The Fomorians are a supernatural race in Irish mythology. They are portrayed as hostile and monstrous beings who come from the sea or underground, they were portrayed as giants and sea raiders. They are enemies of Ireland's first settlers and opponents of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the other supernatural race in Irish mythology. However, their relationship with the Tuath Dé is complex and some of their members intermarry and have children; the Fomorians have thus been likened to the jötnar of Norse mythology. The Fomorians seem to have been gods who represent the destructive powers of nature; the Tuath Dé, in contrast, seem to represent the gods of civilization. In Old and Middle Irish, the race is called the Fomoire or Fomoiri, an individual member is called a Fomoir. In Middle Irish, they are called the Fomóraiġ and a Fomórach; this is spelt Fomhórach in Modern Irish. In English, they are called the Fomorians, Fomori or Fomors; the etymology of the name is debated. The first part is now agreed to be the Old Irish fo, meaning under, lower, nether, etc.
The meaning of the second part is unclear. One suggestion is that it comes from the Old Irish mur, that the name thus means something like "the undersea ones"; this was the interpretation offered by some medieval Irish writers. Another suggestion is that it comes from mór and means something like "the great under ones", "the under giants" or "the nether giants". A third suggestion, which has more support among scholars, is that it comes from a hypothetical Old Irish term for a demon or phantom, found in the name of The Morrígan and cognate with the archaic English word "mare"; the name would thus mean something like "under demons" or "nether demons". Building on this, Marie-Louise Sjoestedt interprets the name as meaning "inferior" or "latent demons", saying the Fomorians are "like the powers of chaos latent and hostile to cosmic order"; the Genealogies from Rawlinson B 502 lists the full genealogy of the Fomorians going right back to the Biblical Noah, 10th from Adam and Eve. Rawlinson B 502, Section 26, page 330, says.
Elathan m. Delbáeth m. Deirgthind m. Ochtaich m. Sithchind m. Molaich m. Lárgluind m. Ciarraill m. Fóesaim m. Meircill m. Leccduib m. Iachtaich m. Libuirnn m. Lathairn m. Soairtt m. Sibuirt m. Siuccat m. Stairnn m. Saltait m. Cair m. h-Iphit m. Philist m. Fuith m. Caim m. Nóe m. Laméch", they are sometimes said to have had the body of a man and the head of a goat, according to an 11th-century text in Lebor na hUidre, or to have had one eye, one arm and one leg, but some, for example Elatha, the father of Bres, were beautiful. Bres himself carries the epithet "the Beautiful". Geoffrey Keating in his History of Ireland appearing in the 1630s claimed that the Fomorians had been a seafaring people descended from Noah's son, Ham; the medieval myth of Partholón says that his followers were the first to invade Ireland after the flood, but the Fomorians were there: Geoffrey Keating reports a tradition that the Fomorians, led by Cichol Gricenchos, had arrived two hundred years earlier and lived on fish and fowl until Partholon came, bringing the plough and oxen.
Partholon defeated Cíocal in the Battle of Mag Itha, but all his people died of plague. Came Nemed and his followers. Ireland is said to have been empty for thirty years following the death of Partholon's people, but Nemed and his followers encountered the Fomorians when they arrived. At this point, Céitinn reports another tradition that the Fomorians were seafarers from the Middle East, descended from Ham, son of Noah. Nemed defeated them in several battles, killing their kings Gann and Sengann, but two new Fomorian leaders arose: Conand son of Faebar, who lived in Conand's Tower on Tory Island, County Donegal, Morc son of Dela. After Nemed's death and Morc enslaved his people and demanded a heavy tribute: two thirds of their children and cattle. Nemed's son Fergus Lethderg gathered an army of sixty thousand, rose up against them and destroyed Conand's Tower, but Morc attacked them with a huge fleet, there was great slaughter on both sides; the sea rose over them and drowned most of the survivors: only thirty of Nemed's people escaped in a single ship, scattering to the other parts of the world.
The next invasion was by the Fir Bolg. Next, the Tuatha Dé Danann, who are supposed to have been the gods of the Goidelic Irish, defeated the Fir Bolg in the first Battle of Mag Tuired and took possession of Ireland; because their king, Nuada Airgetlám, had lost an arm in the battle and was no longer physically whole, their first king in Ireland was the half-Fomorian Bres. He was the result of a union between Ériu of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorian prince Elatha, who had come to her one night by sea on a silver boat. Both Elatha and Bres are described as beautiful; however Bres turned out to be a bad king who forced the Tuatha Dé to work as slaves and pay tribute to the Fomorians. He lost authority. Nuada was restored to the kingship after his arm was replaced with a working one of silver, but the Tuatha Dé's oppression by the Fomorians continued. Bres fled to his father and asked for his help to restore him to the kingship. Elatha refused, on the grounds that he should not seek to gain by foul means what he couldn't keep by fair.
The octopus is a soft-bodied, eight-limbed mollusc of the order Octopoda. Around 300 species are recognised, the order is grouped within the class Cephalopoda with squids and nautiloids. Like other cephalopods, the octopus is bilaterally symmetric with two eyes and a beak, with its mouth at the center point of the eight limbs; the soft body can alter its shape, enabling octopuses to squeeze through small gaps. They trail their eight appendages behind them; the siphon is used by expelling a jet of water. Octopuses have a complex nervous system and excellent sight, are among the most intelligent and behaviourally diverse of all invertebrates. Octopuses inhabit various regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, the seabed. Most species mature early and are short-lived. During breeding, the male uses a specially adapted arm to deliver a bundle of sperm directly into the female's mantle cavity, after which he becomes senescent and dies; the female deposits fertilised eggs in a den and cares for them until they hatch, after which she dies.
Strategies to defend themselves against predators include the expulsion of ink, the use of camouflage and threat displays, their abilities to jet through the water and hide, through deceit. All octopuses are venomous. Octopuses appear in mythology as sea monsters like the Kraken of Norway and the Akkorokamui of the Ainu, the Gorgon of ancient Greece. A battle with an octopus appears in Victor Hugo's book Toilers of the Sea, inspiring other works such as Ian Fleming's Octopussy. Octopuses appear in shunga, they are eaten and considered a delicacy by humans in many parts of the world the Mediterranean and the Asian seas. The scientific Latin term octopus was derived from Ancient Greek ὀκτώπους, a compound form of ὀκτώ and πούς, itself a variant form of ὀκτάπους, a word used for example by Alexander of Tralles for the common octopus; the standard pluralised form of "octopus" in English is "octopuses". The alternative plural "octopi" – which wrongly assumes it is a Latin second declension "-us" noun or adjective when, in either Greek or Latin, it is a third declension one – is considered grammatically incorrect, but is used enough to be acknowledged by the descriptivist Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary and Webster's New World College Dictionary.
The Oxford English Dictionary lists "octopuses", "octopi", "octopodes", in that order, reflecting frequency of use, calling "octopodes" rare and noting that "octopi" is based on a misunderstanding. The New Oxford American Dictionary lists "octopuses" as the only acceptable pluralisation, indicates that "octopodes" is still used, but that "octopi" is incorrect; the giant Pacific octopus is cited as the largest known octopus species. Adults weigh around 15 kg, with an arm span of up to 4.3 m. The largest specimen of this species to be scientifically documented was an animal with a live mass of 71 kg. Much larger sizes have been claimed for the giant Pacific octopus: one specimen was recorded as 272 kg with an arm span of 9 m. A carcass of the seven-arm octopus, Haliphron atlanticus, weighed 61 kg and was estimated to have had a live mass of 75 kg; the smallest species is Octopus wolfi, around 2.5 cm and weighs less than 1 g. The octopus is bilaterally symmetrical along its dorso-ventral axis; the head includes the brain.
The foot has evolved into a set of flexible, prehensile appendages, known as "arms", that surround the mouth and are attached to each other near their base by a webbed structure. The arms can be divided into four pairs; the two rear appendages are used to walk on the sea floor, while the other six are used to forage for food. The bulbous and hollow mantle is known as the visceral hump; the mantle contains the gills. The mouth of an octopus, located underneath the arms, has a sharp hard beak; the skin consists of a thin outer epidermis with mucous cells and sensory cells, a connective tissue dermis consisting of collagen fibres and various cells allowing colour change. Most of the body is made of soft tissue allowing it to lengthen and contort itself; the octopus can squeeze through tiny gaps. Lacking skeletal support, the arms work as muscular hydrostats and contain longitudinal and circular muscles around a central axial nerve, they can extend and contract, twist to left or right, bend at any place in any direction or be held rigid.
The interior surfaces of the arms are covered with adhesive suckers. The suckers allow the octopus to manipulate objects; each sucker is circular and bowl-like and has two distinct parts: an outer shallow cavity called an infundibulum and a central hollow cavity called an acetabulum, both of whi
Artificial cranial deformation
Artificial cranial deformation or modification, head flattening, or head binding is a form of body alteration in which the skull of a human being is deformed intentionally. It is done by distorting the normal growth of a child's skull by applying force. Flat shapes, elongated ones, rounded ones, conical ones are among those chosen, it is carried out on an infant, as the skull is most pliable at this time. In a typical case, headbinding begins a month after birth and continues for about six months. Intentional cranial deformation predates written history; the earliest suggested examples were once thought to include the Proto-Neolithic Homo sapiens component from Shanidar Cave in Iraq, Neolithic peoples in Southwest Asia. The earliest written record of cranial deformation—by Hippocrates, of the Macrocephali or Long-heads, who were named for their practice of cranial modification—dates to 400 BC. In the Old World, Huns are known to have practised similar cranial deformation, as were the people known as the Alans.
In Late Antiquity, the East Germanic tribes who were ruled by the Huns, the Gepids, Heruli and Burgundians adopted this custom. Among the Lombards, the Burgundians and the Thuringians, this custom seems to have comprised women only. In western Germanic tribes, artificial skull deformations have been found; the practice of cranial deformation was brought to Bactria and Sogdiana by the tribes who created the Kushan Empire. Men with such skulls are depicted in various surviving sculptures and friezes of that time, such as the Kushan prince of Khalchayan. In the Americas, the Maya and certain tribes of North American natives performed the custom. In North America the practice was known among the Chinookan tribes of the Northwest and the Choctaw of the Southeast; the Native American group known as the Flathead Indians, in fact, did not practise head flattening, but were named as such in contrast to other Salishan people who used skull modification to make the head appear rounder. Other tribes, including both Southeastern tribes like the Choctaw and Northwestern tribes like the Chehalis and Nooksack Indians, practiced head flattening by strapping the infant's head to a cradleboard.
The practice of cranial deformation was practiced by the Lucayan people of the Bahamas, it was known among the Aboriginal Australians. In Africa, the Mangbetu stood out to European explorers because of their elongated heads. Traditionally, babies' heads were wrapped with cloth in order to give them this distinctive appearance; the practice began dying out in the 1950s. Friedrich Ratzel reported in 1896 that deformation of the skull, both by flattening it behind and elongating it toward the vertex, was found in isolated instances in Tahiti, Samoa and the Paumotu group, that it occurred most on Mallicollo in the New Hebrides, where the skull was squeezed extraordinarily flat. In the region of Toulouse, these cranial deformations persisted sporadically up until the early twentieth century. In fact, many of the early modern observers of the deformation were recorded as pitying these peasant children, whom they believed to have been lowered in intelligence due to the persistence of old European customs.
The custom of binding babies' heads in Europe in the twentieth century, though dying out at the time, was still extant in France, found in pockets in western Russia, the Caucasus, in Scandinavia. The reasons for the shaping of the head varied over time and for different reasons, from aesthetic to pseudoscientific ideas about the brain's ability to hold certain types of thought depending on its shape. Deformation begins just after birth for the next couple of years until the desired shape has been reached or the child rejects the apparatus. There is no broadly established classification system of cranial deformations, many scientists have developed their own classification systems without agreeing on a single system for all forms observed. An example of an individual system is that of E. V. Zhirov, who described three main types of artificial cranial deformation—round, fronto-occipital, sagittal—for occurrences in Europe and Asia, in the 1940s. One modern theory is cranial deformation was performed to signify group affiliation, or to demonstrate social status.
Such motivations may have played a key role in Maya society, aimed at creating a skull shape, aesthetically more pleasing or associated with desirable attributes. For example, in the Nahai-speaking area of Tomman Island and the south south-western Malakulan, a person with an elongated head is thought to be more intelligent, of higher status, closer to the world of the spirits. There have been a number of various theories regarding the motivations for these practices, it has been considered possible that the practice of cranial deformation originates from an attempt to emulate those groups of the population in which elongated head shape was a natural condition. For example and Tschudi describe a mummy containing a foetus with an elongated skull, describing it thus: the same formation [i.e. absence of the sig
Trematoda is a clade within the phylum Platyhelminthes. It includes two groups of parasitic flatworms, known as flukes, they are internal parasites of vertebrates. Most trematodes have a complex life cycle with at least two hosts; the primary host, where the flukes sexually reproduce, is a vertebrate. The intermediate host, in which asexual reproduction occurs, is a snail; the trematodes or flukes include 18,000 to 24,000 species, divided into two subclasses. Nearly all trematodes are parasites of vertebrates; the smaller Aspidogastrea, comprising about 100 species, are obligate parasites of mollusks and may infect turtles and fish, including cartilaginous fish. The Digenea, the majority of trematodes, are obligate parasites of both mollusks and vertebrates, but occur in cartilaginous fish. Two other parasitic classes, the Monogenea and Cestoda, are sister classes in the Neodermata, a group of Rhabditophoran Platyhelminthes. Trematodes are flattened oval or worm-like animals no more than a few centimetres in length, although species as small as 1 millimetre are known.
Their most distinctive external feature is the presence of two suckers, one close to the mouth, the other on the underside of the animal. The body surface of trematodes comprises a tough syncitial tegument, which helps protect against digestive enzymes in those species that inhabit the gut of larger animals, it is the surface of gas exchange. The mouth is located at the forward end of the animal, opens into a muscular, pumping pharynx; the pharynx connects, via a short oesophagus, to one or two blind-ending caeca, which occupy most of the length of the body. In some species, the caeca are themselves branched; as in other flatworms, there is no anus, waste material must be egested through the mouth. Although the excretion of nitrogenous waste occurs through the tegument, trematodes do possess an excretory system, instead concerned with osmoregulation; this consists of two or more protonephridia, with those on each side of the body opening into a collecting duct. The two collecting ducts meet up at a single bladder, opening to the exterior through one or two pores near the posterior end of the animal.
The brain consists of a pair of ganglia in the head region, from which two or three pairs of nerve cords run down the length of the body. The nerve cords running along the ventral surface are always the largest, while the dorsal cords are present only in the Aspidogastrea. Trematodes lack any specialised sense organs, although some ectoparasitic species do possess one or two pairs of simple ocelli. Most trematodes are simultaneous hermaphrodites, having both female organs. There are two testes, with sperm ducts that join together on the underside of the front half of the animal; this final part of the male system varies in structure between species, but may include sperm storage sacs and accessory glands, in addition to the copulatory organ, either eversible, termed a cirrus, or non-eversible, termed a penis. There is only a single ovary. Eggs pass from it into an oviduct; the distal part of the oviduct, called ootype, is dilated. It is connected via a pair of ducts to a number of vitelline glands on either side of the body, that produce yolk cells.
After the egg is surrounded by yolk cells, its shell is formed from the secretion of another gland called Mehlis' gland or shell gland, the duct of which opens in the ootype. The ootype is connected to an elongated uterus that opens to the exterior in the genital pore, close to the male opening. In most trematodes, sperm cells travel through the uterus to reach the ootype, where fertilization occurs; the ovary is sometimes associated with a storage sac for sperm, a copulatory duct termed Laurer's canal. All trematodes infect molluscs as the first host in the life cycle, most have a complex life cycle involving other hosts. Most trematodes are alternately reproduce sexually and asexually; the two main exceptions to this are the Aspidogastrea, which have no asexual reproduction, the schistosomes, which are dioecious. In the definitive host, in which sexual reproduction occurs, eggs are shed along with host feces. Eggs shed in water release free-swimming larval forms that are infective to the intermediate host, in which asexual reproduction occurs.
A species that exemplifies the remarkable life history of the trematodes is the bird fluke, Leucochloridium paradoxum. The definitive hosts, in which the parasite reproduces, are various woodland birds, while the hosts in which the parasite multiplies are various species of snail; the adult parasite in the bird's gut produces eggs and these end up on the ground in the bird's faeces. Some eggs may hatch into larvae; these larvae take on a sac-like appearance. This stage is known as the sporocyst and it forms a central body in the snail's digestive gland that extends into a brood sac in the snail's head, muscular foot and eye-stalks, it is in the central body of the sporocyst where the parasite replicates itself, producing lots of tiny embryos. These embryos mature into cercaria. Trematodes have a large variation of forms throughout their life cycles. Individual trematode parasites life cycles may vary from this list. Trematodes are released from the definitive host as eggs, which have evolved to withstand the harsh environment Released from the egg is the miracidium.
This infects the first intermediate host in one of either active or passive transmission. A) Active transmission has adapted for dispersal in space as a free swimming ciliated miricidium with adaptati
The human eye is an organ which reacts to light and pressure. As a sense organ, the mammalian eye allows vision. Human eyes help to provide a three dimensional, moving image coloured in daylight. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth; the human eye can differentiate between about 10 million colors and is capable of detecting a single photon. Similar to the eyes of other mammals, the human eye's non-image-forming photosensitive ganglion cells in the retina receive light signals which affect adjustment of the size of the pupil and suppression of the hormone melatonin and entrainment of the body clock; the eye is not shaped like a perfect sphere, rather it is a fused two-piece unit, composed of the anterior segment and the posterior segment. The anterior segment is made up of the cornea and lens; the cornea is transparent and more curved, is linked to the larger posterior segment, composed of the vitreous, retina and the outer white shell called the sclera.
The cornea is about 11.5 mm in diameter, 1/2 mm in thickness near its center. The posterior chamber constitutes the remaining five-sixths; the cornea and sclera are connected by an area termed the limbus. The iris is the pigmented circular structure concentrically surrounding the center of the eye, the pupil, which appears to be black; the size of the pupil, which controls the amount of light entering the eye, is adjusted by the iris' dilator and sphincter muscles. Light energy enters the eye through the cornea, through the pupil and through the lens; the lens shape is controlled by the ciliary muscle. Photons of light falling on the light-sensitive cells of the retina are converted into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain by the optic nerve and interpreted as sight and vision. Dimensions differ among adults by only one or two millimetres, remarkably consistent across different ethnicities; the vertical measure less than the horizontal, is about 24 mm. The transverse size of a human adult eye is 24.2 mm and the sagittal size is 23.7 mm with no significant difference between sexes and age groups.
Strong correlation has been found between the width of the orbit. The typical adult eye has an anterior to posterior diameter of 24 millimetres, a volume of six cubic centimetres, a mass of 7.5 grams.. The eyeball grows increasing from about 16–17 millimetres at birth to 22.5–23 mm by three years of age. By age 12, the eye attains its full size; the eye is made up of layers, enclosing various anatomical structures. The outermost layer, known as the fibrous tunic, is composed of the sclera; the middle layer, known as the vascular tunic or uvea, consists of the choroid, ciliary body, pigmented epithelium and iris. The innermost is the retina, which gets its oxygenation from the blood vessels of the choroid as well as the retinal vessels; the spaces of the eye are filled with the aqueous humour anteriorly, between the cornea and lens, the vitreous body, a jelly-like substance, behind the lens, filling the entire posterior cavity. The aqueous humour is a clear watery fluid, contained in two areas: the anterior chamber between the cornea and the iris, the posterior chamber between the iris and the lens.
The lens is suspended to the ciliary body by the suspensory ligament, made up of hundreds of fine transparent fibers which transmit muscular forces to change the shape of the lens for accommodation. The vitreous body is a clear substance composed of water and proteins, which give it a jelly-like and sticky composition; the approximate field of view of an individual human eye varies by facial anatomy, but is 30° superior, 45° nasal, 70° inferior, 100° temporal. For both eyes combined visual field is 200 ° horizontal, it is 13700 square degrees for binocular vision. When viewed at large angles from the side, the iris and pupil may still be visible by the viewer, indicating the person has peripheral vision possible at that angle. About 15° temporal and 1.5° below the horizontal is the blind spot created by the optic nerve nasally, 7.5° high and 5.5° wide. The retina has a static contrast ratio of around 100:1; as soon as the eye moves to acquire a target, it re-adjusts its exposure by adjusting the iris, which adjusts the size of the pupil.
Initial dark adaptation takes place in four seconds of profound, uninterrupted darkness. The process is nonlinear and multifaceted, so an interruption by light exposure requires restarting the dark adaptation process over again. Full adaptation is dependent on good blood flow; the human eye can detect a luminance range of 1014, or one hundred trillion, from 10−6 cd/m2, or one millionth of a candela per square meter to 108 cd/m2 or one hundred million candelas per square meter. This range does not include looking at the midday lightning discharge. At the low end o
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
The mythology of pre-Christian Ireland did not survive the conversion to Christianity. However, much of it was preserved in medieval Irish literature, though it was shorn of its religious meanings; this literature represents the most extensive and best preserved of all the branches of Celtic mythology. Although many of the manuscripts have not survived and much more material was never committed to writing, there is enough remaining to enable the identification of distinct, if overlapping, cycles: the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle and the Historical Cycle. There are a number of extant mythological texts that do not fit into any of the cycles. Additionally, there are a large number of recorded folk tales that, while not mythological, feature personages from one or more of these four cycles. Today some of the best known tales are of Tír na nÓg, Fionn MacCumhaill, Na Fianna, The Aos Sí / Aes Sídhe, Sétanta, The Tuatha Dé Danann, the Children of Lir, Táin Bó Cúailnge & the Salmon of Knowledge.
Depending on the sources, the importance of gods and goddesses in Irish mythology varies. The geographical tales, emphasize the importance of female divinities while the historical tradition focuses on the colonizers, inventors, or male warriors with the female characters only intervening in episodes. Goddesses are linked to a place and they seem to draw their power from that place, they are maternal deities caring for the earth itself as well as children. They are connected to poetry, smith craft, healing. Many appear to be prophetic when foretelling death as well as transformational. Zoomorphism is an important feature for many Irish deities. Badb Catha, the Raven of Battle, introduces zoomorphism to celtic deities of both sexes. Male deities are less zoomorphic than the female deities in the Irish tradition, but there are still some instances of shapeshifting among gods. There is a presence in Irish Mythology of the Triad referred to as the "power of three," which expresses the extreme potency of a deity rather than dividing the power.
It is an attribute more pronounced among female deities. Dagda is called by two other names, Lug has two brothers, there is the Three Gods of Skill There is a lack of a goddess of love equivalent to Aphrodite or Venus due to the predominance of the maternal element in the culture of the Celts. There are multiple categories of goddesses in Irish Mythology: the Mother Goddess, Seasonal Goddess, Warrior Goddess are a few; some of these goddesses are considered to be all one goddess while other stories treat them as separate. Among the mother goddesses is Anu the goddess of Danu. Additionally, Brigit is a mother goddess, sometimes considered one goddess and sometimes considered the three sisters Brigit, she is the mother goddess that watches over childbirth. She brings abundance. Brigit can be categorized as a seasonal goddess and one can win her favor by burying a fowl alive at the meeting of three waters as a form of sacrifice, she survives as Saint Brigit in the Christian faith and some modern folklore makes her midwife to the Blessed Virgin.
The function of these goddesses involves the entire cycle of life from birth through adolescence and the fertility. They are protecting forces that provide the necessities of life within the home and are envisioned as being the earth itself, their importance have led some scholars to propose a matrilineal social organization and others highlight this argument as being feminist propaganda and deny all indications of importance. These goddesses are the patronesses of feasts, they appear during great feasts of Ireland and they bring abundance. The main goddesses are the Machas: Carman, Tea, but there are other seasonal goddesses. Warrior Goddesses are linked with warrior women because there is historical evidence of women leading their tribes into battle. Oftentimes, warrior goddesses are depicted in a trio; this trio can change to include different goddesses. They reign over the battlefield without having to physically be involved, they do not need to strike a blow because they control the events while the male deities are depicted as being in the battles.
This aspect leads to the discussion of women as the gods of slaughter. Scholars note that the female deities govern the natural event while the male deities govern the social event; the main goddesses of war are Morrigan and Bodb. The Irish Gods are divided into four main groups. Group one encompasses the older gods of Britain; the second group is the main focus of much of the mythology and surrounds the native Irish gods with their homes in burial mounds. The third group are the gods that dwell in the sea and the fourth group includes stories of the Otherworld; the gods that appear most are Dagda and Lug. Some scholars have argued that the stories of these gods align with the Greek gods. Druids were held in high esteem by the community as religious leaders, their functions and origins are debated which some attribute to the fact that there was no written tradition. This lack of documentary evidence is said to be because the practices become common property and this makes the student relax their diligence.
They are figures in Irish Mythology and study astronomy. Heroes in Irish mythology can be found in two distinct groups. There is the hero outside of the tribe; the first group encompasses all, subject to man and his works must belong to the tribe and live under its laws. Within the tribe, heroes are of the race of humans and gods