We’re rewarding the question askers & reputations are being recalculated! Read more.

Hot answers tagged

14

Keep in mind that we're reaching deep behind the shrouds of history. Little is known for certain of religious practices this far back; thus, a great deal of speculation and reconstruction is necessary on this topic. One possibility is Annis. Also known as Anu or Danu, or Dana. She was a Celtic deity that some writers contend was a malevolent mother goddess ...


13

A mid-14th-century manuscript illustration showing Merlin building Stonehenge, an idea widely accepted until as late as the 16th century © British Library Board (Egerton MS 3028 fol 30) The earliest surviving written references to Stonehenge date from the medieval period, and from the 14th century onwards there are increasing references to Stonehenge and ...


11

Excalibur was returned to the lake from whence it came. Most accounts have it that Sir Bedivere took it there from Camlan. Malory is the only source that I know of that mentions an arm taking the sword. According to the monks of Glastonbury Abbey, it was returned at what is now Pomparles Bridge over the River Brue. Just to the southwest of the Isle of ...


10

To make sure your vessel is seaworthy. Sailors in the 17th century would sometimes knock with their hands or tools on the wooden hull of their ship to listen for woodworm or rot, hearing a solid sound coming from wood in the hull would mean it was good to go (or ship shape). In fact this was a practice during the age of sail. For continuing your good luck ...


9

I haven't been able to find any reference for fairy men marrying human women, or the existence of full-sized fairy men at all. Note that the Tylwyth Teg only ever kidnapped human boys, not girls. This seems to support this (emphasis mine): Mr. John Jones speaks very little English, and Mr. John Rees, of the Council School, acted as our interpreter. This ...


9

I'm not aware of a story that could possibly be a basis for the white walkers, but it could be argued that a zombie story exists in the second branch of the Mabinogi, the tale of Branwen ferch Llŷr. A key element of the tale is the Pair Dadeni, a magical cauldron able to revive the dead: "And I will enhance the atonement," said Bendigeid Vran, "for I will ...


8

Well, yes and no. Arthurian texts are divided into two groups: pre-Galfridian and Galfridian. The first category is older, dating at least to the Historia Brittonum, written in Wales in the early 9th century. By this point most of Britain had been conquered by the Anglo-Saxons, with the Brittonic people largely pushed into Wales or migrated to Armorica. ...


6

Abhartach (Ireland) Irish folklore speaks of Abhartach, a dwarf who rose from the dead multiple times after being slain. In The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places (c. 1871), Patrick Weston Joyce relates the myth: This dwarf was a magician, and a dreadful tyrant, and after having perpetrated great cruelties on the people he was at last vanquished ...


5

Your question is difficult to answer definitely because of several factors: what we know about the concepts and beliefs of iron age Europe is a patchwork of evidence, archaeology, contemporary descriptions by other cultures and pure, albeit educated, guesswork. Academia abounds with arguments for and against the reality of the "Celt" as a loose term for a ...


4

Typically, in Irish, Welsh, and Scottish folklore, a black dog denotes an omen of a death in the family, like a banshee, or at the very least a portent of some type. Perhaps that image has continued on through the centuries as a negative stereotype.


2

My anthropology professor linked it back to the belief that there were spirits, of whatever kind, living in trees and wood, and in order to keep them from hearing what you were saying and spoiling things when they were going well, you should knock on wood as you were speaking.


2

Yes, we have two main sources from the Early Roman Occupation era: Strabo, Geographies (64-21 BCE): The Romans put a stop both to these customs and to the ones connected with sacrifice and divination, as they were in conflict with our own ways: for example, they would strike a man who had been consecrated for sacrifice in the back with a sword, and ...


2

There's maybe one source from all of the surviving literature that may express a pre-Christian British myth with an 'evil' deity, from Plutarch's De Defectu Oraculorum, Vol V: 18 1 Demetrius said that among the islands lying near Britain were many isolated, having few or no inhabitants, some of which bore the names of divinities or heroes. He himself, by ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible