OGMA

Full Title: OGMA- Essays in Celtic Studies: In Honour of Proinseas Ni Chathain

Editors: Michael Richter, Jean-Michel Picard

Publisher: Four Courts Press

Published: January 1st 2002

ISBN: 9781851826711, Hardcover

Pages: 329 pages including Index

Synopsis: Ogma, divine champion, god of eloquence, inventor of the alphabet, and personification of the power of speech, has been chosen to epitomize this collection of essays. Through their interpretation of texts, letters, words and signs, a group of scholars of international renown present in this book a close study of specific aspects of the multifaceted culture of medieval Ireland. There are twenty-eight studies, divided into four groupings – Celtic Languages; Early and Medieval Irish History; Literature and Culture; Archaeology and Art History. Each essay is brief and presents new insights in its own field.

 

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Review: This was an interesting read, I started and stopped reading it a few times since I bought the book. In the end I decided that I wanted to finish the book once and for all.

The essays presented are certainly by some of the most respected names in their fields and the information they presented was certainly note worthy…I think the problem was that I just was not interested in the topics presented…mostly saints.

There was one essay that I found very interesting and it was the very first essay in the book. It talks about the strong women in myths. The author divided them into categories of warriors, queens, advisors and so on…giving examples for each category. Definitely worth getting just for that essay alone.

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The Celtic Evil Eye and Related Mythological Motifs in Medieval Ireland

Author: Jacqueline Borsje with a contribution from Fergus Kelly (Studies in the History and Anthropology of Religion #2)

Publisher: Peeters

Published: 2012

ISBN: 978-90-429-2641-7

Pages: 387 including 3 Appendices, bibliography and index.

Synopsis: If looks could kill… They can, according to medieval Irish texts – our richest literary inheritance in a Celtic language. The belief in evel, angry or envious eyes casting harmful glances that destroy their target is widespread. This is the first comprehensive study of ‘the evil eye’ in medieval Ireland. We follow the trail from Balor the fearsome one-eyed giant and other evil-eyed kings to saints casting the evil eye, and many others. This study surveys a fascinating body of Irish literature and also examines the evidence for belief in the evil eye in the daily life of medieval Ireland, where people tried to protect themselves against this purported harm by legislation, rituals, verbal precautions and remedies. Related mythological imagery is tracked down and a lost tale about a doomed king who follows a sinister-eyed woman into the Otherworld is reconstructed on the basis of surviving fragments. The edition and translation of a medieval Irish legal text by Fergus Kelly and two sagas in English translation conclude the volume.

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Review: The aim of this book is to explain the medieval Irish beliefs on the notion of the evil eye. It is made up of six very enjoyable essays. The first essay is an explanation of what the evil eye is, its types, examples of each type from Irish literature and comparisons from other cultures when applicable, and how to ward it off. Essays three to five look at related mythological imagery. They analyze the meaning and function of the evil eye. They discuss the term túathcháech and its symbolism and they draw conclusions from all the motifs discussed. The final essay weaves all the previous essays together to give you the author’s final thoughts on the subject.

Although I enjoyed all the essays my favorite would have to be the first. It sets up the book perfectly giving the reader the background needed to read the rest of the book. The examples given were perfect to back up her divisions of the evil eye and they make understanding it easy.