A triple deity is three deities that are worshipped as one. Such deities are common throughout world mythology. Carl Jung considered the arrangement of deities into triplets an archetype in the history of religion. In classical religious iconography or mythological art, three separate beings may represent either a triad who always appear as a group or a single deity known from literary sources as having three aspects. Georges Dumézil's trifunctional hypothesis proposed that ancient Indo-European society conceived itself as structured around three activities: worship and toil. In times, when slave labor became common, the three functions came to be seen as separate "classes", represented each by its own god. Dumézil understood this mythology as reflecting and validating social structures in its content: such a tripartite class system is found in ancient Indian, Iranian and Celtic texts. In 1970 Dumézil proposed that some goddesses represented these three qualities as different aspects or epithets and identified examples in his interpretation of various deities including the Iranian Anāhitā, the Vedic Sarasvatī and the Roman Juno.
Vesna Petreska posits that myths including trinities of female mythical beings from Central and Eastern European cultures may be evidence for an Indo-European belief in trimutive female "spinners" of destiny. But according to the linguist M. L. West, various female deities and mythological figures in Europe show the influence of pre-Indo-European goddess-worship, triple female fate divinities "spinners" of destiny, are attested all over Europe and in Bronze Age Anatolia. Qudshu-Astarte-Anat is a representation of a single goddess, a combination of three goddesses: Qetesh and Anat, it was a common practice for Canaanites and Egyptians to merge different deities through a process of syncretization, turning them into one single entity. This "Triple Goddess Stone", once owned by Winchester College, shows the goddess Qetesh with the inscription "Qudshu-Astarte-Anat", showing their association as being one goddess, Qetesh in place of Athirat. Religious scholar Saul M. Olyan, calls the representation on the Qudshu-Astarte-Anat plaque "a triple-fusion hypostasis", considers Qudshu to be an epithet of Athirat by a process of elimination, for Astarte and Anat appear after Qudshu in the inscription.
The Roman goddess Diana was venerated from the late sixth century BCE as diva triformis, "three-form goddess", early on was conflated with the similarly-depicted Greek goddess Hekate. Andreas Alföldi interpreted a late Republican numismatic image as Diana "conceived as a threefold unity of the divine huntress, the Moon goddess and the goddess of the nether world, Hekate"; this coin shows that the triple goddess cult image still stood in the lucus of Nemi in 43 BCE. The Lake of Nemi was Triviae lacus for Virgil, while Horace called Diana montium custos nemoremque virgo and diva triformis. In his commentary on Virgil, Maurus Servius Honoratus said that the same goddess was called Luna in heaven, Diana on earth, Proserpina in hell. Spells and hymns in Greek magical papyri refer to the goddess as "triple-sounding, triple-headed, triple-voiced... triple-pointed, triple-faced, triple-necked". In one hymn, for instance, the "Three-faced Selene" is identified as the three Charites, the three Moirai, the three Erinyes.
Translation editor Hans Dieter Betz notes: "The goddess Hekate, identical with Persephone, Selene and the old Babylonian goddess Ereschigal, is one of the deities most invoked in the papyri."E. Cobham Brewer's 1894 Dictionary of Phrase & Fable contained the entry, "Hecate: A triple deity, called Phoebe or the Moon in heaven, Diana on the earth, Hecate or Proserpine in hell," and noted that "Chinese have the triple goddess Pussa"; the Roman poet Ovid, through the character of the Greek woman Medea, refers to Hecate as "the triple Goddess". Hecate was depicted variously as a single womanly form; the Olympian demiurgic triad in platonic philosophy, made up of Zeus and Pluto/Hades, all considered in the end to be a monad and the same Zeus, the Titanic demiurgic triad of Helios and Dionysus The Matres or Matronae are represented as a group of three but sometimes with as many as 27 inscriptions. They were associated with fertility. Inscriptions to these deities have been found in Gaul, Italy, the Rhineland and Britain, as their worship was carried by Roman soldiery dating from the mid 1st century to the 3rd century AD. Miranda Green observes that "triplism" reflects a way of "expressing the d
The Morrígan or Mórrígan known as Morrígu, is a figure from Irish mythology. The name is Mór-Ríoghain in Modern Irish, it has been translated as "great queen", "phantom queen" or "queen of phantoms". The Morrígan is associated with war and fate with foretelling doom, death or victory in battle. In this role she appears as a crow, the badb, she can help bring about victory over their enemies. The Morrígan encourages warriors to do brave deeds, strikes fear into their enemies, is portrayed washing the bloodstained clothes of those fated to die, she has some connection with sovereignty, the land and livestock. In modern times she is called a "war goddess" and has been seen as a manifestation of the earth- and sovereignty-goddess, chiefly representing the goddess's role as guardian of the territory and its people; the Morrígan is described as a trio of individuals, all sisters, called'the three Morrígna'. Membership of the triad varies, it is believed. The three Morrígna are named as sisters of the three land goddesses Ériu, Banba and Fódla.
The Morrígan is said to be the wife of The Dagda, while Badb and Nemain are said to be the wives of Neit. She is associated with the banshee of folklore. There is some disagreement over the meaning of the Morrígan's name. Mor may derive from an Indo-European root connoting terror or monstrousness, cognate with the Old English maere and the Scandinavian mara and the Old East Slavic "mara"; this can be reconstructed in the Proto-Celtic language. Accordingly, Morrígan is translated as "Phantom Queen"; this is the derivation favoured in current scholarship. In the Middle Irish period the name is spelled Mórrígan with a lengthening diacritic over the o intended to mean "Great Queen". Whitley Stokes believed. There have been attempts by modern writers to link the Morrígan with the Welsh literary figure Morgan le Fay from the Matter of Britain, in whose name mor may derive from Welsh word for "sea", but the names are derived from different cultures and branches of the Celtic linguistic tree; the earliest sources for the Morrígan are glosses in Latin manuscripts, glossaries.
In a 9th century manuscript containing the Vulgate version of the Book of Isaiah, the word Lamia is used to translate the Hebrew Lilith. A gloss explains this as "a monster in female form, that is, a morrígan". Cormac's Glossary, a gloss in the manuscript H.3.18, both explain the plural word gudemain with the plural form morrígna. The 8th century O'Mulconry's Glossary says; the Morrígan's earliest narrative appearances, in which she is depicted as an individual, are in stories of the Ulster Cycle, where she has an ambiguous relationship with the hero Cú Chulainn. In Táin Bó Regamna, Cúchulainn encounters the Morrígan, but does not recognise her, as she drives a heifer from his territory. In response to this perceived challenge, his ignorance of her role as a sovereignty figure, he insults her, but before he can attack her she becomes a black bird on a nearby branch. Cúchulainn now knows who she is, tells her that had he known before, they would not have parted in enmity, she notes. To his response that she cannot harm him, she delivers a series of warnings, foretelling a coming battle in which he will be killed.
She tells him, "it is at the guarding of thy death. Cúchulainn defends Ulster by fighting a series of single combats at fords against Medb's champions. In between combats the Morrígan appears to him as a young woman and offers him her love, her aid in the battle, but he rejects her offer. In response she intervenes in his next combat, first in the form of an eel who trips him as a wolf who stampedes cattle across the ford, as a white, red-eared heifer leading the stampede, just as she had warned in their previous encounter; however Cúchulainn defeats his opponent despite her interference. She appears to him as an old woman bearing the same three wounds that her animal forms sustained, milking a cow, she gives Cúchulainn three drinks of milk. He blesses her with each drink, her wounds are healed, he regrets blessing her for the three drinks of milk, apparent in the exchange between the Morrígan and Cúchulainn, "She gave him milk from the third teat, her leg was healed.'You told me once,' she said,'that you would never heal me."Had I known it was you,' said Cúchulainn,'I never would have.'"
As the armies gather for the final battle, she prophesies the bloodshed to come. In one version of Cúchulainn's death-tale, as Cúchulainn rides to meet his enemies, he encounters the Morrígan as a hag washing his bloody armour in a ford, an omen of his death. In the story, mortally wounded, Cúchulainn ties himself to a standing stone with his own entrails so he can die upright, it is only when a crow lands on his shoulder that his enemies believe he is d
Macha was a sovereignty goddess of ancient Ireland associated with the province of Ulster with the sites of Navan Fort and Armagh, which are named after her. Several figures called Macha appear in Irish mythology and folklore, all believed to derive from the same goddess, she is said to be one of three sisters known as'the three Morrígna'. Like other sovereignty goddesses, Macha is associated with the land, kingship and horses; the name is derived from Proto-Celtic *makajā denoting "a plain". It was said that Macha was called Grian Banchure, the "Sun of Womanfolk". A poem in the Lebor Gabála Érenn mentions Macha as one of the daughters of Partholón, leader of the first settlement of Ireland after the flood, although it records nothing about her. Various sources record a second Macha as the wife of Nemed, leader of the second settlement of Ireland after the flood, she was the first of Nemed's people to die in Ireland – twelve years after their arrival according to Geoffrey Keating, twelve days after their arrival according to the Annals of the Four Masters.
It is said that the hilltop where she was buried was named after her: Ard Mhacha, "Macha's high place". The surrounding woodland was cleared by Nemed's folk and named Magh Mhacha, "Macha's plain". Macha, daughter of Ernmas, of the Tuatha Dé Danann, appears in many early sources, she is mentioned together with her sisters, "Badb and Morrigu, whose name was Anand". The three are considered a triple goddess associated with war. O'Mulconry's Glossary, a thirteenth-century compilation of glosses from medieval manuscripts preserved in the Yellow Book of Lecan, describes Macha as "one of the three morrígna", says the term Mesrad Machae, "the mast of Macha", refers to "the heads of men that have been slaughtered". A version of the same gloss in MS H.3.18 identifies Macha with Badb, calling the trio "raven women" who instigate battle. Keating explicitly calls them "goddesses", but medieval Irish tradition was keen to remove all trace of pre-Christian religion. Macha is said to have been killed by Balor during the battle with the Fomorians.
Macha Mong Ruad, daughter of Áed Rúad, according to medieval legend and historical tradition, the only queen in the List of High Kings of Ireland. Her father Áed rotated the kingship with his cousins seven years at a time. Áed died after his third stint as king, when his turn came round again, Macha claimed the kingship. Díthorba and Cimbáeth refused to allow a woman to take the throne, a battle ensued. Macha won, Díthorba was killed, she won a second battle against Díthorba's sons. She married Cimbáeth. Macha pursued Díthorba's sons alone, disguised as a leper, overcame each of them in turn when they tried to have sex with her, tied them up, carried the three of them bodily to Ulster; the Ulstermen wanted to have them killed, but Macha instead enslaved them and forced them to build Emain Macha, to be the capital of the Ulaid, marking out its boundaries with her brooch. Macha ruled together with Cimbáeth for seven years, until he died of plague at Emain Macha, a further fourteen years on her own, until she was killed by Rechtaid Rígderg.
The Lebor Gabála synchronises her reign to that of Ptolemy I Soter. The chronology of Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éirinn dates her reign to 468–461 BC, the Annals of the Four Masters to 661–654 BC. Marie-Louise Sjoestedt writes of this figure: "In the person of this second Macha we discover a new aspect of the local goddess, that of the warrior and dominator. Macha, daughter of Sainrith mac Imbaith, was the wife of an Ulster farmer; some time after the death of Cruinniuc's first wife, Macha appears at his house. Without speaking, she begins acting as his wife. Soon she becomes pregnant by him; as long as they were together Cruinniuc's wealth grew. When he leaves to attend a festival organised by the king of Ulster, she warns him that she will only stay with him so long as he does not speak of her to anyone, he promises to say nothing. However, during a chariot race, he boasts; the king orders Cruinniuc be held on pain of death. Although she is pregnant, Macha is brought to the gathering and the king forces her to race the horses.
She wins the race, but cries out in pain as she gives birth to twins on the finish line. For disrespecting and humiliating her, she curses the men of Ulster to be overcome with weakness—as weak "as a woman in childbirth"—at the time of their greatest need; this weakness would last for five days and the curse would last for nine generations. Thereafter, the place where Macha gave birth would be called Emain Macha, or "Macha's twins"; this tale explains the meaning of the name Emain Macha, explains why none of the Ulstermen but the semi-divine hero Cúchulainn could resist the invasion of Ulster in the Táin Bó Cuailnge. It shows that Macha, as goddess of the land and sovereignty, can be vengeful if disrespected, how the rule of a bad king leads to disaster; this Macha is associated with horses—it is significant that twin colts were born on the same da
Lebor Gabála Érenn
Lebor Gabála Érenn is a collection of poems and prose narratives that purports to be a history of Ireland and the Irish from the creation of the world to the Middle Ages. There are a number of versions, the earliest of, compiled by an anonymous writer in the 11th century, it synthesized narratives, developing over the foregoing centuries. The Lebor Gabála tells of Ireland being settled six times by six groups of people: the people of Cessair, the people of Partholón, the people of Nemed, the Fir Bolg, the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Milesians; the first four groups are wiped out or forced to abandon the island, the fifth group represent Ireland's pagan gods, while the final group represent the Irish people. Today, most scholars regard the Lebor Gabála as myth rather than history, it appears to be based on medieval Christian pseudo-histories, but it incorporates some of Ireland's native pagan mythology. Scholars believe the goal of its writers was to provide an epic history for Ireland that could compare to that of the Israelites or the Romans, which reconciled native myth with the Christian view of history.
It is suggested, for example, that there are six'takings' to match the "Six Ages of the World". Lebor Gabála Érenn is considered a "highly influential Middle Irish prose-and-verse treatise written in order to bridge the chasm between Christian world-chronology and the prehistory of Ireland"; the Lebor Gabála is known in English as The Book of Invasions or The Book of Conquests, in Modern Irish as Leabhar Gabhála Éireann or Leabhar Gabhála na hÉireann. Purporting to be a history of Ireland and the Irish, a critical analysis by Thomas F O'Rahilly claims the purpose of Lebor Gabála Érenn was three-fold: firstly to unite the population by obliterating the memory of previous and different ethnic groups, secondly to weaken the influence of pre-Christian pagan religions by converting their gods into mere mortals, thirdly to manufacture pedigrees into which the various dynastic groups could conveniently be fitted It has been described as an attempt to provide the Irish with a written history comparable to that which the Israelites provided for themselves in the Old Testament.
Drawing upon the pagan myths of Gaelic Ireland but reinterpreting them in the light of Judeo-Christian theology and historiography, it describes how the island was settled six times by six groups of people. Biblical paradigms provided the mythologers with ready-made stories which could be adapted to their purpose, thus we find the ancestors of the Irish enslaved in a foreign land, or fleeing into exile, or wandering in the wilderness, or sighting the "Promised Land" from afar. Four Christian works in particular seem to have had a significant bearing on the formation of LGE: St Augustine's De Civitate Dei, The City of God, Orosius's Historiae adversum paganos, "Histories," Eusebius's Chronicon, translated into Latin by St Jerome as the Temporum liber Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae, or Origines The pre-Christian elements, were never effaced. One of the poems in LGE, for instance, recounts how goddesses from among the Tuatha Dé Danann took husbands from the Gaeil when they'invaded' and'colonised' Ireland.
Furthermore, the pattern of successive invasions which LGE preserves is reminiscent of Timagenes of Alexandria's account of the origins of the Gauls of continental Europe. Cited by the 4th-century historian Ammianus Marcellinus, Timagenes describes how the ancestors of the Gauls were driven from their native lands in eastern Europe by a succession of wars and floods. Numerous fragments of Ireland's mythological history are scattered throughout the 7th and 8th centuries. In his Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History, Eugene O'Curry, Professor of Irish History and Archaeology at the Catholic University of Ireland, discusses various genres of historical tales mentioned in the manuscripts: The Tochomladh was an Immigration or arrival of a Colony, it is from the original records of these ancient stories that the early part of the various Books of Invasions has been compiled. The earliest extant account of the purported history of Ireland is to be found in the Historia Brittonum or "History of the Britons,", once thought to have been written by the Welsh priest Nennius in 829–830.
This text gives two separate accounts of early Irish history. The first consists of a series of successive colonisations from Iberia by the pre-Gaelic peoples of Ireland, all of which found their way into LGE; the second recounts the origins of the Gaeil themselves, tells how they in turn came to be the masters of the country and'ancestors' of all the Irish. These two stories continued to be enriched and elaborated upon by Irish historian-poets throughout the 9th century. In the 10th and 11th centuries, several long historical poems were written that were incorporated into the scheme of LGE. Most of the poems on which the 11th-12th century version of LGE was based were written by the following four poets: Eochaidh Ua Floinn from Armagh – Poems 30, 41, 53, 65, 98, 109, 111 Flann Mainistrech mac Echthigrin and historian of Monasterboice Abbey – Poems?42, 56, 67,?82 Tanaide – Poems 47, 54, 86 Gilla Cómáin mac Gilla Samthainde – Poems 13, 96, 115It was late in the 11th century that a single anonymous scholar appears to have brought together these and numerous other poems and fitted the
In Irish mythology, Ériu, daughter of Delbáeth and Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, was the eponymous matron goddess of Ireland. The English name for Ireland comes from the Germanic word land. Since Ériu is represented as goddess of Ireland, she is interpreted as a modern-day personification of Ireland, although since the name "Ériu" is the older Irish form of the word Ireland, her modern name is modified to "Éire" or "Erin" to suit a modern form. With her sisters, Banba and Fódla, she was part of a triumvirate of goddesses; when the Milesians arrived from Galicia, each of the three sisters asked that their name be given to the country. This was granted to them. Ériu was said to have been the wife of Mac Gréine, a grandson of Dagda.Ériu, Banba and Fódla are interpreted as goddesses of sovereignty. According to the 17th-century Irish historian Geoffrey Keating, the three sovereignty goddesses associated with Éire, Banbha and Fódla were Badb and The Morrígan. Different texts have attributed different personal relationships to Ériu.
Her husband has been named as Mac Gréine. She has been portrayed as the lover of Elatha, a prince of the Fomorians, with whom she had a son Bres, as the mistress of the hero Lugh. Both Elatha and Ériu are described in some sources as the children of Delbaeth, indicating they may be half-siblings, her foster-father in the Rennes Dindsenchas was Codal the Roundbreasted, whose feeding Eriu caused the land in Ireland to heave toward the sky. The University of Wales' reconstructed Proto-Celtic lexicon gives *Φīwerjon- as the Proto-Celtic etymology of this name; this Celtic form implies Proto-Indo-European *piHwerjon- related to the adjectival stem *piHwer- "fat" hence meaning "fat land" or "land of abundance", applied at an early date to the island of Ireland. The Proto-Celtic form became *īweriū in Q-Celtic. From a similar or somewhat form were borrowed Greek Ἰέρνη Iernē and Ἰουερνία Iouernia. Boydell, Barra. "The female harp: The Irish harp in 18th- and early–19th-century Romantic nationalism", RIdIM/RCMI newsletter XX/1, 10–17
Medb —later forms Meadhbh and Méabh and Maeve—is queen of Connacht in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Her husband in the core stories of the cycle is Ailill mac Máta, although she had several husbands before him who were kings of Connacht, she rules from Cruachan. She is the enemy of Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster, is best known for starting the Táin Bó Cúailnge to steal Ulster's prize stud bull. Medb is strong-willed, ambitious and promiscuous, is an archetypal warrior queen, she is believed to be a manifestation of the sovereignty goddess. Medb of Connacht is identical with Medb Lethderg, the sovereignty goddess of Tara, may be linked with the Morrígan, she may be the inspiration for the fairy Queen Mab found in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and other media. In Old Irish and Middle Irish her name is Medb, in early modern Irish Meadhbh or Meaḋḃ, in modern Irish Méabh; this is believed to come from the Proto-Celtic *medu- or *medua, the meaning of her name has thus been interpreted as "mead-woman" or "she who intoxicates".
This is thought to reflect her role as sovereignty goddess. In ancient and medieval Ireland, the drinking of mead was a key part of a king's inauguration ceremony. In myth, a supernatural woman representing the sovereignty of the land chooses a king by offering him an alcoholic drink, thus bestowing sovereignty upon him. However, it is suggested that the name comes from Proto-Celtic *medwa; the name has been Anglicised as Maeve, Mave or Maiv. There are several place names in Ireland containing the name Medb. According to Kay Muhr of the Ulster Place-Name Society, some of these names suggest Medb was an earth and fertility goddess, they include Ballypitmave in County Antrim and Sawel Pitmave in County Tyrone, both in northern Ulster. Other placenames include Maeve's Cairn in County Sligo, Barnavave in County Louth, Boveva in County Londonderry, Knockmaa in County Galway, Meskanmave in County Donegal, Milleen Meva at Rathcroghan in County Roscommon. How Medb came to power in Connacht and married Ailill is told in the tale Cath Bóinde known as Ferchuitred Medba.
Her father, Eochaid Feidlech, the High King of Ireland, married her to Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster, because he had killed Conchobar's purported father, the former High King Fachtna Fáthach, in battle. She bore him a son, but the marriage was a bad one and she left him. Eochaid gave Conchobar another of his daughters, but Medb murdered her while she was pregnant. Eochaid deposed the then-king of Connacht, Tinni mac Conri, installed Medb in his place. However, Tinni regained a share of the throne when he and Medb became lovers. Conchobar raped Medb after an assembly at Tara, war ensued between the High King and Ulster. Tinni challenged Conchobar to single combat, lost. Eochaid Dála of the Fir Domnann, Tinni's rival for the kingship, protected the Connacht army as it retreated, became Medb's next husband and king of Connacht. Medb demanded her husband satisfy her three criteria -- that he be without meanness, or jealousy; the last was important, as she had many lovers. While married to Eochaid Dála, she took chief of her bodyguard, as her lover.
Eochaid discovered the affair, challenged Ailill to single combat, lost. Ailill married Medb and became king of Connacht. Medb and Ailill had seven sons, all called Maine, they all had other names, but when Medb asked a druid which of her sons would kill Conchobar, he replied, "Maine". She did not have a son called Maine, so she renamed all her sons as follows: Fedlimid became Maine Athramail Cairbre became Maine Máthramail Eochaid became Maine Andoe and was known as Cich-Maine Andoe or Cichmuine Fergus became Maine Taí Cet became Maine Mórgor Sin became Maine Mílscothach Dáire became Maine Móepirt The prophecy was fulfilled when Maine Andoe went on to kill Conchobar, son of Arthur, son of Bruide — not Conchobar, son of Fachtna Fathach, as Medb had assumed the druid meant. Medb and Ailill had a daughter, Findabair. Medb insisted that she be equal in wealth with her husband, started the Cattle Raid of Cooley when she discovered that Ailill was one powerful stud bull richer than her, she discovered that the only rival to Ailill's bull, was Donn Cúailnge, owned by Dáire mac Fiachna, a vassal of Conchobar's.
She sent messengers to Dáire, offering wealth and sexual favours in return for the loan of the bull, Dáire agreed. But when a drunken messenger declared that, if he had not agreed, the bull would have been taken by force, Dáire withdrew his consent, Medb prepared for war. An army was raised including contingents from all over Ireland. One was a group of Ulster exiles led by Conchobar's estranged son Cormac Cond Longas and his foster-father Fergus mac Róich, former king of Ulster and one of Medb's lovers, it is reported that it Fergus once. Medb's relationship with Fergus is alluded to in the early poem Conailla Medb míchuru ("Medb has entered evil contract