THE MILESIAN IRISH NATION

From Irish Pedigrees; or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation by John O'Hart

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Magog was the son of Japhet, from whom the Milesian Irish Nation is descended; he was contemporary with the building of Nineveh, and his son Baoth was contemporary with Nimrod.

Upon the division of the earth by Noah amongst his sons, and by Japhet of his part thereof amongst his sons, Scythia came to Baoth's lot; whereof he and his posterity were kings. Thus in Scythia, in Central Asia, far from the scene of Babel, the Valley of Shinar (the Magh Senaar of the ancient Irish annalists), it is considered that Baoth and his people took no part with those of Shem and Ham in their impious attempt at the building of that Tower; that therefore, on that head, they did not incur the displeasure of the Lord; and that, hence, the lasting vitality of the Celtic language!

According to the Four Masters, the Celtic language was the Scythian; which was, from Gaodhal, who "refined and adorned it," afterwards called Gaodhilg or "Gaelic."

There is reason to believe that the Scythian was the language of our First Parents. As the Celtic, Teutonic, and Slavonic nations were of Scythian origin, so was the Scythian language the parent stock of all the dialects [1] spoken by those nations. The Celtic or Gaelic [2] was the language of Ireland; in which were written the ancient Irish records, annals, and chronicles.

Phoeniusa Farsaidh, son of Baoth, son of Magog, son of Japhet, was the inventor of Letters; after him his descendants were called Phoenicians. His name is sometimes rendered "Feniusa Farsa;" and his descendants were called Feiné;, and Phoené. The ancient Irish were also called Feiné;: a proof of identity of origin between the Phoenicians and the ancient Irish.[3]

In Asia Minor, the Phoenicians founded the cities of Miletus and Mycalé, in Maeonia, on the shore of the Ægean Sea—the ancient Lake Gyges (gigas: Greek, a giant). The people of Miletus were called "Milesians," on account of their heroism (mileadh: Irish, a hero), even before the time of Milesius of Spain.

According to Mariana and other Spanish historians, the "Brigantes" (a people so called after Breoghan, or Brigus, the grandfather of Milesius of Spain), were some of the Brigas or Phrygians of Asia Minor; and were the same people as the ancient Trojans! Brigus sent a colony from Spain into Britain; and many of the descendants of that Gaelic colony, who settled in England and in Ireland since the English Invasion, are erroneously considered as of Anglo-Saxon, or Anglo-Norman descent.

Brigantia (now Corunna), a city in Galicia (where the Gaels settled), in the north of Spain, was founded by that Breoghan or Brigus; and from Brigantia the Brigantes came to Ireland with the Milesians. According to Ptolemy's Map of Ancient Ireland, the Brigantes inhabited the territories in Leinster and Munster, now forming the counties of Wexford, Waterford, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow, and Queen's County; and the native Irish of these territories, descended from the Brigantes, were, up to a recent period, remarkable for their tall or gigantic stature.

Homer,[4] the most ancient author in the heathen world, names the "proud Miletus" as among the Trojan forces mentioned in the "Catalogue," Book II. of the Iliad:

"Of those who round Maeonia's realms reside,

Or whom the vales in shade of Tmolus hide,

Mestles and Antiphus the charge partake;

Born on the banks of Gyges' silent lake.

There, from the fields where wild Maeander flows,

High Mycalé and Latmos' shady brows,

And proud Miletus.".....—Pope's Homer.

"If we look upon this Catalogue with an eye to ancient learning," says Pope, "it may be observed that, however fabulous the other part of Homer's poem may be according to the nature of Epic poetry, this account of the people, princes, and countries is purely historical, founded on the real transactions of those times; and by far the most valuable piece of history and geography left us concerning the state of Greece in that early period. Greece was then divided into several dynasties, which Homer has enumerated under their respective princes; and his division was looked upon so exact, that we are told of many controversies concerning the boundaries of Grecian cities, which have been decided upon the authority of this piece (the 'Catalogue'): the city of Calydon was adjudged to the Ætolians notwithstanding the pretensions of Æolia, because Homer had ranked it among the towns belonging to the former. When the Milesians and people of Priene disputed their claim to Mycalé, a verse of Homer (that above given) carried it in favour of the Milesians."

Spain was first peopled after the Deluge by the descendants of Iber, who were called Iberes and Iberi; the country, Iberia; and its chief river, Ebro. The Phoenicians in the early ages settled in Iberia, and gave it the

name of Spania, from "Span," which, in their language, signified a rabbit—as the place abounded in rabbits; by the Romans the country was called Hispania; and by the Spaniards, Espana, which has been anglicised Spain. The city of Cadiz (the ancient Gadhir) was founded by the Phoenicians; who were celebrated for their commercial intercourse with various ancient nations, as Greece, Italy, Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Ireland. In Ree's Cyclopedia, in the article on Ireland, it is said:

"It does not appear improbable, much less absurd, to suppose that the Phoenicians might have colonized Ireland at an early period, and introduced their laws, customs, and knowledge, with a comparatively high state of civilization; and that these might have been gradually lost amidst the disturbances of the country, and at last completely destroyed by the irruptions of the Ostmen" (or Danes).

Dr. O'Brien, in his Irish Dictionary,[5] at the word Fearmuighe, considers that the ancient territory of "Fermoy," in the county of Cork, derived its name from the Phoenicians of Spain who settled there, and were in Irish called Fir-Muighe-Feiné;, which has been latinized Viri Campi Phoeniorum, meaning the "Men of the Plain of the Phoenicians." The Phoenicians were, as above mentioned, celebrated for their commercial intercourse with other nations: hence they were by some of the ancient Irish historians confounded with the Fomorians (fogh: Irish, plundering, and muir, the sea; hence signifying Pirates)—a name by which, on account of their piratical expeditions, the Scandinavians were, according to O'Donovan's Four Masters, known to the ancient Irish; and because of their having come from Getulia, or Lybia (the Gothia of the Gaels), in the north of Africa, where Carthage was afterwards built, the Feiné or Phoenicians, were considered by others "to have been African or Phoenician pirates, descendants of Ham." These Feiné are represented as a race of giants; and from them the Fiana Eireann (feinné;: Irish, "the troops of the ancient militia of Ireland;" Arab, fenna, "troops,") are considered to have been so called: the appellation "Fiana Eireann"; being, on account of their great strength and stature, given to that ancient military organization which flourished in the reign of King Cormac MacArt, Monarch of Ireland in the third century; and which, before it became disaffected, was the prop and protection of the Monarchy.[6]

At an early period in the world's history the Gaels, moving westwards, reached Gaul, whence, in after ages they crossed the Alps (ailp: Irish, "a huge heap of earth"), into Italy, where they possessed the territory called by the Romans Gallia Cisalpina, or "Gaul this side of the Alps;" and others of them proceeding now eastwards penetrated into Greece, and settled on the banks of the Ister, where they were called "Istrians." From Gaul they crossed the Pyrenees, and settled in Iberia or Spain; and, there mixing with the Iberians, they were called "Celto-Iberi."

The Celts were the first inhabitants of Europe after the Deluge. They inhabited those parts on the borders of Europe and Asia, about the Euxine sea, and thence spread over Western Europe and the countries afterwards called Germany, Gaul, Italy, Spain, Britain, and Ireland. The western part of the European continent, comprising parts of Gaul, Germany, Spain, and Italy, was, by ancient geographers, denominated Celtica, or the "Land of the Celts";—a name afterwards applied to Gaul, as the land of the Gaels. Southern Italy was peopled by a mixture of Celts and Greeks.

The Celts were of the Caucasian race—a race which included (with the exception of the Lapps and Finns) the ancient and modern Europeans and Western Asiatics, such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Scythians, Parthians, Arabs, Jews, Syrians, Turks, Afghans, and Hindoos. To these must also be added the European colonists who have settled in America, Australia, and other parts of the world. But, notwithstanding all the variations in colour and appearance which are observable in the Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, Malayan, and American races, God has made of one blood all nations of men; and the most positive identity exists among them all!

In his Irish Dictionary, Dr. O'Brien derives from the Celtic many names of countries terminating in tan: as, Britan or Britain; Aquitain, in Gaul; Lusitan or Lusitania, the ancient name of Portugul; Mauritan or Mauritania, the land of the Moors; Arabistan, the land of the Arabs; Turkistan, the land of the Turks; Kurdistan, the land of the Kurds; Farsistan, Luristan, etc., in Persia; Caffristan and Afghanistan, the lands of the Caffres and the Afghans; Hindostan, the land of the Hindoos; etc.

A great affinity between the Celtic and the Sanscrit languages has also been shown by many etymologists; and the word "Sanscrit," itself, has been derived from the Celtic word Seanscrobhtha [sanskrivta], which signifies "old writings," and has the same signification in the Irish language. As the Sanscrit is one of the most ancient of languages, we can therefore form an idea of the great antiquity of the Celtic.

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NOTES

[1] Dialects: There are at present no less than 3,642 languages and dialects spoken throughout the world.

[2] Gaelic: It is to the Gaelic language that the following stanza, translated from a poem written in the third century by the Irish Monarch Carbre Liffechar, refers—

Sweet tongue of our Druids and bards of past ages;

Sweet tongue of our Monarchs, our saints, and our sages;

Sweet tongue of our heroes, and free-born sires,

When we cease to preserve thee our glory expires.

[3] Ancient Irish: In Connellan's Four Masters we read—"The great affinity between the Phoenician and Irish language and alphabet has been shown by various learned antiquaries—as Vallancey, Sir Laurence Parsons, Sir William Betham, Villaneuva, and others ; and they have likewise pointed out a similarity between the Irish language and that of the Carthaginians, who were a colony of the Tyrians and Phoenicians. The Phoenician alphabet was first brought to Greece from Egypt by Cadmus. And Phoenix, brother of Cadmus the Phoenician who first introduced letters amongst the Greeks and Phoenicians, is considered by O'Flaherty, Charles O'Connor, and others, to be the same as the celebrated Phoeniusa (or Feniusa) Farsaidh of the old Irish historians, who state that he was king of Scythia, and ancestor of the Milesians of Spain who came to Ireland ; and that, being a man of great learning, he invented the Irish alphabet, which his Milesian posterity brought to Ireland; and it may be further observed that the Irish, in their own language, were, from Phoeniusa or Feniusa, called Feiné;: a term latinized Phoenii, and signifying Phoenicians, as shown by Charles O'Connor and in O'Brien's Dictionary."

[4] Homer: According to some of the ancients, Homer was a native of Maeonia—the old name of Lydia, in Asia Minor, and was therefore called Maeonides. As a Maeonian, then, his language must not have been very different, if at all, from that spoken by Cadmus the Phoenician, or Cadmus of Miletus, as he was also called: "Miletus" having been a city in Maeonia. The name "Homer" was only an epithet applied to Maeonides, because he was blind ("homeroi:" Gr., blind men.)

[5] O'Brien's Dictionary: The Right Rev. John O'Brien, Roman Catholic bishop of Cloyne, was the author of that Irish-English Dictionary; which is a very learned and valuable work, not only on the Irish language, but also on the topography of Ireland and the genealogies of its ancient chiefs and clans. That work was first published at Paris, A.D. 1768 ; and a new edition of it was published in Dublin, in the year 1832, by the Right Rev. Robert Daly, late Protestant bishop of Cashel.

[6] Monarchy: In the reign of King Cormac Mac Art, or Cormac Ulfhada, the one hundred and fifteenth Monarch of Ireland, flourished the celebrated military organization called the Fiana Eireann, or "Irish Fenians," who (like the Red Branch Knights of Ulster) formed a militia for the defence of the throne. Their leader was the renowned Finn, the son of Cumhail (commonly called "Finn MacCoole," whose genealogy see in the "O'Connor Faley pedigree"), who resided at the hill of Allen in Kildare. Finn and his companions-in-arms are to this day vividly remembered in tradition and legend, in every part of Ireland; and the hills, the glens, and the rocks of the country still attest, not merely their existence—for that, no one who has studied the question can doubt—but also the important part they played in the government and military affairs of the Kingdom. One of the principal amusements of these old heroes, when not employed in war, was hunting; and after their long sporting excursions, they had certain favourite hills on which they were in the habit of resting and feasting during the intervals of the chase. These hills, most of which are covered by cairns or moats, are called Suidhe Finn [Seefin]—"Finn's seats," or resting places ; and they are found in each of the four provinces of Ireland. Immediately under the brow of the mountain "Seefin," near Kilfinane, in Limerick, reposes the beautiful vale of Glenosheen, whose name commemorates the great poet and warrior, Oisin [Osheen], the son of Finn.—See Joyce's "Irish Names of Places."


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