This presentation is an exploration of some of the reasons Celtic myths feature more prominent and forceful women than are generally found in Greek or Norse mythologies. Some are ancient goddesses, like Epona, the center of cults. Others are epic figures, like Maeve, a leading player in the Tain Bo Cuailnge, from medieval Ireland. An historical reality underlies the creation of goddesses and legendary heroines, some of it supported by early law books. Queen Boudicca is a real person, and many Celts were matrilineal, tracing descent through the mother. In early Ireland and Wales, women could both own property and initiate divorce. In this presentation, the speaker will draw on his own publications and personal knowledge, as well as the most recent findings of genome studies to explore centuries of strong Celtic women.
Funded project of the New York Council for the Humanities. The New York Council for the Humanities distributes federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities directly to notable projects created by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other cultural and educational organizations.