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Little noticed. Viands, sheep's

Man cautioned by Kirk Session for

being drunk on St. Andrew's
Day, 1649

St. Andrews.

Kirk-andrew (Co. Kirkcudbright).
Kirk-andrew on Esk both in Debateable Land, now in
Kirk-andrew on Eden j Cumberland.


Neglected, revived by Town Council,




Last night of Dance of the Dead. Specially dangerous to be COLLECTANEA.



So far as I am aware no one seems to have any clear notion of the language to which the place name Olympos belongs. Nor does any clue to its meaning seem to have been discovered. It is not Greek. Professor Murray, in The Rise of the Greek Epic, says, "Names like Larisa, Corinthos, Zakynthos, Hyakinthos, Olympos ... are no more Greek than Connecticut and Poughkeepsie and Alabama are English." What, then, is the language to which it can be affiliated ? A. Fick pronounces it to be Phrygian, which may be to contradict Professor Murray, though little is known of that ancient tongue. Some words belonging to it are to be found in Hesychius, and it apparently belonged to the same group as Greek. Plato says the Phrygian words for “dog" and "fire" were the same as Greek. From inscriptions it may be deduced that this was the case with “king” and “mother.” On the other hand, it is said that ovať is peculiarly Phrygian, not Greek at all. Favakte is found on the tomb of Midas. Probably Fick is wrong, and I hope to show reason for thinking so. Olympos has also been said to be Pelasgian. What is Pelasgian? To say this is to say it was Pre-Hellenic and little more.

Is there any element in the word and its relation to Greek and other religions and to Zeus worship which gives a hint as to its origin? I venture to suggest tentatively that there is. May it not be Semitic, and, if so, does it not recall the god El, and the Elohim of the first verse of Genesis, i.e. “The High One" or "The High Ones”? The usual theological contention that Elohim is a singular and equal to “God” is, of course, absurd. Nothing in late Hebrew usage as to its being employed as a honorific plural or “plural of


majesty” can be held to be relevant. The formal expurgation of all references to the “Gods” of the early Semites would render such an explanation necessary. But outside of orthodox circles Jahweh is recognised as a tribal god, and only one of a number of similar deities. No doubt the Elohistic tradition to begin with took in all the powers and only later compressed them. So far as I am aware the use of the honorific plural is not common among Semitic races. To say so is purely a theological gloss. I see it is stated in The Book of Genesis (S. R. Driver, 1909) that the idea originally expressed by the word Eloah (single of Elohim), i.e. its root meaning, is unknown. But the writer adds that El, the usual term for God in Assyrian, etc., is equally obscure as to its significance. From what I have heard I doubt if all Semitic scholars would agree with him.

The Semitic gods certainly seem to have been dwellers on the heights, which suggests their devotees were not plain dwellers, or that they had mountains in sight. I know nothing of the Semitic tongues; but the root El or Al, according to my friend, Mr. Max Montesole, is probably a triliteral root Alh, in which the “A” or Aleph is a consonantal guttural, practically unpronounceable except as a vowel by non-Semites. This root means "high," and was referred gradually to those who dwelt in high places, such as the gods. So we get the Semitic high places of worship. The modern Greek for Olympos is Elymbo, which seems rather more like Elohim than the old form. According to Mr. A. B. Cook's Zeus, St. Elias of the Catholic hagiology has displaced Zeus in most of his hill-seats called Olympos. Perhaps this is because of the El portion of the name. But St. Elias is still Zeus.

He is a hill-top saint of great power; a thunder and fine weather wielder: in fact, a Catholic Sky-god and also a Sun-god. He endues Jove's mantle, as the Virgin took over the robes of departed Virgin and mother goddesses. In Kilikia there was Olymbros, a deity identified with Zeus, and in the same country is found the ancient seat of Zeus Olbios in Uzundja-Burdj or “Tall Castle,” which is a hill 3500 feet high. If I am right in suggesting an early Semitic origin for Ol, El, or other variations of the root with vowels for the initial and final consonantal gutturals of the true triliteral form, we may here note that the nature of the

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vocalic sign seems to matter little. It is easily changed, as we see from later Semitic script when vowels were marked, as in Erech (Hebrew) for Uruk (? Assyrian).

The habit of mountain races, who always feared the higher summits, of placing demons and gods there is practically universal and easily explicable. How else could falling stones and avalanches be accounted for? When the gods passed they were inhabited by dragons. The curious may consult The Early Mountaineers (Francis Gribble, 1899) for accounts of such and the views of Johann Jacob Scheuchzer, a professor at Zurich at the end of the seventeenth century. Probably the terror of great heights is partially due to these superstitions. Early orography is full of such myths. We may compare the Pico de Teide, the Peak of Tenerife. The mountain was terrible and holy, or devilish, a place for “High Ones.” Mr. A. B. Cook states that in the panegyric of Zeus attributed to Minos the god is called "The High and Holy One.” It may be taken for granted, on the principles of Semantics, that "high” in the religious sense was once used literally. Its value has been slowly enhanced, just as “Divine Right” is now interpreted to mean by divine appointment or decree, although it seems obviously the last survival of the view that Kings were really Gods. In Zeus I also find it remarked that Enlil or Ellil, the Sumerian god of Nippur, is sometimes actually addressed as “The Great Mountain." His temple was E-Kur, which means “the mountain house." His consort Nin-lil was described as Nin-Khar-Sag, i.e. Lady of the High Mountain.

Driver notes that Sargon and Assurbanipal speak of Bel and Asshur as shadu rabu, "the great mountain.” Some think this is the origin of the Hebrew Shaddai. The real meaning of this is far more interesting, but the subject cannot be entered on here.

I put these suggestions forward merely for the purpose of stimulating discussion. As views of my own I am only too well aware they cannot carry weight. But the subject of these nonHellenic names is certainly of great interest, and might well be inquired into by some one of linguistic authority.




The Gods and the Earliest Heroes. The following notes continue the collection published in these pages in 1916:1

Of the same cycle of legends—that of the Red Branch Heroesis the legend of the sons of Umor. The tribe seems actually (from the collections of Duald MacFirbis) to have been a large and important one, settled at more than one point of the coasts of Erris. The legend, however, reaches us in a Munster version, by MacLiac, bard to King Brian Boruma, who wrote about A.D. 1000, and suggests a change of locality from the older form. Being well known, I will give it very briefly. A small fugitive tribe of the Firbolg came from the Scottish Islands to Leinster and, under the security of certain of the Red Branch heroes, notably Cuchullin and Conall Cearnach, were settled at nine raths (earth forts) in the Boyne valley under an exhor. bitant rent. They fled to the court of Queen Medbh, who gave them settlements on the skirts of her province—Mod at the Islands of Mod in Clew Bay (Moidhlinn, in the Tain bo Flidhais), Aigle, of Cruach Aigle or Croaghpatrick near the last; Oengus, at Dun Oengusa, in Aran; Conchiurn, at the same islands, in Inis Medhoin (Inismaan); Daelach, on the Dael; Mil, at

( Murbech; Ennach, at Tech n Ennach; Taman, at Rind Tamain (or Tawin Point), at the end of Galway Bay, and others (as I have already noted) in Co. Clare. Now in view of the location of the Clann Umoir and Resent Umoir in the prose records, I incline to believe that the places in most instances lay in North Mayo, not round Galway Bay. Taman may represent a settlement at Tawinloch, Clare Island (Cliara); Dael, the Dael River at Crosmolina and Murbech, Tra Murbhaig strand, near Killala. The Munster legend prevailed and the names survived in Aran, where we have only O'Donovan's statement, based on a single visit, that the name of Oengus

i Vol. xxvii. pp. 99, 225.

2 « Rennes Dind Senchas,” Revue Celtique, vol. xv. p. 478; Journal Roy. Soc. Antt. Ir. vol. xliii. p. 507.

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