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Mythological Cycle

The Mythological Cycle is a conventional division within Irish mythology, concerning a set of tales about the godlike peoples said to have arrived in five migratory invasions into Ireland and principally recounting the doings of the Tuatha Dé Danann. It is one of the four major cycles of early Irish literary tradition, the others being the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle and the Cycles of the Kings; the term "Mythological Cycle" seems to have gained currency with Arbois de Jubainville, c. 1881–1883. In the opinion of Mackillop, use of the term is "somewhat awkward today"; the characters appearing in the cycle are gods from the pre-Christian pagan past in Ireland. Commentators exercising caution, qualify them as representing only "godlike" beings, not gods; this is because the Christian scribes who composed the writings were careful not to refer to the Tuatha Dé Danann and other beings explicitly as deities. The disguises are thinly veiled nonetheless, these writings contain discernible vestiges of early Irish polytheistic cosmology.

Examples of works from the cycle include numerous prose tales, verse texts, as well as pseudo-historical chronicles found in medieval vellum manuscripts or copies. Some of the romances are of composition and found only in paper manuscripts dating to near-modern times. Near-modern histories such as the Annals of the Four Masters and Geoffrey Keating's History of Ireland are sometimes considered viable sources, since they may offer additional insights with their annotated and interpolated reworkings of LGE accounts. Orally transmitted folk-tales may be, in a broad sense, considered mythological cycle material, the folk-tales that describe Cian's tryst with Balor's daughter while attempting to recover the bountiful cow Glas Gaibhnenn; the god-folk of the successive invasions are "euhemerised", i.e. described as having dwelt terrestrially and ruling over Ireland in kingship before the age of mortal men. Afterwards, the Tuatha Dé Danann are said to have retreated into the sídhe, cloaking their presence by raising the féth fiada.

Having disappeared but not died, the deities oftentimes make "guest appearances" in narratives categorised under other cycles. Collected literature, while they do not belong to the cycle in entirety capture tidbits of lore about the deities. In the list that follows, citations are only given if the wiki page for that work is not developed. Otherwise, citations are deferred to the wiki article in question. See External links for additional titles; the main source of mythology comes from Lebor Gabala Erenn. It is an abridged compilation of both prose and poetry on the origins of Ireland and the extraordinary deities; the original was more expansive, but perished in what is to be assumed Viking raids or being claimed during war time. A supplemental text is attributed to a chronicler that goes by the name Keating who published his book in the 17th century, he had access to materials. Nennius and Eochaid Ua Flainn, chroniclers who lived during the 10th century, recorded mythological Irish history by way of poetry.

Though, their contributions are short and semi-vague, they contain a lot of precious information on Ireland's spiritual beliefs of the time. The Tuatha De Danann can be linked to the same origins as the Gods in Greek mythology. Hesoid calls the Greek Gods the Golden Race. In Irish mythology, Ireland was subject to 6 invasions; the first 5 were from otherworldy beings, the last was from Milesians. The Tautha De Danaan were known to come from the heavens, but that may be from scribes not knowing how to execute their origin. So the scribes borrowed from past religions like the Greek and Eastern myth to create an origin story; the Gauls were thought to come from underneath the Earth. This information had been passed down from druids from the God of the underworld. Earth was thought to be a woman at the time, so this was thought to be a metaphorical birth, not ascending from hell; the Earth and sun were thought to be created by druids, much like how Brahmans boasted the same cosmogony story. Much like preceding myth, the Gauls believed the mountains held up the sky.

These stories stayed in the oral tradition because the Irish had not been invaded at the time like surrounding countries. In conjunction, the druidic schools wanted to maintain the stories in verbal form; this kept the stories in circulation to the public. When Christian scribes came to Ireland, they wrote down the stories in Latin. In succeeding centuries many of the texts were lost or destroyed during Viking raids; the remaining texts were rerecorded in manuscripts in the 12th century. Though previous manuscripts were are dated to 3-4 centuries earlier in the Irish language; the Tuatha De Denann are semi divine beings that came to Ireland by ships and inhabited the country before the native Irish. They came to Ireland to take the land from the Fir Bolgs that have been residing in the north of Ireland at the time; the Tuatha were perceived as gods for their superior skills: various arts of druidry, prophecy

Chinese box turtle

The Chinese box turtle known as the Yellow-margined box turtle, or Golden-headed turtle, is a species of Asian box turtle. Taxonomically, it is called Cuora flavomarginata. C. flavomarginata has a domed shell, the carapace and plastron of which are a dark brown with a cream-yellow stripe on the vertebral keel. The edge of the plastron is pigmented due to the marginal scutes' and plastral scutes' lighter pigmentation near their edges; the skin on the limbs is brown. Each side of the head has a yellow line extending from behind the eye backward; the skin beneath the head and between the limbs is a lighter pinkish color. The name box turtle refers to C. flavomarginata's ability to bring the plastron to the edges of the carapace. This is enabled by a hinge on the plastron and ligaments connecting the carapace and plastron, which allows for limited movement; the forefeet have five claws. The external difference between male and female C. flavomarginata is slight. Males have a broader tail than females, triangular in shape.

C. flavomarginata is found in Central China: Hunan, Anhui, Chongqing, eastern Sichuan, Zhejiang & Jiangsu provinces. It is found in Taiwan and Japan the Ryukyu Islands and Iriomote. C. flavomarginata is omnivorous, will eat a large variety of foods. "Adults favor earthworms, frozen pinkies, snails and mealworms. They eat dry trout chow and moistened dry cat food, canned cat food. Leafy greens are ignored. Invertebrates that the turtles hunt for include June bug larvae and slugs being principal prey." In 1863, John Edward Gray described the species as Cistoclemmys flavomarginata. It was moved to Cyclemys, to Cuora. In the 2012 issue of the Turtle Taxonomy Working Group's Checklist the species is listed as Cuora with two recognised subspecies. Two subspecies have been recognised: Cuora flavomarginata flavomarginata Cuora flavomarginata evelynae This species has hybridized with Mauremys japonica in captivity and with female Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtles in captivity and in the wild

Lesser grey shrike

The lesser grey shrike is a member of the shrike family Laniidae. It breeds in South and Central Europe and western Asia in the summer and migrates to winter quarters in southern Africa in the early autumn, returning in spring, it is a scarce vagrant to western Europe, including Great Britain as a spring or autumn erratic. It is similar in appearance to the great grey shrike Lanius excubitor and the Iberian grey shrike Lanius meridionalis being predominantly black and grey, with the males having pink-flushed underparts, it is smaller than the great grey shrike, has a black forehead and longer wings. This species prefers dry open lowlands, is seen on telephone wires; this medium-sized passerine eats large insects beetles, butterflies and grasshoppers. Like other shrikes it hunts from prominent perches and sometimes impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a "larder"; the lesser grey shrike was first described by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1788. There are Lanius minor minor and Lanius minor turanicus.

The genus name, Lanius, is derived from the Latin word for "butcher", some shrikes are known as "butcher birds" because of their feeding habits. The specific minor is Latin for "smaller"; the common English name "shrike" is from "shriek", referring to the shrill call. The adult male lesser grey shrike has its nape, cheeks and eye coverts and front part of the crown black; the hind part of the crown and the back is a pale bluish-grey and the rump is a similar but rather paler colour. The underparts are white with belly suffused with pink; the axillaries are greyish-white and the underwing coverts are brownish-black. The two central tail feathers are black with base; the other pairs have increasing areas of less black. The primaries are black with white base; the secondaries are black with broader, paler tips but no white bases. The wing coverts are black with the lesser coverts being fringed with grey; the female has similar plumage but the head is dark grey rather than black, the ear coverts brownish-black, the upperparts a brownish-grey and the underparts less pink than the male.

The juvenile is altogether more brown. It lacks the grey back and rump which are instead pale brown and faintly barred, the underparts are white and cream without any pink. All birds have a brownish-black beak with a paler base to the lower mandible, brown irises and black legs and feet. Adult length is around 20 cm with a tarsus length of 2.5 cm. The lesser grey shrike spends Central Europe and western Asia, it breeds in southern France, Austria, Czech Republic, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Romania and southern Russia. In Asia it breeds in its range extending as far as eastern Turkey and Iran, it is a vagrant to more northerly parts of Europe in spring or autumn. Countries where it has been seen include Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Netherlands and northern France, it is a migratory winters in a broad belt across tropical southern Africa. During the summer the lesser grey shrike inhabits open countryside, the edges of cultivated areas, heathland with scattered bushes and trees, coppices and roadside trees.

In its winter quarters it is found in scrubland and among thorn trees. The lesser grey shrike hunts from a strategic post, wire or branch and feeds on insects which it catches in the air or on the ground; the diet includes beetles and butterflies, large flies, grasshoppers and millipedes. Some fruits such as cherries and figs are eaten to a limited extent; the bird impales freshly caught prey on thorns for use but this is done to a much lesser extent than by some other shrike species. It has been shown experimentally that this species only creates a larder when it is satiated and that prey items are plentiful enough for this to be the case; the male has been observed to feed the female before starting to create a food store. Repeated experimental exposure of birds to a food surplus increases the rate at which they impale freshly caught prey. Other causal factors in the failure of this species to hoard may be a shortage of suitable caching sites and the fact that the bird lacks practice in storing food and this constrains its learning ability.

The flight of the lesser grey shrike is low and somewhat undulating and it glides with extended wings. At the end of the flight it swoops upward to land on a new hunting perch, it turns its head from side to side searching for prey. When on the ground it hops, but it only stays there for long enough to pick up an item of food. Like other shrikes, when excited it fans its tail and moves it up and down or from sided to side, it will defend its nest with vigour and drive away larger birds. The nest is built in a roadside tree with good all-round visibility some 4 to 10 metres off the ground, it is built by both birds out of the stems of various flowering plants such as cudweed and, thyme, lined with whisps of wool, hairs and feathers. There are five to seven eggs in the clutch bluish green blotched with greenish-brown. Sometimes the background colour is buff with pinkish-brown blotches, their average size is 26.1 by 18.2 millimetres. Incubation is chiefly done by the female though both parents take part.

They both feed the young. There is a singl