"Who were the Tuatha De Danaan?
... and other musings....
The Tuatha De Danaan were "the people of Anu" and formed the pantheon of the pre-Celtic Irish. They could be roughly compared to the Greek gods of Olympus. They were remembered by the Old Irish for their goodness and great skills, used for the benefit of the people of Ireland.
The arrival of the Tuatha De Danaan was not only shrouded in mystery, but was so strange to the local people that they had to create a rational explanation as to how they appeared...
They were recorded as having landed in Northern Ireland from Scotland on a day which was later to be termed Beltaine, better known as May Day - 1st of May. It was stated that, after burning their ships, they surrounded themselves with a mist of draoideacht, which means 'magic' or 'sorcery' and marched inland for three days. By this means they hid themselves from the local inhabitants - the Firbolg - until they reached Sliabh-an-lerainn, the Mountain of Iron in Co. Leitrim, where they were first seen.
Effectively speaking, the locals tried to explain away the fact that these strange visitors appeared, literally, out of thin air ... and down off the mountain, quoted as having come 'out of nowhere' and 'out of the heavens'. Eachaid Ua Flainn, a poet who died in A.D.985 says "They had no vessels.... No one really knows whether it was over the heavens, or out of the heavens, or out of the earth that they came. Were they demons of the devil... were they men?"
The Tuatha appeared as tall, fair haired, 'shining-faced' sages with a highly organised small group of highly skilled leaders, artisans and craftmen. They were remembered for teaching the Irish people agricultural skills and animal husbandry.
It's interesting to note that according to the traditions of the Tuatha de Danaan, they had spent seven years in the north of Scotland before reaching Ireland, at places named Dobhar and Iardahar. Before Scotland, they had spent some years in Lochlonn, which has been equated with Scandinavia. In modern Gaelic, Lochlainn refers to the state of Denmark, and it seems a rather interesting coincidence that the Danes call their country Danmark; the land of the Dan people.
Apparently the Tuatha De Danaan were welcomed to Scandinavia where they settled in four cities where they taught to the young. Sages, resident in the cities were there to 'teach the sciences and the varied arts'. Prior to their teachings there, they apparently came from a place called Achaia.
It may be a tenuous link, but a region called Achaiyah, north of Mount Hermon, Syria is sited as being a possible site for Kharsag, the homeland of The Annage the so called 'Shining Ones' - great teacher gods of Sumerian tradition. These were the gods of the Sumerians who began the cradle of Western civilisation in the Mesopotanian Valley.
The Sumerians ruled the region from at least 4000 B.C. and there is still a certain degree of mystery as to the sudden rise of culture of the indigenous population - which they, themselves, attributed to the influence of their teacher gods.
It's possible that a small band of these elusive 'teachers' who could have been, themselves the last vestiges of an elder culture in decline, deciding to pass on their skills to the indigenous peoples, working their way through from the Mesopotanian basin through southern Europe, possibly teaching the Greeks in the same manner as the Tuatha De Danaan taught the old Irish... leaving memories of gods... who came from the Mount Olympus.... could they have then moved up northwards, spreading their knowledge via France, Germany, upto Scandinavia - again with their own pantheon of gods - and thence across to Britain and then Ireland?
The Megalthic Odyssey (a search for the Master Builders of the Bodmin Moor Astronomical Complex of Stone Circles and Giant Cairns) by Christian O'Brien, first published 1983 by Turnstone Press, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire ISBN 0-85500-188-7
From the Ashes of Angels: The Forbidden Legacy of a Fallen Race by Andrew Collins, first published in 1996 by Michael Joseph Limited, London ISBN 0-7181-4132-6
The Tribe of Dan
Israelites took Phoenicians (Sidonians) as their wives (1 Kings 16: 31).
And most of us remember the story of Sampson ( of the tribe of Dan) and his Philistine women, particularly Delilah
2 Chronicles 2: 14 also reads (NIV) -
''I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill
whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre''
The above passage is in reference to the trade of skill and material King Solomon of Jerusalem needed from to King Hiram I of Tyre, in order to build a House for the Lord.
By Rick Gore Photograph by Robert Clark
We know they dominated sea trade in the Mediterranean for 3,000 years. Now DNA testing and recent archaeological finds are revealing just what the Phoenician legacy meant to the ancient world—and to our own.
Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt.
"I am a Phoenician," says the young man, giving the name of a people who vanished from history 2,000 years ago. "At least I feel like I'm one of them. My relatives have been fishermen and sailors here for centuries."
"Good, we can use some real Phoenicians," says Spencer Wells, an American geneticist, who wraps the young man's arm in a tourniquet as they sit on the veranda of a restaurant in Byblos, Lebanon, an ancient city of stone on the Mediterranean. The young man, Pierre Abi Saad, has arrived late, eager to participate in an experiment to shed new light on the mysterious Phoenicians. He joins a group of volunteers—fishermen, shopkeepers, and taxi drivers—gathered around tables under the restaurant awning. Wells, a lanky, 34-year-old extrovert, has convinced Saad and the others to give him a sample of their blood.
"What will it tell you?" Saad asks.
"Your blood contains DNA, which is like a history book," Wells replies. "Many different people have come to Byblos over the centuries, and your blood carries traces of their DNA. It's going to tell us something about your relationships going back thousands of years."
Wells has no doubts about the power of the new genetic techniques he is bringing to our understanding of ancient peoples. Nor does his bespectacled colleague standing beside him on the veranda, Pierre Zalloua, a 37-year-old scientist with a dark goatee and an intense passion for his Lebanese heritage. The two men hope to find new clues to an age-old riddle: Who were the Phoenicians?
Although they're mentioned frequently in ancient texts as vigorous traders and sailors, we know relatively little about these puzzling people. Historians refer to them as Canaanites when talking about the culture before 1200 B.C. The Greeks called them the phoinikes, which means the "red people"—a name that became Phoenicians—after their word for a prized reddish purple cloth the Phoenicians exported. But they would never have called themselves Phoenicians. Rather, they were citizens of the ports from which they set sail, walled cities such as Byblos, Sidon, and Tyre.
The culture later known as Phoenician was flourishing as early as the third millennium B.C. in the Levant, a coastal region now divided primarily between Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. But it wasn't until around 1100 B.C., after a period of general disorder and social collapse throughout the region, that they emerged as a significant cultural and political force.
From the ninth to sixth centuries B.C. they dominated the Mediterranean Sea, establishing emporiums and colonies from Cyprus in the east to the Aegean Sea, Italy, North Africa, and Spain in the west. They grew rich trading precious metals from abroad and products such as wine, olive oil, and most notably the timber from the famous cedars of Lebanon, which forested the mountains that rise steeply from the coast of their homeland.
The armies and peoples that eventually conquered the Phoenicians either destroyed or built over their cities. Their writings, mostly on fragile papyrus, disintegrated—so that we now know the Phoenicians mainly by the biased reports of their enemies. Although the Phoenicians themselves reportedly had a rich literature, it was totally lost in antiquity. That's ironic, because the Phoenicians actually developed the modern alphabet and spread it through trade to their ports of call.
Acting as cultural middlemen, the Phoenicians disseminated ideas, myths, and knowledge from the powerful Assyrian and Babylonian worlds in what is now Syria and Iraq to their contacts in the Aegean. Those ideas helped spark a cultural revival in Greece, one which led to the Greeks' Golden Age and hence the birth of Western civilization. The Phoenicians imported so much papyrus from Egypt that the Greeks used their name for the first great Phoenician port, Byblos, to refer to the ancient paper. The name Bible, or "the book," also derives from Byblos.
Today, Spencer Wells says, "Phoenicians have become ghosts, a vanished civilization." Now he and Zalloua hope to use a different alphabet, the molecular letters of DNA, to exhume these ghosts.