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were also performed in sacred caves, and these were called Mammoii, the sanctuary of the great mother, that is, the Arkite goddess, the Ceridwen of the Britons. But Colonel Vallancey conjectures, that the subterraneous buildings in Ireland, which are evidently of Druidical workmanship, were representations of these caves; and he particularly mentions that at New Grange, near Drogheda, as such. As no other country than Ireland contains a monument of this kind,* a detailed account of it in this place may not be regarded as irrelevant to our subject.
New Grange barrow is a circular tumulus, covering about two acres of ground, the altitude of which is about seventy feet. On the top of it formerly stood a huge columnar stone, which represented the Lingam of the Hindoos, the Phallus of the Greeks, and the Bedwen of the Britons, and its base was encircled with a number of enormous unhewn stones set upright, of which only ten now remain, t each of which may probably weigh from eight to twelve tons. About forty feet within the circumference of the base of this tumulus the mouth of a gallery was discovered, beginning from the s.s.E. and running in a direct line sixty-one feet four inches to the n.n.w., where it opens into an octangular chamber with three recesses. This gallery is composed of stones placed upright, with others laid on their tops: at the mouth it is three feet wide, and two feet high: at thirteen feet from the mouth it is only two feet two inches wide. Through this part it can only be passed by the person going on his hands and knees, scarcely raising himself on them; after this he may stand upright and walk at once to the sanctuary. This is an octangular building, with a dome of eight sides, which, at the height of fifteen or sixteen feet, become only six, by those on the north and south running to a point. The east side coming to a point next, it is reduced to five sides; and then the west one becoming extinct, it ends and closes with four sides not tied with a keystone, but capped with a flat flagstone of three feet ten inches, by three feet five inches. The sides of the octagon sanctuary are thus formed: The aperture which serves as entrance, and the three niches, make four sides, while the four imposts make the others, the sanctuary
is about six or seven feet high, with a dome of twenty feet in height, and may be considered as a circle of seventeen or eighteen feet. The recesses are square, of different sizes ; the northern one has a floor of one stone, six feet eight inches long, by four feet eleven inches wide; but the side ones have merely the natural earth at bottom. The two side recesses had in them each a rock basin, about four feet nine inches, by three
* The labour and expense of searching into the contents of Silbury hill and other large barrows, which might seem to promise the highest gratification, have prevented their being opened.
† This phallus acted as a gnomon probably to the circle. NO. XIV.
feet four. On some of the stones of this building where Ogum characters. *
We have here a sanctuary for the celebration of the mysteries of the Helio-arkite goddess. Under the dome the celebrated cauldron was warmed by the fire which was attended by the nine damsels. In the two recesses were the vessels into which the contents were poured after the sprinkling and tasting had been performed, from which they were emptied into the earth. In the northern recess, which was the largest, the wine and wort were given to the attendant aspirants, and, in short, all the mysteries of Ceridwen were here performed. +
As the Helio-arkite and Lunar-arkite festivals were proclaimed to the people a week or more before the appearance of the moon, it was necessary to calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, and for this purpose the Druids ascended high hills to make observations, and some of these hills are called the hill of the moon to this day. The monument at New Grange seems to have been constructed with a view of combining in one place of worship the circular temple, the consecrated cave, the hill of observation, and the sanctuary within the temple.
As in Britain, so in Ireland, before the Crom-leach was the stone of sacrifice; and such are also to be found in many of the circular temples. The sacrifice was called Graine, from Grian, the sun; and many places in Ireland retain this word as part of their appellations, having originally been places of sacrifice. The ceremony of sacrificing to Saman is thus described in an ancient ms. entitled Dun-seancas, the topography of Ireland, under the word Magh-sleacht. “Magh-sleacht, so called from an idol of the Irish, named Crom Cruaith, a stone capped with gold, about which stood twelve other rough stones. Every people that conquered Ireland, that is, every colony established in Ireland, worshipped this deity, till the arrival of Patrick. They sacrificed the first-born of every species to this deity, and Tighernmas Mac Follaigh, king of Ireland, commanded sacrifices to this deity on the day of Saman, and that both men and women should worship him prostrate on the ground, till they drew blood from their noses, foreheads, knees, and elbows. Many died from the severity of this worship, and hence it was called Magh-sleacht, the worship of the great god." The Irish history informs us that, for this decree, Tighernmas was punished by a signal and severe judgment from heaven: he, with multitudes of his deluded people, performing this ceremony to Crom-Cruach
* A more particular account, with plates, may be seen in the Archæologia, vol. ii., p. 236; and plates of another artificial cave are in the sixth volume of the Collectanea de Rebus Ilibern.
+ See the authorities in Davies's Mythology of the Druids. i Collect. de Reb. Hib., vol. in.
on the plain of Magh-sleacht, in Breffny, near Fenagh, a parish in the barony of Mohil, being killed by lightning.
The fires which were lighted on hills were conceived to have a purifying quality, and on this account the Irish generally drove their cattle through them.
As the monument at New Grange formed one alteration from the original construction of the Druidical temples, so the firetowers intended to supersede the lighting of fires on hills made another. As these were conical, and ending in a point at top, the idea seems to have been, in the opinion of Irish antiquaries, derived from the pyramidal plane: they were built of stones without mortar. In Smith's History of Kerry, there is a plate of one, which is twenty feet long, ten feet broad, and twenty feet high, and its walls four feet thick. “It may be asked,” says Colonel Vallancey, “since the Pagan Irish could chissel stones for the round towers, why are the Ogum inscriptions on rough unhewn rocks? The reason is, because such inscriptions were Mithratic; they allude to Mithras, whose votaries pretended that he was sprung from a rock, and therefore the place where the mysterious ceremonies were communicated to the initiated was always a natural cave, or an artificial one, composed of unhewn stones, several of which exist in this country. Hence, the rude obelisk was dedicated to the sun, that is, to Mithras. It was not, therefore, the want of knowledge in working with tools, or of cements, that caused the Pagan Irish to construct their temples of rough materials. The fire temple, or tower, was an innovation, as we shall prove hereafter, and from the smallness of its diameter, and its height, it required the tool.”• The highest tower in Ireland is dedicated to Brigit, the daughter of Daghda, or Apollo. At Drom-bagh, temple of the sun, now Drom-boe, in the county of Down, are still the remains of a fire tower, which once blazed in honour of Bagh; and there are many other towers that, by their names, plainly indicate they were for this
One of these is called Aoi-Beiltoir, the community of the towers of Belus, and this was a title of high dignity among the Pagan Irish.t Wherever the word occurs in the Brehon laws, it is underlined by the commentator, and explained by the word Easbog, bishop. The fire tower, however, was not universally adopted by the Irish, as we learn from many oppositions made to it, which are recorded in history; and there were sectaries that still continued to light their fires on the mountains, and raised tumuli.
Perhaps, however, the most curious Arkite remains in Ireland are the ship-temples, of which that at Dundalk, and that in the
* Collect. de Reb. Hib., vol. vi.
† So O'Clery has Ata tu cu usbaid file le Ulltaibh, thou art the illustrious Urbaid (fire minister) of the Ultonians.
county of Mayo, are interesting specimens. The first of these is called Fags na ain eighe, the one night's work, and, except the projection which marks the head of the vessel, would be a perfect ellipse. It is composed of brownish grit-stone, the two or three first courses aboveground being from two to three feet broad, and from twelve to sixteen inches high, those of the superstructure of all sizes. It is made to bulge out on the sides, like a ship, and has along the inside, stones so placed as to form a seat all round. Its interior length is forty-four feet nine inches, and greatest breadth twenty-one feet. It had a door at its side, as the ark is said to have had, and it rests on a mount surrounded by a vallum. That near Mullet, on the western coast of the county of Mayo, is named Leabba na Fathach, the giant's bed, and, unlike the former, is still in a state of perfection. The walls are two feet thick, of well jointed stones, without cement. The ground-plan is exactly like a Welsh coracle, viz. a curvilinear triangle, the length within fifteen feet, and to the ceiling, seven. The door, which is on one side, is formed of two large converging upright stones, and an impost, resembling an Egyptian gateway. The roof is made of large flag-stones, with a grassy covering; and the temple itself stands on an insulated conical hill.
With every prosperous wish, Gentlemen,
SAMUEL R. MEYRICK.
(To be continued.)
FOR AN OBELISK AT MORVA RHUDDLAN.
In the eighth century, this peaceful plain,
[The following lines are a literal translation of a Welsh poem, written immediately after the Battle of Bosworth Field. They are interesting as affording so many allusions to the subjects of Walpole's historic doubts, though it is evident he did not take his views of the character or person of Richard III. from these Wesh words.]
TO HENRY THE SEVENTH.
Who flourished from 1480 to 1520.
The crown is on the eagle's head;
Beheld, the slayer now is slain. “The Mole.” Richard II]. is called the Mole in allusion to his working by treachery or underground. So Henry IV. is called the Mole by Iolo Goch, in his ode to Owen Glendwr.
† The person of Richard III. expressed by the letter R is here contrasted with the tall upright form of Edward IV., expressed by the letter I. It may be observed that Ì. is the initial of the Welsh name for Edward, Iorworth: though the Bard in this place uses the English name Edward. It is, therefore, probable that the simile was not the invention of the Bard himself.
Non was the mother of Saint David, and a saint of great credit in Wales. The 21st of May, 1471, upon the night of which Henry VI. was