Freagaɼṫaċ .i. cloiḋeaṁ Mhanannáin
(Freagarthach .i. colidheamh Mhanannáin) [Ir.]
"the Freagarthach ["Retaliator"], Manannan's sword" (OCT, O'Curry ed.,tr. p.162/3, )
"..lit, the Responsive, i.e. -- the sword that paid back with interest the attack of its opponents"
(O'Curry footnote, p.162 n147 )
"the Freagarthach, that is, the sword of Manannain" (O'Duffy tr.ch.5);
- Freagarthach, the Answerer (Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men, p.22)
- Answerer (P.W. Joyce tr.) [E.]
- Fragarach (T. F. Rollerston in Myth & Legends of the Celtic Race)
- Frecraid (Mackillop, Dict. Celt. Mythol. and Myths and Legends of the Celts)
- Sword that Lugh was seen wearing at his side, at the gathering of the Tuatha dé Danann in the
modern version of the tale, Odiheadh Chloinne Tuireann or "The Fate of the Children of Tuireann".
(See Areadbhar for more on the tale and bibliographical info.)
It was was such that "it never wounded any one who could come away alive from it
[i.e., no one survived a wound from it;] and that sword was never bared on the scene of a battle or combat,
in which so much strength as that of a woman in childbirth would remain to any person who saw the
sword who was opposed to it ii.e. no one opposed by that sword seemed to have any greater strength.]"
(O'Curry, Atlantis IV, p.163).
- As far as I can discern, there is no other traditional literary source besides the OCT that
mentions this sword by name. However, modern retellings add certain flourishes, which are propagated in
T. F. Rollerston's retelling (Myth & Legends of the Celtic Race 1913) interpolates certain
facts of his own invention, saying that Lugh was raised by Duach "The Dark", who was lord of the Great Plain [i.e. Mag Mell]
otherwise known as Fairyland, or the "Land of the Living" [Tir na mBeo] (p.112); and that Lugh brought out of
the Land of Living the boat and horse and the Fragarach "Answerer" of Mananan, which he said could
"cut through any mail".
Rollerston embellishment was quickly incorporated into Lewis Spense's A dictionary of medieval romance
and romance writers (1913) "Answerer. Fragarach.. which could pierce any armour.
It was brought by Lugh from the 'Land of the Living'" and found its way to Mackillop's Dict.,
appears to be the source of Mackillop's entry for "Frecraid, Fragarach, Freagarach [Ir. frecrad, answerer]
Terrible sword of Manannán mac Lir that could pierce any mail.. It was
brought by Lug Lámfhota from Tír na mBeó [the Land of the Living]".
It is difficult to find sources other than Mackillop that spells the sword's name Frecraid.
Rollerston considers Duach the Dark (i.e. Duach Daill) the foster-father or Lugh, but this is a
a compounding of an error originally commited by Lady Gregory.
Lady Gregory (G&FM p. 62) misstatement was that Lug's foster-mother Taillte had for
husband Duach the Dark, which conflicts with her earlier statement (p.16) that Lug was
foster-son of Taillte and of Echaid ther Rough, son of Duach.
It is the latter which is consistent with the Leabhar Gabhála Eirenn [Book of Conquests] (¶330):
"Taillte,.. slept with Eochu Garb son of Dui the Blind [Heochaid nGarb mac Duach Daill],
.. and Cian son of Dian Cecht, otherwise called Scal Balb, gave her his son in fosterage, Lug to wit" (Macalister ed. tr.).
Keating (FFE Vol. 1, Sect. VII) mentions Two Eochaid, saying Taillte was first wedded to Eochaidhs Eochaid son of Erc,
last king of the Fir Bolg, and then to Eoachai Garbh, son of Duach Dall, a chief of the Tuatha De Danann.
To add to the confusion, Mackillop's dictionary has this to say: "Duach. A minor queen of Old Irish literature,
foster-mother of Lug Lámfhota and ancestress of Tailtiu." Perhaps this is a mix-up of
"Duinseach ingen Duach Queen of Tara, fl. 500."
- It might also be mentioned in passing that in late redaction of the Fate of the Children of Uisneach,
Naoise, the son of Uisneach and the beloved of Deirdre
also professed to have owned a "sword which Manannan, son of Lir, gave to me"
cloiḋeaṁ agamſa ṫug Manannán, mac Liɼ, dam
(O'Duffy tr., ch. 30, p.78; O'Flanagan ed. tr. p.106,7 "sword which Mananan the son of Lear gave me")
O'Curry, Eugene, ed. tr. "The Trí Thruaighe na Scéalaigheachta of Erinn III. The Fate of the Children of Tuireann (Aoidhe chloinne Tuireann)", in: The Atlantis IV, London 1863, p.162 & 163 and footnote 147.
*2 Joyce, P. W. (Patrick Weston), 1827-1914, ed. "The Fate of the Children of Turenn; or, The Quest for the Eric-Fine", in Old Celtic Romances (London: David Nutt / New York: Macmillan & Co., 1894), p.38. As for the text of "The Fate of the Children of Tuirenn" according to Preface, xi, "There are several good copies in the Royal Irish Academy: one in R.I.A 23.G.10 transcribed by Patrick Brown of the county Clare, in 1805; another in 23. E. 16, written out by Michael Oge O'Longan, in 1797; and a third (imperfect) in 23. M. 47, copied by Andrew Mac Curtin, in 1734.