Ancient scottish myths and legends essays

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Though a skeptic, in researching this topic, it was impossible to dismiss all the Scottish legends as unfounded. It is also interesting that certain elements of witch craft and the workings of the "Otherworld" are common the world over - for instance, the Scots, as everyone, used silver to kill shape-shifters werewolves and garlic to ward off evil. Whatever your personal beliefs, the folklore of Scotland is fascinating and worth investigating.

Essay on The Legend of the Loch Ness Monster

Visit our History of Halloween page to learn about the celtic origins of Halloween. There is a fine line between stories of the Fair Folk and Celtic myth and religion, so you might want to visit Celtic Mythology as well. We also have a page on Scottish Customs and Traditions. Overview of everything you need or want to know about the fascinating Scottish people and Scotland throughout history - the legends and myths, traditions and customs, tartans and clans, biographies of famous Scots and Scots authors, books about Scotland's culture and history, Scottish holidays, including Samhain and the celtic history of Halloween, Christmas in Scotland and Hogmanay the Scots' three-day New Year's celebration , celtic music, traditional folk and Scottish bagpipe music, Celtic Christmas music, documentary videos and DVDs about Scotland and Scottish movies, entertaining and informative Scottish history essays, Celtic Christianity and medieval calligraphy, Celtic mythology and religion, books, Scottish cooking, beautiful scenic Scotland calendars, Scottish and Celtic crafts, Scottish fold cats and Scottish dog breeds, and even more on medieval and ancient Scottish history and culture.

And one of the wildest in the Inner Hebrides is Handa Island. Today, happily for nature lovers, the birds have taken over on Handa. Long ago, Handa Island was used as a burial ground. By , 65 people resided on Handa. A potato famine, however, made living on the island no longer possible, and they voluntarily emigrated to Nova Scotia.

Dolphins, seals and whales can sometimes be spotted. Scores of wildlife also flourish in the isolated, remote, underpopulated and windswept Outer Hebrides or Western Isles. Corncrakes, golden eagles, otters and a huge variety of waders make their livings here.


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On the Isle of Harris, dark peats are still cut for fuel, small crofts are worked by hand, and raw wool is transformed into Harris Tweed by skilled weavers. Now, the new Isle of Harris Distillery is setting down its roots. In many ways, though, Lewis and Harris are distinct entities. Its history goes back thousands of years, as evidenced by its ancient stone circles and standing stones.

Most of its villages are found near the coasts, especially on the east coast around Stornoway. Moorlands blanket the interior of Lewis, providing a source for peat, which is still used as fuel here. The southern section of Lewis is mountainous. Western Isles culture remains very strong; Scottish Gaelic is the main language, together with English.

True legends

Traditionally, Outer Hebridians subsisted on fishing, livestock and weaving, although renewable energy is increasingly becoming a bigger business. This hardly populated place is the far-flung home of hand-woven tweed in colors inspired by Hebridean landscapes. Along this enchanting path, travelers pass by rocky hillocks that shine in the sun, and lovely lochs and inlets where seals bask on rocks.

Harris boasts the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides: the Clisham at 2, feet. In southern Harris, numerous dazzling, white-sand beaches call out to you for a paidle —a wade in the turquoise waters. The precipitous cliffs of the Shiant islands provide nesting sites for seabirds such as guillemots.

Scottish Myths & Legends

It now seems clear that Aboriginal groups in at least 22 locations all around the coast of Australia have preserved stories for more than 7, years ; in a few cases, perhaps more than 10, years. That is to generations. One well-documented example is of the Klamath tribe in Oregon, USA, which seems to have successfully preserved a story about the eruption of Mt Mazama — the predecessor of Crater Lake — for some 7, years. Still, there are not many examples, which suggests two things.


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One is that Australian Aboriginal society was especially adept at inter-generational knowledge transmission. Undoubtedly true. The other is that in other cultures perhaps we have been too quick to discount the lingering fragments of memory for what they really are. A bit more contentious. Yet from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu in India, and in Gaelic cultures from Brittany France to Cornwall and Wales UK , there are stories about the consequences of the ocean rising across low-lying areas of coast.

For instance, there are persistent stories in parts of northwest Europe about the city of Ys that once existed on the coast, efficiently defended against the sea, perhaps in the Baie de Douarnenez in Brittany. Dahut, daughter of the ruler of Ys, King Gradlon, became possessed by a demon and wilfully opened the tide gates when the sea was high, causing the city to be drowned.

It is possible that this story recalls a history of sea level rising across coastal lowlands, forcing coastal cities to build and manage sea defences.

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Celtic Folklore

Such stories, celebrated in art and literature, are often regarded as integral to cultural identity. For this reason, attempts to explain them by science are sometimes resisted. Yet, viewed dispassionately, it seems possible that stories from both sides of the English Channel La Manche , for example, recall times when it was much narrower than today, as was indeed the case several millennia ago.

Not only are there stories like that of Ys from the north coast of Brittany and parallel stories from that of Cornwall, but also folk tales from the Channel Islands about how people were once able to walk, crossing a few streams, from there to the French mainland. This is exactly what you would expect a few millennia back, when sea level was metres lower than it is today. What research is showing is that knowledge can be transmitted orally and with a high degree of replication fidelity for thousands of years. Using phylogenetic analysis, Jamie Tehrani has demonstrated that many popular folktales, like Little Red Riding Hood, are at least 2, years old.

The lesser-known stories of the stars

This remarkable fact does not mean of course that all oral knowledge is that old, but it does open up opportunities for understanding the minds of our ancestors that we never dreamed possible. Or did we? Polly Curtis on the future of journalism — Dundee, Dundee City. Do editors pander to audiences more than they should? The Maldon UP! Edition: Available editions United Kingdom.

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Mount Mazama, a volcano in Oregon.