The Gaels are an ethnolinguistic group native to northwestern Europe. They are associated with the Gaelic languages: a branch of the Celtic languages comprising Irish and Scottish Gaelic; the ethnonyms Irish and Scots referred to the Gaels in general, but the scope of those nationalities is today more complex. Gaelic language and culture originated in Ireland. In antiquity the Gaels traded with the Roman Empire and raided Roman Britain. In the Middle Ages, Gaelic culture became dominant throughout the rest of Scotland and the Isle of Man. There was some Gaelic settlement in Wales and Cornwall. In the Viking Age, small numbers of Vikings raided and settled in Gaelic lands, becoming the Norse-Gaels. In the 9th century, the Scots Gaels of Dál Riata merged with Pictland to form the Gaelic Kingdom of Alba. Meanwhile, Gaelic Ireland was made up of several kingdoms, with a High King claiming lordship over them. In the 12th century, Normans conquered parts of Ireland. However, Gaelic culture remained strong throughout the Scottish Highlands and Galloway.
In the early 17th century, the last Gaelic kingdoms in Ireland fell under English control. James I sought to wipe out their culture. In the following centuries the Gaelic language was suppressed and supplanted by English. However, it continues to be the main language in Scotland's Outer Hebrides; the modern descendants of the Gaels have spread throughout the Americas and Australasia. Gaelic society traditionally centred around the clan, each with its own territory and king, elected through tanistry; the Irish were pagans who worshipped the Tuatha Dé Danann, venerated the ancestors and believed in an Otherworld. Their four yearly festivals – Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasa – continued to be celebrated into modern times; the Gaels have a strong oral tradition, traditionally maintained by shanachies. Inscription in the ogham alphabet began in the 4th century, their conversion to Christianity accompanied the introduction of writing in the Roman alphabet, Irish Gaelic has the oldest vernacular literature in western Europe.
Irish mythology and Brehon law were preserved, albeit Christianised. Gaelic monasteries were renowned centres of learning and played a key role in developing Insular art, while Gaelic missionaries and scholars were influential in western Europe. In the Middle Ages, most Gaels lived in ringforts; the Gaels had their own style of dress, which became the belted kilt. They have distinctive music and sports. Gaelic culture continues to be a major component of Irish and Manx culture. Throughout the centuries and Gaelic-speakers have been known by a number of names; the most consistent of these have been Gael and Scots. The latter two have developed more ambiguous meanings, due to the early modern concept of the nation state, which encompasses non-Gaels. Other terms, such as Milesian, are not as used. An Old Norse name for the Gaels was Vestmenn. Informally, archetypal forenames such as Tadhg or Dòmhnall are sometimes used for Gaels; the word Gaelic is first recorded in print in the English language in the 1770s, replacing the earlier word Gathelik, attested as far back as 1596.
Gael, defined as a "member of the Gaelic race", is first attested in print in 1810. The name derives from the Old Irish word Goídel/Gaídel spelled Gaoidheal in pre-spelling reform Modern Irish, but today spelled Gaeil or Gael. In early modern Irish, the words Gaelic and Gael were spelled Gaoidhealg and Gaoidheal; the more antiquarian term Goidels came to be used by some due to Edward Lhuyd's work on the relationship between Celtic languages. This term was further popularised in academia by John Rhys. According to the scholar John T. Koch, the Old Irish form of the name, Goídel, was borrowed from a Primitive Welsh form Guoidel meaning'forest people','wild men' or, later,'warriors'. Old Welsh Guoidel is recorded as a personal name in the Book of Llandaff; the root of the name is cognate at the Proto-Celtic level Old Irish fíad'wild', Féni, derived from the Proto-Indo-European *weidh-n-jo-. This latter word is the origin of Fenian. A common name, passed down to the modern day, is Irish; the ultimate origin of this word is thought to be from the Old Irish Ériu, from Old Celtic *Iveriu associated with the Proto-Indo-European term *pi-wer- meaning "fertile".
Ériu is mentioned as a goddess in the Lebor Gabála Érenn as a daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Along with her sisters Banba and Fódla, she is said to have made a deal with the Milesians to name the island after her; the ancient Greeks. This group has been associated with the Érainn of Irish tradition by others; the Érainn.
Tuatha Dé Danann
The Tuath Dé Danann known by the earlier name Tuath Dé, are a supernatural race in Irish mythology. They are thought to represent the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland; the Tuatha Dé Danann constitute a pantheon whose attributes appeared in a number of forms throughout the Celtic world. The Tuath Dé interact with humans and the human world, they are associated with ancient passage tombs, such as Brú na Bóinne, which were seen as portals to the Otherworld. Their traditional rivals are the Fomorians, who seem to represent the harmful or destructive powers of nature, who the Tuath Dé defeat in the Battle of Mag Tuired; each member of the Tuath Dé has associations with a particular feature of life or nature, but many appear to have more than one association. Many have bynames, some representing different aspects of the deity and others being regional names or epithets. Much of Irish mythology was recorded by Christian monks, they depicted the Tuath Dé as kings and heroes of the distant past who had supernatural powers.
Other times they were explained as fallen angels who were neither evil. However, some medieval writers acknowledged, they appear in tales set centuries apart, showing them to be immortal. Prominent members of the Tuath Dé include The Dagda, they have parallels in the pantheons of other Celtic peoples: for example Lugh is cognate with the pan-Celtic god Lugus, Nuada with the British god Nodens, Brigid with Brigantia. The Tuath Dé became the Aos Sí or "fairies" of folklore; the Old Irish word tuath means "people, nation". In the earliest writings, the mythical race are referred to as the Tuath Dé. However, Irish monks began using the term Tuath Dé to refer to the Israelites, with the meaning "People of God". To avoid confusion with the Israelites, writers began to refer to the mythical race as the Tuath Dé Danann; the Old Irish pronunciation is and the Modern Irish pronunciation is in the West and North, in the South. Danann is believed to be the genitive of a female name, for which the nominative case is not attested.
It has been reconstructed as Danu. Anu is called "mother of the Irish gods" by Cormac mac Cuilennáin; this may be linked to the Welsh mythical figure Dôn. Hindu mythology has a goddess called Danu, who may be an Indo-European parallel. However, this reconstruction is not universally accepted, it has been suggested that Danann is a conflation of dán and the goddess name Anann. The name is found as Donann and Domnann, which may point to the origin being proto-Celtic *don, meaning "earth". There may be a link with the British Dumnonii; the Tuatha Dé Danann were descended from leader of a previous wave of inhabitants of Ireland. They came from four cities to the north of Ireland—Falias, Gorias and Finias—where they taught their skills in the sciences, including architecture, the arts, magic, including necromancy. According to Lebor Gabála Érenn, they came to Ireland "in dark clouds" and "landed on the mountains of Conmaicne Rein in Connachta", otherwise Sliabh an Iarainn, "and they brought a darkness over the sun for three days and three nights".
They burnt the ships "so that they should not think of retreating to them. Therefore it was conceived that they had arrived in clouds of mist". A poem in the Lebor Gabála Érenn says of their arrival: It is God who suffered them, though He restrained themthey landed with horror, with lofty deed, in their cloud of mighty combat of spectres, upon a mountain of Conmaicne of Connacht. Without distinction to descerning Ireland, Without ships, a ruthless course the truth was not known beneath the sky of stars, whether they were of heaven or of earth. Led by their king, they fought the First Battle of Magh Tuireadh on the west coast, in which they defeated and displaced the native Fir Bolg, who inhabited Ireland. In the battle, Nuada lost an arm to Sreng. Since Nuada was no longer "unblemished", he could not continue as king and was replaced by the half-Fomorian Bres, who turned out to be a tyrant; the physician Dian Cecht replaced Nuada's arm with a working silver one and he was reinstated as king. However, Dian Cecht's son Miach was dissatisfied with the replacement so he recited the spell, "ault fri halt dí & féith fri féth", which caused flesh to grow over the silver prosthesis over the course of nine days and nights.
However, in a fit of jealous rage Dian Cecht slew his own son. Because of Nuada's restoration as leader, Bres complained to his family and his father, who sent him to seek assistance from Balor, king of the Fomorians; the Tuatha Dé Danann fought the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh against the Fomorians. Nuada was killed by the Fomorian king Balor's poisonous eye, but Balor was
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure. For Celts in close contact with Ancient Rome, such as the Gauls and Celtiberians, their mythology did not survive the Roman Empire, their subsequent conversion to Christianity and the loss of their Celtic languages, it is through contemporary Roman and Christian sources that their mythology has been preserved. The Celtic peoples who maintained either political or linguistic identities left vestigial remnants of their ancestral mythologies that were put into written form during the Middle Ages. Although the Celtic world at its height covered much of western and central Europe, it was not politically unified nor was there any substantial central source of cultural influence or homogeneity. Inscriptions of more than three hundred deities equated with their Roman counterparts, have survived, but of these most appear to have been genii locorum, local or tribal gods, few were worshiped.
However, from what has survived of Celtic mythology, it is possible to discern commonalities which hint at a more unified pantheon than is given credit. The nature and functions of these ancient gods can be deduced from their names, the location of their inscriptions, their iconography, the Roman gods they are equated with, similar figures from bodies of Celtic mythology. Celtic mythology is found in a number of distinct, if related, subgroups corresponding to the branches of the Celtic languages: Ancient Celtic religion mythology in Goidelic languages, represented chiefly by Irish mythology Mythological Cycle Ulster Cycle Fenian Cycle Cycles of the Kings mythology in Brittonic languages Welsh mythology Cornish mythology Breton mythology As a result of the scarcity of surviving materials bearing written Gaulish, it is surmised that the most of the Celtic writings were destroyed by the Romans, although a written form of Gaulish using Greek and North Italic alphabets was used. Julius Caesar attests to the literacy of the Gauls, but wrote that their priests, the druids, were forbidden to use writing to record certain verses of religious significance while noting that the Helvetii had a written census.
Rome introduced a more widespread habit of public inscriptions, broke the power of the druids in the areas it conquered. Although early Gaels in Ireland and parts of modern Wales used the Ogham script to record short inscriptions, more sophisticated literacy was not introduced to Celtic areas that had not been conquered by Rome until the advent of Christianity. Indeed, many Gaelic myths were first recorded by Christian monks, albeit without most of their original religious meanings; the oldest body of myths stemming from the Heroic Age is found only from the early medieval period of Ireland. As Christianity began to take over, the gods and goddesses were eliminated as such from the culture. What has survived includes material dealing with the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians, which forms the basis for the text Cath Maige Tuired "The Battle of Mag Tuireadh", as well as portions of the history-focused Lebor Gabála Érenn; the Tuatha Dé represent the functions of human society such as kingship and war, while the Fomorians represent chaos and wild nature.
The leader of the gods for the Irish pantheon appears to have been the Dagda. The Dagda was the figure on which male humans and other gods were based because he embodied ideal Irish traits. Celtic gods were considered to be a clan due to their lack of specialization and unknown origins; the particular character of the Dagda was as a figure of burlesque lampoonery in Irish mythology, some authors conclude that he was trusted to be benevolent enough to tolerate jokes at his own expense. Irish tales depict the Dagda as a figure of power, armed with a club. In Dorset there is a famous outline of an ithyphallic giant known as the Cerne Abbas Giant with a club cut into the chalky soil. While this was produced in modern times, it was long thought to be a representation of the Dagda; this has been called into question by recent studies which show that there may have been a representation of what looks like a large drapery hanging from the horizontal arm of the figure, leading to suspicion that this figure represents Hercules, with the skin of the Nemean lion over his arm and carrying the club he used to kill it.
In Gaul, it is speculated that the Dagda is associated with Sucellus, the striker, equipped with a hammer and cup. The Morrígan was a tripartite battle goddess of the Celts of Ancient Ireland, she was known as the Morrígan, but the different sections she was divided into were referred to as Nemain and Badb, with each representing different aspects of combat. She is most known for her involvement in the Táin Bó Cúailnge
Lughnasadh or Lughnasa is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. It was observed throughout Ireland and the Isle of Man. In Modern Irish it is called Lúnasa, in Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal, in Manx: Luanistyn. Traditionally it is held on 1 August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. However, in recent centuries some of the celebrations shifted to the Sundays nearest this date. Lughnasadh is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain and Beltane, it corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gŵyl Awst and the English Lammas. Lughnasadh has pagan origins; the festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests, feasting and trading. There were visits to holy wells. According to folklorist Máire MacNeill, evidence shows that the religious rites included an offering of the'first fruits', a feast of the new food and of bilberries, the sacrifice of a bull and a ritual dance-play in which Lugh seizes the harvest for mankind and defeats the powers of blight.
Much of the activities would have taken place on top of mountains. Lughnasadh customs persisted until the 20th century, with the event being variously named'Garland Sunday','Bilberry Sunday','Mountain Sunday' and'Crom Dubh Sunday'; the custom of climbing hills and mountains at Lughnasadh has survived in some areas, although it has been re-cast as a Christian pilgrimage. The best known is the'Reek Sunday' pilgrimage to the top of Croagh Patrick on the last Sunday in July. A number of fairs are believed to be survivals of Lughnasadh, for example the Puck Fair. Since the late 20th century, Celtic neopagans have observed Lughnasadh, or something based on it, as a religious holiday. In some places, elements of the festival have been revived as a cultural event. In Old Irish, the name was Lugnasad; this is a combination of Lug and násad, unstressed when used as a suffix. Spellings include Luᵹ̇nasaḋ, Lughnasadh and Lughnasa. In Modern Irish, the spelling is Lúnasa, the name for the month of August; the genitive case is Lúnasa as in Mí Lúnasa and Lá Lúnasa.
In Modern Scottish Gaelic, the festival and the month are both called Lùnastal. In Manx, the festival and the month are both called Luanistyn; the day itself may be called either Laa Luanys. In Welsh, the day is known as Calan Awst a Latin term, the Calends of August in English. In Breton, the day was known as the Feast of August. In Irish mythology, the Lughnasadh festival is said to have begun by the god Lugh as a funeral feast and athletic competition in commemoration of his mother or foster-mother Tailtiu, she was said to have died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Tailtiu may have been an earth goddess; the funeral games in her honour were called the Óenach Tailten or Áenach Tailten and were held each Lughnasadh at Tailtin in what is now County Meath. According to medieval writings, kings attended this óenach and a truce was declared for its duration, it was similar to the Ancient Olympic Games and included ritual athletic and sporting contests, horse racing and storytelling, proclaiming laws and settling legal disputes, drawing-up contracts, matchmaking.
At Tailtin, trial marriages were conducted, whereby young couples joined hands through a hole in a wooden door. The trial marriage lasted a year and a day, at which time the marriage could be made permanent or broken without consequences. A similar Lughnasadh festival, the Óenach Carmain, was held in. Carman is believed to have been a goddess one with a similar tale as Tailtiu; the Óenach Carmain included a food market, a livestock market, a market for foreign traders. After the 9th century the Óenach Tailten was celebrated irregularly and it died out, it was revived for a period in the 20th century as the Tailteann Games. A 15th century version of the Irish legend Tochmarc Emire is one of the earliest documents to record these festivities. From the 18th century to the mid 20th century, many accounts of Lughnasadh customs and folklore were recorded. In 1962 The Festival of Lughnasa, a study of Lughnasadh by folklorist Máire MacNeill, was published. MacNeill studied surviving Lughnasadh customs and folklore as well as the earlier accounts and medieval writings about the festival.
She concluded that the evidence testified to the existence of an ancient festival around 1 August that involved the following: A solemn cutting of the first of the corn of which an offering would be made to the deity by bringing it up to a high place and burying it. A ceremony indicating th
Imbolc or Imbolg called Brigid's Day, is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. It is held on about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, it was observed throughout Ireland and the Isle of Man. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Beltane and Samhain—and corresponds to the Welsh Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau. For Christians in Ireland, it is the feast day of Saint Brigid. Imbolc is mentioned in early Irish literature, there is evidence suggesting it was an important date in ancient times, it is believed that Imbolic was a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brigid, that it was Christianized as a festival of Saint Brigid, thought to be a Christianization of the goddess. At Imbolc, Brigid's crosses and a doll-like figure of Brigid–called a Brídeóg–were made; the figure would be paraded from house-to-house by girls, sometimes accompanied by'strawboys'. Brigid was said to visit one's home at Imbolc. To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless.
Brigid was invoked to protect homes and livestock. People participated in special feasts and visits to holy wells, it was a time for divination. Although many of its customs died out in the 20th century, it is still observed and in some places it has been revived as a cultural event. Since the latter 20th century, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans have observed Imbolc as a religious holiday; the etymology of Imbolc/Imbolg is unclear. The most common explanation is, comes from the Old Irish i mbolc, meaning "in the belly", refers to the pregnancy of ewes. Another possible origin is the Old Irish imb-fholc, "to wash/cleanse oneself", referring to a ritual cleansing. Eric P. Hamp derives it from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning both "milk" and "cleansing". Professor Alan Ward derives it from the Proto-Celtic *embibolgon, "budding"; the 10th century Cormac's Glossary derives it from oimelc, "ewe milk", but many scholars see this as a folk etymology. Some Neopagans have adopted Oimelc as a name for the festival.
Since Imbolc is followed by Candlemas, Irish Imbolc is sometimes translated into English as "Candlemas". The date of Imbolc is thought to have been significant in Ireland since the Neolithic period; some passage tombs in Ireland are aligned with the sunrise around the times of Samhain. This includes the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, Cairn L at Slieve na Calliagh. In Gaelic Ireland, Imbolc was the feis or festival marking the beginning of spring, during which great feasts were held, it is attested in some of the earliest Old Irish literature, from the 10th century onward. It was one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals: Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh. From the 18th century to the mid 20th century, many accounts of Imbolc or St Brigid's Day were recorded by folklorists and other writers, they tell us how it was celebrated and shed light on how it may have been celebrated in the past. Imbolc has traditionally been celebrated on 1 February. However, because the day was deemed to begin and end at sunset, the celebrations would start on what is now 31 January.
It has been argued that the timing of the festival was more fluid and based on seasonal changes. It has been associated with the onset of the lambing season, the beginning of the spring sowing, the blooming of blackthorn; the holiday was a festival of the hearth and home, a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Celebrations involved hearthfires, special foods, divination or watching for omens, candles or a bonfire if the weather permitted. Fire and purification were an important part of the festival; the lighting of candles and fires represented the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months. A spring cleaning was customary. Holy wells were visited at Imbolc, at the other Gaelic festivals of Beltane and Lughnasa. Visitors to holy wells would pray for health while walking'sunwise' around the well, they would leave offerings coins or clooties. Water from the well was used to bless the home, family members and fields. Donald Alexander Mackenzie recorded that offerings were made "to earth and sea".
The offering could be milk poured into the porridge poured into the water, as a libation. Imbolc is associated with Saint Brigid. Saint Brigid is thought to have been based on a Gaelic goddess; the festival, which celebrates the onset of spring, is thought to be linked with Brigid in her role as a fertility goddess. On Imbolc Eve, Brigid was said to bless the inhabitants; as Brigid represented the light half of the year, the power that will bring people from the dark season of winter into spring, her presence was important at this time of year. Families would have a special supper on Imbolc Eve; this included food such as colcannon, dumplings, barmbrack and/or bannocks. Some of the food and drink would be set aside for Brigid. Brigid would be symbolica
Cornish mythology is the folk tradition and mythology of the Cornish people. It consists of folk traditions developed in Cornwall, of traditions developed by Britons elsewhere before the end of the first millennium shared with those of the Breton and Welsh peoples; some of this contains remnants of the mythology of pre-Christian Britain. There is much traditional folklore in Cornwall tales of giants, Bucca, piskies or the'pobel vean' These are still popular today, with many events hosting a'droll teller' to tell the stories: such myths and stories have found much publishing success in children's books; the fairy tale Jack. Many early British legends associate King Arthur with Cornwall, putting his birthplace at Tintagel, the court of King Mark of Cornwall, uncle of Tristan and husband of Iseult, the most famous Cornish lovers. Cornwall shares its ancient cultural heritage with its'Brythonic cousins' Brittany and Wales, as well as Ireland and parts of England such as neighbouring Devon. Many ancient tales of the Bards, whether the Arthurian Cycle and Iseult or the Mabinogion take place in the ancient kingdom of Cerniw between Greater and Lesser Britains with a foot on either side of the'British Sea' Mor Brettanek/Mor Breizh.
Part of Cornish mythology is derived from tales of seafaring pirates and smugglers who thrived in and around Cornwall from the early modern period through to the 19th century. Cornish pirates exploited both their knowledge of the Cornish coast as well as its sheltered creeks and hidden anchorages. For many fishing villages and contraband provided by pirates supported a strong and secretive underground economy in Cornwall. Legendary creatures that appear in Cornish folklore include buccas, knockers and piskies. Tales of these creatures are thought to have developed as supernatural explanations for the frequent and deadly cave-ins that occurred during 18th century Cornish tin mining, or else a creation of the oxygen-starved minds of exhausted miners who returned from the underground; the knocker or bucca is the Welsh and Cornish equivalent of Irish leprechauns and English and Scottish brownies. About two feet tall and grizzled, but not misshapen, they live beneath the ground. Here they wear tiny versions of standard miner's garb and commit random mischief, such as stealing a miner's unattended tools and food - they were cast a small offering of food – the crust of a pasty – to appease their malevolence.
Many landscape features, from the barren granite rock features on Bodmin Moor, to the dramatic cliff seascape, to the mystical form of St Michael's Mount are explained as the work of Giants and English tales such as the early eighteenth century Jack the Giant Killer may recall much older British folk traditions recorded elsewhere in medieval Welsh language manuscripts and related to the folk traditions of Dartmoor in neighbouring Devon. Old Michaelmas Day falls on 11 October. According to an old legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date; this is because, so British folklore goes, Satan was banished from Heaven on this day, fell into a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles as he fell into them. In Cornwall, a similar legend prevails, according to. Weather lore"Mist from the hill / Brings water for the mill. "Lundy plain, Sign of rain". Nellie Sloggett of Padstow devoted much of her attention to Cornish legend, she recorded many stories about the Piskey folk, fairies of Cornish myth and legend.
She published most of her works in this category under her better-known pen-name of Enys Tregarthen. BooksThe Doll Who Came Alive ISBN 0-381-99683-2 Pixie Folklore & Legends ISBN 0-517-14903-6 Padstow's Faery Folk North Cornwall Fairies and Legends. London: Wells Gardner, Darton & Co. 1906 – via Internet Archive. The House of the Sleeping Winds and Other Stories The White Ring Dozmary Pool is identified by some people with the lake in which, according to Arthurian legend, Sir Bedivere threw Excalibur to The Lady of the Lake. Another legend relating to the pool concerns Jan Tregeagle; the Beast of Bodmin has been never identified with certainty. Doom BarAccording to legend, the Mermaid of Padstow created the Doom Bar as a dying curse, after being shot by a sailor. However, there are many different versions of the story and the precise details are unclear; some versions start by stating that she used to guide ships up the estuary and others that she would visit and spy upon ships in harbour, yet more tell of how she used to sit upon a rock at Hawkers Cove.
She met a man, one fell in love with the other. One version explains that she was love sick, tried to lure him beneath the waves, however he escaped by shooting her. Another version suggested the man, Tristram Bird, fell in love with her and asked her to marry him, though she refused. In his rage he shot her. Another suggestion is that Tom Yeo, shot her because he thought she was a seal; the ending of the legend is similar. With her dying breath, she levelled a curse at Padstow, or at the harbour itself, stating that the harbour will be desolate or unsafe. With that, a great storm came, wrecking many boats and creating the great sand bank known as the Doom Bar. Within the bounds of Gulval parish lies the disused Ding Dong mine, reputedly one of the oldest in Cornwall. Popular local legend claims that Joseph of Arimathea, a tin trader, visited the mine and brought a young Jesus to address the miners, although ther
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may refer to the modern study of these representations, to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period. The Romans treated their traditional narratives as historical when these have miraculous or supernatural elements; the stories are concerned with politics and morality, how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state. Heroism was an important theme; when the stories illuminate Roman religious practices, they are more concerned with ritual and institutions than with theology or cosmogony. The study of Roman religion and myth is complicated by the early influence of Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome's protohistory, by the artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors.
In matters of theology, the Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks, to reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. Rome's early myths and legends have a dynamic relationship with Etruscan religion, less documented than that of the Greeks. While Roman mythology may lack a body of divine narratives as extensive as that found in Greek literature and Remus suckling the she-wolf is as famous as any image from Greek mythology except for the Trojan Horse; because Latin literature was more known in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the interpretations of Greek myths by the Romans had a greater influence on narrative and pictorial representations of "classical mythology" than Greek sources. In particular, the versions of Greek myths in Ovid's Metamorphoses, written during the reign of Augustus, came to be regarded as canonical; because ritual played the central role in Roman religion that myth did for the Greeks, it is sometimes doubted that the Romans had much of a native mythology.
This perception is a product of Romanticism and the classical scholarship of the 19th century, which valued Greek civilization as more "authentically creative." From the Renaissance to the 18th century, Roman myths were an inspiration for European painting. The Roman tradition is rich in historical myths, or legends, concerning the foundation and rise of the city; these narratives focus on human actors, with only occasional intervention from deities but a pervasive sense of divinely ordered destiny. In Rome's earliest period and myth have a mutual and complementary relationship; as T. P. Wiseman notes: The Roman stories still matter, as they mattered to Dante in 1300 and Shakespeare in 1600 and the founding fathers of the United States in 1776. What does it take to be a free citizen? Can a superpower still be a republic? How does well-meaning authority turn into murderous tyranny? Major sources for Roman myth include the Aeneid of Vergil and the first few books of Livy's history as well as Dionysius' s Roman Antiquities.
Other important sources are the Fasti of Ovid, a six-book poem structured by the Roman religious calendar, the fourth book of elegies by Propertius. Scenes from Roman myth appear in Roman wall painting and sculpture reliefs; the Aeneid and Livy's early history are the best extant sources for Rome's founding myths. Material from Greek heroic legend was grafted onto this native stock at an early date; the Trojan prince Aeneas was cast as husband of Lavinia, daughter of King Latinus, patronymical ancestor of the Latini, therefore through a convoluted revisionist genealogy as forebear of Romulus and Remus. By extension, the Trojans were adopted as the mythical ancestors of the Roman people; the characteristic myths of Rome are political or moral, that is, they deal with the development of Roman government in accordance with divine law, as expressed by Roman religion, with demonstrations of the individual's adherence to moral expectations or failures to do so. Rape of the Sabine women, explaining the importance of the Sabines in the formation of Roman culture, the growth of Rome through conflict and alliance.
Numa Pompilius, the Sabine second king of Rome who consorted with the nymph Egeria and established many of Rome's legal and religious institutions. Servius Tullius, the sixth king of Rome, whose mysterious origins were mythologized and, said to have been the lover of the goddess Fortuna; the Tarpeian Rock, why it was used for the execution of traitors. Lucretia, whose self-sacrifice prompted the overthrow of the early Roman monarchy and led to the establishment of the Republic. Cloelia, A Roman woman taken hostage by Lars Porsena, she escaped the Clusian camp with a group of Roman virgins. Horatius at the bridge, on the importance of individual valor. Mucius Scaevola, who thrust his right hand into the fire to prove his loyalty to Rome. Caeculus and the founding of Praeneste. Manlius and the geese, about divine intervention at the Gallic siege of Rome. Stories pertaining to the Nonae Caprotinae and Poplifugia festivals. Coriolanus, a story of politics and morality; the Etruscan city of Corythus as the "cradle" of Trojan and Italian civilization.
The arrival of the Great Mother in Rome. Narratives of divine activity played a more important role in the system of Greek religious belief than among the Romans, for whom ritual and cult were primary. Although Roman religion did not have a basis in scriptures and exegesis, priestly literature was one of the earliest written forms of Latin prose; the books and commentaries of the College of Pontiffs and