Story Archaeology

Uncovering the layers of Irish Mythology through a regular podcast and related articles

Tag Archives: Early Irish Society

The Story of Airmed from Cath Maige Tuired

from Cath Maige Tuired, The Battle of Moytura edited by Elizabeth Gray translation and notes by Isolde Carmody [Terms in bold have notes and discussions below]   133] Boí dano Núadae oga uothras, & dobreth láim n-argait foair lioa Díen Cécht go lúth cecha lámha indte. Meanwhile, Núada was debilitated.  A silver hand / arm was set on him by Dían Cécht, with the power of every …

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Cows as Currency

As with many ancient societies, the early Irish did not use coinage.  They still had a complex system of value, which may welll have changed over time or from area to area.   One unit of value was cattle,which were used as currency up to around 1400 CE, long after the introduction of coinage.  This could …

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Revisiting Mythical Women 2 – Revisiting Macha

In the second of our “revisits”, we look back at our discussions on Noinden Ulaid and the Dindshenchas stories of Emain Macha in Co. Armagh. This was the first discussion that we had about cóir, although we were then using the Egyptian term Ma’at, signifying natural order and justice. Reviewing this episode really highlights how …

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Revisiting the Importance of the Source

When I chose to study Early Irish, the principal reason was so that I could read the Irish stories and poetry that I so loved in their original language.  As a student of literature and philosophy, I knew that translation meant interpretation.  Being both cynical and a control freak, I wanted to remove the filter …

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Repost – Imbas: Poetry, Knowledge and Inspiration

The filid, “poets”, of early Irish society were not poorly paid struggling artists: they were held in the highest esteem and a crucial part of culture.  Indeed, the word fili, “poet”, more literally means “seer“, and the ollamh, “great poet, chief poet”, had comparable status with the king of the túath, “petty kingdom”, and the …

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Story Archaeology goes Kind of Epic!

  Just when you thought there wasn’t enough Story Archaeology around, we go and do an interview for the Kind of Epic Show! We’re featured in a St. Patrick’s Day special on this “weekly look at all things geek” with Gabe Canada. Here’s a direct link to the episode which will play automatically: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/kind-of-epic-show/e/37361615?autoplay=true Here’s a …

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Rowing Around Immrama 11: The Mongan Mysteries – Some Poetic Fragments

In our third and final episode on the lost hero, Mongán, we piece together some intriguing potsherds. What has the son of Manannán to say to Saint Colm Cille? What happened when he had his “Frenzy”? Can we re-construct his death-tale, Aided Mongáin? Join the Story Archaeologists as they look for edges and corners in …

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Rowing Around Imrrama 10: Mongan and the Poets

In our second dip into Mongan’s mysterious waters, we compare several stories showing off Mongan’s miraculous poetic skill. As a boy-wonder, he humiliates his father’s chief poet; as a king, he terrifies a poor student into a mysterious quest; and finally lets slip that he may have been here before… Join the Story Archaeologists as …

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The Instructions of King Cormac

“O Cormac, grandson of Conn,” said Cairbre, “what are the dues of a chief and of an ale-house?” “Not hard to tell,” said Cormac. “Good behaviour around a good chief Lights to lamps Exerting oneself for the company A proper settlement of seats Liberality of dispensers A nimble hand at distributing Attentive service Music in …

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Rowing Around Immrama 08 – The Shocking Revelations Concerning King Cormac Mac Airt

King Cormac Mac Airt is often called “The Irish Solomon”. But was this legendary king quite the wise old judge suggested by that epithet? Find out with the Story Archaeologists in this long-awaited – and lon-running! – 2 hour dig for truth and justice.   Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest posts! Related …

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