The Birth of Lugh - Óðinn and Loki among the Celts

 

Thor Ewing
thor@historicalarts.co.uk

 

'The Birth of Lugh - Óðinn and Loki among the Celts' appeared in Sinsear 8, DEPARTMENT OF IRISH FOLKLORE, University College Dublin, IRELAND, 1995 pp.119-131). CONSULTANT EDITOR: PROF. DR. PATRICIA LYSAGHT.

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'The Birth of Lugh - Óðinn and Loki among the Celts' is published here without quotation from The People of the Sea for copyright reasons. The quotation has been replaced by an explanatory passage from an earlier draft of the article.

Since this article first appeared in 1995, I have learned that the Welsh Lleu and Gwydion appear as 'Lou' and 'Guidgen' in an Old Welsh genealogy (Harleian MS 3859). It is highly unlikely that the names Guidgen and Óðinn are etymologically related in a conventional sense, though it remains possible that their similarity is a result of continued cultural contact. Brythonic speakers appear to have commonly rendered Germanic 'w-' as 'g-'; the Historia Brittonum for example (which is found in the same manuscript as the genealogy - Harleian MS 3859) records 'Giulgis' for 'Uilgils,' and 'Gechbrond' for 'Wegbrand.'

An etymological link between the names of the Celtic and Germanic gods was never an essential argument of this article, and I stand by my arguments for a link between the Celtic and Norse magical gods, which is not based on name-likeness but on parallels between the legendary stories of these gods.