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Sacred Landscape and Water Mythology in Early Ireland and Ancient India

Mac Mathúna, Séamus (2010) Sacred Landscape and Water Mythology in Early Ireland and Ancient India. Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph Series: Sacred Topology in Early Ireland and Ancient India: Religious Paradigm Shift., 57 . pp. 3-53. [Journal article]

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This paper investigates the manner in which sacred landscapes in early Ireland and ancient India were employed to effect the acceptance of new beliefs and the foundation of new kingdoms. Attention is drawn to traditions relating to the marking out and possession of these landscapes, including legends concerning the introduction of Christinaity to Ireland and Buddhism to India, with particular emphasis on Ireland, and the subjugation of chthonic forces, such as dragons and serpents. The examination of the legends and myths, may of which involve goddesses of fertility, leads to the identification of a number of linkages clustering around the concepts of water mythology and sacred kingship (cows, milk, horse sacrifice, wisdom, justice, poetic inspiration). The linkages are sufficiently pervasive to confirm that in both traditions there existed the belief in a watery underworld peopled by supernatural beings endowed with generative and fertile powers whose activities included, amongst other things, functioning as guardians of sacred kingship. They were called nagas and yakshas in India, and áes síde or Túatha Dé Danann in Ireland. The evidence also suggests that many of the qualities of Lord Varuna, the universal monarch and king of the nagas, are shared in the early Irish tradition not only by the god Lug but also by the sea god Manannán Mac Lir.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Arts > School of Irish Language and Literature
Faculty of Arts
Research Institutes and Groups:Irish and Celtic Studies Research Institute
ID Code:11973
Deposited By: Professor Seamus Mac Mathuna
Deposited On:19 Feb 2010 10:52
Last Modified:15 Aug 2012 10:35

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