Gaodhal [Gael] Contemporary with Moses

Objections have been advanced against the accuracy of the Irish Genealogies; because it is difficult to reconcile a point of chronology on the subject of Gaodhal, who, according to the Pagan Irish chroniclers, was fifth in descent from Japhet, and contemporary of Moses, who, according to the Book of Genesis, was of the fourteenth or fifteenth generation after Shem. Granting the genealogy of Moses, as recorded, to be correct, the anachronism which here presents itself may easily be accounted for; on the supposition that the copyist of the Milesian Manuscripts may have omitted some generations between Japhet and Gaodhal. In the histories of those times so far remote, there are other things, besides, hard to be reconciled. For instance, the learned differ about the king who reigned in Egypt in the time of Moses, and who was drowned in the Red Sea: some pretend that it was Amenophis, father of Sesostris; others say that it was Pheron, son of Sesostris; whilst the Pagan Irish chroniclers say it was Pharaoh Cincris. The Hebrews, the Greeks, and the Latins disagree concerning the number of years that elapsed from the time of the Creation to the coming of the Messiah; whilst on this point, the Septuagint agrees with the Pagan Irish chroniclers! These differences, however, do not affect the truth of the events recorded to have happened in the interval between the Creation and the birth of our Redeemer—for instance: the Deluge, the birth of Abraham, the building of the Temple of Jerusalem, etc.; nor ought a similar anachronism with respect to Gaodhal and Moses destroy the truthfulness of the Irish Genealogies.

It has also been objected, that Navigation was unknown in those early periods, and that it therefore cannot be believed that the Gaels (or descendants of Gaodhal above mentioned) had been able to make such distant voyages by sea, as that from Egypt to Crete, from Crete to Scythia, from Scythia to Africa, from Africa to Spain, and from Spain to Ireland. This difficulty will vanish if we but consider that the art of sailing had been at all times in use, at least since the Deluge. We know that long before Solomon, the Phoenicians, Egyptians, and Greeks possessed the art of navigation:

"The Phoenicians," says Herodotus, "who traded to all countries with the merchandise of Egypt and Assyria arrived at Argos, a trading city in Greece; and, after disposing of their merchandise, they carried off the wives of the Greeks, together with Io, daughter of King Inachus, who reigned at Argos, about the year of the world 3,112; after which some Greeks trading to Tyre carried away, in their turn, Europa, daughter of the King of Tyre, to be revenged for the insult their countrymen sustained by the carrying off of their wives from Argos."

It may be asked, Why did not the early Gaels (or the Gadelians as they were also called) establish themselves in some part of the continent, rather than expose themselves to so many dangers by sea? The answer is obvious: The Scythians (from whom the Gaels are descended) had neither cities nor houses; they were continually roving, and lived in tents, sometimes in one country, sometimes in another; for, in those early ages, society had not been sufficiently settled, and property in the possession of lands was not then established as it since has been. This accounts for the taste for voyages and emigrations which prevailed in the primitive ages of the world. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians (who were themselves a colony of Phoenicians) sent colonies into different countries; and Carthage herself, after having founded three hundred cities on the coast of Africa, and finding herself still overcharged with inhabitants, sent Hanno with a fleet and thirty thousand volunteers, to make discoveries on the coast of Africa, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and to establish some colonies there. But, whatever truth may be attached to the Irish Annals in regard to the genealogies of the Irish Nation, and the voyages and transmigrations of the Gaels in different countries, it appears at all times indisputable that these people, while claiming the glory of having come originally from Egypt, derived their origin from the Scythians: the accounts of foreign authors confirm it; among others, Newton (Chron. Dublin edit., page 10) says, that—

"Greece and all Europe had been peopled by the Cimmerians or Scythians from the borders of the Euxine Sea, who, like the Tartars, in the North of Asia, led a wandering life."[1]

So careful, however, were the Milesian colonists of their genealogies, that they maintained a class of men to record and preserve them; for, with them a man's right of inheritance to property depended on his genealogy, except where "might" took the place of "right."


[1] Life: See the Abbé MacGeoghegan's History of Ireland.