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«Lugh's sling-stone/tathlum» [weapon:missile] [Celtic:mythological cycle]

(1) Book of Invasions, Lebor Gabála Érenn *1
"stone from his sling" [E.]; cloch a tabaillnom.› [OIr.]; cloch a tabhaillnom.› [mod.Ir.];
dat.cloich assa thabaill (L) var. ~ asa ~ (F) (¶312)(1st Redaction)
dat.cloich a tabaill (V Λ R) (¶312) (Míniugud Redaction)
dat.cloich assa thabaill (V Λ E R A) var. ~ asa thabuill (D) (¶332) (2nd Redaction)
dat.chloich as a thabhaill (B = Bk. of Ballymote) var. cloich ~ (M) (¶364) (3rd Redaction)
[cloch stone + a from asa out of it + táball sling]
(2) CMT (Cath Maige Tuired "Second Battle of Moytura")*2
dat.liic talma "sling-stone" (Stokes's ed. & tr.), líic talma "stone of a sling" (Gray's ed. & tr.), lic-tailmé "sling-stone" (O'Curry, cit.)*3 (CMT, §135)
[lía stone + tailm sling]
(3) untitled poem in fmr. MS. W. Monck Mason (O'Curry, Manners and Customs)
Tathlum (O'Curry tr.)*3.
[táthluib cement, slingstone]

(1) Book of Invasions
Lug, Lugh Lug (¶312) (1st Redaction) Lug (V R) Lugh (Λ) (¶312) (Min. Redaction)
Lug (¶332) (2nd Redaction);
Lugh —mac sidhein Eithni ingen Balair Bailcbheimnigh,.i. in tIllanach (B) Lug Lamfota m. side do E. Imderg ingin Balair Bailebemnig: in tIllanach ainm aile do (M) "Lug... son of Ethne daughter of Balar of the Strong Blows: the Illdanach" [E. tr.](¶363) (3rd Redaction);
[il "many, etc." + dánach "Having arts, professions(DIL)" + thus ildánach "very gifted, skilled, accomplished, having many gifts or accomplishments"]

(2) CMT
Luch Lonnandsclech [OIr.] Lug, called lonn-ainsclech "furious fighter" (tr. Brown) (CMT, §55),
Lug lonnbemnech "furious striker" (tr. Brown), Lug Lonnansclech (tr. Gray) (§ 136)
[etymology: aindsclech "combative (DIL)"; DIL also gives "Luch Lonnandsclech" (xii 74 §55) i.e. from CMT as an example in usage. Brown apparently breaks it down to "angry, fierce" + ?? ainsherc [OIr.] cruel, hostile / ainsgianach [mod.Ir.] furious ad. ainsgian fury [O'Reilly]; Windisch glosses lond-andsclech as "wild angreifend (?)"]
Samhildánach "Samildánach" (tr. Gray) (CMT Gray, §54, p.38/39§ 56, 68)

>Luġ Láṁḟada. loinnḃéimionnaċ "Lugh Lamh-fada [i.e. Lugh of the long arms and furious blows]" (O'Curry, ed. tr., OCT, Atlantis IV, p.162/3) Ioldánaċ "the Ioldhánach" (ib. Atlantis IV, p.166/7) [*
* ildanach = il "many" + danach "Having arts, professions(DIL)". O'Curry, Atlantis IV p.167, note 155: The Ioldanach, that is, the Master of many (or all) Arts. {sidenote:DIL under Il cites p.212 which seems to be in error} Samild&aacut;nach is perhaps an empathic form sam- "pref. appar. meaning joint, united, together)" thus "Jointly skilled in many arts", though samail- "likeness, similarity" hence "Equally skilled in many arts" is also suggested.]
(4) Misc.
Logha Lamfada "Lugh Lamhfhada [Lewy of the Long Hand]" (Four Masters, Anno Mundi 3331, O'Donovan ed.tr. 1, p.20/21) Logha Lamhfoda (TBC St. 570., listed in DIL)

The Lebor Gabála Érenn (LGE 1st Red. ¶311 ≅ 2nd Red. ¶330 ≅ 3rd Red. ¶363) tells of Lug's lineage as follows: Lug was taken into fosterage by Tailltiu of Spain, queen of Fir Bolg by marriage to King Eochu son of Erc, who fell in the first Battle of Mag Tuiread. Lug's father was Cian son of Dian Cecht the leech, but also had the name Scal Balb. Lug's mother was Eithne daughter of Balor.

In LGE ¶329 Lug is referred to by the epithet Láfota or "long arm", and it is stated that by use of druidry (), Lug felled Bres hua Neit. Bres was a half Formorian, half TDD like Lug, but
In LGE) ¶311
(1) Book of Invasions
"Balar the Strong Smiter" [E.]
gen.Balair Bailcbeimnig (L F) "of Balor the Strong Smiter" [E. tr.] (¶311) (1st Redaction),
gen.Balair Bailc-beimnig (V Λ) "of Balar the Strong Smiter" [E. tr.]nom.Balar Bailc­beimnech (V Λ R) "Balar the Strong Smiter" [E. tr.] (¶312) (Míniugud Redaction),
gen.Balair Balc-beimnig (L F) "of Balar the Strong Smiter" [E. tr.], ‹nom. .i. Balar (interlined in L) .i. Balar hu Neit (F) "[ Balar ]" [E. tr.] (¶312)(1st Redaction)
[baile [OIr.] "frenzy" // balc [OIr.] "strong" + béimnech [OIr.] "smiting"]
[* huúa [OIr.] "descendant, grandson" + gen. of Net (proper name)]
gen.Balair Bailcbeimnig (V Λ A E P R) balebem- (D) "Balar Bailc-beimnech" [E. tr.] (¶331) (2nd Redaction)
gen.Balair Bailcbheimnigh (B) var. ~ Bailcbhemnig (M) "Balar of the Strong Blows" [E. tr.] (¶363) (3rd Redaction)
(2) CMT
Balor mac Doit meic Néid "Balor son of Dot son of Net" (tr. Brown) (CMT, §128) Balur uí Nét "Balor grandson of Net" (tr. Gray) Bolur Birugderc "Balor of the piercing eye" (tr. Gray) "Balor Birurderg" (O'Curry, Mss. Materials) (CMT, §133)
[birug = berach (birach biruich biorach) pointed, sharp [OIr.] + derc [OIr.] eye]

In the Lebor Gabála Érenn Balor is nicknamed the "Strong Smiter", and when he fought the Tuatha De Danann in the Battle of Mag Tuired, it is mentioned he felled Nuada Argetlam (and perhaps others) but it is nowhere suggested that he used his eye.

It is in the Harleian Cath Mag Tuired § 133 that we find the fantastical account of the battle, where Balor had a huge eye that can only be lifted by the strength of four men, and its stare could cause a thousand man army to be so weakened as to be defeated by only a handful of men.
    To say he was called "Balor of the Evil Eye"It is only loosely accurate: for the relevant passage says that his epithet was "Balor of the Piercing Eye" and that he possessed a Súil milldagach "Evil Eye" [súil eye + milledach "destructive, maleficent"]
*1 R.A.S. Macalister ed., Lebor gabála Érenn Book 4, "Part VII: Invasion of the Tuatha De Danann" ¶304-¶377. (fuller citation below). The manuscript sigla used are as follows (not a complete list):
1st Redaction (¶304-319)
  • L = Book of Leinster [1150 A.D.]
  • F = Book of Fermoy [15-16 c.]
    * R.I.A MS D 3.1 is pertinent here, as the Book of Fermoy proper (R.I.A. MS 23 E 29) holds much earlier chapters.
  • V = Royal Irish Academy - MS. D 1.3 (Stowe 539) [14-15 c.]
    Míniugud Redaction (¶310-319)
  • Λ = Great Book of Lecan [1418 A.D.]
  • R = Bodleian Lib. - MS. Rawlinson B 512 [end 15 - beg. 16 c.]
    2nd Redaction (¶320-355) Λ R and
  • A = Royal Irish Academy - MS. A 3.4 (Stowe) [17 c.]
  • D = Royal Irish Academy - MS. D 4.3 (Stowe 1224) [16 c.]
  • E = Trinity College Dublin - MS. 1443, E 3.5 [1st half of 15 c.]
    3rd Redaction (¶356-377)
  • B = Book of Ballymote [1384-1406 A.D.]
  • M = ΛΛ = Great Book of Lecan

    Lug rinagach: I don't have some of the pages of Macalister's LGE Book IV, so this info was borrowed from the CELT corpus digital trascription of the Bk. of Leinster (Part A, section 1) and the translation from Mary Jones' Celtic Literature Collective , Lebor Gabala Erenn (Book of Leinster version) (mirror:ancienttexts)

    *2 CMT is from a single MS., the Brit. Lib. Harley 5280, but transcriber spell the text with slight differences. For ed. tr. Stokes; tr. Gray, see below.

    *3 O'Curry, Eugene On the manners and customs of the ancient Irish, lects.,, II, (1873), "Lecture XII", p.252.
    O'Curry's translation of the poem is printed here, but the original Irish text is not appended even though the professor's transcription existed somewhere among his papers.

    *4 Brown, Arthur Charles Lewis, 1869-1946., The origin of the Grail legend, (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Univ. Press, 1943.), p.231 and note 19. Brown provides selective translation and summaries for the CMT.

    *5 Ernst Windisch ed., Irische Texte, Vol. 5, Die altirische Heldensage Táin Bó Cúalnge, Texte and Wörterbuch. "Chapter 25: The Array of the Host" in the Joseph Dunn translation (parallel text Tain @ Vassar (Steve Taylor's site)

    Macalister's text (p. 118) reads ‡ .i. Balar || dagger and his English translation (p.119) puts it this way:
    "the Tuatha De Danann gave the kingship to LUG, and his grand-father [Balar] fell at his hands with a stone from his sling.."
    Macalister's footnote 46 (p. 120) indicates '.i. Balar interlined L' . Thus in the Book of Leinster, p. 9, the text ".i. Balar" is inserted between the lines above "grandfather" like so:
                    .i. Balar 
    "ais a r' s'nathr co cloich assa thabaill. 

    As to the Book of Fermoy, the interlinear '.i. Balar' is missing in F (footnote 46) but 'Balar hu Neit' is inserted afterwards (footnote 49). So the manuscript image of F (R.I.A. D 3.1) fol. 10v reads something like:
    "..lug 7 do rochr leis a senathr do cloich as' thabaill .i. balo.h¯.neit."


  • § Lebor Gabála Érenn

    *1 R.A.S. Macalister ed., i.e., "Part VII" (Invasion of the Tuatha De Danann)in the 4th part (Vol. 41) [archives] of:
    Macalister, Robert Alexander Stewart, 1870-1950, ed. tr. Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, (Dublin, Published for the Irish Texts Society by the Educational Co. of Ireland, 1938-) [in 5 parts; Irish Texts Society vol. 34, 35, 39, 41, 44].
    I have transcribed selections on my lebor-gabala-macalister-section-vii-extracts.htm page [LOC]

    § Cath Maige Tuired (ca. 1512)


    § 133
    617] Derocair dano Núodai Aircetláum ocus Maucha ingen Ernmoiss lie Balur uí Nét. Duceur Cassmóel lie hOgtríallug mac n-Indich. Imma-comairnic de Luc ⁊ di Bolur Birugderc esin cath. Súil milldagach le suide. Ní ho(r)scailtie inn sóul acht i rroí catae nammá. Cetrar turcbaud a malaig die shól conu drolum omlithi triena malaig. Slúoach do-n-éceud darsan sól, nín-géptis fri hócco, cíe pidis lir ilmíli. Es de boí inn nem-sin fuirri(r) .i. druíth a adhar bótar oc fulucht draígechtae. Tánic-seum ⁊ ruderc tarsan fundéoic, co ndechaid dé en foulachtae fuithi gonid forsan súil dodecaid nem an folio 69a foulachta íer sin. Condrecat íerum Luc. Is (n)ann isbert Lucc: ‘Odeo
    § 134
    642] ‘Tócaib mo malaig, a gille,’ al Balor, ‘co ndoécius an fer rescach fil ocom acallaim.’

    § 135

    Tócauhar a malae dia deirc Baloir. Fucaird Luc íer sin líic talma dó, co ndechaid an súil triena cend. Conid a slúag bodessin derécacha. Co torcair four slúag na Fomore conda-apatar trí nónuhair díb foua tóeb; co mboí a mullach frie bruinni n-Indig meic Dé Domnann co sescaind a loim foulae tara béola-side.

    § 136 ‘Congarar dam-sae,’ ar Indiuch, ‘Lúoch Lethglass .i. mo fhili.’ (.i. lethglass é ó talmain go mulluch a cinn.) Totáed 'na docum. ‘Finnta dam-sa,’ ol Indeach, ‘cía rotollae form-sa in n-orchur-sai.’ ‘Cía erna isan cath conn conacherna cid riun- ramid aratoruad ann rie cach gid form memais aratorad (.i. ara tuate) afrecol.’

    654] Is ann isbert Lúog Lethglas, ‘Aisnes cie fer, snedcuruch, serig, slechtach, lathcorauch latras ailig nesomain a tailm tatbem bag brissius derc, toraich drech dorig buadgalaigh Baluir tnuthgal-tinnfhir.’

    658] Is ann isbert Lug na bríatra-sa sís, aga fregrae: ‘Rola fer nachadais nachadcaru nandidceil nachidceala cerdaib errad. Is me, Lug lonnbemnech, mac Qind mac Ethlend is mo brighfas firgal-dercaib damus cath co fergaib mor- memais foirb Fom-ib maraib coraid míadach ciptuctai tuath es mratach ealluch. Is lidh troig dodob-comci corud cathminn-n ar roi, roínfimni nert traetf-er f- fercc fesaib dea nidur fulriudai f- ar fodb fesmai dorngalaib a cath.’
    Cath Maige Tuired, Gray ed., p.61;
    [§ 133-136 in CELT corpus subdivision] ≈ Stokes ed. pp.100-
    § 133
    Then Nuada Silverhand and Macha daughter of Ernmass fell by Balor grandson of Nét. And Cassmael fell by Octriallach son of Indech. Lugh and Balor of the Piercing Eye met in the battle. An evil eye had Balor. That eye was never opened save only on a battle-field. Four men used to lift up the lid of the eye with a polished handle which passed through its lid. If an army looked at that eye, though they were many thousands in number they could not resist a few warriors. Hence had it that poisonous power. His father's druids were concocting charms. He came and looked over the window, and the fume of the concoction came under it, so that the poison of the concoction afterwards came on the eye that looked. Then he and Lugh meet..{* Dialogue between Lug and Balor unintelligible. extent: ll.627-641}

    § 134
    ‘Lift up mine eyelid, my lad’, says Balor, ‘that I may see the babbler who is conversing with me’.

    § 135
    The lid is raised from Balor's eye. Then Lugh cast a sling-stone at him, which carried the eye through his head. And so it was his own army that looked at it. And it fell on the host of the Fomorians, and thrice nine of them died beside it, so that the crowns of their heads came against the breast of Indech son of Dé Domnann, and a gush of blood sprang over his lips.

    § 136 Says Indech: ‘Let Loch Half-green my poet be summoned to me!’ Half-green was he from the ground to the crown of his head. Loch goes to the king. ‘Make known to me’, saith Indech, ‘who has flung this cast on me?’
    [* Here Stoke's tr. breaks off. Elizabeth Gray continues with a paraphrase of next block:654-657 as follows]
    Then Lóch Lethglas said, ‘Declare, who is the man? .’
    Then Lug said these words in answer to him, ‘A man cast Who does not fear you’
    [* Gray curtails her translation here. ] Then said Lug these words as follows in reply: "

    *1a Gray, Elizabeth A. ed., Cath Maige Tuired : the second battle of Mag Tuired ([Dublin] : Irish Texts Society [Series 52] 1982.), CELT cocoon (unmodified): Irish | English.

    CELT Corpus published online editions (modified): [Ir. text, frame ver.| | [Eng. tr., framed ver.]. Stokes only gives a partial translation, some places he remarks on passages being unintelligible, in other parts he silently skips over texts. The CELT corpus edition provides full bibliography (But unframed Irish and ) English

    Also sacred-texts.com for another e-text of her tr. and [Limited Preview] pp.

    *1b Stokes, Whitley, ed. & tr., "The Second Battle of Moytura," in Revue Celtique 12? (1891)? pp.52-130, 306-308.

    *1c The manuscript is: London, British Library, Harleian MS 5280, 63a-70b (Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the British Museum, by Robin Flower (London, 1926) vol. 2, 318-319).

    *1d Thurneysen, Rudolf, ed. "Zu Irischen Texten: III. Cath Maige Turedh" in ZCP 12 (1918) snippet, 401-406 (Short piece)


    § O'Curry's translation of a poem in a MS. Mr. W. Monck Mason

    O'Curry's Manners and Customs vol.II, "Lecture XII; Weapons of Warfare (cont.)", opens with commentary an analysis of the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh (i.e., the CMT). And he comes upon the very passage (in the CMT, quoted above) where:
    Lugh,.. dauntlessly went up,, Balór No darted a Sling-Stone".. at Balór when the eye-lid was lifted open, and that the missile was "lic-tailmé"*1.

    Then he notes that according to the Book of Leinster,
    ..it was with a stone from his sling, "tabaill" that Lugh killed Balór. *2.
    O'Curry goes on to provide a translation to a certain poem, according to which Lugh cast a tathlum (a missile made from concretions of cementing materials and such ingredients as the brain matter of a warrior, for firing from a sling or a sling-staff). This poem comes from a manuscript once owned by a Mr. Mason*1:

    "A tathlum, heavy, fiery, firm,
    Which the Tuatha Dé Danann had with them,
    It was that broke the fierce Balor's eye,
    Of old, in the battle of the great armies.

    "The blood of toads and furious bears,
    And the blood of the noble lion,
    The blood of vipers and of Osmuinn's trunks;--
    It was of these the tathlum was composed.

    "The sand of the swift Armorian sea,
    And the sand of the teeming Red Sea;--
    All these, being first purified, were used
    In the composition of the tathlum.

    "Briun, the son of Bethar, no mean warrior,
    Who on the ocean's eastern border reigned;--
    It was he that fused, and smoothly formed,
    It was he that fashioned the tathlum.

    "To the hero Lugh was given
    This concrete ball,--no soft missile;--
    In Mag Tuireadh of shrieking wails,
    From his hand he threw the tathlum."

    —O'Curry, Manners and Customs vol. II,
    "Lecture XII: Of Weapons and Warfare in Ancient Erinn (cont.)"p.251. There is a fine-print header in the margin which reads: ‘ "The Sling-Stone of Lugh and death of Balór "of the Evil Eye.""

    *1 O'Curry, Eugene On the manners and customs of the ancient Irish, lects.,, II, (1873), "Lecture XII", p.252.
    O'Curry's provides the English translation of 5 strophes from a poem from a vellum MS "formerly in the posession of Mr. W. Monck Mason, but lately sold at a public auction in London." Although O'Curry indicates he has transcribed the poem, the Irish original is not footnoted as is elsewhere. This may be one of the items the posthumous editors were unable to locate from the late professor's papers. In his preface to the publication of the three sorrows of Ireland in Atlantis III, p. 383 O'Curry says that "at the sale of Mr. William Monck Mason's library in Lodon, in 1859," a Rev. Dr. Todd, S. F. T.C.D, purchased the Book of Fermoy which he says is "a MS. of A.D. 1463".



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