin Bó Cúailnge. Here, Cú Chulainn is honour-boond tae perform a nummer o tasks afore he is foond worthy tae marry his beluivit Emer, dochter o the chieftain Forgall Monach. The tale survives in twa recensions: a short version written mainly in Auld Erse an a later, expandit version o the Middle Erse period. In baith recensions, Cú Chulainn is sent tae Alpae, a term leeterally meanin "the Alps", but apparently uised here tae refer tae Scotland (itherwise Albu in Erse).[1] Cú Chulainn is sent thare wi Lóegaire an Conchobor, an in the later version wi Conall Cernach an aw, tae receive trainin frae the warrior Domnall (whose hideous dochter faws in luve wi the hero an when refused, promises revenge). Efter some time, Domnall assigns thaim tae the care o Scáthach for further trainin.[2]

Cú Chulainn an his friend Ferdiad travel tae Dún Scáith, whaur Scáthach teaches thaim feats o airms, an gies Cú Chulainn her deadly spear, the Gáe Bulg. Cú Chulainn begins a affair wi Scáthach's dochter Uathach, but accidentally breaks her fingers. She screams, cawin her lover Cochar Croibhe tae the room. Despite Uathach's protests, he challenges Cú Chulainn tae a duel, an Cú Chulainn dispatches him easily. To mak it up tae Uathach an Scáthach, Cú Chulainn assumes Cochar's duties, an becomes Uathach's lover. Scáthach eventually promises her dochter tae him, athoot requirin the tradeetional bride price. Scáthach grants Cú Chulainn the "friendship o her thighs" when his trainin is amaist complete an aw. When her rival, the warrior wumman Aífe (Aoife is the modren Erse spellin), threatens her territory, Cú Chulainn defeats her in battle an forces her tae mak peace. Aífe sleeps wi Cú Chulainn an aw, producin his son Connla, whom Cú Chulainn kills years later athout realizin their relation.

See also[eedit | eedit soorce]

Notes[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. DIL, s.v. "Alpae" and "Albu".
  2. Tochmarc Emire (Recension I), ed. Meyer, lines 16–36.

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Tochmarc Emire (Recension I), ed. and tr. Kuno Meyer (1890). "The Oldest Version of Tochmarc Emire". Revue Celtique. 11: 433–57. Cite has empty unkent parameter: |1= (help) CELT link. CELT
  • Tochmarc Emire (Recension II), ed. A.G. van Hamel, Compert Con Culainn and Other Stories. Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series 3. Dublin, 1933.
  • Quin, E.G.; et al., eds. (2007) [1913-75]. "Alpae". Dictionary of the Irish Language, Based Mainly on Old and Middle Irish Materials. Dublin: RIA. Letter A, Column 291.
  • MacKillop, James (1998). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. London: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-860967-1.