Celtic Mythology and Oral Tradition
L&S Breadth: Philosophy & Values OR Arts & Literature
The course will examine the mythology of the Celts—their gods, goddesses, festivals, and belief systems—as it is reflected in medieval Irish and Welsh texts. Following a short presentation of introductory material regarding the history and civilization of the early Celts, the course will begin with the early Irish tale known as The Second Battle of Maige Tuired, a core mythological tale that best exemplifies the pattern of mythological deities and belief systems that pertain to varying degrees in other Celtic tales. These tales will include in Irish, the Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel, the Tale of Macc Da Thó’s Pig, Bricriu’s Feast, the Wooing of Etaín, the Dream of Oengus, the Wasting Sickness of CúChulaind, the Cattle Raid of Fróech, and the Táin, and in Welsh, the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, Culhwch and Olwen, Lludd and Llefelys, the Tale of Gwion Bach and the Tale of Taliesin, and the poems, “What Man the Gatekeeper” and “The Spoils of the Otherworld.” All the readings are in English translation.
Course requirements include a midterm and final examination.