31 May 2011

A Hidden people from out of the mist

     A common saying states that “...before time, there were the Celts.” This saying isn’t to far from the truth.  Before the four great empires of the western world; that of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome there stretched across Europe the empire of the Celts. Following is the history on the origin of the Gael/Irish according to the "traditions" that have been recorded in the various annals of Ireland. 
     This empire was based in what is now southern Germany and over several centuries expanded to include the lands of today’s modern mountainous areas of Austria, Switzerland, northern Italy and two thirds of  former Yugoslavia. To the east across Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and a colony in Turkey called Galatia. The Celtic tribes conquered the lands to the west including Belgium, the Netherlands and encompassing all of France, which was known anciently as Gaul. These tribes of Gaul ventured into the lands of the south-west and created the Celt-Iberian societies of Spain where a small enclave of the culture remains among the Galicians. 

     At last, the Celts crossed the waters and settled throughout the British Isles. And it is here that their last bastion of civilization can be found in the cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany (France), and the Isle of Man.(Current DNA tests show the Irish DNA markers are closest to those of northern Spain and western France.)
      Although throughout these areas archaeological evidence abound testifying of a culture that dominated Europe, the Celts are not considered by historians as an empire at all. The reason, the Celts never had a central government. Each tribe was ruled by a king or chief. What was common between the tribes was religion, language, and culture. But each tribe was fiercely independent and proud of it, which has been a two edge sword for the Celtic people.
     The Celts were artisans with metal during the Bronze Age about 5,000 B.C. - 1500 B.C., creating bronze tools and weapons that were far superior than their neighbors, a special skill that continued well into the Iron Age. They also introduced the idea of coinage to the Romans.
     Because of possessing the finest weapons the Celtic warriors were greatly feared by Greece and Rome who met their fury in battle and their historians give the best descriptions albeit a little biased. Two Greek historians who lived from 60-1 B.C., Dionysius and Diodorus, wrote of the strange people they called Keltoi and Galli.  Keltoi was what the historians heard when they asked the strangers who they were. The strangers simply said they called themselves “the hidden people,” or to Greek ears Keltoi. Dionysius wrote that Keltos was the son of Hercules and Diodorus wrote that Hercules founded a kingdom in Gaul, and through his union with a princess had a son named Galates who became king and named the people after his own name which in time became corrupted to Gaul.
     First and foremost it must be remembered that the Celts were farmers. Second, they were warriors; mercenaries who served the lands of  Syria and of Israel under Herod the Great, Egypt under the Ptolemy Pharaohs and Carthage until it was defeated by Rome. Often they are found as elite body-guards to kings. The Celt was tall, dark haired and white of skin.  He towered over the Mediterranean people.
     It took several millennia but the Germanic tribes of the north, who had once been subjects to the Celts, overthrew their overlords power, and destroyed the Celtic heartland. In Gaul the final blow was delivered by the Roman General Julius Caesar.


     For centuries it has been written sighting the ancient annals of Ireland that the origin of the Irish of today’s Ireland, descend from King Mil of northern Spain, whose people descended in mass upon the Emerald Isle at about 1000 B.C., which would be during the reign of Solomon.
     The ancient annals record that Scythia was the Gael original homeland, believed to exist just above the Black Sea in the Ukraine. An invitation was extended to a Scythian prince by the name of Niul, to come to Egypt as an instructor, which he did with a following who were called Gaels, after their common ancestor Gaodhal Glas. It was at the time that Moses lived in the land that Niul married one of Pharaoh’s daughters, who was known by the name of Scotia.
     Much like the Hebrew Moses, Niul and his people grew prosperous in the land of Egypt. A new Pharaoh arose who had not the kindness and justice of his predeccessor, and Niul with his people left the land at the suggestion of Moses who had already fled with the Hebrews.
     The Gaels went to the edges of the Caspian Sea to the east, where several generations later a prophet arose and claimed that the Gaels should migrate to the western most isle. After long and varied wanderings to Crete and Northern Africa, later generations settled in northern Spain. Several more generations passed to the time of King Mil or Milesius, who heard tell of an island to the northwest and presumed it to be the “Isle of Destiny” fortold to the Gaels by Moses himself. Mil sent his uncle named Ith to Ireland on a scouting mission. But Ith was slain by the Tuatha de Danann, rulers of the island, who suspected the reason for his mission.
     Meanwhile, King Mil died in Spain. It was now up to his eight sons, and surviving wife also named Scota (said to also be a Pharaoh’s daughter), along with their families and fellow Gaels to voyage to the “Isle of Destiny.”
     Upon approach to the Emerald Isle a great storm accompanied by mist and dense fog enveloped the invading Gaels preventing them from making land. Many of the Gael ships were lost along with five of the sons of Mil. The storm being created by the Tuath de Danann’s for they were great in the arts and sciences. It is at this time that the Gael poet Amergin prayed for them:
I pray that they reach the land of Eirinn, those who are riding upon the great, productive, vast sea; That they be distributed upon her plains, her mountains, and her valleys; upon her forests that shed showers of nuts and all fruits; upon her rivers and her cataracts; upon her lakes and her great waters; upon her spring-abounding hills; That they may hold their fairs and equestrian sports upon her territories; That there may be a king from them in Tara; and that Tara be the territory of their many kings; That noble Eirinn be the home of the ships and boats of the sons of Milesius; Eirinn which is now in darkness, it is for her that this oration is pronounced; Let the learned wives of Breas and Busigne pray that we may reach the noble woman, great Eirinn. Let Eremon pray, and let Ir and Eber implore, that we may reach Eirinn.

     Upon landing on the soil of the Isle of Destiny,” the survivors of Eber’s tribe landed at Inver Sceni/Bantry Bay, where they engaged a host under the command of Queen Eire of the Tuath de Danann. Eire survived the battle, but Queen Scota did not; Eremon’s people landed at Inver Colpa/Boyne River. The two brothers joined forces in Meath and together engaged in battle at Taillte, the Tuath de Danann, whom they slaughtered included three kings and three queens of the de Danann people.
     Tradition states that the bard Amergin ruled that the Gaels receive the right to rule the island above ground, but the Tuath de Danann with their magical ways took the right to rule under the soil. Thus the stories of the “Wee people,” the enchanted folk, and fairies, who lived in caves and in the remote hills.
     After this judgment the Emerald Isle was divided between the two brothers: Eremon and his followers received the northern half, and Eber got the southern half. Northeastern corner of the island was given to the children of the lost brother Ir, and the southwestern corner to the slain uncle Ith’s son, Lughaid.
     The lovely hill of Tara was first founded as a place of prominence by the Firbolgs. The wife of Eremon considered it as one of the three most beautiful hills in Ireland. It was Eremon who was the first to make it his home, and named it Tara - the Gaelic translation of the name of Tamar Tefi, daughter of the Hebrew king Zedakiah, who became the wife of Eremon.
     Of course this tradition can be read at length in the two books The Story of the Irish Race, by Seumas MacManus, and Irish Pedigrees by John O’Hart. O’Hart’s book is usually found printed in three volumes, and the first volume contains the early history at length.

Meaning of the name Brian

     For  thirty-five years I have been researching and writing my family history. In the ancient teachings of the Gaels of Ireland is that one's ancestors assemble in the spirit world and choose from among their descendants one who will remember them. I am that one among my ancestors descendants who was chosen.
     From this date on I shall post the various findings during my thirty-five years of family history research on the various histories of the O'Brien Clan. Today, the clan's surname around the world numbers about a half million people, this doesn't include the various derivations of the spelling of O'Brien. Not until the late nineteenth century did it become important to spell correctly. In fact about three hundred years ago in Europe, few people were able to write. The more numerous ways of spelling a word indicated one's better education. And about 1600 it became fashionable in England to replace the "i" with the letter "y," thus Brian became Bryan, etc.
     The first name or Christian name of Brian is basically of unknown meaning. Researchers speculate on three meanings or origins to the word: 1) it may derive from the Gaelic word "bran" which means "raven." 2) It may mean "lofty" or "high place." 3) Last possible meaning is "great strength." But a Gaelic/Celtic origin word it is.
     In ancient Gaelic/Irish the name was spelled Briain, and pronounced "Br-een." In some situations Briain is also spelled Bhriain (I think). The written "O'Brien" is strictly an English practice of the old Irish use of "Ua" and "Uí" before a surname. Actually the old Irish convention was quite accurate in its meaning; "Ua" is singular, and its use would be in identifying one of the name of Briain, i.e., Ua Briain. The spelling of "Uí" is plural which indicates all of the name Uí Briain. Modern Irish uses just "O" before a name. The change in spelling took place in 1543 when Murrough Ó Briain, last king of Thomond, surrendered his title to English King Henry VIII, and the spelling of "O'Brien" was created. Actually the meaning of "Ua" in Gaelic is translated to mean "grandson of," or "descendant of." The mac before a name in Gaelic means "son of." There is an old saying that mac spelled with an "a" has an origin in Scotland, and the mc indicates Ireland. Nice saying but no truth in it. Mac, Mc, M', all has the same meaning of "son of." In fact the use of the "O" is appropriate in Scotland too, but for some reason it just wasn't used except in a few instances. Therefore the surnames of O'Brien, O'Brian, O'Bryen, O'Bryan, O'Bryant, Brien, Brian, Bryan, Bryen, Bryon, Briant, Brient, Bryant, MacBrian, MacBrien, McBrian, McBrien, and Breen, are all variations in spelling of the name Ó Briain, which have their beginning with the founder or progenitor of the clan, Brian mac Cennédie "Boru," who lived from 941-1014 A.D.