THE RELIGION OF THE ANCIENT CELTS
THE CÚCHULAINN CYCLE
The events of the Cúchulainn cycle are supposed to date from the beginning
of the Christian era--King Conchobar's death synchronising with the crucifixion.
But though some personages who are mentioned in the Annals figure in the tales,
on the whole they deal with persons who never existed. They belong to a world of
romance and myth, and embody the ideals of Celtic paganism, modified by
Christian influences and those of classical tales and romantic sagas of other
regions, mainly Scandinavian. The present form of the tales as they exist in the
Book of the Dun Cow and the Book of Leinster must have been given
them in the seventh or eighth century, but they embody materials of a far older
date. At an early time the saga may have had a more or less definite form, but
new tales were being constantly added to it, and some of the longer tales are
composed of incidents which once had no connection with each other.
Cúchulainn is the central figure of the cycle, and its central episode is
that of the Táin bó Cuailgne, or "Cattle Spoil of Cooley."
Other personages are Conchobar and Dechtire, Ailill and Medb, Fergus, Conall
Cernach, Cúroi, Deirdre, and the sons of Usnach. Some of these are of divine
descent, some are perhaps euhemerised divinities; Conchobar is called día
talmaide, "a terrestrial god," and Dechtire a goddess. The cycle
opens with the birth of Conchobar, son of
Cathbad and of Nessa, daughter of one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, though in an
older rescension of the tale he is Nessa's son by the god Lug. During
Conchobar's reign over Ulster Cúchulainn was born. He was son of Dechtire,
either by Sualtaim, or by her brother Conchobar, or by the god Lug, of whom he
may also be a reincarnation.1
Like other heroes of saga, he possesses great strength and skill at a tender
age, and, setting out for Conchobar's court, overpowers the king's "boy
corps," and then becomes their chief. His next adventure is the slaying of
the watch-dog of Culann the smith, and his appeasing the anger of its owner by
offering to act as his watch-dog. Cathbad now announced that his name would
henceforth be Cú Chulainn, "Culann's hound."2
At the mature age of seven he obtained Conchobar's spears, sword, shield, and
chariot, and with these he overcame three mighty champions, returning in the
distortion of his "battle-fury" to Emania. To prevent mischief from
his rage, the women went forth naked to meet him. He modestly covered his eyes,
for it was one of his geasa not to look on a woman's breast. Thus taken
unawares, he was plunged into three successive vats of cold water until his
natural appearance was restored to him, although the water boiled and hissed
from his heat.3
As Cúchulainn grew up, his strength, skill, wisdom, and beauty were
unsurpassed All women fell in love with him, and to forestall a series of bonnes
fortunes, the men of Ulster sought a wife for him. But the hero's heart was
set on Emer, daughter of Forgall,, whom he wooed in a strange language which
none but she could understand. At last she consented to be his
wife if he would slay a number of warriors. Forgall was opposed to the match,
and with a view to Cúchulainn's destruction suggested that he should go to
Donall in Alba to increase his skill, and to Scathach if he would excel all
other warriors. He agreed, provided that Forgall would give him whatever he
asked for on his return. Arrived in Alba, he refused the love of Donall's
daughter, Dornolla, who swore to be avenged. Thence he went to Scathach,
overcoming all the dangers of the way, leaping in safety the gulf surrounding
her island, after essaying in vain to cross a narrow, swinging bridge. From
Scathach he learned supreme skill in arms, and overcame her Amazonian rival Aife.
He begat a son by Aife, and. instructed her to call him Conla, to give him his
father's ring, to send him to seek Cúchulainn, and to forbid him to reveal his
name. In the sequel, Cúchulainn, unaware that Conla was his son, slew him in
single combat, too late discovering his identity from the ring which he wore.
This is the well-known saga formula of Sohrab and Rustum, of Theseus and
Hippolytus. On his return from Scathach's isle Cúchulainn destroyed Forgall's rath
with many of its inmates, including Forgall, and carried off Emer. To the ten
years which followed, during which he was the great champion of Ulster, belong
many tales in which he figures prominently. One of these is The Debility of
the Ultonians. This was caused by Macha, who, during her pregnancy, was,
forced to run a race with Conchobar's horses. She outran them, but gave birth
immediately to twins, and, in her pangs, cursed the men of Ulster, with a curse
that, in time of oppression, they would be overcome with the weakness of
childbirth. From this Cúchulainn was exempt, for he was not of Ulster, but a
son of Lug.4
Various attempts have been made to explain this "debility." It may be a myth explaining a
Celtic use of the "couvade," though no example of a simultaneous
tribal couvade is known, unless we have here an instance of Westermarck's
"human pairing season in primitive times," with its consequent
simultaneous birth-period for women and couvade for men.5
Others, with less likelihood, explain it as a period of tabu, with cessation
from work and warfare, at a funeral or festival.6
In any case Macha's curse is a myth explanatory of the origin of some existing
custom, the duration of which is much exaggerated by the narrator. To this
period belong also the tale of Cúchulainn's visit to Elysium, and others to be
referred to later. Another story describes his attack upon Morrigan because she
would neither yield up the cows which she was driving away nor tell her true
name--an instance of the well-known name tabu. Morrigan took the form of a bird,
and was then recognised by Cúchulainn, who poured scorn upon her, while she
promised to oppose him during the fight of the Táin in the forms of an
eel, a wolf, and a cow, all of which he vowed to destroy.7
Like many others in the saga, this story is introductory to the main episode of
the Táin. To this we now turn.
Medb had been wife of Conchobar, but, leaving him, had married in succession
two chiefs called Ailill, the second of whom had a bull, Findbennach, the
White-horned, which she resolved to match by one in every way its equal. Having
been refused the Brown Bull of Cuailgne, she summoned all her forces to invade
Ulster. The moment was inauspicious for Ulster, for all its men were suffering
from their "debility." Cúchulainn, therefore, went out to encounter
the host, and forced Medb to agree that a succession of her warriors
should engage him in single combat. Among these was his old friend Ferdia, and
nothing is so touching as his reluctance to fight him, or so pathetic as his
grief when Ferdia falls. The reluctance is primarily due to the tie of
blood-brotherhood existing between them. Finally, the Ulstermen rose in force
and defeated Medb, but not before she had already captured the bull and sent it
into her own land. There it was fought by the Findbennach and slew it, rushing
back to Ulster with the mangled body on its horns. But in its frenzy a rock
seemed to be another bull, which it charged; its brains were dashed out, and it
The Morrigan had warned the bull of the approach of Medb's army, and she had
also appeared in the form of a beautiful woman to Cúchulainn offering him her
love, only to be repulsed. Hence she turned against him, and described how she
would oppose him as an eel, a wolf, and a red heifer--an incident which is
probably a variant of that already described.8
In each of these shapes she was conquered and wounded by the hero, and knowing
that none whom he hurt could be healed save by himself, she appeared to him as
an old crone milking a cow. At each draught of the milk which he received from
her he blessed her with "the blessing of gods and not-gods," and so
her wounds were healed.9
For this, at a later time, she tried to ward off his death, but unsuccessfully.
During the progress of the Táin, one of Cúchulainn's "fairy
kinsmen," namely, Lug, who announced himself as his father, appeared to aid
him, while others of the Tuatha Dea threw "herbs of healing" into the
streams in which his wounds were washed.10
During the Táin, Cúchulainn slaughtered the wizard Calatin and his
daughters. But Calatin's wife bore three posthumous sons and three daughters,
and through their means the hero was at
last slain. Everything was done to keep him back from the host which now
advanced against Ulster, but finally one of Calatin's daughters took the form of
Niamh and bade him go forth. As he passed to the fight, Calatin's daughters
persuaded him to eat the flesh of a dog--a fatal deed, for it was one of his geasa
never to eat dog's flesh. So it was that in the fight he was slain by Lugaid,11
and his soul appeared to the thrice fifty queens who had loved him, chanting a
mystic song of the coming of Christ and the day of doom--an interesting example
of a phantasm coincidental with death.12
This and other Christian touches show that the Christian redactors of the saga
felt tenderly towards the old pagan hero. This is even more marked in the story
in which he appears to King Loegaire and S. Patrick, begging the former to
believe in God and the saint, and praying Patrick to "bring me with thy
faithful ones unto the land of the living."13
A similar Christianising appears in the story of Conchobar's death, the result
of his mad frenzy on bearing from his Druid that an earthquake is the result of
the shameful crucifixion of Christ.14
In the saga, Cúchulainn appears as the ideal Celtic warrior, but, like other
ideal warriors, he is a "magnified, non-natural man," many of his
deeds being merely exaggerations of those common among barbaric folk. Even his
"distortion" or battle frenzy is but a magnifying of the wild frenzy
of all wild fighters. To the person of this ideal warrior, some of whose traits
may have been derived from traditional stories of actual heroes, Märchen
and saga episodes attached themselves. Of every ideal hero, Celtic, Greek,
Babylonian, or Polynesian,
certain things are told--his phenomenal strength as a child; his victory over
enormous forces; his visits to the Other-world; his amours with a goddess; his
divine descent. These belong to the common stock of folk-tale episodes, and
accumulate round every great name. Hence, save in the colouring given to them or
the use made of them by any race, they do not afford a key to the mythic
character of the hero. Such deeds are ascribed to Cúchulainn, as they doubtless
were to the ideal heroes of the "undivided Aryans," but though
parallels may be found between him and the Greek Heracles, they might just as
easily be found in non-Aryan regions, e.g. in Polynesia. Thus the
parallels between Cúchulainn and Heracles throw little light on the personality
of the former, though here and there in such parallels we observe a peculiarly
Celtic touch. Thus, while the Greek hero rescues Hesione from a dragon, it is
from three Fomorians that Cúchulainn rescues Devorgilla, namely, from beings to
whom actual human sacrifice was paid. Thus a Märchen formula of
world-wide existence has been moulded by Celtic religious belief and ritual
It was inevitable that the "mythological school" should regard Cúchulainn
as a solar hero. Thus "he reaches his full development at an unusually
early age," as the sun does,16
but also as do many other heroes of saga and Märchen who are not solar.
The three colours of Cúchulainn's hair, dark near the skin, red in the middle,
golden near the top, are claimed to be a description of the sun's rays, or of
the three parts into which the Celts divided the day.17
Elsewhere his tresses are yellow, like Prince Charlie's in fact and in song, yet
be was not a solar hero. Again, the seven pupils of his eyes perhaps
referred to the days of the week."18
Blindness befell all women who loved him, a reference to the difficulty of
gazing at the sun.19
This is prosaic! The blindness was a compliment paid to Cúchulainn the blind,
by women who made themselves blind while talking to him, just as Conall
Cernach's mistresses squinted as he did.20
Cúchulainn's blindness arose from his habit of sinking one eye into his head
and protruding the other--a well-known solar trait! His "distortion,"
during which, besides this "blindness," blood shot upwards from his
head and formed a magic mist, and his anger caused showers of sparks to mount
above him, points to dawn or sunset,21
though the setting sun would rather suggest a hero sinking calmly to rest than a
mad giant setting out to slaughter friend and foe. The "distortion,"
as already pointed out, is the exaggerated description of the mad warrior rage,
just as the fear which produced death to those who saw him brandish his weapons,
was also produced by Maori warrior methods.22
Lug, who may be a sun-god, has no such "distortion." The cooling of
the hero in three vats, the waters of which boil over, and his emergence from
them pinky red in colour, symbolise the sun sinking into the waters and
reappearing at dawn.23
Might it not describe in an exaggerated way the refreshing bath taken by
frenzied warriors, the water being supposed to grow warm from the heat of their
One of the hero's geasa was not to see Manannan's horses, the waves;
which, being interpreted, means that the sun is near its death as it approaches
the sea. Yet Lug, a sun-god, rides the steed Enbarr, a personification of the waves, while Cúchulainn himself
often crossed the sea, and also lived with the sea-god's wife, Fand, without
coming to grief. Again, the magic horses which he drives, black and grey in
colour, are "symbols of day and night,"25
though it is not obvious why a grey horse should symbolise day, which is not
always grey even in the isles of the west. Unlike a solar hero, too, Cúchulainn
is most active in winter, and rests for a brief space from slaughtering at
midday--the time of the sun's greatest activity both in summer and winter.
Another theory is that every visit of the hero to a strange land signifies a
descent to Hades, suggested by the sun sinking in the west. Scathach's island
may be Hades, but it is more probably Elysium with some traits borrowed from the
Christian idea of hell. But Emer's land, also visited by Cúchulainn, suggests
neither Hades nor Elysium. Emer calls herself ingen rig richis garta,
translated by Professor Rhŷs as "daughter of the coal-faced
king," i.e. she is daughter of darkness. Hence she is a dawn-maiden
and becomes the sun-hero's wife.26
There is nothing in the story to corroborate this theory, apart from the fact
that it is not clear, even to the hypothetical primitive mind, why dawn and sun
should be a divine pair. Emer's words probably mean that she is "daughter
of a king" and "a flame of hospitality" (richis garta).27
Cúchulainn, in visiting her, went from west to east, contrary to the apparent
course of the sun. The extravagance of the solar theory is further seen in the
hypothesis that because Cúchulainn has other wives, the sun-god made love to as
many dawn-maidens as there are days in the year,28
like the king in Louys' romance with his 366 wives, one for each day of the year,
Further examples of the solar theory need not be cited. It is enough to see
in Cúchulainn the ideal warrior, whose traits are bombastic and obscure
exaggerations of actual custom and warfare, or are borrowed from folk-tale motifs
not exclusively Celtic. Possibly he may have been a war-god, since he is
associated with Badb29
and also with Morrigan. But he has also some traits of a culture hero. He claims
superiority in wisdom, in law, in politics, in the art of the Filid, and
in Druidism, while he brings various things from the world of the gods.30
In any case the Celts paid divine honours to heroes, living or dead,31
and Cúchulainn, god or ideal hero, may have been the subject of a cult. This
lends point to the theory of M. D'Arbois that Cúchulainn and Conall Cernach are
the equivalents of Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri, said by Diodorus to be
worshipped among the Celts near the Ocean.32
Cúchulainn, like Pollux, was son of a god, and was nursed, according to some
accounts, by Findchoém, mother of Conall,33
just as Leda was mother of Castor as well as of Pollux. But, on the other hand,
Cúchulainn, unlike Pollux, was mortal. M. D'Arbois then identifies the two
pairs of heroes with certain figures on an altar at Cluny. These are Castor and
Pollux; Cernunnos and Smertullos. He equates Castor with Cernunnos, and Pollux
with Smertullos. Smertullos is Cúchulainn, and the name is explained from an
incident in the Táin, in which the hero, reproached for his youth, puts
on a false beard before attacking Morrigan in her form as an eel. This is
expressed by smérthain, "to attach," and is thus connected
with and gave rise to the name Smertullos. On the altar Smertullos is attacking
an eel or serpent. Hence Pollux is Smertullos-Cúchulainn.34
Again, the name Cernunnos signifies "the horned one," from cernu,
"horn," a word found in Conall's epithet Cernach. But this was not
given him because he was horned, but because of the angular shape of his head,
the angle (cern) being the result of a blow.35
The epithet may mean "victorious."36
On the whole, the theory is more ingenious than convincing, and we have no proof
that the figures of Castor and Pollux on the altar were duplicates of the Celtic
pair. Cernunnos was an underworld god, and Conall has no trace of such a
M. D'Arbois also traces the saga in Gaul in the fact that on the menhir of
Kervadel Mercury is figured with a child, Mercury, in his opinion, being Lug,
and the child Cúchulainn.37
On another altar are depicted (1) a woodman, Esus, cutting down a tree, and (2)
a bull on which are perched three birds--Tarvos Trigaranos. The two subjects, as
M. Reinach points out, are combined on another altar at Trèves, on which a
woodman is cutting down a tree in which are perched three birds, while a bull's
bead appears in the branches.38
These represent, according to M. D'Arbois, incidents of the Táin--the
cutting down of trees by Cúchulainn and placing them in the way of his enemies,
and the warning of the bull by Morrigan in the bird form which she shared with
her sisters Badb and Macha.39
Why, then, is Cúchulainn called Esus? "Esus" comes from a root which
gives words meaning "rapid motion," "anger,"
"strength"--all shown by the hero.40
The altars were found in the land of the Belgic Treveri, and some Belgic tribes
may have passed into Britain and Ireland carrying the Esus-Cúchulainn legend
there in the second century B.C., e.g.
the Setantii, dwelling by the Mersey, and bearing a name similar to that of the
hero in his childhood--Setanta (Setantios), as well as the Menapii and
Brigantes, located in Ireland by Ptolemy.41
In other words, the divine Esus, with his surname Smertullos, was called in
Ireland Setanta, after the Setantii, and at a later date, Cúchulainn. The
princely name Donnotaurus resembles Dond tarb, the "Brown Bull"
of the saga, and also suggests its presence in Gaul, while the name
Δηιόταρος, perhaps the equivalent
of Deûio-taruos, "Divine Bull," is found in Galatia.42
Thus the main elements of the saga may have been known to the continental Celts
before it was localised in Ireland,43
and, it may be added, if it was brought there by Gallo-British tribes, this
might account for the greater popularity of the native, possibly pre-Celtic,
Fionn saga among the folk, as well as for the finer literary quality of the Cúchulainn
saga. But the identification of Esus with Cúchulainn rests on slight grounds;
the names Esus and Smertullos are not found in Ireland, and the Gaulish Esus,
worshipped with human sacrifice, has little affinity with the hero, unless his
deeds of slaughter are reminiscent of' such rites. It is possible, however, that
the episode of the Táin came from a myth explaining ritual acts. This
myth may have been the subject of the bas-reliefs, carried to Ireland, and there
worked into the saga.
The folk-versions of the saga, though resembling the literary versions, are
less elaborate and generally wilder, and perhaps represent its primitive form.44
The greatest differences are found in versions of the Táin and of Cúchulainn's
death, which, separate in the saga, are parts of one folk-tale, the death occurring
during the fighting over the bull. The bull is his property, and Medb sends
Garbh mac Stairn to take it from him. He pretends to be a child, goes to bed,
and tricks Garbh, who goes off to get the bull. Cúchulainn arrives before him
and personates the herdsman. Each seizes a horn, and the bull is torn in two.45
Does this represent the primitive form of the Táin, and, further, were
the bull and Cúchulainn once one and the same--a bull, the incarnation of a god
or vegetation spirit, being later made anthropomorphic--a hero-god whose
property or symbol was a bull? Instances of this process are not unknown among
In India, Indra was a bull and a divine youth, in Greece there was the bull-Dionysos, and among the Celts the name of the divine bull was borne by
In the saga Morrigan is friendly to the bull, but fights for Medb; but she is
now friendly, now hostile to Cúchulainn, finally, however, trying to avert his
doom. If he had once been the bull, her friendliness would not be quite
forgotten, once he became human and separate from the bull. When she first met Cúchulainn
she had a cow on whom the Brown Bull was to beget a calf, and she told the hero
that "So long as the calf which is in this cow's body is a yearling, it is
up to that time that thou art in life; and it is this that will lead to the Táin."48
This suggests that the hero was to die in the battle, but it shows that the
Brown Bull's calf is bound up with his life. The Bull was a reincarnation of a
divine swineherd, and if, as in the case of Cúchulainn, "his rebirth could only be of
the calf was simply a duplicate of the bull, and, as it was bound up with the
hero's life, bull and hero may well have been one. The life or soul was in the
calf, and, as in all such cases, the owner of the soul and that in which it is
hidden are practically identical. Cúchulainn's "distortion" might
then be explained as representing the bull's fury in fight, and the folk-tales
would be popular forms of an old myth explaining ritual in which a bull, the
incarnation of a tree or vegetation spirit, was slain, and the sacred tree cut
down and consumed, as in Celtic agricultural ritual. This would be the myth
represented on the bas-reliefs, and in the ritual the bull would be slain, rent,
and eaten by his worshippers. Why, then, should Cúchulainn rend the bull? In
the later stages of such rites the animal was slain, not so much as a divine
incarnation as a sacrifice to the god once incarnated in him. And when a god was
thus separated from his animal form, myths often arose telling how be himself
had slain the animal.50
In the case of Cúchulainn and the bull, the god represented by the bull became
separate from it, became anthropomorphic, and in that form was associated with
or actually was the hero Cúchulainn. Bull sacrifices were common among the
Celts with whom the bull had been a divine animal.51
Possibly a further echo of this myth and ritual is to be found in the
folk-belief that S. Martin was cut up and eaten in the form of an ox--the god
incarnate in the animal being associated with a saint.52
Thus the literary versions of the Táin, departing from the hypothetical
primitive versions, kept the bull as the central figure, but introduced a rival
bull, and described its death differently, while both bulls are said to be
reincarnations of divine swine-herds.53
The idea of a fight for a bull is borrowed from actual custom, and thus the old form of the story
was further distorted.
The Cúchulainn saga is more coherent than the Fionn saga, because it
possesses one central incident. The "canon" of the saga was closed at
an early date, while that of Fionn has practically never been closed, mainly
because it has been more a saga of the folk than that of Cúchulainn. In some
respects the two may have been rivals, for if the Cúchulainn saga was
introduced by conquerors from Britain or Gaul, it would not be looked on with
favour by the folk. Or if it is the saga of Ulster as opposed to that of
Leinster, rivalry would again ensue. The Fionn saga lives more in the hearts of
the people, though it sometimes borrows from the other. This borrowing, however,
is less than some critics, e.g. Zimmer, maintain. Many of the likenesses
are the result of the fact that wherever a hero exists a common stock of
incidents becomes his. Hence there is much similarity in all sagas wherever
1. IT i. 124; Nutt-Meyer, ii. 38 f.; Windisch, Táin, 342; L.
'La Legende de la Conception de Cúchulainn," RC ix. 1 f.
2. Windisch, Táin, 118 For a similar reason Finnchad was called Cú
"the hound of Cerc" (IT iii. 377).
3. For the boyish exploits, see Windisch, Táin, 106 f.
4. RC vii. 225; Windisch, Táin, 20. Macha is a granddaughter of
but elsewhere she is called Mider's daughter (RC xvi. 46).
5. Rhŷs, CFL ii. 654; Westermarck, Hist. of Human Marriage,
6. Miss Hull, Folk-Lore, xii. 60, citing instances from Jevons, Hist. of
7. Windisch, IT ii. 239.
8. Windisch, 184, 312, 330; cf. IT iii. 355; Miss Hull, 164 f.; Rhŷs, HL
9. LL 119a; RC iii. 175.
10. Windisch, 342.
11. RC iii. 175 f.
12. Ibid. 185.
13. Crowe, Jour. Kilkenny Arch. Soc. 1870-1871, 371 f.
14. LL 79a; O'Curry, MS. Mat. 640.
15. LL 125a. See my Childhood of Fiction, ch. 14.
16. Miss Hull, lxxvi.
17. "Da Derga's Hostel," BC xxii. 283; Rhŷs, HL 438.
18. LL 68a; Rhŷs, 437 Ingcel the one-eyed has also many pupils (RC
19. Miss Hull, lxiii.
20. RC viii. 49.
21. LL 77b; Miss Hull, lxii.
22. Other Celtic heroes undergo this distortion, which resembles the Scandinavian
warrior rage followed by languor, as in the case of Cúchulainn.
23. Miss Hull, p. lxvi.
24. Irish saints, standing neck deep in freezing water, made it hot.
25. IT i. 268; D'Arbois, v. 103; Miss Hull, lxvi.
26. HL 448.
27. See Meyer, RC xi. 435; Windisch, IT i. 589, 740. Though richis
means "charcoal," it is also glossed "flame," hence it could
only be glowing charcoal, without any idea of darkness.
28. HL 458.
29. IT i. 107.
30. Arch. Rev. i. 1 f.; IT i. 213; see
p. 381, infra.
31. See p. 164, infra.
32. Diod. Siculus, iv. 56.
33. IT iii. 393.
34. Les Celtes, 58 f. Formerly M. D'Arbois identified Smertullos with Lug,
ii. 217; Holder, i. 46, 262. For the incident of the beard, see Windisch, Táin,
35. IT iii. 395.
36. IT i. 420.
37. RC xxvii. 319 f.
38. RC xviii. 256.
39. Les Celtes, 63; RC xix. 246.
40. D'Arbois, RC xx. 89.
41. D'Arbois, RC xxvii. 321; Les Celtes, 65.
42. Les Celtes, 49; Cæsar, vi. 14.
43. In contradiction to this, M. D'Arbois elsewhere thinks that Druids from Britain
may have taught the Cúchulainn legend in Gaul (RC xxvii. 319).
44. See versions in Book of the Dean of Lismore; CM xiii.; Campbell, The
Fians, 6 f.
45. CM xiii. 327, 514. The same story is told of Fionn, ibid. 512. See
also ballad versions in Campbell, LF 3 f.
46. See p. 212, infra.
47. A Galatian king was called Brogitaros, probably a form of Brogitaruos,
"bull of the province," a title borne by Conchobar, tarb in chóicid
(IT i. 72). This, with the epithets applied to heroes in the Triads,
"bull-phantom," "prince bull of combat" (Loth, ii. 232,
243), may be an appellative denoting great strength.
48. IT ii. 241 f.; D'Arbois, Les Druides, 168.
49. Miss Hull, 58.
50. See p. 212, infra.
51. See p. 208, infra.
52. Fitzgerald, BC vi. 254.
53. See p. 243, infra.