Talk:Celtic mythology

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Former good articleCeltic mythology was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
August 8, 2006Good article reassessmentDelisted

Irish distinct from Celtic mythology[edit]

clasqm, we certainly need to keep Irish mythology distinct from Celtic Mythology; there are a great number of overlaps but not all a = b nor is necessarily all b = a. I would probably prefer that the gods are dealt with in distinct articles in their own right as per Norse Mythology; do you have any problem with this? sjc

Hi, sjc. No problem at all. I think CM can deal with the mythology of generic Celts wherever they found themselves, while IM can be specifically Irish. Perhaps someone will then later write something on Scottish mythology, Celtiberian mythology etc. Feel free to plunder CM for stub material, but I suggest leaving it there too. it's only a minor duplication ... clasqm
Hi, and many thanks. Let's see if we can get this as definitive as NM is on its way to becoming. sjc
I'm a little concerned that the deities labeled as "Celtic" are in fact Irish. I'm also not sure the word pantheon should be used in the context of Celtic myth, since it means, literally and in terms of scholarly use "all gods." Pantheon implies an ordered, systemic hierarchy, when there doesn't appear to have been anything of the kind outside of the Celto-Romano context, where the was a desire to create one-to-one equivalencies between Roman and non-Roman deities. --DigitalMedievalist.

This is looking good - I'm a big fan of the norse pages, and hope to eventually get around to working on the Roman (as opposed to the Greek-borrowings). --MichaelTinkler

Can anybody add pronunciation guides? They'd be useful here ans in several other places, but i'm not sure where to find them...JHK

I'll see what I can do on this front. sjc

There are definitions of both Dagda and Morrigan in this page, and links to other pages with more detailed definitions. Should we have these definitions in both places, or should the names just appear here, with links to their definitions? -- corvus13

No, this is just work in progress and overlap between clasqm's original work and my desire to parallel other mythologies e.g. Norse Mythology in their treatment. We will straighten this out in the fullness of time (probably about 7 - 10 days at the present rate of progress). sjc

There are broader reasons: each Wikipedia entry must stand on its own, without consulting links to get a basic understanding. There are bound to be many overlaps, even of text, at Wikipedia. Essential links don't actually stand out, where practically every noun is linked. Wetman 07:04, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Given how many different gods have been collected under the Celtic Mythology, I would suggest breaking them into finer detail (e.g. irish mythology).

Are you entirely certain about the comparison to Shamanism, it would probably imply a particular cultural environment which might not really offer a good comparison? David

Celtic Mythology should be split into Gaelic (Irish, Scottish and Manx - all the same, only local variation) and Brythonic (similiar situation, Britonnic, and it's derivatives Welsh, Cornish and Breton mythologies) Mythology. They have many figures in common, some stories, genres, etc, but they are seperate. No Gaels have stories about King Arthur, for example (except in some parts of Scotland where the Gaelic population absorbed Brythonic populations - along with language forms and other things unique to the Brythons, showing the Gaels absorbed them and the Picts not exterminated them, to bring up another topic..), likewise, no Brythons have stories about the Fianna, but those are of the same genre. The difference is very similiar to that between Norse Mythology and Germanic (continental, non-Scandinavian) Mythology, only the difference between Gaelic and Brythonic Mythologies are probably greater (alot more figures in each that do not occur in the other, than Norse and Germanic for example).

Also other things, "Gaulish Mythology" perhaps, but there is very little of this, we mostly only know names and things attached to the Gods bearing them, no mythos per se. Celtiberians, all only god-name.-- 04:52, 8 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I agree, there is no Gaulish mythology. There was Gaulish, and Gallo-Roman, religion. Mythology is one sort of remnant of religion. For Gaulish (and other continental celtic) religion, there is no mythology. Instead there are different remnants - inscriptions, depictions, mentions in classical sources, excavated temples, shrines, ritual deposits in pools, etc. Nantonos 16:09, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This is a really well put together page. Would anyone care to help over at Sprite (creature)? Dustin Asby 07:02, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)


In case nobody noticed, I merged Celtic Religion. Cheers, (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 18:28, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)

On the one hand, that usefully collects together related material. On the other hand, mythology is not the only evidence we have for Celtic religion (and in the earliest periods, there is no mythology at all, but plentiful archaeological evidence). Perhaps it would be better to title the page Celtic Religion, and talk about the mythology in parts of the page? --Nantonos 19:15, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Reworking of first paragraph[edit]

I made broad changes to this article, primarily in the first paragraph, to reduce the apparent conflation of Gaulish tribes with "the Celts" per se. --Ryanaxp 17:31, May 17, 2005 (UTC)

It still needs work. For example "Because of the scarcity of surviving materials bearing written Gaulish, it is surmised that the pagan Celts were not widely literate—although a written form of Gaulish using the Greek alphabet was used (as evidenced by votive items bearing inscriptions in Gaulish and the Calender of Coligny)." which is okay up to "although" and then goes wrong, implying that Gaulish was only written in the Greek alphabet (the Latin, Iberian, and Lepontic alphabets were also used) and naming only one example (which uses the Latin, not Greek, alphabet). --Nantonos 16:16, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)


It would be easier to understand if somewhere there was a table indicating the correspondence between each goidelic, insular (brythonic), continental (brythonic), and proto-celtic deity.


Goidelic Insular Continental Proto-Celtic
Badb Catubodua
Beli Mawr Belenus
Caladbolg Excalibur
Danu Dôn
Goibniu Govannon
Lug Llew Llaw Gyffes Lugus
Mabon ap Modron Maponos
Macha Rhiannon Epona
Manannan mac Lir Manawydan
Modron Dea Matrona
Nuada Lludd Llaw Eraint Nodens
Ogma Ogmios
Tuireann Taranis Taranis

~~~~ 09:26, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Not a bad idea. I would probably distinguish between Ancient Brythonic and Welsh as the Welsh characters have changed considerably from their Brythonic ancestors thanks to Christianity and language change. Perhaps a single "Gallo-Brythonic" column as there's not really much to distinguish them. Might also be an idea to list any Roman gods they were equated with. I'll see what I can do. --Nicknack009 12:02, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Be cautious wen asserting 'equivalence' or 'identity'. 'related to' may be more accurate. As an example, asserting that the Christian Jesus was 'equivalent' to the Egyptian Osiris and the Norse Balder (dying and resurected gods) with the implication that they are plug-and-play identical, mere different names for the same thing, ignores a lot of other cultural context. In other words, a statement of equivalence is a theological position, a POV.

Nicknack, there is a many-to-many relationship between Gallo-Brythonic and Roman deities. Its not going to make a simple table. --Nantonos 14:12, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I would avoid the roman ones, as they were "identifications" rather than "originally the same". ~~~~ 20:44, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The Gauls/France[edit]

I think that the intro isn't really accurate : "For Celts in close contact with Ancient Rome, such as the Gauls and Celtiberians, their mythology did not survive the Roman Empire, their subsequent conversion to Christianity and the loss of their Celtic languages. It is mostly through contemporary Roman and Christian sources that their mythology has been preserved. The Celtic peoples who maintained either political or linguistic identities (such as the Gaels in Ireland and Scotland, the Welsh in Wales, and the Celtic Britons of southern Great Britain and Brittany) left vestigial remnants of their ancestral mythologies that were put into written form during the Middle Ages."

It is known that the Gaulish language was the main language in present-day France until the 5th, maybe the 6th century, before its disappearance. Some specialists argue that it was spoken in some regions until the 10th century. Gaulish language is still an important substrate language for current French. We now a very few amount of things about the Gaulish religion, but currently, a very big part of French folklore is inherited from the Gauls. Gauls maintained political and linguistic identity for a long time. The traditional administrative division of the French territory is based upon provinces divided into counties (or "lands" to be more literal with the French term of "pays"). This system was broken during the Revolution, but made its way during the Old Regime and the feudal era. It was copied from the traditional division of Gaul into tribal territories. The Romans kept that system calling the territories "civitates", the Franks kept that system calling the territories "pagi". In fact the territorial division of the French territory was the same from the Gallic independence times to the Revolution. There is probably far more elements in the French folklore coming from the Gauls, than elements in the English folklore coming from the Britons. That's why the intro saying that Gaul didn't maintain its traditional system, but Britain did, seems strange to me, because outside of Wales and Scotland, the territorial system was totally remade by the Anglo-Saxons invaders. The traditionnal counties of England have nothing to do with the ancient territories of the Celtic tribes.--CampagnardDeter (talk) 14:43, 29 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This isn't what Gaulish language says, nor the long quotes from its references. The "Celtic Britons of southern Great Britain" means Cornwall rather than the rest of England. Johnbod (talk) 14:51, 29 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]