List of island celtic myths and legends

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A page from Lebor Laignech , one of the most important medieval compilations in Irish mythology

Myths and legends from the entire once Celtic area have only been handed down from the island celts , i.e. the inhabitants of the British Isles . Since the early Middle Ages they have been recorded in this area mostly by monks, partly in Gaelic ( Ireland ) or Cymrian ( Wales ), partly in Latin . The Scottish GaelicLegends are sung ballads that could be heard well into the 20th century; with the decline of the Scottish Gaelic language in Europe, they have all but disappeared. The origins of all myths and legends have been passed down locally in oral form, although some of them have their (changing) locations in several regions of the British Isles . The regional allocation of the myths is to be seen from the point of view that a clean separation based on the modern individual states England , Scotland and Wales as well as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Irelandcannot correspond to the historical regions. So on the one hand Ireland, on the other hand Wales and Britain are combined, where Britain stands for the part of the British Isles that roughly corresponds to today's England. These myths were often summarized in compilations, the name of which is sometimes derived from the material and color of the cover.

The works that have been handed down in Latin are only noted here if they fit thematically to Celtic mythology (therefore, for example, there are no saints ' lives here, apart from those handed down in Gaelic or Cymrian).

"We know (at least in part) the religion of the mainland Celts, but no mythology, whereas the island Celts literarily formed the mythology at a time when the underlying religion no longer existed."

- Helmut Birkhan

Myths and legends from Ireland

Categories of the sagas

In most Irish sagas, the very first word of the title tells the reader what category the story should be placed in. These are often:

  • aided [ 'aðʴeð ] - violent death of humans or animals
  • aisling [ 'aʃlʴiŋʴ ] - vision in a dream, dream face
  • aithed [ 'aθʴeð ] - escape of a girl or woman with her lover
  • baile [ 'balʴe ], also buile - vision, prophecy in ecstasy or madness
  • cath [ kaθ ] - fight or battle
  • compert [ 'kombʴeRt ] - conception and / or birth
  • Echtrae [ 'extre ] - adventurous journey, adventure in mythical regions
  • immram [ 'imrav ] - "rowing", seafaring, sea voyage to mythical islands, etc.
  • macgnímartha / macgnímrada [ 'makɣʼnʼiːvraða ] - boys / youth deeds of heroes
  • orgain [ 'orginʴ ] - murder of people or devastation of places
  • scéla [ 'ʃkʴeːla ] - history, narrative (see also Remscéla )
  • táin [ taːnʴ ] - driving away cattle
  • tochmarc [ 'toxmark ] - courtship , bridal trip
  • togail [ 'toɣalʴ ] - siege or destroy a fortress

However, there are also legends that form a single category, such as acallam ([ 'agaLav ] - conversation, conversation). It is unclear whether there are also several legends here, but these are lost. Well-known legends are listed below.

title translation content
Acallam na Senórach The conversation of the ancients Encounter between mythical heroes and Saint Patrick of Ireland
Aided Cheit maic Mágach The death of Cet mac Mágach Fight Conall Cernach with Cet mac Mágach and Bélchús betrayal and death
Aided Cheltchair maic Uthechair The death of Celtchar, son of Uthechar Celtchar mac Uthechair's atonement for the killing of Blaí
Aided Chlainne Tuirenn The death of the children of Tuirenn Lugs revenge on the sons of Tuirenn for the murder of his father Cian
Aided Chonchobuir the death of Conchobor Conchobor's death at the hands of Cet mac Mágach
Aided Chon Culainn The death of Cú Chulainn Assassination of Cú Chulainn and Conall Cernach's revenge on the perpetrators
Aided Loegairi Buadaig The death of Loegaire the Victorious Loegaire Buadach dies while trying to save Aed mac Ainninne
Aided Muirchertaig meic Erca The death of Muirchertach, Erc's son Muirchertach mac Ercas punishment for his adultery with Sín
Aided Oenfir Aífe The death of Aífe's only son Cú Chulainn's duel with his son Connla and his death
Airne Fingein Fingein's night watch a fairy prophesies Fingein mac Luchta
Aislings Meic Chon Glinne The Mac Con Glinne's dream Parody of monastery life and visions of the afterlife
Aislings Oenguso Oengus' dream face Remscéla der Táin Bó Cuailnge about Oengus ' search for his dream wife
Amra Choluim Chille Praise Colum Cilles Poem to the founder of the monastery, Columban by Iona (Colum Cille)
Baile Binnbérlach mac Buain Baile with the beautiful voice, the son of Buan unrequited love between Baile and Ailinn
Baile in Scáil The prophecy of the phantom Conn Cétchathach's look into the future of his family
Bóruma or Bórama The tribute Battle for the tribute of the province of Leinster to the Ui Néill
Buile Suibne Suibne's madness Suibne's madness in battle and his death in the monastery
Caithréim Cellaig Cellach's career Cellach's path from the monk to the throne of Connacht to the bishop
Cath Etair The battle of Étar Siege of Etar, death of Mes Gegras by Conall Cernach
Cath Finntrágha The Battle of Ventry Defense of Ireland by Fionn mac Cumhaill and his Fianna against the "King of the World"
Cath Maige Mucrama The battle of Mag Mucrama Lugaid mac Cons struggle for the throne of Ireland and his assassination by Ailill Aulom
Cath Maige Rátha The Battle of Mag Ráth War Congal Claens against the Hochkönig Domnall mac Aeda
Cath Maige Tuired The Battle of Mag Tuired Wars of the Túatha Dé Danann against Firbolg and Fomori
Compert Conchobuir Conchobar's conception Cathbad's fight for Asa (Ni-Asa) and the conception of Conchobar mac Nessa
Compert Con Chulainn Cú Chulainn's conception Conchobar mac Nessa's daughter is pregnant and Setanta / Cú Chulainn is born
Compert Mongáin ocus serc Duibe Lacha do Mongán Mongán's conception and Mongán's love for Dub Lacha Conception of Mongán, Manannan's son and his marriage to Dub Lacha
De chophur in da muccida About the transformation (?) Of the two swineherd Remscéla of the Táin Bó Cuailnge on the transformation of the two shepherds into the bulls Donn Cuailnge and Findbennach
Duanaire Finn Finn's songbook Poems and ballads from the Finn cycle
Eachtra to Mhadra Mhaoil The adventures of the dog with the clipped ears Pursuit of an Evil Knight by Balbhuaidh ( Gawain )
Eachtra Mhacaoimhan-iolair The adventures of the eagle boy Search of the eagle boy for his origin
Echtra Cormaic i Tír Tairngire Cormac's journey to the land of hope / promise Cormac mac Airt's journey to the fairies
Eachtra Thaidhg Mhic Céin The adventure of Tadhg mac Céin The broken word of Tadhg mac Céin's son
Echtra Fergusa maic Léte Fergus mac Léites adventure Fergus mac Léites battle with a sea monster
Echtrae Chonnlai Connla's adventure Conn Cétchathach's son Connla and his love for a fairy
Echtrae Nerai Nera's adventure Remscéla der Táin Bó Cuailnge about Nera's warning to the residents of Cruachan
Esnada Tige Buchet The song of the house of Buchet The fate of the hospitable beech of Leinster
Fingal Rónáin Rónán's killing of relatives Rónán's mistaken murder of his son
Fled Bricrenn Bricrius festival Dispute over the place of honor at the festival between Ulster's heroes
Fled Dúin na nGéd The festival of Dún na nGéd Dispute between Domnall mac Aeda and Congal Claen
Fotha Catha Cnucha The cause of the Battle of Cnucha Death of Cumhall mac Basna and conception of Fionn mac Cumhaill
Geneamuin Cormaic Ua Chuind The birth of Cormac mac Airt Cormac mac Airt's entire life to death
Immacallam in dá Thuarad The conversation of the two wise men Dispute between Néde and Ferchertne over the title of Ireland's chief poet
Immram Brain Bran's seafaring Bran mac Febail's mythical journey to the island of women
Immram Curaig Maíle Dúin The boat ride from Máel Dúin Mael Dúins journey to some mythical islands
Lebor Gabála Érenn The Book of the Capture of Ireland mythical waves of immigration and power struggles over Ireland
Longas mac nUislenn The exile of the sons of Uisliu Remscéla der Táin Bó Cuailnge on the history of Deirdre
Macgnímartha Finn Fionn's youth deeds Tales of Fionn mac Cumhaill's youth, s. a. Aillén
Macgnímrada Con Culainn Cú Chulainn's youthful deeds Story about Cú Chulainn's youth in the Táin Bó Cuailnge
Mesca Ulad The drunkenness of the Ulster warriors Cú Roís deceit against Conchobar mac Nessa
Navigatio Sancti Brendani Saint Brendan's Sea Voyage (Latin) Brendan's trip to the mythical islands
Noínden Ulad , also Ces Ulad The weakness of the ulter Failure of Ulter against Macha and establishment of Emain Macha
Oidheadh ​​Chlainne Lir The story of the children of Lir Lir's children are turned into swans
Orgain Denna Ríg The murder of Dinn Ríg Labraid Moens fight for his father's throne
Scéla Cano meic Gartnáin The story of Cano, Gartnan's son Cano mac Gartnáin's adventures and unhappy love in Ireland
Scéla Eogain agus Cormaic The story of Eogan and Cormac Childhood and adolescence Cormac mac Airts until he came to power
Scéla mucce Meic Dathó The story of Mac Dathó's pig Dispute between the heroes of Ulster and Connacht over the hero bite
Scél Tuain meic Chairill The story of Tuan, the son of Cairill Transformations of Túan mac Cairills in the time of Lebor Gabála Érenn
Serglige Con Chulainn ocus oenét Emire Cú Chulainn's sick bed and Emer's only jealousy Cú Chulainn's love sickness and adultery with Fand
Táin Bó Cuailnge The driving away of the cattle from Cooley Heroic deeds of Cú Chulainn in the war for the bull Donn Cuailnge
Táin Bó Flidhais The driving away of the cattle from Flidais Fergus mac Róich's fight for Flidais and her wonder cow
Táin Bó Froích Driving away the Froech cattle Remscéla from Táin Bó Cuailnge on Froech's experiences
Tochmarc Becfola The campaign for Becfola Advertising King Diarmait mac Aeda Slaines around the fairy Becfola
Tochmarc Emire Courting Emer Remscéla of Táin Bó Cuailnge about Cú Chulainn's advertisement for Emer
Tochmarc Étaíne The courtship for Étaín Fuamnach's revenge on her rival Étaín
Tochmarc Luaine acus aided Athirni The advertisement of Luaines and the death of Athirne Conchobar's advertisement for Luaine and Athirne's murder
Togail Bruidne Da Derga The destruction of the Hall Da Dergas Royal rule and fall of Conaire Mórs
Tóragheacht Dhiarmaida agus Ghráinne The persecution of Diarmuid and Gráinne Fionn mac Cumhaill's chase Diarmuids and Gráinnes

Myths and legends from Wales and Britain

According to Bernhard Maier, there is a tendency in Welsh tradition to include almost all older stories and their protagonists in the Arthurian saga . A systematic categorization according to subject areas as in the Irish tradition cannot be determined in Cymric.

title translation content
Poor Prydein The prophecy of Britain political prophecies in the Llyfr Taliesin
Branwen ferch Llŷr Branwen , Ll Lr's daughter Branwen's Suffering in Ireland, second story in the Mabinogion
Breuddwyd Macsen Macsen's dream Emperor Macsen of Rome fights for the British princess Elen Luyddawg
Breuddwyd Rhonabwy Rhonabwy's dream In a dream Rhonabwy meets some Welsh legendary heroes
Cad Goddeu The battle of Goddeu Battle between Gwydyon and Amaethon , in the Llyfr Taliesin
Culhwch ac Olwen Culhwch and Olwen Culhwch advertising for Olwen , the daughter of Ysbaddaden
Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys The story of Lludd and Llefelys King Lludd of Britain with the help of his brother Llefelys frees his kingdom from three plagues (included in the Mabinogion )
Englynion United The stanzas united Songs united on the legendary heroes
Englynion y Beddeu The stanzas of the graves Poems about the graves of famous heroes
Englynion y Clyweid The sayings of the wise Poetry collection of sayings
Gelert Gelert (dog name) Wandering legend about the "loyal dog"
United fab heiress United, the son of the heiress Brautfahrt and discord Gereints with Enid at the court of King Arthur
Hanes Taliesin The story of Taliesin Youth (as Gwion Bach) and fame of the poet Taliesin
Iarlles y Ffynnawn The mistress of the source Battle of Owein fab Uriens with the Black Knight
Manawydan fab Llŷr Manawydan, the son of Llŷr Manawydan's struggle for Dyfed , third story in the Mabinogion
Math fab Mathonwy Math, the son of Mathonwys Math , Llew Llaw Gyffes and Blodeuwedd , fourth story in the Mabinogion
Melwas and Gwenhwyfar no kymrian title two fragments of poetry, argument between Melwas , Kei and Gwenhwyfar
Pa ŵr yw'r porthor? Who is the gatekeeper? Dialogue between King Arthur and the gatekeeper Glewlwyd
Peredur fab Efrawg Peredur, the son of Efrawg Peredur's change from a simple-minded fool to a respected knight at the court of King Arthur
Preiddeu Annwfn The booty from Annwfn Arthur legend from the Llyfr Taliesin
Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed Pwyll's Journey into the Otherworld and the Birth of Pryderi , first story in the Mabinogion
About Arthur's birth and how he became king no kymrian title Prose fragment about King Arthur's youth
Ymddiddan Arthur a'r Eryr Arthur's conversation with the eagle Arthur's conversation with his eagle-turned nephew
Ystoria Drystan A story by Drystan Drystan fab Tallwch's encounter with Arthur and Gawain

Sayings collections and glossaries

The legal texts etc. mentioned here are mostly the only tradition of some of the old Irish words or glosses that were already outdated and uncommon at the time of writing.

title translation time content
Bretha Crólige Decisions regarding bloodshed - Penalty taxes for injuries, 3rd part of the Senchas Már
Bretha Nemed Nemed decisions 07th century Texts from the Nemed Law School
Cáin Adomnáin Adomnáns Canon 07th century Legal text for the protection of women, children and clergy
De duodecim abusivis saeculi About the twelve grievances of the world (Latin) 07th century Treatise on morality and law (also includes old Irish legal principles)
Senchas Mar. Great lore 08th century Collection of old Irish legal texts
Críth Gablach The forked purchase 08th century Collection of old Irish legal texts
Audacht Morainn Morann's legacy 08th century Collection of sayings of the judge Morann
Tecosca Cormaic Cormac's teachings 08th century Collection of doctrines from Cormac mac Airts
Gúbretha Caratniad Caratnia's false judgments 09th century Judgments deviating from normal Irish law
Sanas Cormaic Cormac's whisper 10th century Glossary of legal and poetic expressions, place names and personal names
Lebor na Cert The Book of Rights 11th century Enumeration of the rights and duties of the King of Cashel
Bansenchas Lore from women 12th century Directory of famous women from history to Lebor Gabála Érenn , Ulster Cycle and other Irish annals
Dindsenchas Place name traditions 12th century Etymology of place names
Cóir Anmann The right thing by the name 14th century Personal and tribal names
Auraicept na nÉces Guide for the learned poet 14th century History of the Irish language and script

Collective works from Ireland

title translation time content
Lebor Dromma Snechta The book by Druim Snechta 08th century lost, only cited in more recent works;
also under the title Cín Dromma Snechta ("Heft ...")
Lebor na hUidre The book of the dark cow 12th century Táin Bó Cuailnge and others
Lebor Laignech The book by Leinster 12th century Lebor Gabála Érenn , Finn cycle
Annals of Tigernach Annals of Tigernach 12th century medieval chronicle of Ireland from 807 BC Chr. To 1178 AD
Leabhar Buidhe Lecain The Yellow Book of Lecan 14th century Collection of legends
Leabhar Mór Leacain The great book of Lecan 14th century Collection of several Irish manuscripts
Leabhar Bhaile to Mhóta The Book of Ballymote 14th century Collection of legends
Annala Uladh Annals of Ulster 15th century medieval chronicle of Ireland from 431 to 1541
Leabhar Mhic Carthaigh Riabhaigh The book of Lismore 15th century Collection of several Irish manuscripts
Foras feasa ar Éirinn History of Ireland 17th century Country history from the conquest of the land to the English conquest
Annála Ríoghdhachta Éireann Annals of the Four Masters 17th century medieval chronicle of Ireland

Collected works from Wales and Britain

title translation time content
Historia Brittonum History of the British (Latin) 09th century History of Britain and Ireland (Lebor Gabála Érenn)
Canu Heledd Heledd's singing 10th century Cycle of poems about the fate of Heledds
Pedeir Ceinc y Mabinogi The four branches of the Mabinogi 11th century the four original stories of the Mabinogion
Historia Regum Britanniae The History of the Kings of Britain (Latin) 12th century see Brut y Brenhinedd
Annales Cambriae Welsh Annals (Latin) 12th century Annals from the 5th to the 10th century
Y Tair Rhamant The three romances 12th century Iarlles y Ffynnawn, Peredur fab Efrawg, Gereint fab heiress
Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin The Black Book of Carmarthen 13th century Merlin tradition, Emperor Arthur
Y Gododdin "The Gododdin" Aneirins 13th century Battle of the North British against Saxons , Goidelen and Picts
Trioedd Ynys Prydein The Triads of the Isle of Britain 13th century included in some of the works cited
Brut y Brenhinedd Chronicle of the Kings 13th century Cymric adaptation of the Historia Regum Britanniae by
Geoffrey of Monmouth
Llyfr Taliesin The book of Taliesins 14th century Taliesin myth, Cad Goddeu , Preiddeu Annwfn
Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch The White Book of Rhydderch 14th century Mabinogion , Emperor Arthur
Llyfr Coch Hergest Hergest's Red Book 15th century extended content by Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch
Llyfr Gwyn Hergest Hergest's White Book 15th century Welsh prose and poetry
Llyfr Aneirin The book of Aneirin 1265 Y Gododdin
Leabhar Deathan Lios Mòir The Book of the Dean of Lismore 16th century Scottish Gaelic ballads and poems

Modern thematic cycles

These cycles were only created in modern times by Celtology as a summary of topics. The cycles are relatively clearly separated from each other. However, the historical cycle and the mythological cycle are an exception , where there are overlapping topics.

title place content
Finn cycle Ireland Stories about Fionn mac Cumhaill and Cormac mac Airt
Historical cycle Ireland also King's cycle, historical / mythical stories about famous kings
Mythological cycle Ireland Tales of mythical beings (elves, fairies; sidhe )
Ulster cycle Ireland Stories about Cú Chulainn and Conchobar mac Nessa


See also

Individual evidence

  1. Helmut Birkhan: Celts. Attempt at a complete representation of their culture. P. 464 f.
  2. Bernhard Maier, Lexicon of Celtic Religion and Culture , Kröner, Stuttgart 1994, p. 112
This version was added to the selection of informative lists and portals on May 31, 2011 .