Historical Information.   Posted by Swimdoll.Group: 0
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Historical Information
A thread for historical information about the era, customs, settings, maps, pictures, etc, etc. :)
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Courtly Love
Courtly love is a system of attitudes, myths, beliefs and rules especially prevalent in medieval literature. It governed the real and imagined behavior of knights and their ladies as they pursued one another in a flirting and adulterous relationship which was supposed to flatter the lady and elevate, ennoble, and energize the knight.

Courtly love was a particular ideal and practice during the Middle Ages in Europe, which had its origins in courtly circles of Aquitaine, where William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, was one of the first troubadour poets, of Provence, where it was known as fin'amor of Champagne and ducal Burgundy. Courtly love was an aspect of a renewed pleasure in the refinements of the better kind of life, a first stirring of neopaganism in the "delightful understanding" or gai saber of Provençal poets, beginning about the time of the First Crusade.

Courtly Love comes in the basketIn essence, courtly love was a formalized system of admiration and courtship, modeled after feudal obligations of fealty translated to the part of a "gentle" knight towards an unavailable lady, usually a person married to someone other than the admirer, and generally of higher status. Courtly love was the idea that a noble man would dedicate his life to the love of a lady. Such a love could not exist within marriage, it was believed, but had to be love from afar, but not so distant that it could not also include consummation. As the etiquette of courtly love became more complicated, the knight might wear the colors of his lady: blue or black were the colors of faithfulness; green was a sign of unfaithfulness. Salvation, previously found in the hands of the priesthood, now came from the hands of one's lady. In some cases, there were also women troubadours who expressed the same sentiment for men.

The courtly love tradition was non-Christian, providing an alternative to the love of God and the Church, placing salvation in the love of your lady (or man). Marriage had only recently been made a sacrament of the Church, at the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, and within Christian marriage, the only purpose was procreation with any sex beyond that purpose seen as non-pious. The ideal state of a Christian was celibacy, even in marriage. By the beginning of the 13th century the ideas of courtly tradition were condemned by the church as being heretical. The church channeled many of these energies into the cult of the virgin; it is not a coincidence that the cult of the Virgin Mary began in the 12th century as a counter to the secular, courtly and lustful views of women. Francis of Assisi called poverty "his Lady".

Such a courtly love had a civilizing effect on knightly behavior, beginning in the late 11th century; it has been suggested that the prevalence of arranged marriages required other outlets for the expression of more personal occurrences of romantic love. New expressions of highly personal private piety in the 11th century were at the origins of what a modern observer would recognize as a personality, and the vocabulary of piety was also transferred to the conventions of courtly love.

Thus feudalism, piety, and covert neopaganism fused into a new culture, without precedents in Europe, one that was isolated, however, within a few aristocratic courts. Such refined feelings, the readers of Guillaume de Lorris's Roman de la Rose assumed, were not a matter for the peasant or the townsman, whose natures were considered too coarse and who were too busy trying to survive to take part in elaborate courtship rituals. Later, a robust bourgeois "anti-courtly" literature in vernacular languages developed in the 14th century, when many of the new courtly elements, such as the yearnings of romantic love, had in fact permeated the urban middle class.

Ideals of courtly love were expressed in the vernacular court poetry called the romans courtois, some of them set within the cycle of poems celebrating King Arthur's court (Tristan, for example). This was a literature of leisure, directed to a largely female audience for the first time in European history. Eleanor of Aquitaine brought ideals of courtly love from Aquitaine first to the court of France, then to England, where she was queen to two kings. Her daughter Marie, Countess of Champagne brought courtly behavior to the Count of Champagne's court. There the late 12th century Andreas Capellanus wrote the tongue-in-cheek Art of Courtly Love and dedicated to to her, and Chrétien de Troyes introduced in her honor the love of Lancelot for Guinevere, in the romance The Knight of the Cart.

Particular standards of etiquette and custom were attached to courtly love, though these varied somewhat with region and time period. Sometimes the ideal love was chaste or Platonic admiration, with no intimation of actual affairs. In other cases, at least the intention of consummation is expressed, if only to lament the impossibility of the act. This ritual of walking the knife's edge between admiration and consummation is still seen in such Western European social practices as the seating of ladies at table next to gentlemen who are specifically not their husbands. In cultures not much influenced by the courtly love tradition, this would seem to be a scandalous and insulting invitation to disaster.

It was (sometimes hotly) debated whether jealousy had any place in the pageant of courtly love, with proponents of both sides of the issue. In most cases, however, having the object of admiration is seen as raising and ennobling the holder of the passion.

Courtly love was perhaps most commonly expressed in the compositions of the troubadours and poets (later reflected in such forms as the sonnet), though it found expression in such other customs as the crowning of a "Queen of Love and Beauty" at a tournament, or the formal though unofficial "Courts of Love" presided over by prominent nobles, usually women. During later phases of the Middle Ages the practice increasingly became the topic of satire; the second half of the Romance of the Rose, the part written by Jean de Meung, is considered by some to be a parody on the subject, although it was actually written in the middle of the period. Whether parody or not, the Romance made a lasting impression and its imagery and characters continued to appear in works throughout the medieval period and into the renaissance. While some feel that Courtly Love was primarily a literary convention, occasions such as Philip le Bon's Feast of the Pheasant in 1454 relied on parables drawn from courtly love to incite his nobles to swear to participate in an anticipated crusade and numerous actual political and social conventions were largely based on the formulas dictated by the "rules" of courtly love well into the 15th century.

More recent writers, taking literary conventions at face value, have postulated that courtly love may have involved elements of what would today be called fetishism and masochism.

Stages of Courtly Love
(Adapted from Barbara Tuchman<1> )

Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance
Worship of the lady from afar
Declaration of passionate devotion
Virtuous rejection by the lady
Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty
Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness)
Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady's heart
Consummation of the secret love
Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection
A catastrophe

Further Reading
Duby, Georges. The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest: the Making of Modern Marriage in Medieval France. Translated by Barbara Bray. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983. (ISBN 0226167682)
Gaunt, Simon. “Marginal Men, Marcabru, and Orthodoxy: The Early Troubadours and Adultery.” Medium Aevum 59 (1990): 55-71.
Lewis, C. S. The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1936. (ISBN 0192812203)
Newman, Francis X. The Meaning of Courtly Love. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1968. (ISBN 0873950380

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:10, Fri 10 Feb 2006.

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Charge  given by King Arthur to his Knights
Charge Given to the Knights by King Arthur:

God make you a good man and fail not of beauty. The Round Table was founded in patience, humility, and meekness.Thou art never to do outrageousity, nor murder, and always to flee treason, by no means to be cruel, and always to do ladies, damosels, and gentle women succour. Also, to take no battles in a wrongful quarrel for no law nor for no world's goods.

Thous shouldst be for all ladies and fight for their quarrels, and ever be courteous and never refuse mercy to him that asketh mercy, for a knight that is courteous and kind and gentle has favor in every place. Thou shouldst never hold a lady or gentle woman against her will.

Thou must keep thy word to all and not be feeble of good believeth and faith. Right must be defended against might and distress must be protected. Thou must know good from evil and the vain glory of the world, because great pride and bobauce maketh great sorrow. Should anyone require ye of any quest so that it is not to thy shame, thou shouldst fulfil the desire.

Ever it is a worshipful knights deed to help another worshipful knight when he seeth him a great danger, for ever a worshipful man should loath to see a worshipful man shamed, for it is only he that is of no worship and who faireth with cowardice that shall never show gentelness or no manner of goodness where he seeth a man in any danger, but always a good man will do another man as he would have done to himself.

It should never be said that a small brother has injured or slain another brother. Thou shouldst not fail in these things: charity, abstinence and truth. No knight shall win worship but if he be of worship himself and of good living and that loveth God and dreadeth God then else he geteth no worship here be ever so hardly.

An envious knight shall never win worship for and envious man wants to win worship he shall be dishonoured twice therefore without any, and for this cause all men of worship hate an envious man and will show him no favour.

Do not, nor slay not, anything that will in any way dishonour the fair name of Christian knighthood for only by stainless and honourable lives and not by prowess and courage shall the final goal be reached. Therefore be a good knight and so I pray to God so ye may be, and if ye be of prowess and of worthiness then ye shall be a Knight of the Table Round.

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Noble Courts
Noble court
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For alternative meanings of the word "court", see: Court (disambiguation).
A royal or noble court, as an instrument of government broader than a court of justice, comprises an extended household centered on a patron whose rule may govern law or be governed by it. A regent or viceroy may hold court during the minority or absence of a hereditary ruler, and even an elected head of state may develop a court-like entourage of unofficial, personally-chosen advisors and "companions", a position first raised to semi-official status in the entourage of Alexander the Great, based on Persian conventions (Fox 1973). The English and French "companion" connotes a "sharer of the bread" at table, and indeed the court is an extension of the great individual's household; wherever members of the household and bureaucrats of the administration overlap in personnel, it is sensible to speak of a "court", whether in Achaemenid Persia, Ming China, Norman Sicily, the Papacy before 1870 (see Curia) or the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A group of individuals dependent on the patronage of a great man, classically in ancient Rome, forms part of the system of "clientage" that is discussed under vassal.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West, a true court culture can be recognized in the entourage of the Ostrogoth Theodoric the Great and in the court of Charlemagne. In the Roman East, a brilliant court continued to surround the Byzantine emperors.

In Western Europe, consolidation of power of local magnates and of kings in fixed administrative centres from the mid-13th century led to the creation of a distinct court culture that was the centre of intellectual and artistic patronage rivalling the abbots and bishops, in addition to its role as the apex of a rudimentary political bureaucracy that rivalled the courts of counts and dukes. The dynamics of hierarchy welded the court cultures together.

Local courts proliferated in the splintered polities of mediaeval Europe and remained in early modern times in Germany and in Italy. Such courts became known for intrigue and power politics, some also gained prominence as centres and collective patrons of art and culture.

As political executive functions generally moved to more democratic bases, noble courts have seen their function reduced once more to that of a noble household, concentrating on personal service to the household head, ceremonial and perhaps some residual politico-advisory functions. If republican zeal has banished an area's erstwhile ruling nobility, courts may survive in exile.

Individual rulers differed greatly in tastes and interests, as well as in political skills and in constitutional situations. Accordingly, some founded elaborate courts based on new palaces, only to have their successors retreat to remote castles or to practical administrative centres. Personal retreats might arise far away from official court centres.

Etiquette and hierarchy flourish in highly-structured court settings and may leave conservative traces over generations.

Court officials
Court officials or office-bearers derived their positions and retained their titles from their original duties within the courtly household. With time such duties often became archaic, but titles survived involving the ghosts of arcane duties, generally dating back to the days when a noble household had practical and mundane concerns as well as high politics and culture. Such court appointments each have their own histories. They include:

Gentleman of the Bedchamber
Maid of Honour
Panter or pantler
Standard bearer

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:24, Sat 11 Feb 2006.

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Chivalry (derived through the French cheval from the Latin caballus) as an institution is to be considered from three points of view: the military, the social, and the religious. We shall also here consider the history of chivalry as a whole.

In the military sense, chivalry was the heavy cavalry of the Middle Ages which constituted the chief and most effective warlike force. The knight or chevalier was the professional soldier of the time; in medieval Latin, the ordinary word miles (soldier) was equivalent to "knight." This pre-eminence of cavalry was correlative with the decline of infantry on the battlefield. Four peculiarities distinguished the professional warrior:

his weapons;
his horse;
his attendants, and
his flag.

The medieval army was poorly equipped for long-distance fighting, and bows and crossbows were still employed, although the Church endeavored to prohibit their use, at least between Christian armies, as contrary to humanity. At all events, they were regarded as unfair in combat by the medieval knight. His only offensive weapons were the lance for the encounter and the sword for the close fight, weapons common to both light-armed and heavy cavalry. The characteristic distinction of the latter, which really constituted chivalry, lay in their defensive weapons, which varied with different periods. These weapons were always costly to get and heavy to bear, such as the brunia or hauberk of the Carlovingian Era, the coat of mail, which prevailed during the Crusades, and lastly the plate armor introduced in the fourteenth century.


No knight was thought to be properly equipped without at least three horses:

the battle horse, or dexterarius, which was led by hand, and used only for the onset (hence the saying, "to mount one's high horse"),
a second horse, palfrey or courser, for the route, and
the pack-horse for the luggage.

The knight required several attendants:

one to conduct the horses,
another to bear the heaviest weapons, particularly the shield or escutcheon (scutum, hence scutarius, French escuyer, esquire);
still another to aid his master to mount his battle horse or to raise him if dismounted;
a fourth to guard prisoners, chiefly those of quality, for whom a high ransom was expected.
These attendants, who were of low condition, were not to be confounded with the armed retainers, who formed the escort of a knight. From the thirteenth century the squires also went armed and mounted and, passing from one grade to the other, were raised finally to knighthood.

Banners were also a distinctive mark of chivalry. They were attached to, and carried on, the lance. There was a sharp distinction between the pennon, a flag pointed or forked at the extremity, used by a single chevalier or bachelor as a personal ensign, and the banner, square in form, used as the ensign of a band and reserved to the baron or baronet in command of a group of at least ten knights, called a constabulary. Each flag or banner was emblazoned with the arms of its owner to distinguish one from another on the battlefield. These armorial bearings afterwards became hereditary and gave birth to the complicated science of heraldry.

The career of a knight was costly, requiring personal means in keeping with the station; for a knight had to defray his own expenses in an age when the sovereign had neither treasury nor war budget at his disposal. When land was the only kind of riches, each lord paramount who wished to raise an army divided his domain into military fiefs, the tenant being held to military service at his own personal expense for a fixed number of days (forty in France and in England during the Norman period). These fees, like other feudal grants, became hereditary, and thus developed a noble class, for whom the knightly profession was the only career. Knighthood, however, was not hereditary, though only the sons of a knight were eligible to its ranks. In boyhood they were sent to the court of some noble, where they were trained in the use of horses and weapons, and were taught lessons of courtesy. From the thirteenth century, the candidates, after they had attained the rank of squire, were allowed to take part in battles; but it was only when they had come of age, commonly twenty-one years, that they were admitted to the rank of knight by means of a peculiar ceremonial called "dubbing." Every knight was qualified to confer knighthood, provided the aspirant fulfilled the requisite conditions of birth, age, and training. Where the condition of birth was lacking in the aspirant, the sovereign alone could create a knight, as a part of his royal prerogative.

In the ceremonial of conferring knighthood the Church shared, through the blessing of the sword, and by the virtue of this blessing chivalry assumed a religious character. In early Christianity, although Tertullian's teaching that Christianity and the profession of arms were incompatible was condemned as heretical, the military career was regarded with little favour. In chivalry, religion and the profession of arms were reconciled. This change in attitude on the part of the Church dates, according to some, from the Crusades, when Christian armies were for the first time devoted to a sacred purpose. Even prior to the Crusades, however, an anticipation of this attitude is found in the custom called the "Truce of God". It was then that the clergy seized upon the opportunity offered by these truces to exact from the rough warriors of feudal times a religious vow to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches. Chivalry, in the new sense, rested on a vow; it was this vow which dignified the soldier, elevated him in his own esteem, and raised him almost to the level of the monk in medieval society. As if in return for this vow, the Church ordained a special blessing for the knight in the ceremony called in the Pontificale Romanum, "Benedictio novi militis." At first very simple in its form, this ritual gradually developed into an elaborate ceremony. Before the blessing of the sword on the altar, many preliminaries were required of the aspirant, such as confession, a vigil of prayer, fasting, a symbolical bath, and investiture with a white robe, for the purpose of impressing on the candidate the purity of soul with which he was to enter upon such a noble career. Kneeling, in the presence of the clergy, he pronounced the solemn vow of chivalry, at the same time often renewing the baptismal vow; the one chosen as godfather then struck him lightly on the neck with a sword (the dubbing) in the name of God and St. George, the patron of chivalry.

There are four distinct periods in the history of chivalry. The period of foundation, i.e. the time when the Truce of God was in force, witnessed the long contest of the Church against the violence of the age, before she succeeded in curbing the savage spirit of the feudal warriors, who prior to this recognized no law but that of brute force.

First Period: The Crusades

The Crusades introduced the golden age of chivalry, and the crusader was the pattern of the perfect knight. The rescue of the holy places of Palestine from Moslem domination and the defense of pilgrims became the new object of his vow. In return, the Church took him under her protection in a special way, and conferred upon him exceptional temporal and spiritual privileges, such as the remission of all penances, dispensation from the jurisdiction of the secular courts, and as a means of defraying the expenses of the journey to the Holy Land, knights were granted the tenth of all the church revenues. The vow of the crusader was limited to a specified period. For the distant expeditions into Asia, the average time was two or three years.

Second Period: The Military Orders

After the conquest of Jerusalem, the necessity of a standing army became peremptory, in order to prevent the loss of the Holy City to surrounding hostile nations. Out of this necessity arose the military orders which adopted as a fourth monastic vow that of perpetual warfare against the infidels. In these orders, wherein was realized the perfect fusion of the religious and the military spirit, chivalry reached its apogee. This heroic spirit had also its notable representatives among the secular crusaders, as Godfrey of Bouillon, Tancred of Normandy, Richard Couer de Lion, and above all Louis IX of France, in whom knighthood was crowned by sanctity. Like the monastic, the knightly vow bound with common ties warriors of every nation and condition, and enrolled them in a vast brotherhood of manners, ideals, and aims. The secular brotherhood had, like the regular its rule imposing on its members fidelity to their; lords and to their word, fair play on the battlefield, and the observance of the maxims of honour and courtesy. Medieval chivalry, moreover, opened a new chapter in the history of literature. It prepared the way and gave ready currency to an epic and romantic movement in literature reflecting the ideal of knighthood and celebrating its accomplishment and achievements. Provence and Normandy were the chief centres of this kind of literature, which was spread throughout all Europe by the trouvères and troubadours.

Third Period: Secular Chivalry

After the Crusades chivalry gradually lost its religious aspect. In this, its third period, honour remains the peculiar worship of knighthood. This spirit is manifested in the many knightly exploits which fill the annals of the long contest between England and France during the Hundred Years War. The chronicles of Froissart give a vivid picture of this age, where bloody battles alternate with tournaments and gorgeous pageants. Each contending nation has its heroes. If England could boast of the victories of the Black Prince, Chandos, and Talbot, France could pride herself on the exploits of Du Guesclin, Boucicaut, and Dunois. But with all the brilliance and glamour of their achievements, the main result was a useless shedding of blood, waste of money, and misery for the lower classes. The amorous character of the new literature had contributed not a little to deflect chivalry from its original ideal. Under the influence of the romances love now became the mainspring of chivalry. As a consequence there arose a new type of chevalier, vowed to the service of some noble lady, who could even be another man's wife. This idol of his heart was to be worshipped at a distance. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the obligations imposed upon the knightly lover, these extravagant fancies often led to lamentable results.

Fourth Period: Court Chivalry

In its last stages, chivalry became a mere court service. The Order of the Garter, founded in 1348 by Edward III of England, the Order of the Golden Fleece (Toison d'or) of Philip of Burgundy, dating from 1430, formed a brotherhood, not of crusaders, but of courtiers, with no other aim than to contribute to the splendor of the sovereign. Their most serious business was the sport of jousts and tournaments. They made their vows not in chapels, but in banquet halls, not on the cross, but on some emblematic bird. The "vow of the Swan" of 1306, was instituted during the feast of the dubbing of the son of Edward I. It was before God and the swan that the old king swore with his knights to avenge on Scotland the murder of his lieutenant. More celebrated is the "vow of the Pheasant," made in 1454 at the court of Philip of Burgundy. The motive was weighty indeed, being nothing else than the rescue of Constantinople, which had fallen the past year into the hands of the Turks. But the solemnity of the motive did not lessen the frivolity of the occasion. A solemn vow was taken before God and the pheasant at a gorgeous banquet, the profligate cost of which might better have been devoted to the expedition itself. No less than one hundred and fifty knights, the flower of the nobility, repeated the vow, but the enterprise came to nought. Chivalry had degenerated to a futile pastime and an empty promise.

Literature, which had in the past so greatly contributed to the exaltation of chivalry, now reacted against its extravagances. In the early part of the fourteenth century this turning point becomes evident in the poetry of Chaucer. Although he himself had made many translations from the French romances, he mildly derides their manner in his "Sir Thopas." The final blow was reserved for the immortal work of Cervantes, "Don Quixote," which aroused the laughter of all Europe. Infantry, on its revival as an effective force on the battlefield during the fourteenth century began to dispute the supremacy which heavy cavalry had so long enjoyed. Chivalry which rested entirely upon the superiority of the horseman in warfare, rapidly declined. At Crécy (1346) and Agincourt (1415) the French knighthood was decimated by the arrows of the English archers of Edward III and Henry V. The Austrian nobility at Sempach (1386) and the Burgundian chivalry at Morat (1476) were unable to sustain the overpowering onslaught of the Swiss peasantry. With the advent of gunpowder and the general use of firearms in battle, chivalry rapidly disintegrated and finally disappeared altogether.

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War horse
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

War horses are horses specially trained for use in battle or individual combat (see also: Jousting).

A war horse's training would generally address its responsiveness to being controlled without reins, tolerance for the noises of battle, and its adaptability to weapons and armor the rider would be using. In addition, some war horses were trained to kick on command, thus becoming weapons in the extended arsenal of the warriors they carried. A common misconception is that a war horse is simply a horse in armor. In fact, much training was required to overcome the horse's natural aversion to the smell of blood, and its natural disinclination to trample a person.

Prior to the development of plate armour, small, agile horses were trained for use in battle by various cultures for both cavalry and horse archers. In some of these cultures, war horses were routinely gelded, as an ancient trick was to release a herd of mares in heat onto the battlefield to cause distraction and disobedience in non-gelded war horses.

During the Middle Ages, large horses with the strength and stamina to carry both a knight and his heavy armor into battle were highly prized. In addition to size, these horses were selected for speed and trainability. The expense of keeping, training and outfitting these specialized horses prevented the majority of the population from owning them.

Compared to the medieval knights' Great Horse, most modern breeds are small and fast. However, modern breeds of draft horse such as Belgian, Percheron and Shire horse descended from the huge horses that carried armored knights and were often armored themselves.

Draft Horse

A Draft Horse is a kind of horse bred to pull heavy loads.  Some draft horses are very big, but some are short and stocky.  There are even breeds of draft ponies.  There are many breeds of Draft Horse.  Belgians, like Jack and Jill, are the most popular breed of Draft Horse in the United States.  The next most popular breed is Percheron.

The heavy horse, also called Draft Horse, is often characterized as having a short, compact back, heavy bones, and strong muscular neck. The five most common Draft Horse in the United States, according to the Draft Horse Primer are the Belgian Draft (Brabant) from Belgium, the Suffolk Punch from England, the Percheron originating in France, the Clydesdale bred by the British for in-town drayage (freight wagons), and the great Shire, also from England. There are other Draft breeds, such as the diminutive Haflinger, from Hafling in Austria, and the Norwejian Fjiord, which are popular in the U.S.

The modern Draft Horse is making a strong comeback as a pleasure animal. There are many breeds of Draft Horse, the most popular of which include the Shire, Percheron, Belgian, Clydesdale, and Suffolk. The Belgian is one of the largest of Draft Horse, reaching a shoulder height of 68 inches or more and weighs as much as 2500 pounds. The Shire is about the same size but has long hair on its feet up to the fetlock and on the back of the hind legs up to the hock. These breeds represent refinements of the original horses of their countries of origin.

The Clydesdale, smaller than the above breeds, was founded in Scotland by crossing native horses with Belgian and Shire horses. The Percheron, standing about 66 inches at the shoulder, is a native of the former district of LePerche in northwestern France and was produced by crossing Arabian horses with the old Flemish breed of which the Belgian is the modern representative.

Belgian Draft Horse: The Belgian Draft Horse, and its name suggests, originated from Belgium. It is said to be directly descended from the "Great Horse" of medieval times: the large, black Flemish breeds used to carry knights in armor to battle. As with other draft breeds, the Belgian was later used primarily for agricultural and industrial purposes. Belgian Draft Horse is native to the country of Belgium.

The Belgian made its first appearance to the North American Farmer in the mid to late 1800's, with the establishment of The Belgian Draft Horse Corp. of America in 1887. Belgians are spirited and exhibit a willingness to work. They mature at an early age and are relatively 'low maintenance'. Incorporating an animal with great strength with an animal which has ambition to do work, make the Belgian the most popular Draft Horse in America. Belgians can attain a weight of 2,800 pounds or more, but average 2,100 pounds.

The Draft Horse is a generic term used to describe the heavy working horse that has provided transport and 'energy' for mankind in the days before the engine was invented and up to the current day. The best known breeds are the Shire, Clysdesdale, Percheron and the Suffolk. They can still be seen today, working on small farms, logging, and pulling brewery delivery wagons in suitable areas. For many years, they were also used for milk deliveries - being far more economical to run in areas where a lot of stopping and starting was needed than the petrol engine.

The American Cream Draft Horse: The American Cream Draft Horse is the ONLY native breed of Draft to originate right here in the United States. All other breeds of heavy horse have come from Europe. This native breed sprung up from the rich fertile Midwest farm belt in the early 1900's. The American Cream Draft is typified by it's rich cream coat. These horses range in color from a buttermilk to a rich gold. They have white markings and white or flaxen manes and tails. They range in height from 15.2H to 16.2H usually, with some horses reaching 17H. Their weight range is 1600# to 1800# with many of the foundation studs measuring in at 16H and 2200# or more.

Draft Horse is considered to be in the medium to heavy draft category. They are relatively short coupled with a well muscled shoulder and ample hindquarter. They are built thick, making them appear close to the ground, which improves their point of draft. They also have very refined heads with wide-set eyes and small refined ears. But, what sets them apart and makes them somewhat of a genetic anomaly is their white eyes at birth that turn to amber by one year of age and their pink skin, that tans to gray around the muzzle and eyes, yet stays pink under the coat. It seems to be this pink skin that gives them a rich glow to their cream coat. Being a medium draft horse with a gentle temperament, flash of gait and willing style, they make the perfect small farm or carriage horse for today's family. They create a beautifully striking hitch and would make any horse person proud to have in their barn.

The Draft Horse (also called a work horse) has been bread over the centuries to be used much like our modern day pickup truck.  Their size allows them to pull up to six times their own body weight on a wheeled vehicle all day long.  The Draft Horse is also considered to be the gentle giant of the horse world.  Their quite nature makes them ideal for being around the public.

Using Draft Horse on the farm is both an environmental choice and a lifestyle choice. It takes a patient person who also enjoys developing a rapport with their team of horses. Anyone who does not appreciate the beauty, personality and intelligence of a horse should not give up their tractor. For the progressive and sustainable farmer a team of horses provides many benefits to the farming operation. The Draft Horse is not like a tractor where a farmer can jump on it and get to work. Horses (and people) need training both initially and ongoing to work effectively on the farm.

They need regular work to keep in shape. High quality feed and sufficient rest are also important. A good health and hoof care program is very important. Veterinary care and professional hoof trimmers will be a critical and ongoing expense. Draft Horse can be found on small farms whose owners believe the use of a mindless and impersonal tractor is not for them. Draft Horse is quiet and allows the farmer to work at a natural pace. They are a daily commitment and respond poorly to parking for extended periods. However, if a farmer is willing to put in the time and effort, farming with horses can be immensely rewarding.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:18, Sun 12 Feb 2006.

 GM, 927 posts
 A DM for the first time,
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Sun 12 Feb 2006
at 15:18
Celtic Names
Men's Names


Women's Names


Abenzio    Celtic   Boy
Adalardo noble   Celtic   Boy
Africa pleasing, pleasant   Celtic   Girl
Ahearn lord of the horses   Celtic   Boy
Aileen light, green meadow   Greek, Celtic   Girl
Aine joy   Celtic   Girl
Aislinn a dream, vision, inspiration   Celtic   Girl
Aithne little fire   Celtic   Girl
Alan handsome, cheerful, noble   Gaelic, Celtic   Boy
Alanna Fair Celtic Girl
Amon the hidden   Celtic, Egyptian   Boy
Angus superb, unique   Gaelic, Celtic   Boy
Annabelle Joy Celtic Girl
Arland pledge   Celtic   Boy
Arleen A Pledge Celtic Girl
Arlene pledge   Celtic   Girl
Arthur noble, follower of Thor   Celtic   Boy
Beacan small, little one   Celtic, Gaelic   Boy
Bevin lady with a sweet song, son of Evan   Celtic   Both
Birkita strength   Celtic   Girl
Boyd blond, yellow   Celtic   Boy
Boyd, Boyden Yellow-Haired Celtic Boy
Bram raven   Gaelic, Celtic   Boy
Brazil brave, strong in conflict   Celtic   Boy
Bree broth   Celtic   Girl
Brenna Raven maid, dark-haired   Celtic   Girl
Bretta from Britain   Celtic   Girl
Briac estime   Celtic   Boy
Brian strong   Celtic   Boy
Briana strong   Celtic   Girl
Brice swift, quick-moving, son of Rice   Celtic   Both
Bridget resolute, strength, saint   Celtic   Girl
Brietta strong   Celtic   Girl
Brina protector   Celtic   Girl
Brites strength   Celtic   Girl
Bryant Strong Celtic Boy
Cadman Warrior Celtic Boy
Caedmon wise warrior   Celtic   Boy
Caitlin pure   Celtic, Welsh   Girl
Camlin crooked line   Celtic   Boy
Caoimhe gentleness, beauty, grace   Celtic   Girl
Carden from the black fortress   Celtic   Boy
Carney Warrior Celtic Boy
Carroll Champion Celtic Boy
Cary honest one, shy   Celtic   Both
Casey brave, watchful   Celtic, Gaelic   Both
Cerdwin the mother Goddess   Celtic   Girl
Chad, Chadwick Warrior Celtic Boy
Clancy offspring of red-headed soldier   Celtic   Boy
Coalan slender   Celtic   Boy
Cody assistant, a cushion, possessions   Celtic, Old English   Boy
Colin youth, child, victor   Celtic, Greek   Boy
Colleen girl   Celtic, Gaelic   Girl
Con, Conan Wise Celtic Boy
Condon the dark-haired wise man   Celtic   Boy
Conner desire, wise aid, wolf-lover   Celtic   Boy
Corey raven, from the hollow   Celtic   Boy
Craig from near the crag   Celtic   Boy
Cullen young animal, handsome   Celtic   Boy
Cuyler chapel   Celtic   Girl
Cyric    Celtic   Boy
Dana from Denmark, mother of the Gods in myths   Swedish, Celtic   Girl
Dermot free of envy   Celtic   Boy
Derry great lover, an ancient hero   Celtic   Boy
Desmond man of the world, society   Celtic, Latin   Boy
Devnet poet   Celtic   Girl
Dierdre young girl, one who rages, broken-hearted   Celtic   Girl
Donnelly a brave black man   Celtic   Boy
Driscoll Interpreter Celtic Boy
Duff dark faced, baker   Celtic   Boy
Duncan dark-skinned warrior   Celtic   Boy
Dunn brown   Celtic   Boy
Edan flame, fiery   Celtic   Boy
Edana zealous, fiery   Celtic   Girl
Egan ardent, little fire   Gaelic, Celtic   Boy
Eilis God's oath   Hebrew, Celtic   Girl
Erin peace, western island   Celtic/Gaelic   Girl
Erlina girl from Ireland   Celtic   Girl
Etain shining   Celtic   Girl
Evan young warrior, well-born   Celtic/Greek   Boy
Evelyn lively, pleasant   Celtic   Girl
Fainche saint's name   Celtic   Girl
Fallon grandchild of the ruler, in charge   Celtic   Girl
Farrell courageous, man of valor   Celtic, Old English   Boy
Fergus of manly strength   Celtic   Boy
Ferguson son of Fergus   Celtic   Boy
Ferris rock, iron   Celtic, Latin   Boy
Fiona white, fair   Celtic   Girl
Fionn white, fair   Celtic   Both
Flynn son of the red-haired man   Celtic   Boy
Gallagher eager aide   Celtic   Boy
Gilda God's servent   Celtic   Girl
Gilroy Servant of the King Celtic-Latin Boy
Greg fierce   Celtic   Boy
Gwen White or Fair Celtic Girl
Gwendolyn white brow   Celtic   Girl
Gwynne White or Fair Celtic Girl
Irving handsome, fair   Celtic   Boy
Isolde beautiful   Celtic   Girl
Kaie combat   Celtic   Girl
Kaitlyn little darling   Celtic   Girl
Kathleen little darling   Celtic   Girl
Kearney warrior   Celtic   Boy
Keary father's dark child   Celtic   Boy
Keelin slender, fair   Celtic   Girl
Kegan fiery   Celtic   Boy
Keir dark-skinned   Celtic   Boy
Keith wood, wind; wood-dweller   Celtic; Welsh   Boy
Kelvin name of a river; from the narrow river   Celtic, Gaelic   Boy
Kendall ruler of the valley   Celtic   Both
Kendr&eague; loving male   Celtic   Boy
Kerwin Dark Skinned Celtic Boy
Lorna of Lorne   Celtic   Girl
Lorne of Lorne   Celtic   Boy
Maddox Beneficient Celtic Boy
Malvin, Melvin Servant Celtic Boy
Mannix munk   Celtic   Boy
Marmaduke leader of the seas   Celtic   Boy
Marvin beautiful sea; good friend   Celtic, Anglo-Saxon   Boy
Melvin chief   Celtic   Boy
Melvina Handmaiden Celtic Girl
Merlin sea; falcon; sea hill   Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Welsh   Boy
Moira bitter; great   Irish, Celtic   Girl
Monroe mouth of the Roe River; wheelwright   Celtic, Scottish   Boy
Morgance sea-dweller   Celtic   Girl
Morgandy little one from the edge of the sea   Celtic   Girl
Murray sailor   Celtic   Boy
Nola Noble or Famous Celtic Girl
Perth thorny bush   Celtic   Boy
Pixie small elf, faery   Celtic   Girl
Raelin    Celtic   Girl
Rhonda good spear   Celtic   Girl
Ronan a pledge   Celtic   Boy
Saraid excellent   Celtic   Girl
Scully town crier   Celtic, Gaelic   Boy
Sean God's grace   Celtic   Boy
Seanna God's grace   Celtic   Girl
Shayla fairy palace   Celtic   Girl
Shela musical   Celtic   Girl
Sheridan The Wild Man Celtic Boy
Shylah loyal to god, strong   Celtic   Girl
Sloane Warrior Celtic Boy
Tadc    Celtic   Boy
Tara rocky hill, tower   Celtic, Gaelic, Hindu   Girl
Teague poet   Celtic, Gaelic   Boy
Tegan doe   Celtic   Boy
Tiernan lord   Celtic, Gaelic   Boy
Tierney lordly   Celtic   Boy
Torin chief   Celtic   Boy
Torrance from the low hills   Celtic, Gaelic   Boy
Torrey Residence Name Celtic Boy
Treasa strong   Celtic   Girl
Treva prudent   Celtic   Girl
Trevor cautious   Celtic, Gaelic   Boy
Tuathal    Celtic   Boy
Tully a people, peaceful one   Celtic, Gaelic   Girl
Ula sea jewel, inherited estate   Celtic, Old German   Girl
Ultan    Celtic   Boy
Urien privileged birth   Celtic   Boy
Varney Residence Name Celtic Boy
Vaughan little, small   Celtic   Boy
Wynne Light Complexioned Celtic Girl
 GM, 928 posts
 A DM for the first time,
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Sun 12 Feb 2006
at 15:23
Latin phrases

abyssus abyssum invocat hell calls hell
a cruce salus salvation from the cross
acta sanctorum deeds of the saints
ad clerum to the clergy
a Deo et Rege from God and the King
Adeste Fideles O come, all ye faithful
ad limina apostolorum to the thresholds of the Apostles
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam To the greater glory of God
ad perpetuam rei memoriam for the perpetual remembrance of the thing
advocatus diaboli devil's advocate
Agnus Dei Lamb of God
apage Satanas begone, Satan
argumentum baculinu an appeal to force
auxilio ab alto by aid from high
Ave Maria Hail Mary
Beata Virgo Maria Blessed Virgin Mary
beati pacifici blessed are the peacemakers
beati pauperes spiritu blessed are the poor in spirit
beatus the blessed one
caeli enarrant gloriam Dei the heavens bespeak the glory of God
confiteor I confess
Congregatio de Propaganda Fide Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith consummatum est (Christ's last words, John 19:30) it is completed
Defensor fidei Defender of faith
Dei gratia by the grace of God
Deo favente with God's favor
Deo gratias [we give] thanks to God
Deo iuvante with God's help
Deo optimo maximo to God, the best and greatest
Deo volente God willing
Deus Misereatur May God Have Mercy
Deus vobiscum God be with you
Deus vult God wills it
Dei grati By the grace of God
Dies Irae Day of Wrath
Dominus illuminatio mea The Lord is my light
Domino optimo maximo to the Lord, the best and greatest
Dominus providebit The Lord will provide
ecce homo behold the man
fiat lux let there be light
fiat voluntas Tua Thy will be done
homo proponit, sed Deus disponit man proposes, but God disposes
in nomine Domini in the name of the Lord
legatus a latere advisor from the side
Ora et labora Pray and labor
Parva sub ingenti The small under the protection of the great
Pater Noster Our Father (Lord's Prayer)
promotor fidei promoter of the faith
Te Deum Thee, God [we praise]
Veritas vos liberabit The truth will set you free
vox populi vox Dei the voice of the people is the voice of God
 GM, 1001 posts
 A DM for the first time,
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Wed 22 Feb 2006
at 21:11
For you jousting/knightly types. :D

 GM, 1003 posts
 A DM for the first time,
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Wed 22 Feb 2006
at 22:05
Orders of Chivalry
History of Orders of Chivalry: a Survey
See also Guy Sainty's Chivalric Orders; this page benefited from his comments, although I remain responsible for the opinions expressed here.

1) 1100 to 1291: the military-monastic orders:
The Crusades provided the conditions for the emergence of a new institution combining elements of monasticism with elements of chivalry. It was soon imitated in Spain and in Eastern Europe.
2) 1335 to 1470: the monarchical orders of chivalry:
In partial imitation of the monastic orders, kings created institutions designed to reward and bind subjects to them. Also, at the same time a wide variety of associations came into being, which are classified here.
3) 1560 to present: Honorific Orders :
The emergence of centralized states made monarchical orders unnecessary, and they turned into honorific orders, rewarding past behavior or conferring distinction rather than encouraging future loyalty. New honorific orders, many without nobiliary requirement, start multiplying from 1693.

Orders of Chivalry are, primarily, a historical phenomenon peculiar to Western European Christendom of the Middle Ages. It is in that context that they are most easily defined and understood.

An Order of Chivalry is a certain type of institution. In the category of orders of chivalry, a number of institutions have been placed over time. One can distinguish several phases in the history of that type of institution. The original form, during the Crusades, deserved its name of order, since it consisted of individuals bound together by a permanent religious rule of behavior. After the Crusades were over, in the 14th c., monarchs used the trappings of these orders to create a new institution to serve their purpose of binding vassals to their person. After the Renaissance, the old monarchical orders (and some monastic orders) became purely honorific orders, and other honorific orders were created, once more using the trappings of orders of chivalry.

As a result, we have today such disparate institutions as the Order of Malta, The Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Garter, the Golden Fleece (one of the two, at any rate), Bath, Calatrava, all using the name "order of chivalry" or "order of knighthood" even though they are all very different organizations in history, form and purpose.

1100 to 1350: The Military-Monastic Orders
Orders of chivalry first appear in the context of Western Europe's military activities against non-Christian populations and states. Starting in the 11th century, Western Europe went into an aggressive expansionary phase, leading it into conflict with non-Christian populations on two fronts: in Spain and in the Middle East. These wars were engaged in for a variety of motives, but they were, at least in some respects, religious wars. The first orders of chivalry inherit this dual aspect, religious and military.

The first orders of chivalry were associations of individuals, committing themselves to certain goals and regulated activities. The commitment typically took the form of vows, and the regulation of activities took the form of a Rule and an institutional structure defined by statutes and managed by officers. Thus, orders of chivalry were religious orders, in the same sense that purely religious or monastic orders were created at the same time (Carthusians, Cistercians, Franciscans, Dominicans, etc). The goals were both the sanctification of their members through their devotional and charitable activities, as well as participation in the fight against the "Infidels", either by protecting pilgrims or actively taking part in defensive or offensive military operations.

A lot has been written about the origins of this new institution. As with heraldry, it seems difficult for some to accept that Western Europe could invent anything on its own; but, as in the case of heraldry, no convincing evidence has ever been adduced to show that orders of chivalry were an imported concept. Rather, this institution must be seen in the context of the 11th century, when monks and clerics were trying to establish a code of conduct for the new professional class of knights by turning them into "soldiers of Christ." During the Crusades, where religious fervor was at its peak and military skills at a premium, it was natural that these religious and military components fused into the military-monastic orders.

The first orders of chivalry in the Middle East (Templars founded as a military order ca. 1119, Saint-John ca. 1080, militarized ca. Saint Lazarus ca. 1100, Teutonic Knights founded ca. 1190) were all created by private initiatives, as were the Orders in the Iberic peninsula (Avis in 1143, Alcantara in 1156, Calatrava in 1158, Santiago in 1164) created in imitation of the orders in the Holy Land. They typically saw their statutes confirmed or recognized by the Pope after a few years.

Orders of chivalry, like the Church in general, were recipients of many donations, often in the form of land (e.g., a lord would become a knight and give his possessions to his order). Quickly, the orders became large landowners throughout Western Europe, far from their center of activity. As a result, structures were created to manage these estates which had been entrusted to them: these estates became known as commendatoriae (cf. the English verb "to commend") and their managers commendatores. Only later was the word corrupted into commander, which gives it a semblance of military rank which it never was.

As religious orders, these institutions naturally fell under the authority of the Pope, who typically approved the statutes of the order and thereby gave it a form of official recognition. In practice, the orders managed their own affairs, but in times of crises or uncertainty, the pope could and often did intervene directly, either by abolishing an order, merging it with another order (which usually came down to a transfer of assets to the other order), reforming its statutes, appointing a grand-master, etc. The large degree of autonomy that the orders had enjoyed for long periods of time sometimes led them to resent such outside interference. However, only the Order of Saint-John and the Teutonic Order ever gained enough independence and territorial sovereignty to be thought of as "sovereign orders", and in both cases this only happened after the 14th century. It should be kept in mind that the military-monastic orders were, before all, religious orders. They owned land in various countries, their membership was international, and they managed their own affairs, but so did the Benedictines and the Jesuits, and no one ever calls them "sovereign".

The military aspect of these monastic orders explains why they are called Orders of Chivalry. Fighting was a professional activities, and professionals were called knights. Entrance into the social-professional category of knighthood entailed a number of religious rituals which made the idea of a monk-knight only an extension of the general idea of knight. The orders simply recruited individuals who had attained, or could attain, the status of knight. This connection became even stronger as time passed and knighthood became romanticized even as it was losing its professional aspect.

I call these orders military-monastic, to emphasize their dual nature, which sets them apart from any other organization of the time. While it may appear difficult for modern-day Christians to understand how one could sanctify oneself by killing, this notion did not seem shocking in a time which took the expression milites Christi quite literally. Some orders, however, did separate the tasks, and had fighting knights alongside praying chaplains (e.g., the Order of Saint-John). In fact, these orders reflected in their structure (chaplains, knights, sergeants) the Three Orders of feudal society (clergy, nobility and third estate).

At this point, then, orders of chivalry are an association of individuals, typically members of the knightly class, committing themselves through solemn vows to obey the rules and statutes of a religious order and to engage as professional soldiers in a permanent religious war, but also in religious and charitable activities. As religious orders, these associations usually need the approval of the Pope, and fall to some degree under his authority.

Lesser-known orders in the Middle East, the Iberic peninsula and Eastern Europe include :

the Sword, founded by Guy of Lusignan, king of Cyprus, in 1192, disappeared with the conquest of Cyprus by the Turks in 1571,
Saint Blasius in Armenia (13th c.-15th c.),
Saint-John and Saint-Thomas in the Middle East (1254),
Saint Thomas of Acre founded as a military order by Peter des Roches, bishop of Westminster, in 1228,
Mountjoy later known as Holy Redeemer and Montfragüe, founded in 1175 and merged with Calatrava in 1221,
Our-Lady of the Rosary in 1209 by the archbishop of Toledo, soon extinct
Our-Lady-of-Mercy in 1233 in Aragon, played a part in the conquests of Valencia and Majorca but became a purely religious order in the 14th century,
Sant-Jordi d'Alfama by the king of Aragon in 1201 (merged with Montesa in 1399),
Concord in the 1240s by Ferdinand III of Castile, disappeared after his death in 1252,
Saint-James of the Sword, an offshot of the Spanish order in Portugal in 1275,
the Sword-Brethren, created in 1197 by a citizen of Bremen, soon militarized by the bishop of Riga, and merged in 1237 with the Teutonic Order.
After 1291: The Orders look for new missions
A major change occurred in 1291, when Acre, the last Crusader stronghold in Palestine, fell to the Arabs. The remaining orders of chivalry had to find a new raison d'être, since the Holy Land was lost with little hope of regaining it. Some orders managed the transition skillfully: the Teutonic Knights, who had already settled in Eastern Europe and absorbed the native Order of the Sword-Brethren, transferred all of their activities to Eastern Europe, where they engaged in colonization of still-pagan areas in Poland and the Baltic, and later in fighting against Orthodox Russia (and even Catholic Poland). The Order of Saint-John conquered Rhodes in the early 1300s and transformed itself into a naval power, pursuing the fight against Arabs and later Turks. Remnants of other orders found refuge in Rhodes under the protection of the Order of Saint-John.

The Templars, which, by virtue of their vast network of fund-collecting, had become bankers of sorts, resisted attempts at a merger with the Order of Saint-John, a project the Pope and other rulers insisted on to better marshal resources for new crusades. Impatient with this resistance, irritated at the disorder and lack of morality which prevailed in the order, and probably mindful of the Temple's riches, the King of France arrested the Templars, had them tried on trumped-up charges, and coerced the Pope into pronouncing the dissolution of their order (1312). The Order of Saint-John became the recipient of the Templars' estates. Two offshoots of the Templars survived in the form of new Orders: the Order of Christ in Portugal (1318) and the Order of Montesa in Spain (1319). Since the 18th century, many other groups have sprung up claiming a filiation with the Templars.

1335 to 1470: The Monarchical Orders of Chivalry
A new generation of orders
As the Crusades became a thing of the past (the last one floundering in 1271), they became romanticized, just as chivalry itself. The aura of orders of chivalry was being actively maintained by the exploits of the Knights of Saint-John ruling their kingdom of Rhodes and fighting the Turks; but most of all by the popularity of the Arthurian novels, international bestsellers of the time, detailing the glorious deeds of the Knights of the Round Table. Indeed, the knights of Saint-John, alone in their kingdom of Cyprus and fighting the nearby Infidels, seemed to many to be the epitome of the Arthurian myth. The emergence of this myth, that of a group of loyal knights devoted to a monarch did not take place in a vacuum of by accident. The 13th and 14th centuries saw the end of feudalism and the emergence of what would become the nation-states of modern Europe, centered on increasingly powerful monarchs. However, the glue of the feudal system, personal fealty to one's immediate superior in the hierarchy, needed a substitute. Until such time as the concept of absolute monarchy became fully developed, monarchs seized on the concept of orders of chivalry. They thus created institutions which recycled some of the trappings of the original orders of chivalry, but with the aim to create a close-knit and devoted circle of noblemen around the person of the sovereign. These were the monarchical orders of chivalry.

These were not the only associations to be called, either at the time or later, "orders of chivalry". The second generation of orders of chivalry, which might be collectively called lay orders of knighthood, included a wide variety of institutions and associations.

It should be noted that, at the time, lay devotional confraternities were quite common: these were lay institutions which grouped members for devotional activities, met regularly, and had some form of statutes. One might think of them as the medieval (and religious) equivalent of clubs. Also, princes and lords made a common use in the 14th century of badges and liveries which they distributed to their servants but also to their followers. The fact that some confraternities, and some orders of knighthood, also began using insignia and outer marks of membership results in a great deal of confusion.

D'Arcy Boulton (1987) has proposed a classification of these associations:

Monarchical Orders: organizations loosely modeled on lay devotional confraternities, but whose presidential office (and the control of membership) was attached to a crown or dominion, and whose main purpose was to foster loyalty to the president (Garter, Golden Fleece).
Confraternal Orders: these are like the first kind, but with an elective presidence and cooptive membership. Boulton further distinguishes two classes:
Princely Orders founded by princes. Most were created after the Golden Fleece in 1430. These are similar to the monarchical orders, but the presidency was not hereditary.
Order of Saint George, founded by Charles I of Hungary in 1325-6,
Order of Saint Catherine, founded ca. 1335 by Humbert, Dauphin du Viennois,
Order of St. Anthony, founded in 1384 by Albrecht I of Bavaria (although this order may not have been knightly).
Society of the Eagle, founded by Albrecht von Habsburg in 1433,
Selschapp unnser Liuen Frowen (Society of Our Lady, a.k.a. Order of the Swan, founded in 1440 by Friedrich II of Brandenburg,
St. Hubertus Orden (Order of Saint Hubert), founded in 1444 by Gerhard V of Jülich and Berg,
Ordre du Croissant (Order of the Crescent), founded by René d'Anjou in 1448,
Society of St. Jerome, founded in 1450 by Friedrich II of Wettin, Elector of Saxony.
Baronial Orders which were like aristocratic versions of the professional guilds of the time. Examples:
Order of Saint-Hubert, in Barrois, 1422
Noble Order of Saint George of Rougemont, Franche-Comté, 1440
Fraternal Orders: these were a form of brotherhood-in-arms, formed for a specific purpose and a limited duration, binding members with pledges of aid an loyalty. They are similar to the emprises of the time, and distinguished by the use of the name "order" and of insignia. Only four are known:
Compagnie of the Black Swan, created by 3 princes and 11 knights in Savoy in 1350,
Corps et Ordre du Tiercelet (a kind of falcon), founded by the vicomte de Thouars and 17 barons in Poitou between 1377 and 1385,
Ourdre de la Pomme d'Or founded by 14 knights in Auvergne in 1394,
Alliance et Compagnie du Levrier founded by 44 knights in the Barrois in 1416 for 5 years, converted into a Confraternal order of Saint-Hubert in 1422.
Votive Orders: these were a form of emprise or association formed for a specific purpose and for a definite term, on the basis of a vow (hence the term votive); these were chivalric games, without the mutual pledges which characterized fraternal orders. Only three are known, on the basis of their statutes:
Emprise de l'Escu vert à la Dame Blanche (Enterprise of the green shield with the white lady), created in 1399 by Jean le Maingre dit Boucicaut and 12 knights for 5 years,
Emprise du Fer de Prisonnier (Enterprise of the Prisoner's Iron) undertaken by Jean de Bourbon and 16 knights for 2 years in 1415,
Enterprise of the Dragon, undertaken by Jean comte de Foix for 1 year.
The Cliental Pseudo-Orders: these were not really orders in that they had no statutes, no limited membership, etc. They were a group bound by a simple oath of allegiance to a prince who bestowed a badge or insignia. These were in fact glorified retinues, misnamed orders, which makes them often confused with princely orders:
Ordre de la Cosse de Genêt (Order of the Broom-Pod), founded by Charles VI of France ca. 1388,
Order of the camail or Porcupine, created by Louis d'Orléans in 1394,
Order of the Dove, Castile, 1390,
Order of the Scale of Castile, ca. 1430,
Order of the Thistle of Scotland.
Honorific Pseudo-Orders: these bodies of knights required no specific obligations, and were usually just an honorific insignia bestowed with knighthood, upon a festive occasion or a pilgrimage. They consisted of nothing else than the badge:
Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, bestowed by the custodian of the Holy Sepulchre to knights who made the pilgrimage, starting in the 15th century. It was formally organized into an order of merit by the Pope in 1868.
Knights of St. Catherine of Mount-Sinai, bestowed in similar conditions from the 12th to the 15th century.
Order of the Golden Spur, a papal order, many times reformed.
Knights of the Bath, in England. The name was used again for an order of merit created in 1725.
Boulton's classification allows us to concentrate on the most complex, long-lived and influential of these associations, the monarchical orders of chivalry. The first example is perhaps the Order of Saint-George founded in 1325 by Charles I of Hungary. Although its statutes did not define a hereditary presidency, it was clearly intended to function as a monarchical order. another is the Order of the Sash (Banda) founded in Castile by Alfonso XI in 1330. Alfonso XI in 1330, which probably lost its formal character in the 1360s and, by 1416, was merely a device or insignia, persisting until the 1470s. The English king Edward III formed the Order of the Garter, in 1344, the best known of its kind. The French Ordre de l'Étoile (Order of the Star) soon followed in 1351.

Other monarchs or powerful lords followed suit. Here is a partial list of these orders:

Saint-George, Hungary (1325-95?),
Sash or Band, Castile (1330-1474?),
Garter, England (1344-present),
Star, France (1351-64?),
Knot, Naples (1352-62?),
Collar or Annunziata in Savoie (1362-present),
Tress, Austria (1365-95?),
Golden Shield, founded by Louis de Bourbon (1367-1410?),
Saint George, Aragon (1371-1410?)
Ermine, Brittany (1381-1522),
Ship, Naples (1381-6?),
Salamander, Austria (1390-1463?),
Jar, Aragon (1403-1516),
Dragon (Renversé), Hungary (1408-93),
Golden Fleece in Burgundy (1430-present),
Eagle, Austria (1433-93)
Saint Maurice, Savoie (1434),
Elephant, Denmark, Norway and Sweden (1457?-1523?), later revived
Ermine, Naples (1465-94),
Saint-Michel, France (1469-1791).
In the above list, the character of some orders is difficult to ascertain because of the lack of documentation, and the boundary between monarchical and princely orders is not very sharp.

In fact, Boulton's classification has been criticized as too rigid and detailed. In Germany, in particular, there were dozens of noble associations in the Middle Ages which combined various characteristics which span Boulton's categories (see Kruse, Paravicini, Ranft 1991). ein systematisches Verzeichnis, Frankfurt am Main ; P. Lang 1991). The main lesson to be drawn from such studies include:

In the 14th and 15th centuries, a large variety of associations of noblemen and/or knights appeared, which were then or later called "orders" or "orders of chivalry".
These associations span a whole gamut of arrangements, from rigidly controlled institutions with detailed statutes to informal associations limited in time. A number were created by or organized around kings or powerful feudal lords, while others were private initiatives. Their objectives varied: some were designed to honor recipients as well as bind them to an individual or authority, others were formed for a specific purpose, military or devotional, limited or indefinite in time.
Almost all used some kind of badge, insignia, or protector saint by which they were known. This common feature has led to the common denomination of "order of chivalry", and the term "order of chivalry" has thereby become confused and imprecise.
The last ones appear in the1460s, and a handful survive beyond the 1530s.
New wine in old bottles
These institutions were quite different in nature from the military-monastic orders, yet they have been placed in the same category. The confusion was of course voluntary, so that some of the prestige and fighting spirit of the famous crusading orders might be acquired by these monarchical creations. To this end, various outward elements of the military-monastic orders were adapted. For example, the structure of the institutions were imitated, by copying nomenclature of members and officers. Members were knights, the head of the order (always the sovereign, whereas the military-monastic orders typically elected their head) was the grand-master. Insignia were developed, to be worn by members on their cloaks or in the form of badges, suspended from collars or attached to vestments. This was a direct borrowing from the military-monastic orders, but the insignia were not based on the cross anymore, but on an emblem (garter, golden fleece) or the figure of a patron saint (Saint Michael). Members met regularly in chapters where matters pertaining to the order were discussed. The orders were placed under the protection of a tutelary saint (in imitation of the devotion of the order of Rhodes to Saint-John the Baptist), and regularly held religious offices. The knights swore oaths of allegiance, but to the sovereign rather than to the rule of the order, which was never monastic in nature. The sovereign usually controlled the membership, at least to some degree. Occasionally, a crusading spirit was explicitly invoked, as was the case originally for the Golden Fleece (whose emblem recalled the quest of the Argonauts).

From chivalry to honorific
As time went by, many of these orders simply disappeared precisely because they had been too closely tied to their founder, or because of political changes such as the absorption of the founder's domains in a kingdom. Those orders that did survive (in 1525, only four orders survived: Garter in England, Annunziata in Savoy, Golden Fleece in Spain and Saint-Michel in France) began to change in nature, because they had outlived their purpose. With the 16th century, the monarchs' transition from powerful head of the feudal pyramid to absolute ruler of a modern state was complete, and the need for binding a restless nobility to the sovereign's person became less pressing. In fact, there are no creations of monarchical orders between 1469 and 1578, due also to the fact that, by that time, most countries had at least one such order in existence (and a number of dominions had been united, obviating the need for different orders).

However, the prestige which still surrounded these monarchical orders made them useful for other purposes, namely honoring individuals or rewarding good behavior. As a sign of this changing functions, some of the elements borrowed from military-monastic orders were abandoned; for example, the Order of the Golden Fleece held its last chapter in 1555. Restriction of membership to the knightly class became meaningless as the knightly class itself had already evolved from a professional class to a hereditary caste (on the Continent; interestingly, this did not happen in England, and membership in the knightly class by itself became a reward granted by the sovereign to individuals who had no military training, starting in the 15th century).

For some of the old military-monastic orders, the transition was at times abrupt. The Spanish orders, which had lost their primary purpose with the end of the Reconquista in 1492, were quickly brought under royal control, each time with papal assent (Santiago in 1476, Alcantara in 1474, Calatrava in 1489, Avis in 1550, Christ in 1551, Montesa in 1587). Some orders (Alcantara, Calatrava) were relieved of their vow of chastity. Similarly, the Pope approved the merger of the Order of Saint-Lazarus with Savoie's order of Saint-Maurice in 1572. This merger was effected only in Italy, however, and the remaining estates of the order in France were joined with the newly created Order of Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel in 1608. The Pope accepted the transfer of assets but never recognized the Grand Master of the new order as "Grand Master of Saint Lazarus". The French king never made himself Grand Master of the order, but did keep a close eye on it, making himself "protector" in 1757 and appointing the Grand Master himself.

Thus, when a military-monastic order had estates over several countries, the fate of various parts diverged. The Teutonic Order was all at once secularized by the Elector of Brandenburg in 1525, who, embracing Lutheranism, dispensed with papal assent. In England, Henry VIII simply confiscated the assets of the Order of Saint-John without any pretence of perpetuating the order. Restored by Mary in 1557, it was finally abolished in England in 1560. But in German lands, the Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the Order of Saint-John had already acquired a degree of autonomy, and some of its priories decided of their own movement to follow the local movement and embrace Protestantism. The situation was settled by the Treaty of Augsburg in 1648, and the Evangelical Order of Saint-John or Johanniter Order emerged with Hohenzollerns as Grand Masters, retaining some of its religious nature. It has subsisted to this day (with an interlude from 1812 to 1852).

The transition from monarchical order to honorific orders proved disastrous in some cases: the Order of Saint-Michel in France was quickly devalued by being handed out too generously, and lost all prestige within 100 years of existence. It was replaced in its role as premier French order by the Saint-Esprit in 1578, with a numerus clausus of 100. This order was the first purely political order; only its strict nobiliary requirements distinguished it from the next generation of orders. Its insignia broke with the tradition of monarchical orders, and set a precedent, by borrowing from the Order of Saint-John (now Malta) and using a Maltese cross, albeit with a dove (to represent the Holy Ghost) in the middle. This use of the Maltese cross would be much imitated (Saint-Louis, Bath, etc). Also, the Saint-Esprit used distinctively colored blue ribbons and sashes; again in imitation of the Order of Malta, and again repeated by many later honorific orders.

1560 to present: Honorific Orders
New orders soon multiplied throughout Europe, to serve the new purpose devolved on some of the old military-monastic orders or the more recent monarchical orders. In reality, they were honorific orders, designed either as a reward for past services to the sovereign, or as a way to confer prestige and distinction, and entailing no real commitment to any course of action, or any loyalty to the sovereign beyond what was required of any ordinary subject. In this fundamental respect, they were different from earlier orders, whose possibly honorific character derived from their history and activities, but was not the raison d'être. In the case of orders without nobiliary requirements, the distinction between an "order" and a decoration, especially for 20th century creations, becomes almost arbitrary.

Some of the orders maintained nobiliary requirements and limited membership (Saint-Esprit in France, Black Eagle in Prussia, Saint-Andrew in Russia, Passion in Saxony, San Gennaro in Sicily). But many orders followed a pattern set by Louis XIV when he created the Order of Saint-Louis, with a Maltese cross and red ribbon and sashes; he also imitated Maltese nomenclature with three ranks: grand-cross, commander and knight. These ranks would be imitated by many later orders. The Order of Saint-Louis was awarded for military merit; it had no nobiliary requirement, no limited membership, no chapter, no mandatory activities, etc. Although it was considered and called an order of chivalry at the time, it was already a new breed of order.

Many such orders were created in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the following list can only be very partial (an asterisk marks those who were knightly, or more exactly nobiliary orders):

* San Stefano in Tuscany (1561),
* Saint-Esprit in France (1578),
* Mont-Carmel in France (1607),
* Precious Blood in Mantua (1608),
* Amarantha in Sweden (1645),
* Constantinian Order of Saint-George in Parma (1669-present),
Dannebrog in Denmark (1671, statutes in 1693; 4 ranks in 1808),
Generosity in Brandenburg (1685; becomes Merit in 1740),
* Thistle in Scotland (1687),
* Elephant in Denmark (1693; revival),
Saint-Louis in France (1693; 3 ranks),
* Saint Michael in Bavaria (1693),
* Saint Andrew in Russia (1698),
* Black Eagle in Prussia (1701),
* Hunt in Württemberg (1702),
* Noble Passion in Saxony-Weissenfels (1704),
* Saint Hubert in Bavaria (1708),
Eagle of Saint-Michael in Portugal (1711),
White Eagle in Poland (1713),
Fidelity in Baden (1715),
Bath in Great-Britain (1725; 3 classes in 1815),
Saint Alexander in Russia (1725),
Saint George in Bavaria (1729; 6 ranks),
* San Gennaro in Sicily (1738),
* Seraphim in Sweden (1748),
North Star in Sweden (1748; 4 ranks),
Sword in Sweden (1748; 5 ranks),
Maria Theresa in Austria (1758; 3 ranks),
Military Merit in France (1759; 3 ranks),
Military Merit in Württemberg (1759; 3 ranks),
Charles III in Spain (1771; 5 ranks),
Vasa in Sweden (1772; 3 ranks),
Saint-George in Russia (1769; 4 ranks),
Red Eagle in Prussia (1790; 5 ranks),
Tower and Sword in Portugal (1808)
This list covers a wide variety of orders, from pure merit orders like the Order of Saint-Louis to orders which retained more closely the trappings of the monarchical orders of old (Saint-Esprit, San Gennaro, Constantinian Order); but these differences remain small when monarchical orders themselves changed as feudalism gave way to absolutism. Santo Stefano is rather unique, in that it imposed substantial obligations on its members, and engaged in naval activities against piracy in the Mediterranean.

Some of the more exclusive orders often claimed to be (sometimes accurately) merely revivals of older orders: thus the Dannebrog was allegedly founded in 1219, the Polish Eagle in 1325, the Tower and Sword in 1452, the Thistle in 1451, the Elephant in 1462, the Seraphim in 1334, the Bath in 1399. The Constantinian Order of Saint-George claimed to have been founded by Constantine in 312! (see some interesting remarks by James Algrant on the true origin of this order). The aim was again to let some of the prestige of the older monarchical orders rub off on this new generation of honorific orders. In other cases, such as the Piemontese order of Saint-Maurice and Saint-Lazarus, transformed into a 5-rank order in 1814, or the Order of Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel and Saint-Lazare in France, or the old Spanish orders, remnants of military-monastic orders were transformed into modern-style honorific orders, with or without nobiliary requirements. Usually, their estates ceased to support any independent activity of the order, and merely became added revenues for the king's treasury or a source of perks for recipients of the king's favors (although the French order of Saint Lazarus briefly engaged in maritime activities similar to those of Malta and S. Stefano).

It is also interesting to note the trend towards democratizing older orders by opening up their membership: after the 1720s, purely nobiliary orders have become very rare. Another trend is discernible, that of naming orders after the sovereign. The Order of Saint-Louis was a transparent allusion to Louis XIV disguised as a religious dedication, but Maria-Theresa was the first to be explicit; she was followed by Charles III, and in the 19th century by many sovereigns (queens in particular). By now, the religious connotations of the orders have completely disappeared, and the name and profile of the sovereign replaces saints and religious emblems on the insignia.

The 19th century witnessed a lot of political turmoil, and the development of new forms of government, from military dictatures (Napoleon Bonaparte) to constitutional monarchies and democratic republics. Yet all governments felt the need to maintain or imitate honorific orders, and the habit has spread to non-Western countries and, in the 20th century, to Communist countries as well. It was rather ironic to see a regime such as that of the Soviet Union award something called the Order of Lenin, where the link with the military-monastic orders of 12th century Jerusalem is tenuous at best: yet these modern institutions are still called Orders...

The Fate of the Original Military-Monastic Orders
What became of the original military-monastic orders?

The Order of Saint-John (Malta) lost its territorial sovereignty in 1798. Since then, it has retained its statutes (although massively expanding membership in recently created categories) and is dedicated to medical and charitable activities. As a subject of international law, the order enjoys recognition from a number of countries and institutions.
The Templars were abolished in 1312.
The Teutonic Knights abandoned their status as order of chivalry in 1929 and became a simple religious order instead.
The Order of Saint-Lazarus split into two branches, one obeying papal orders and merging with the Savoyard order of Saint-Maurice in 1572, the other falling under the protection of the French crown in 1608 and merging with Notre-Dame du Mont Carmel. It was abolished by Louis XVI in July 1791 and not revived when the monarchy was restored in 1814. Currently, an organization claims to be the Order of Saint-Lazarus. The Savoyard order was an Italian state order from 1860 to 1946, at which date it ceased to be conferred in Italy; the heir to the Italian royal dynasty continues to confer it, see that order's website.
The Portuguese orders (Avis, Santiago, Christ) were all secularized in 1789, and remained as national orders. Abolished at the fall of the monarchy in 1910, they were recreated as national orders in 1918. Avis currently rewards military services, Christ rewards civilians and foreigners, and Santiago rewards accomplishments in arts and sciences.
The Spanish orders (Santiago, Calatrava, Alcantara, Montesa), secularized in the late 15th and 16th centuries, briefly abolished in 1873-74, were abolished in Spanish law in 1934, although this had no effect in canon (Church) law. Their activities were unofficially revived in 1978, and king Juan Carlos I is their Grand Master (a title first used by Alfonso XIII in 1916) and Perpetual Administrator on behalf of the Holy See. They are thus dynastic orders of the royal house of Spain but not Spanish state orders.
There are many, many books on the subject. Here are just a few outstanding works, whose extensive bibliographies should be consulted:

Boulton, D'Arcy Jonathan Dacre: The knights of the crown : the monarchical orders of knighthood in later medieval Europe, 1325-1520. Woodbridge, Suffolk : Boydell Press, 1987. Second revised edition (paperback): Woodbridge, Suffolk and Rochester, NY : Boydell Press, 2000.
Excellent and thorough work by an academic historian.
Forey, Alan John: The military orders : from the twelfth to the early fourteenth centuries. Basingstoke : Macmillan Education, 1992.
One of the foremost historians of the "military orders".
Kruse, Holger, Werner Paravicini, and Andreas Ranft, eds: Ritterorden und Adelsgesellschaften im spätmittelalterlichen Deutschland: ein systematisches Verzeichnis, Frankfurt am Main ; P. Lang 1991.
A broad study of knightly orders, confraternities, societies in late-medieval Germany.

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François Velde

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Celtic Mythology
Celtic Mythology
Celtic History
Perhaps more so than any other culture addressed in this volume,
the Celts are very difficult to pin down as a single cohesive nation.
Their unusual beginnings and their lack of centralized
governmental structure mark them as unique, somehow outside the
bounds of what we today consider be a country or state. The
historical record tells us Celtic unity was based strictly on culture,
not on race, language, or heritage.
Of course, our knowledge of the ancient Celts is distorted as we
look through the romanticism of 18th and 19th century scholars. At
every turn in our study, we have to carefully judge the source of
information and decide whether or not that source has twisted the
facts for one reason or another.
From their original homeland in southern Germany and
Bohemia, the early Celts came abruptly into the historical
forefront. In fact, they were considered along with Scythia, India,
and Ethiopia to be one of the four so-called peripheral nations
(stated from a mediterrania-centric point of view). Considering
their origins, the original Celts must have been Germanic stock,
relying on primitive agriculture and the hunt, no doubt caught up in
the perpetual warfare of their tribal neighbors to the north.
From these ambiguous beginnings, the Celts tore across the
northern European plain and into the Balkans unchallenged. swept
over what is now France and into Spain, subjugating the Gauls they
found there until they had advanced to the gates of Rome itself.
From Gaul they expanded rapidly into Britain and then on to
Ireland, where their traditions ultimately held out the longest
against the changing world. To the southeast, the Celts reached as
far as Asia Minor where evidence of their culture can be uncovered
today. In the 4th century BC, they scrambled across what is now
modern Europe, exerting control over an enormous area. Their
motivation for expansion is unclear, but its results are undeniable.
However, for reasons equally obscure, from their position of
widespread domination, the Celts fell quickly into a period of
decline. No doubt many factors contributed to this seeming failure
of their control. First, the great distances involved probably
became insurmountable. Somewhat later in history, the Romans
would hold sway over a similarly large area and even with their
penchant for logistics and communications they barely held on to
it. The Celts hardly commanded the same talents for road building
and flexible government in the 4th century BC. Second, the Celts
were plagued by a minority status. In the areas they controlled,
they found themselves outnumbered by their subject peoples who
did not share the Celtic culture nor practice its rituals. Their control
over such people must have been shaky at best. Finally, there is
evidence that the Celts spent a large proportion of their resources
on mercenaries. Sometimes these were used to keep control over
their subjects, other times they were employed for wild ventures
with no clear goal in mind. Over all these factors, their complete
lack of central government or authority contributed greatly to their
decline. At any rate, these and other considerations conspired
against the Celts, dooming their empire before it could begin. The
Celts were, from the start, destined only to spread out across
Europe, never to rule it.
Seeing little resistance and experiencing their own periods of
growth, the neighboring nations of Dacia, Germany, and Rome
closed in on Celtic territories no longer controlled by them.
Though the Celts were largely absorbed into those territories, and
their traditions there continued for some time, the days of the
Celtic peripheral nation were over. When these other nations were
through, Celtic influence was largely reduced to Gaul, Britain, and
Later in their history, Rome pressed even further into these
territories, conquering Gaul and then much of Britain before they
were through. The Roman contact with the Celts was largely
adversarial, hardly a forum for a meaningful exchange of ideas.
However, the writings of the conquerors, mainly those of Caesar
himself, speak of the Celts and their traditions. Of course, the
Romans often placed their own ideals in the place of the Celtic
culture and pantheon they found, so their writings about the Celts
are slanted, at best.
The Romans, however, never conquered Ireland, and the Celtic
tradition there flourished. Only the Viking invasions of the 9th
century and the Anglo-Norman incursions of the 12th diluted the
Celtic heritage of the island. To this day, Irish Celtic texts and
artifacts are both the most abundant and the most reliable windows
into their past.
Celtic Culture
As stated earlier, the Celts were often masters of their realms in
name only, being, if you will, paper tigers. Many of their subjects
no doubt ignored the Celtic religious rites in favor of their own
traditions. Especially in later times, when vast numbers of Celts
were absorbed into other nations, it stands to reason that they were
isolated groups of worshippers, most likely outcasts, forced to
practice their religion out of sight of other, more popular ones.
The Celts held two major positions in society as supreme: the
druidic and bardic orders. The druids were the highest societal
order, carrying out religious functions as necessary. The bards
were second to the druids, and they were charged with the creation
and preservation of Celtic literature.
Druids in Celtic Society
The druids were the religious leaders of the Celts, and in some
ways the most mysterious. They performed the sacrifices called
upon by tradition, performing simple chants and rituals to please
the many gods the Celts worshipped. The Gaulish druid leaders
would gather for religious business in a place known as the
Carnutes, which translates as sacred place, sacred grove, or oak
sanctuary. This emphasizes the notion that the druids had a special
kinship with nature and, in particular, the forests.
In their function as church elders, the druids maintained their
leadership over the community in other ways, as well. The druids
officiated various legal arguments among their followers, and even
went so far as to become the chief educators for their flocks. The
druids expanded their leadership over the Celts into every
imaginable area.
Druids were considered to have the ability to forecast, in the
vaguest of terms, future occurrences. Through various rituals, the
druids would foretell that a day, week, or month would be
favorable or unfavorable for such things as battle, farming,
hunting, etc. Stories handed down from the period indicate that
these predictions were taken to heart by both the Celtic peasants
and their leaders alike.
Of course, as the religious leaders, the druids also bore the brunt
of opposition and hatred from other religions. When other religious
groups encountered the Celts, they denounced them as pagans and
sought to discredit them. The druids in Gaul and finally Britain and
Ireland were forced to give up their outright leadership over their
people. However, many of their functions were soon taken up,
albeit in subtler forms, by a group known as the filidh. The Irish
filidh carried on ritual tradition in a manner more easily tolerated
by their new neighbors.
Bards in Celtic Society
The Celtic bards, on the other hand, were the conservators of
literature. The Celts never had their own written language, though
they borrowed bits and pieces from neighboring languages, at
Legends and Lore AD&D 2nd Edition
34 Downloaded from Flat Earth Games [www.flatearth.com] © TSR, Inc.
times. Among the Gaulish Celts, however, the notion of literature
was strictly oral; no written record was ever kept because it was
considered distasteful. While this feeling was not necessarily true
among the insular Celts of Britain and Ireland, there is still a very
restricted body of written literature which can be fully attributed to
the Celts.
Among the Irish Celts, the bards were considered to be an
inferior class of poets, rhymers, and simple storytellers. Their oral
traditions were admired by the common folk, but they were not
given anything like the status of the druids or filidh. However,
when religious pressures forced changes in the upper strata of
Celtic organization, the bards went virtually unnoticed and,
therefore, unchanged. In fact, it is to the bards that we can give
thanks for the Irish oral tradition of history without which we
would know very little about the Celts.
The lifestyles of the peasantry varied greatly, dictated more by
the richness of the land than by anything else. Sheep herders along
the foothills of the Alps lived very differently from farmers on the
plains of Gaul or Britain. Typically, farming villages in Gaul and
Germany were formed of small, square wooden houses. Their
plows were primitive, not even turning the soil, so land depletion
put entire villages on move every few years. Villagers in Britain
tended to create larger, round stone structures with thatched roofs
that reached nearly to the ground. They would also have gardens
and farms, but also kept a great deal of livestock. Livestock
farmers shared the buildings, keeping each other fed (and warm).
Celtic peasants appear to have kept many common animals,
including small cattle, pigs, and geese. Wild boars were apparently
hunted - possibly as a rite of manhood. They also tended more
exotic animals such as chickens, recently introduced from the east,
and bees for both their wax and honey The Celtic farmers grew
barley, oats, and beans. They grew flax and tended to sheep for
their clothing.
Of course, the Celtic nobility and the druids lived a somewhat
what better life. There are indications that wines were imported for
the nobility, for instance, a luxury the common folk did not enjoy.
In all fairness, Celtic nobility most likely did not live a carefree,
glamorous life. They were warlords and military men, very
different indeed from the legends such as King Arthur. His legend
is derived from historical fact about a Celtic leader who fought off
the invading Saxons and Jutes from Britain in the 6th century AD.
However romanticized over many tellings, the real Arthur those
around him were warrior kings leading armies of peasants and
soldiers against invaders and other Celts alike.
From their very beginnings, the Celts had been a warrior people.
Their penchant for conflict was well known even to the scholars of
the time. They attacked and sacked Rome, fought off German
invaders, swept over most of Europe only to be defeated by the
superior organization and bureaucracy of the Roman Empire. And
when not fighting against an outside threat, the Celtic tribes were
perfectly willing to fight one another.
Burial records indicate that the Celts were masters of the twohorse
chariot. Virtually all tribal chieftains were buried with their
chariot, though horses were apparently too valuable to bury with
their owner. Many other Celtic warriors had mounts, as well.
Statues and historical accounts tell us that Celtic warriors went
into battle naked except for a torc, a hoop of bronze gold worn
about the neck. They fought with spear and sword, and
occasionally with helmet and shield. Roman scholars credited the
individual Celtic warrior with tremendous skill and bravery.
Celtic warriors took great pleasure in cutting the heads of their
fallen enemies. These heads would then be worn from a belt or
attached to a chariot. It was the Celtic belief that the head held
certain magical properties after life; many Celtic structures have
skulls built right into them to ward off evil or bring luck.
The Celts are noted for the structures of standing stones they left
behind. Stonehenge is only the most widely known of these.
Indications are that many of these structures were in fact not of
Celtic make, but of much earlier sun-worshipper peoples - the
Celts merely adopted them and built additional structures on those
designs. In any event, they have acquired a different significance.
Circular stone patterns often helped map out the patterns of
constellations, the moon, sun, and seasons. For any culture that
relies on agriculture, such knowledge is vital. Stones were often
erected in circular patterns in honor of particular local gods or
Simpler standing stones were often not placed in a pattern at all.
These in earlier times marked the burial places of important
personages. Later, they were employed to mark sites of important
events or boundaries between tribes and villages.
It is unclear whether the Druids actually performed rituals at
these sites, but it is likely. Druids might easily have officiated the
ceremonies held at these important sites, interpreting their
information and calling upon their gods for assistance or guidance.
Without a significant written record, much about the Celts and
who they were will never be known to us. How many epic
struggles were there, how many significant events that were lost
before the 4th century BC? Without their art, from which we can
interpret much, and the fortuitous isolation of the Irish Celtic
community, they might have been totally lost to history.
What we do know is intriguing. The Celts held sway over a
tremendous area before the Roman Empire, taken by tribes of
ferocious warriors. Their lifestyles, though varied by the great
distances between them, revolved around a shared culture. The
druids and bards took the burden of religion and literature, while
the warrior chieftains kept their forces strong, and usually on
campaign. Their semi-nomadic styles had gone unchanged over
much of their history. They had artisans and craftsmen skilled in
both woodwork and metalwork, and artists borrowing from the
traditions of other nomadic peoples. Though all but crushed under
Roman domination, much of what the Celts were lives on today in
the traditional Irish and Scottish cultures, as well as in our own.
Magic Items
Standing Stones
Celtic priests can create formations of standing stones in order to
intensify their magic. The ceremonies during the creation of a ring
of standing stones makes them highly magical places where mere
lesser mortals fear to tread.
The creation of standing stones is a lengthy process that requires
many priests. There must be at least 50 levels of priests or druids
who worship at least four different Celtic gods. One of these priests
must be at least a 10th level worshipper of Belenus in order to have
the all important enchant stones spell. The site must have stones
available and be at least five miles from any other existing
standing stones. All of the priests must spend an entire month
assembling the stones and attending ceremonies - the enchant
stones spell must be cast at the end of each week and again at the
end of construction. If the priests are interrupted in any way during
that time, the enchantment fails and they must start again. During
creation, the standing stones site must be dedicated to one sphere
of spells forever (for instance, standing stones - divination). Once
created, the magic of the standing stones is permanent.
The actual physical parameters of the standing stones are fairly
loose. The exact size and number of the stones is unimportant for
game purposes - they are arranged at creation to follow the
seasons, stars, constellations, suns, moons, or whatever. It is only
important that they be arranged in a series of circular patterns.
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Since they are generally between 10 and 30 meters across, standing
stones are some of the largest magical items around.
Once created, ceremonies can take place at the site to cast spells
within its assigned sphere. The total of priest levels involved in the
ceremony can be used as a direct multiplier to any of the following:
range, duration, or area of effect. As an example, if 50 priest levels
are involved in a ceremony at standing stones to cast an animate
object spell, they could either multiply the range by 50 (to 1500
yards), the duration by 50 (to 50 rounds/level), or the area of effect
by 50 (50 cubic feet/level). One of the priests must actually cast the
spell to be amplified by the standing stones, and his is the base
from which all other information is extrapolated.
Torc of the Gods
The torc of the gods was created by Goibhniu himself and is only
bestowed upon the most brave warriors of the tribes. The torc
allows the wearer to shape change or polymorph others at will, for
any duration desired. The torc is forged of rare metals and has a
gem set into the front.
The Wild Hunt
Despite its evil connotations, the Wild Hunt is a manifestation of
good life force on the Prime Material Plane. It appears in Celtic
lands whenever there is a great force of evil in the area. The source
of the evil could be many different things, from an evil wizard or
priest moving through the area to an invading evil army. Wherever
the druids are and wherever they have built standing stones that the
Wild Hunt can use as beacons, the pack and its master are forever
on guard against encroaching evil. The Wild Hunt appears in the
world of men as a huge pack of magical dogs led by a great man.
The man has dark skin and can either be on foot or at the reins of a
two-horse chariot. He carries an enormous spear and wears a metal
and leather helmet with antlers. The dogs of the pack are huge
beasts that can, at one instant appear as normal (albeit huge)
canines and then transform into ferocious, magical animals with
green flame coming from their mouth and eyes. When the Wild
Hunt approaches, the weather turns for the worse - the winds
howl and thunder booms from the heavens. The Wild Hunt fights
evil with evil’s weapons, namely fear and ferocity.
Celts or other good beings who encounter the Hunt on the move
may be swept up by it. All Celts or characters of good alignment
who see the Hunt must make a save versus spells or become part of
the Wild Hunt and its mission, accepting the Master as their leader.
Persons so caught up might have to act against their own alignment
at the behest of the Master, fighting against those they might
otherwise ignore, etc. As it tears across the countryside, the pack
will raise a terrifying ruckus, attracting followers and warning evil
of its approach.
On any given night there will be only one Wild Hunt, provided
there is sufficient evil to warrant it. Once the pack has caught up
with the source of evil, it will attack. The pack and the master will
fight to the death against the evil. If they are slain, they will appear
fresh for a new hunt the following night. If they do not destroy the
evil they pursue, the Wild Hunt will return until their prey is driven
from Celtic lands or slain.
The Wild Hunt has been known to fight against demigods and
heroes who have manifested evil among the Celts. Sometimes
destroyed themselves, they have always returned to renew the
battle. The forces that seek out evil to destroy it are eternal, and the
Wild Hunt can never be completely annihilated.
The Master of the Hunt
The Master appears as a dark skinned man wearing an antlered
black helmet.
Role-playing Notes: The master does not speak or communicate
with anyone. He merely leads his pack of hounds and other
followers toward sources of evil and attacks. His tactics are
generally limited to an immediate frontal assault since he cannot
die, his need for cunning is limited.
Str 18/00 Dex 18 Con 18
Int 17 Wis 17 Cha 9
MV 18 SZ 6’ MR 25%
AC 0 HD 20 HP 200
#AT 3 THAC0 1 Dmg 1d6 +3 (spear) +6
Special Att/Def: The Master of the Hunt generally does not
engage in combat until most of his pack of hounds have been slain.
He will then attack with his spear +3. The Master can also ride his
chariot over victims, doing 3d10 points of damage to any who fall
beneath its wheels.
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The Pack of the Wild Hunt
The individual hounds of the Wild Hunt are beasts. There are 20
dogs in the pack.
AC 2 HD 5 SZ 3’
MR 15% THAC0 14 HP 30
MV 21 #AT 1 Dmg 2d4
Special Att/Def: The pack can cause fear in any mortal being
that it is pursuing. Each hound has the equivalent protection from
evil spell upon it at all times. The pack also can swarm its enemies
without regard to the actual space available, so all 20 dogs can
attack an enemy each round. Finally, once per turn each dog can
use its green flame tongue to add an additional 5 points of damage
to any attack that hits.
Lugh (intermediate god)
Lugh can best be described as the god of excellence, reputed to
be not only the inventor and patron of the arts, but also an expert in
such diverse fields as sorcery, history, craftsmanship of all sorts,
story telling, and heroism. Lugh, whose name means “The Shining
One” is the most widely worshipped of the pantheon, with
numerous monuments throughout Celtic regions where followers
prayed to him for guidance in any of his many areas of expertise.
Known to be a late comer to the pantheon, Lugh is often found in
the company of Rosmerta, a goddess of wealth and material
possessions. He can control endeavors in the arts and crafts with
which he is familiar, and he can control or influence all forms of
travel and commerce. He can also turn day to night or vice versa at
will. Beyond these pursuits, however, Lugh is a formidable
warrior, armed with a great spear and a sling.
Role-playing Notes: A wanderer of the lands of his
worshippers, consorting with the various goddesses of the lands
that he meets, Lugh is a self-confident god, eager to keep his hand
in mundane affairs. He keeps an eye out for fair play in human
matters, stepping in with his avatar to affect the outcome of
endeavors within his own expertise.
Statistics: AL cn; WAL any neutral; AoC arts, crafts, travel,
commerce, war, horsemanship; SY eight-pointed star.
Lugh’s Avatar (warrior 15, wizard 12)
Lugh’s avatar is a young, beardless warrior with spear, sling, and
purse. He will have with him a cock, goat, or a tortoise. He may
also appear with a beard, or as a shoemaker and can call upon any
school of magic for his spells.
Str 18/00 Dex 18 Con 17
Int 18 Wis 18 Cha 15
MV 18 SZ 6’ MR 50%
AC 0 HD 20 HP 190
#AT 2 THAC0 3 Dmg 1d4 (sling) +6
Special Att/Def: In a desperate situation, Lugh’s avatar may
increase his sling’s number of attacks to 5 per round and
automatically hit with each one. He may do this for one round in
any given encounter.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Lugh must be highly skilled in the arts, and they must
be well-traveled. They must also erect mounds to or hold their
ceremonies atop low hills or other summits.
Requirements: AB standard; AL any neutral; WP sling, mace;
AR a; SP all, animal astral, charm, combat, creation, divination,
guardian, healing, protection, summoning, sun, weather; PW 1)
create darkness or light in a 100’ radius once per day; 3) travel at
thrice normal speed for 4 hours per day; 9) enchant an item once
per week; TU nil.
Oghma (intermediate god)
Oghma, whose epithet, Grianainech, means “of the sun-like
countenance,” is the god of eloquence and language. His speeches
and words carry great weight with his listeners, and he is often
depicted as having gold chains between his tongue and the ears of
his listeners; Celts have great respect for the powers of persuasive
speech that Oghma personifies. He has the power to communicate
his ideas accurately and quickly, swaying any number who hear
him to his cause. Oghma invented the beautiful Oghma script
which can be easily carved into stone or wood, especially at places
devoted to his worship. Oghma is also known to be a champion,
both as a warrior and as a patron of ideas.
Role-playing Notes: Oghma enjoys visiting and speaking to his
flock in the form of his avatar. He strengthens their collective
resolve to worship him, and teaches his priests the arts of his
lettering and persuasiveness. Oghma seeks justice and will
occasionally go out of his way to see that it is done. He will
champion small causes at times, even those that affect but one
village with only a few worshippers, if an injustice is brought to his
Statistics: AL ng; WAL any good; AoC speech, writing; SY
Celtic chalice.
Oghma’s Avatar (bard 12, warrior 10)
Oghma’s avatar is an old man, his grey hair is all but gone and he
has dark, wrinkled skin. He carries a bow and club, and wears a
lion’s skin. His spells can come from any school of magic.
Str 18/50 Dex 17 Con 17
Int 18 Wis 18 Cha 17
MV 12 SZ 6’ MR 30%
AC 2 HD 15 HP 110
#AT 1 THAC0 5 Dmg 1d6 (club) +3
Special Att/Def: Oghma’s avatar can charm anyone who can
hear him. Victims must save versus spells or be charmed, and
Oghma’s avatar may continue to speak every round until silenced,
subdued, or killed.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Oghma are expected to hold their congregations in line
with the persuasive powers of their order. Oghma does not tolerate
losing worshippers to other gods in the pantheon, and deals out
strict punishment to those priests who let their flocks wander.
Requirements: AB standard; AL any good; WP club, bow; AR
a; SP all; animal; charm; combat; creation; divination; elemental;
guardian; healing; plant; protection; summoning; sun; PW 1)
friends once per day; 3) charm person once per day; 8) mass charm
once per day; TU nil.
Goibhniu (intermediate god)
The smith held a special fascination for the Celtic peoples.
Smiths were thought to have magical powers of charm and healing,
bestowed upon them by the god of the smiths, Goibhniu. Goibhniu
is actually one of a triad of gods; Luchta the wright and Creidhne
the worker in metal are also important craftsmen gods. Together
they fashioned weapons for Lugh at the battle of Magh Tuiredh,
each doing his part to create sound, sure weapons. Reputedly,
weapons forged by the great Goibhniu will never miss their mark,
and those stuck by them will certainly be slain. In the great Feast of
Goibhniu, the god serves a variety of foods and drinks which can
soothe, heal, and even make immortal their consumers.
Role-playing Notes: Though his size and appearance may at
first be threatening, Goibhniu is a generally warm and friendly
fellow. He is especially fond of sharing stories of battle and fine
armaments. He often makes food and drinks for those he befriends,
sharing with them a small feast - the wines and dishes of which
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will be of a magical nature and will both prolong life and heal
damage. However, when made angry, Goibhniu sends forth his
avatar and will show no pity, slaying mortals who have crossed
him without so much as a second thought.
Statistics: AL ng; WAL any neutral; AoC manufacture of
weapons and armor, healing; SY anvil.
Goibhniu’s Avatar (fighter 18, priest 15)
Goibhniu’s avatar is a brawny smith, muscled and blackened by
hard work at the forge.
Str 18/00 Dex 15 Con 18
Int 15 Wis 15 Cha 10
MV 12 SZ 6’5” MR 30%
AC 0 HD 18 HP 180
#AT 5/2 THAC0 3 Dmg 1d4 +6
(warhammer) +6
Special Att/Def: Despite his THAC0 of 3, Goibhniu’s avatar
never misses his targets. He uses either his warhammer +5 or his
spear +5, depending on the situation. Once per turn, he may
automatically slay any living creature that he hits with either of
these weapons, no saving throw allowed.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Goibhniu are expected to watch over and protect both
smiths and warriors alike. They are required to take the blacksmith
non-weapon proficiency and can serve as court armorers or smiths.
They are also expected to oversee the feeding and healing of the
faithful, especially warriors wounded in battle.
Requirements: AB standard, but Str of at least 15; AL any
neutral; WP any metal; AR a; SP all, astral, charm, combat,
creation, elemental, guardian, healing, protection, sun, weather;
PW 1) heroes’ feast once per week; 10) craft weapons, shields, or
suits of armor with a +2 enchantment (requires one month each);
TU nil.
Daghdha (greater god)
Daghdha enjoys a position of leadership among the loose
confederation of Celtic gods, a god of druids. His powers widely
varied, but he is credited with control over the weather and crops.
His great cauldron is a bottomless receptacle with food and drink
and the abundance of the Celtic other-world from which he comes
- there is virtually nothing he cannot pull from his cauldron.
Daghdha is the custodian the gods and all Celtic people, using his
charms and powers to protect and aid them whenever he can. As a
warrior he is a great leader and scout, as a father figure he is both
stern and fun-loving; Daghdha enjoys being a comical figure of
great power.
Role-playing Notes: Daghdha is a happy go lucky sort who is
only interested in the general welfare of his Celtic worshippers. He
will often send his avatar to appear at the scene of an impending
battle and use his charms to sway crucial male figures on the other
side. He also sends him during times of pestilence or crop failure to
set things right. He will tempt to resort to comic trickery to get his
own way.
Statistics: AL cg; WAL any good; AoC crops, weather; Celtic
Daghdha’s Avatar (fighter 15, hard 10)
Daghdha’s avatar appears as a tall man who is dressed comically,
with a very short tunic and uncouth behavior.
Str 18/76 Dex 18 Con 17
Int 18 Wis 18 Cha 15
MV 15 SZ 6’ MR 80%
AC 2 HD 15 HP 150
#AT 5/2 THAC0 6 Dmg 1d6 (club) +10
Special Att/Def: Daghdha’s avatar wields a club a highly
magical nature. If he so chooses, any blow from its heavy end will
automatically slay a living being (no save throw). However, if he
turns the club and touches a dead being, it will regain life (as raise
dead spell). Also, Daghdha’s avatar has the ability to charm any
woman, mortal or otherwise, and bend her to his will.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Daghdha must be druids. They are expected to dress in
an unorthodox manner in order to draw attention to themselves.
Daghdha’s druids are chiefly responsible for the creation of great
standing stones with which they can keep track of the seasons and
through which they can exercise their magical powers. His druids
generally keep to themselves, gathering only to perform important
Requirements: AB as druid; AL as druid; WP as druid AR as
druid; SP as druid; PW as druid, but also 1) can accurately predict
weather one full week in advance; 8) heroes’ feast once per day;
TU nil.
Manannan mac Lir (intermediate god)
The Celtic god of the sea is a knowledgeable custodian of the
oceans. Manannan mac Lir rides over the waves on his chariot,
pulled by various creatures of the sea, admiring its beauty and
governing its bountiful operation. To Manannan mac Lir, the
oceans are a vast plain, the various fishes either cattle or sheep -
in his other-world reality, he lives upon the “land” while others
must use boats to visit it. He generally wears armor made of metal
and sea shells and carries a giant sword, riding his chariot upon the
Role-playing Notes: Manannan mac Lir’s sends his avatars to
roam the oceans on their chariots. He has great respect for those
mortals who can master the seas, but has no pity for those who fail
and drown within them.
Statistics: AL in; WAL any neutral; AoC oceans and the
creatures in them; SY a fish.
Manannan mac Lir’s Avatar (fighter 17)
Manannan mac Lir’s avatar is a gigantic man in shell armor.
Str 25 Dex 20 Con 25
Int 18 Wis 18 Cha 18
MV 15, Sw 21 SZ 7’ MR 40%
AC 0 HD 17 HP 170
#AT 5/2 THAC0 4 Dmg ld8 (bastard sword)
Special Att/Def: Manannan mac Lir’s avatar wields a sword
called Retaliator, that will automatically slay his worst enemies,
the fire giants, when he hits them with it (no saving throw). He can
also call upon up to 100 HD worth of undersea creatures to fight
with him. The creatures must be able to get to the scene of the
battle under their own power, but once there will follow his
commands to the letter.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Manannan mac Lir can be either druids (as per the
Player’s Handbook) or priests (as described below). They are
required to base themselves in coastal villages or regions, but can
travel inland on business that might affect the seas. Manannan mac
Lir’s priests are encouraged to protect the sea and its creatures.
Requirements: AB standard; AL any good; WP mace or
trident; AR a; SP all, animal, astral, combat, divination, elemental,
guardian, healing, plant, summoning, weather; PW 1) create salt
water (as the create water spell); 5) breathe water 1 hour per level
per day; TU nil.
Legends and Lore AD&D 2nd Edition
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Arawn (intermediate god)
As god of death and the underworld, Arawn rarely has reason to
venture into the world of the living. His home is an island so far
out at sea that no one, not even Manannan mac Lir, can find it
while living, for only the dead can travel there. In fact, Arawn
generally only sends an avatar to the world of the living after
someone has been resurrected that Arawn would rather keep. Many
other Celtic gods will endorse resurrections, but none can
guarantee that Arawn will leave the matter at that. Arawn has
absolute power over life and death among the Celts.
Role-playing Notes: On resurrecting any individual, there is a
2% chance per level of that individual that Arawn will intervene.
He will either send his avatar to reclaim the body or (25% chance)
he will attempt to bargain. He will offer some other similar
character from the legions of the dead provided he can keep the
original character. Refusal of his offer will be met with force.
Statistics: AL ne; WAL any evil; AoC life and death; SY
warrior’s skull.
Arawn’s Avatar (priest 18, wizard 12)
Arawn’s avatar appears as a normal man in black robes. His
features are very dark and deep set.
Str 17 Dex 15 Con 18
Int 15 Wis 18 Cha 12
MV 12 SZ 6’ MR 50%
AC 0 HD 18 HP 144
#AT 1 THAC0 10 Dmg 1d6 (club) +1
Special Att/Def: Arawn’s avatar has 50% magical resistance
normally, but this is increased to 100 % for any magical or clerical
spells that would otherwise inflict damage on his avatar’s body.
Anyone hitting Arawn’s avatar with a magical weapon must
instantly save versus spells or die.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Arawn officiate at one and only one religious function
- burial. Celtic burials involve simple graves for most, complex
graves including chariot and trophies for warriors and chieftains.
Priests of Arawn do not officiate at sacrifices to other gods, but are
generally on hand for ceremonies of their own immediately
following such events.
Requirements: AB standard; AL any evil; AR a; WP club or
scythe; SP all, astral, creation, divination, guardian, necromantic,
summoning; PW 1) speak with dead; 10) animate dead once per
hour; TU command.
Morrigan (intermediate god)
Morrigan is the Celtic goddess of war. She is a fearsome warrior,
causing great fear in her opponents, driving home her own battles
with a spear in either hand. She is terribly ugly, laughs a maniacal
laugh, and has dreadful manners. She expects all Celts and
especially her followers to fight constantly, encouraging petty wars
where there otherwise would be none. She can shape change to
fool her opponents, and often calls upon four minor goddesses of
war to fight by her side. At one time, Morrigan tried to seduce the
hero Cu Chulainn, but on failure she turned against him and nearly
killed him.
Role-playing Notes: Morrigan is bent on warfare every turn. She
will readily pick fights, preferring to get mortals to fight each other
by whatever means. She will use many forms to trick otherwise
peaceful parties into conflict. Morrigan often observes battles and
will not tolerate fear among her followers - she will strike dead
any follower that turns and flees from a battle she is watching.
Statistics: AL ce; WAL any evil; AoC battle and war; Celtic
sword hilt.
Morrigan’s Avatar (fighter 20)
Morrigan’s avatar can appear in many forms, most commonly a
hag, but sometimes as a crow or beautiful young woman.
Str 18/76 Dex 18 Con 18
Int 15 Wis 12 Cha 5
MV 15+ SZ 6’ MR 80%
AC -2 HD 20 HP 200
#AT 5/2 THAC0 1 Dmg 1d6 (spear) +4
Special Att/Def: Morrigan’s avatar can cause fear every round
she is in combat in every enemy she can see. In a chase she can
adjust her speed to any amount to keep doggedly pursuing a victim
until it runs out of energy. Morrigan can become invisible at will
and fight freely while in a state.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Morrigan have to band into battle groups or attach
themselves to groups of warriors at all times. It is rare that
Morrigan will allow one of her clerics to travel independently,
unless they are in search of greater, more intense combat situations.
Morrigan’s priests have no power to heal, since it is her will that
those who fall in battle should die.
Requirements: AB standard; AL any evil; WP any; a; SP all,
astral, combat, elemental, guardian, protect PW 1) Morrigan will
heal 5 hit points per level over night for her priests who have killed
anything the day before; TU turn.
Diancecht (intermediate god)
As the Celtic god of healing, Diancecht cares for the sick and
wounded without regard to their worship. He is so insanely jealous
of his abilities that he slew his own son who might have become a
better healer than his father. Diancecht has healed the other gods,
as well, fashioning at one time a silver arm to replace one lost, and
using a cat’s eye to replace a lost eye. He has a magical bath that
can instantly and completely heal any mortal or god. Diancecht
often uses his powers to enforce his notion that any wound is the
responsibility of the inflictor to heal, or at least pay for. In combat,
Diancecht will heal himself, friends, and enemies alike, for he is
unable to control his penchant for medicine.
Role-playing Notes: Diancecht is obsessed with healing, both
among the gods and among mortals. His avatar is forever
wandering the world of men searching for those who need his
skills. Whenever confronted, Diancecht will seldom involve
himself in a situation that does not require him to heal.
Statistics: AL lg; WAL any good; AoC medicine and healing;
SY a leaf.
Diancecht’s Avatar (priest 18, fighter 12)
Diancecht’s avatar appears as a young man in simple clothing,
bearing a bag filled with herbs and medicines.
Str 18 Dex 15 Con 12
Int 18 Wis 18 Cha 17
MV 12 SZ 6’ MR 25%
AC 4 HD 18 HP 144
#AT 1 THAC0 10 Dmg 1d4 (dagger) +4
Special Att/Def: Diancecht’s avatar never gets involved in large
battles. When in combat, he is immune to any hit that does less
than one-fourth of his basic hit points (36) in a single strike -
other blows simply deflect off of him. At will, he can heal any
individual he can see.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Diancecht may be either clerics or druids. Like their
deity, they are sworn to seek out those who need to be healed and
perform their work. However, living in the imperfect world, his
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priests cannot pick and choose patients, so often follow marauders
or other war bands to exercise their talents.
Requirements: AB standard; AL any good; WP mace; AR a;
SP all, animal, creation, divination, healing, plant, protection; PW
1) all spells from the healing sphere are cast as if they were 1 level
lower than normal. For example, cure serious wounds becomes a
3rd level spell and cure critical wounds becomes a 4th level spell;
TU nil.
Math Mathonwy (intermediate god)
Math Mathonwy is the Celtic god of sorcery. He carries a mighty
magical staff and wears a torc given to him by the other gods. As
master of his household, Math insists that his feet rest in the lap of
a maiden whenever possible. He does not tolerate mistreatment of
his maiden foot warmers, nor does he abide treachery on their part,
and has vented his wrath upon many who have violated his trust.
He saves his magic mainly for his own purposes, keeping his
family in check, and seldom casts spells for the good of his
followers or priests.
Role-playing Notes: Math Mathonwy seldom sends his avatar
into the world of men without some mission. It is rare that his
avatar will become embroiled in the affairs of humans unless there
is some magical experimentation involved. Math Mathonwy is
always in search of new magics and humans knowing this can trick
his avatar into action, but they might suffer his wrath at a later
Statistics: AL ne; WAL any neutral; AoC magic; SY the staff.
Math Mathonwy’s Avatar (wizard 20)
Math Mathonwy’s avatar appears as an elderly man in heavy
tunic and robes.
Str 12 Dex 15 Con 15
Int 18 Wis 17 Cha 12
MV 15 SZ 6’ MR 40%
AC 4 HD 20 HP 80
#AT 1 THAC0 14 Dmg 1d4 (dagger)
Special Att/Def: Math Mathonwy’s avatar will avoid combat
whenever possible. If cornered, he will use his magical staff to
attack; when it hits, it turns his opponent into a pool of water,
permanently (although a save versus wands is allowed to avoid this
transformation). Math Mathonwy also uses his magical powers to
polymorph his enemies into animals, often leaving them as such for
years at a time as punishment for some wrong they did to him or
his family.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Math Mathonwy may be either clerics or druids. At
higher levels, they also have many standard magical abilities which
make them very powerful evokers of magical force. His priests
often take part in group rituals to stir up magic involved in other
ceremonies. However, all priests must perform an entire month of
prayer in solitude every year - those who did not achieve enough
experience to gain a level in that year must start over at first level
after the month is through.
Requirements: AB standard, but Int must be 15; AL any
neutral; WP dagger; AR g; SP all, animal, astral, charm, combat,
creation, divination, elemental, guardian, healing, necromantic,
plant, protection, summoning, sun, weather; PW 6) cast wizard
spells as if they were five levels lower in experience; TU nil
Belenus (intermediate god)
Belenus is a god of the sun and of fire, a patron of the druids. He
has the ability to control the heat and light from fires and from the
sun, bringing them into focus to destroy or blocking them off to
freeze when he wishes. In May, the Celts drive cattle through
special Beltain fires while Belenus watches with favor and raises
the overall quality of the livestock. Belenus encourages the
construction of standing stones to measure the progress of his sun
and sacred groves where his druids may meet and build great
bonfires to him.
Role-playing Notes: Belenus sends his avatar to the world of
men frequently to visit with chieftains and court the ladies of the
Celts. He can look unfavorably upon a particular village and cause
the sun to stand still or never come up for some period of time.
With such powers, he can easily bring otherwise powerful
chieftains in line with his thinking.
Statistics: AL ng; WAL any good; AoC sun, heat, light; SY
solar disc and standing stones.
Belenus’ Avatar (fighter 15, bard 10)
Belenus’ avatar appears as a strong young man with curled black
hair and a terrific shining torc around his neck.
Str 18 Dex 17 Con 15
Int 15 Wis 15 Cha 18
MV 15 SZ 6’ MR 30%
AC 0 HD 15 HP 150
#AT 5/2 THAC0 6 Dmg ld8 (longsword) +2
Special Att/Def: Belenus’ avatar can blind any living creature
within sight by making his magical torc shine with the brightness
of the sun. He can also focus that light for one round, inflicting
3d10 damage provided he hits his mark. His longsword can be
made to flame once per turn, doing an additional 2d10 to creatures
affected by fire.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Belenus must be druids. At least once in their lives
they are required to take part in the construction of a stone
structure in honor of their god and his sun. This usually takes at
least a year. Meetings with other druids must take place in
designated groves around enormous fires. Wandering druids must
tend to forest fires, taking care that they occur in sufficient quantity
to renew portions of the woods, but not too frequently that they
devastate it.
Requirements: AB as druid; AL as druid; WP as druid; AR as
druid; SP as druid; PW 1) continual light on command; 10)
enchant stones (as described earlier); TU turn.
Brigantia (intermediate god)
Brigantia is the Celtic goddess of the rivers and rural life. She
was raised on the milk creature of the other-world, a white, redeared
cow. She is worshipped by the Celtic queen Cartimandua
(women in positions of power are not at all uncommon among the
Celts) and by the pastoral villages and towns. She is the protector
of flocks of geese and herds of cattle, seeing they flourish to help
feed her hungry worshippers. Her dominion over the rivers allows
her to use their waters for therapeutic purposes. She often wears a
crown and is depicted in Celtic art sitting atop a globe. She is also
sometimes outfitted for war, wearing a breast plate and carrying a
Role-playing Notes: Brigantia is of a relaxed, peaceful nature.
She rejoices in the slower, quieter ways of the country folk, and
never ventures into large towns or cities, Her tending of animals is
compulsive, and she will often keep that task even when other
pressing matters are brought to her attention.
Statistics: AL ng; WAL any neutral; AoC rivers and livestock;
SY a footbridge.
Legends and Lore AD&D 2nd Edition
40 Downloaded from Flat Earth Games [www.flatearth.com] © TSR, Inc.
Brigantia’s Avatar (priest 18)
Brigantia’s avatar appears as a beautiful young woman, (either
tending animals or armed and dressed as the goddess herself).
Str 15 Dex 15 Con 12
Int 18 Wis 18 Cha 19
MV 15, Sw 21 SZ 5’ MR 30%
AC 2 HD 18 HP 144
#AT 1 THAC0 10 Dmg 1d6 (spear)
Special Att/Def: When near a stream, Brigantia’s avatar can call
upon the waters of any river or stream to flood any area up to 20
feet beyond its banks, sweeping her enemies away. She can also
call upon nearby herd animals to swarm an enemy, slowing it so
that she might escape or distracting them so that she can attack.
Duties of the Priesthood
Priests of Brigantia are charged with spreading her bounty across
the land, and so are often seen carrying two clay jars. The first
contains water from a Brigantian river or stream which the priests
can pour into other streams to cleanse them. The second jar
contains dung from her pastoral lands which, when distributed,
brings her blessings upon fields and villages. The priests can also
apply their water and dung to heal the sick or injured.
Requirements: AB standard; AL neutral good; mace; AR a; SP
all, animal, charm, creation, divination, mental, healing, plant,
protection, weather; PW 1) heal 1 point of damage per level per
day with water and dung; 5) cure light wounds once per day if at a
stream blessed by Brigantia, 10) animal growth once per day; TU
Celtic Heroes
Cu Chulainn
Cu Chulainn is the greatest hero of the Celts, a fine warrior who
has dealt with mortals and immortals on their own terms.
Originally named Sedanta, the young man is reputed to have
traveled to the land of Emhain Mhacha and defeated (singlehandedly)
150 other youths. When he approached the lands of the
great smith Culann, he encountered and defeated the smith’s huge
guard dog with his bare hands. Enraged, Culann forced Sedanta to
guard his lands in the dog’s place, and thus Sedanta became known
as Cu Chulainn, or “dog of Culann:
Cu Chulainn underwent a series of initiations into heroic stature.
He was forced to fight many other heroes and creatures, put
through exotic rituals throughout Celtic lands, and finally learned
strategies and magical tactics that have rendered him all but
Role-playing Notes: Cu Chulainn is known throughout the
lands of the Celts, by mortals and gods alike. He never travels in
disguise, so cannot help but be noticed. Cu Chulainn has a
particular hatred of giants and will seek them out to destroy them
whenever possible. He travels the Celtic lands to stamp out
injustice and has a reputation for appearing just in the nick of time.
(warrior 20)
Str 18/00 Dex 17 Con 18
Int 17 Wis 15 Cha 17
AC -2 MR 10% MV 15
HP 200 AL cg THAC0 1
#AT 5/2 Dmg 1d6 +4 (spear) +6
Special Att/Def: Cu Chulainn’s spear is called Gae Bolg, and is
made from the bones of a sea dragon. He is the only mortal who
can heft it, and while he has it in his hands he cannot be surprised.
The weapon is a spear +4. In battle, Cu Chulainn glows with a
brilliant light and those attempting to fight him cannot look directly
at this brilliance and suffer a -4 penalty to their attack rolls. When
fighting giants, Cu Chulainn gains an additional +4 to all attack
and damage rolls against them.
AD&D 2nd Edition Legends and Lore
© TSR, Inc. Downloaded from Flat Earth Games [www.flatearth.com] 41

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Re: Celtic Mythology

True Cross
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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According to Christian tradition, the True Cross is the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. According to medieval legend, the True Cross was built from the Tree of Jesse (father of King David), which became identified with the Tree of Life that had grown in the Garden of Eden.

Contents [hide]
1 Finding the True Cross
2 Conservation of the relics
3 Dispersal of relics of the True Cross
4 Veneration of the Cross
5 Movies
6 See also
7 External links

Finding the True Cross
Eusebius describes in his Life of Constantine [1] how the site of the Holy Sepulchre, originally a site of veneration for the Christian community in Jerusalem, had been covered with earth and a temple of Venus had been built on top — although Eusebius does not say as much, this would probably have been done as part of Hadrian's reconstruction of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina in 135, following the destruction of the Jewish Revolt of 70 and Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132–135. Following his conversion to Christianity, Emperor Constantine ordered in about 325–326 that the site be uncovered and instructed Saint Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, to build a church on the site. In this Life, Eusebius does not mention the finding of the True Cross.

Socrates Scholasticus (born c. 380), in his Ecclesiastical History, gives a full description of the discovery [2] that was repeated later by Sozomen and by Theodoret. In it he describes how Saint Helena, Constantine's aged mother, had the temple destroyed and the Sepulchre uncovered, whereupon three crosses and the titulus from Jesus's crucifixion were uncovered as well. In Socrates's version of the story, Macarius had the three crosses placed in turn on a deathly ill woman. This woman recovered at the touch of the third cross, which was taken as a sign that this was the cross of Christ. Socrates also reports that, having also found the nails with which Christ had been fastened to the cross, Helena sent these to Constantinople, where they were incorporated into the emperor's helmet and the bridle of his horse.

Sozomen (died c. 450), in his Ecclesiastical History [3], gives essentially the same version as Socrates. He also adds that it was said (by whom he does not say) that the location of the Sepulchre was "disclosed by a Hebrew who dwelt in the East, and who derived his information from some documents which had come to him by paternal inheritance" (although Sozomen himself disputes this account) and that a dead person was also revived by the touch of the Cross. Later popular versions of this story state that the Jew who assisted Helena was named Jude or Judas, but later converted to Christianity and took the name Kyriakos.

Theodoret (died c. 457) in his Ecclesiastical History Chapter xvii gives what had become the standard version of the finding of the True Cross:

"When the empress beheld the place where the Saviour suffered, she immediately ordered the idolatrous temple, which had been there erected, to be destroyed, and the very earth on which it stood to be removed. When the tomb, which had been so long concealed, was discovered, three crosses were seen buried near the Lord's sepulchre. All held it as certain that one of these crosses was that of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the other two were those of the thieves who were crucified with Him. Yet they could not discern to which of the three the Body of the Lord had been brought nigh, and which had received the outpouring of His precious Blood. But the wise and holy Macarius, the president of the city, resolved this question in the following manner. He caused a lady of rank, who had been long suffering from disease, to be touched by each of the crosses, with earnest prayer, and thus discerned the virtue residing in that of the Saviour. For the instant this cross was brought near the lady, it expelled the sore disease, and made her whole.
With the Cross were also found the Holy Nails, which Helena took with her back to Constantinople. According to Theodoret, "She had part of the cross of our Saviour conveyed to the palace. The rest was enclosed in a covering of silver, and committed to the care of the bishop of the city, whom she exhorted to preserve it carefully, in order that it might be transmitted uninjured to posterity."

Another popular ancient version from the Syriac tradition replaced Helena with a fictitious first-century empress named Protonike.

Some modern historians consider these versions to be apocryphal in varying degrees. It is certain, however, that the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre was completed by 335 and that relics of the Cross were being venerated there by the 340s, as they are mentioned in the Catecheses of Cyril of Jerusalem (see below).

Conservation of the relics
The silver reliquary that was left at the Basilica in care of the bishop of Jerusalem was exhibited periodically to the faithful. In the 380s a nun named Egeria who was travelling on pilgrimage described the veneration of the True Cross at Jerusalem in a long letter, the Itinerario Egeriae that she sent back to her community of women:

"Then a chair is placed for the bishop in Golgotha behind the [liturgical] Cross, which is now standing; the bishop duly takes his seat in the chair, and a table covered with a linen cloth is placed before him; the deacons stand round the table, and a silver-gilt casket is brought in which is the holy wood of the Cross. The casket is opened and [the wood] is taken out, and both the wood of the Cross and the title are placed upon the table. Now, when it has been put upon the table, the bishop, as he sits, holds the extremities of the sacred wood firmly in his hands, while the deacons who stand around guard it. It is guarded thus because the custom is that the people, both faithful and catechumens, come one by one and, bowing down at the table, kiss the sacred wood and pass through. And because, I know not when, some one is said to have bitten off and stolen a portion of the sacred wood, it is thus guarded by the deacons who stand around, lest any one approaching should venture to do so again. And as all the people pass by one by one, all bowing themselves, they touch the Cross and the title, first with their foreheads and then with their eyes; then they kiss the Cross and pass through, but none lays his hand upon it to touch it. When they have kissed the Cross and have passed through, a deacon stands holding the ring of Solomon and the horn from which the kings were anointed; they kiss the horn also and gaze at the ring…"
Before long, but perhaps not until after the visit of Egeria, it was possible also to venerate the crown of thorns, the pillar at which Christ was scourged, and the lance that pierced his side.

The Old English poem Dream of the Rood mentions the finding of the cross and the beginning of the tradition of the veneration of its relics.

In 614 the Sassanian Khosrau II of Persia ("Chosroes") removed the Cross as a trophy, when he captured Jerusalem. Thirteen years later, in 628, the Emperor of the East Heraclius defeated Khosrau and retook the relic, which he at first placed in Constantinople and later, took back to Jerusalem. Around 1009, Christians in Jerusalem hid the cross and it remained hidden until it was rediscovered during the First Crusade, on August 5, 1099, by Arnulf Malecorne, the first Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, at a moment when it was sorely needed. The relic that Arnulf discovered was a small fragment of wood embedded in a golden cross, and it became the most sacred relic of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, with none of the controversy that had followed their discovery of the Holy Lance in Antioch. It was housed in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre under the protection of the Latin Patriarch, who marched with it ahead of the army before every battle. It was captured by Saladin during the Battle of Hattin in 1187 and subsequently disappeared.

Other fragments of the Cross were further broken up, and the pieces were widely distributed; in 348, in one of his Catecheses, Cyril of Jerusalem remarked that the "whole earth is full of the relics of the Cross of Christ," [4] and in another, "The holy wood of the Cross bears witness, seen among us to this day, and from this place now almost filling the whole world, by means of those who in faith take portions from it." [5] Egeria's account testifies how highly these relics of the crucifixion were prized. Saint John Chrysostom relates that fragments of the True Cross were kept in golden reliquaries, "which men reverently wear upon their persons." About 455 Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, sent to Pope Leo I a fragment of the "precious wood", according to the Letters of Saint Leo. A portion of the cross was taken to Rome in the seventh century by Pope Sergius I, who was of Byzantine origin.

Dispersal of relics of the True Cross
An inscription of 359, found at Tixter, in the neighbourhood of Sétif in Mauretania, was said to mention, in an enumeration of relics, a fragment of the True Cross, according to an entry in Roman Miscellanies, X, 441.

But most of the very small relics of the True Cross in Europe came from Constantinople. The town was captured and sacked by the Fourth Crusade in 1204: After the conquest of the city Constantinople inestimable wealth was found, incomparably precious jewels and also a part of the cross of the gentleman, which Helena transfers from Jerusalem and was decorated with gold and precious jewels. There it attained highest admiration. It was carved up by the present bishops and was divided with other very precious relics among the knights; later, after their return to the homeland, it was donated to churches and monasteries. Chronica regia Coloniensis, years 1238 - 1240, page 203

By the end of the Middle Ages so many churches claimed to possess a piece of the True Cross, that John Calvin is famously said to have remarked that there was enough wood in them to fill a ship:

"There is no abbey so poor as not to have a specimen. In some places there are large fragments, as at the Holy Chapel in Paris, at Poictiers, and at Rome, where a good-sized crucifix is said to have been made of it. In brief, if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load. Yet the Gospel testifies that a single man was able to carry it."
— Calvin, Traité Des Reliques.
Santo Toribio de Liébana in Spain presently holds the largest of these pieces and is one of the most visited Roman Catholic pilgrimage sites. It is possible that many of the extant pieces of the True Cross are fakes, created by travelling merchants in the Middle Ages, during which period a thriving trade in manufactured relics existed.

In 1870, Rohault de Fleury in his "Mémoire sur les instruments de la Passion" (Paris, 1870) made a study of the relics in reference to the criticisms of Calvin and Erasmus. He drew up a catalogue of all known relics of the True Cross showing that, in spite of what various authors have claimed, the fragments of the Cross brought together again would not reach one-third that of a cross which has been supposed to have been three or four meters in height, with transverse branch of two meters wide, proportions not at all abnormal. He calculated: supposing the Cross to have been of pine-wood (based on his microscopic analysis of the fragments) and giving it a weight of about seventy-five kilograms, we find the original volume of the cross to be .178 cubic meters. The total known volume of known relics of the True Cross, according to his catalogue, amounts to approximately .004 cubic meters, leaving a volume of .174 cubic meters lost, destroyed, or otherwise unaccounted for. Other scientific study of the extant relics has been conducted which confirms that they are from a single species of tree. Four cross particles from European churches, i.e. S.Croce in Rome, Notre Dame, the cathedral of Pisa and the cathedral to Florenz, were microscopically examined. "The pieces came all together from olive." (Ziehr, William, Das Kreuz, Stuttgart 1997, Seite 63)

Veneration of the Cross
St John Chrysostom wrote homilies on the three crosses:

"Kings removing their diadems take up the cross, the symbol of their Saviour's death; on the purple, the cross; in their prayers, the cross; on their armour, the cross; on the holy table, the cross; throughout the universe, the cross. The cross shines brighter than the sun."
The Roman Catholic Church, many Protestant denominations (most notably those with Anglican origins), and the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14, the anniversary of the dedication of Constantine's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In later centuries, these celebrations also included commemoration of the rescue of the True Cross from the Persians in 628. In the Gallician usage, beginning about the seventh century, the Feast of the Cross was celebrated on May 3. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, when the Gallician and Roman practices were combined, the September date, for which the Vatican adopted the official name "Triumph of the Cross" in 1963, was used to commemorate the rescue from the Persians and the May date was kept as the "Invention of the True Cross" to commemorate the finding. (Note: the term "Invention" is from the Latin invenire, to find (lit. to come across), and should not be understood in the modern sense of creating something new. ) The September date is often referred to in the West as Holy Cross Day; the May date was dropped from the liturgical calendar by the Second Vatican Council in 1970. (See also Roodmas.) The Orthodox still commemorate both events on September 14, one of the twelve Great Feasts of the liturgical year, and the Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Cross on August 1st, the day on which the relics of the True Cross would be carried through the streets of Constantinople to bless the city [6].

In addition to celebrations on fixed days, there are certain days of the variable cycle when the Cross in celebrated. The Roman Catholic Church has a formal Adoration of the Cross during the services for Good Friday, while the Orthodox celebrate an additional Veneration of the Cross on the third Sunday of Great Lent. In Greek Orthodox churches everywhere, a replica of the cross is brought out in procession on Holy Thursday for the people to venerate.

In the movie Kingdom of Heaven the Christian army carries the True Cross to battle. After the Battle of Hattin it stands abandoned on the battlefield surrounded by corpses.

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The Cathars, the Grail and Courtly Love

"At the end of seven hundred years, the laurel will be green once more."-
Anon.Troubadour, 13th Century

HIGH ON A SACRED MOUNTAIN in Southern France, the whitened ruins of Montsegur are a reminder of the last actively visible gnostic school in the West, the Cathari. Below Montsegur lies a peaceful meadow, its name,"Field of the Burned", the only indication of the grim event that took place there a little over 700 years ago. In March, 1244, 205 Cathars were burned alive on the site, rather than renounce their creed.

Who were these heirs to Montsegur? Their name Cathari, means "pure" in Greek. Branded heretics by the Roman Catholic Church, little remains to speak of them today, other than Inquisition records. Their writings were destroyed along with their earthly bodies. Yet, in their time their influence was enormous, networking with centers in Italy, Bosnia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Switzerland and Germany. There is evidence as well of a deep connection with Moslem Sufi communities in Spain and the Middle East and with Jewish Kabbalist scholars living in surrounding cities. The Grail legends, the Courts of Love, the troubadours, all blossomed under the benign guidance of the gnostic Cathari. The spirit of the land, then known as Oc, was that of tolerance and personal liberty, most rare in any age.

Much of their faith rested upon a form of Manichaeism brought to Gaul in the 8th century by missionaries from Bulgaria, Croatia and Bosnia. The close affinity of Druidic teachings, the rallying of the poor to resist Church and secular tyranny, and the appeal of an elite strata of the faith to the aristocracy, made rich soil for the teachings to take root. Cathar doctrines, prosleytized largely by readings of the Gospel according to John, provided a highly workable alternative to the confusion and misery that existed.

Central to the Cathar creed is the concept of Duality, the opposition of the material world to that of the spirit. For the masses, this translated into a battle between good (Light or God) and evil (Darkness or Satan). However, if we return to the source of one of the many strands of which the Cathar faith is woven, we see in early Zoroastrianism, the root of Manichaeism, a less encrusted form of dualism. According to Zoroaster, the Supreme Being created twin forces of reality and unreality. Reality and unreality are seen as essential elements from which our world is created, not polarizations of good and evil. Reality is represented by objective meaning. Unreality is human subjectivity, which only becomes negative when we are enmeshed and blinded by it.

Man, according to the Cathar creed, has three natures: the body, which is the abode of the soul; the soul, which is the abode of the spirit; and the spirit, the divine spark.

Through a life dedicated to ever increasing purity, the composite nature of man can undergo a double death and transfiguration, so that the formed spirit, born of the spark and nourished in the soul, will eventually separate, returning to the Light. The rigorously ascetic discipline necessary to achieve this state was available to the "Parfaits" (or "perfects"), master adepts, and a lower grade of adepts. The masses, or "believers" as they were called, were allowed to live fully in the ways of the householder, and understood that they were enmeshed in cycles of reincarnation to be reborn on Earth.

The outer appearance and practices of the Parfaits were simple. They worshipped in forests and on mountain tops, utilizing the strong tellurgic currents of the region. Their initiations were held in a series of limestone caves, chiefly near the Pic de St. Barthalemy. Renouncing worldly riches, they wore plain dark blue gowns, ate vegetarian foods, and kept strict vows of chastity in keeping with their belief that it was sacrilegious to procreate. They held to the tenet that Christ was cosmic, (and so could not have been crucified), suicide was sacred, and that the role of woman was equal to that of man, with the only stipulation being that a woman could not preach. Marriage, baptism, and communion were not recognized as valid rituals.

What set the Cathari apart from other gnostic sects was the ritual of the The Consolamentum.This ceremony consisted of the Parfait laying his hands upon the head of the literally dying or upon the head of the believer who aspired to enter the community of the Parfaits. A transmission of immense vivifying energy was said to take place, inspiring to those who witnessed it. The ritual of the The Consolamentum may have strongly contributed to the rapid spread of Catharism. This energy transmission allowed the spirit to continue its ascent towards the Light in safety, to evolve, or if the recipient was on the threshold of death, to make the leap into the cosmos. To not fear death was a crowning achievement. This courage served the adepts well when they were ruthlessly hunted down. At Montsegur, at Minerve, in the dungeons of Carcasonne, it is told that the Parfaits went willingly to their fate, helping others at the same time achieve release without fear or pain.

The sacred caves of the Sabarthez cluster around the small resort town of Ussat-Les-Bains and are known as'doors to Catharism'. To reach Bethlehem, the most important of the Cave Churches of Ornolac, one must climb the steep Path of Initiation. The Cave of Bethlehem may well have been the spritual center of the Cathar world. For it was here that the 'Pure' candidate underwent an initiation ceremony that culminated in TheConsolamentum.

Four aspects of the Cave were utilized in the ceremony:

A square nich in the wall in which stood the veiled Holy Grail

A granite altar upon which The Gospel ofJohn lay.

A pentagram hewn into the wall.

Telluric currents eminating from the rockwalls and floor.

The crusade against the Cathars began in earnest in 1209. It was one thing for an obscure monk to take vows of poverty and chastity and quite another for a whole people to loosen their ties to the material world. The very foundations of the Roman Catholic Church and feudalism were rocked by Cathar teachings. Practicing what they preached with great humility, attacking the corruption of the Catholic clergy, and establishing prosperous, cooperative communities in the land of Oc brought forth the full wrath of the outraged Roman Catholic Church and Northern nobility.

When the first rumblings of persecution were heard in 1204, Montsegur was rebuilt and fortified with a garrison. Originally the ancient ruin was used by the Cathars as a meditation site. Now, according to legend, it served an additional function as a refuge for the sacred treasure of the Grail, the safekeeping of which was allegedly part of the function of the Cathari.

Attacks on the South of France were led by the fanatic, Simon de Montfort. Whole towns loyal to the Cathars were massacred in the most brutal fashion. To experience the wildness of the countryside is to understand the depths of De Montfort's obsession. Innumerable men must have been lost as he plunged armies into deep, craggy ravines and up forbidding mountainsides. De Montfort's first vicious attacks on Montsegur were successfully repulsed. Montsegur stood firm as a symbol of hope.

By 1215, the Council of Lateran established the dread Inquisition. During the next 50 years the toll of those killed by this infamous arm of the Roman Catholic Church climbed to one million, more than in all of the other crusades against heresies combined. Throughout these trials, Montsegur quietly defied the Church, standing as a bastion of faith.

The murder of two Dominican Inquisitors at Avignonet was the pretext for resuming attacks against the fortress-temple. The brave Cathari and their supporters resisted for six months,but through an act of treachery, the difficult mountain was scaled, and in March of 1244, Montsegur surrendered. Singing, 205 Cathars marched down the mountain and into the large bonfires awaiting them. A memorial solar cross silently testifies to their martyrdom.

Coins and sacred objects left behind by the Cathars were distributed to the conquerors, but according to Inquisition records, the real treasure vanished the night before the capitulation. Four Cathars and the Cathars' treasure were said to have been let down the steepest side of the mountain by ropes and disappeared.

Speculation still exists about the nature of the treasure - sacred books, the Grail Stone, or the Grail Cup? And where might it be hidden? In one of the many limestone caves that surround Montsegur? In an abandoned, water-logged mine deep in the Ariage? Mute witness to all, the ruin of Montsegur does not reveal these secrets. Patiently it waits in the brilliant sun for the last sign of the Cathars, the greening of the laurel.

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Celtic Names Link
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Knights Templar
Knights Templar
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is part of or related
to the Knights Templar series

Knights Templar

History of the Knights Templar

Knights Templar in England

Knights Templar legends

Knights Templar Seal

Grand Masters of the Knights Templar
List of Knights Templar

Modern associations

Knights Templar and popular culture

Knights Templar (Freemason degree)

The Seal of the Knights — the two riders have been interpreted as a sign of poverty or the duality of monk/soldier.This article is about the medieval military order. For other uses of the term, please see Templar (disambiguation).
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Latin: pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici), popularly known as the Knights Templar, was one of the most famous of the Christian military orders. It existed for about two centuries in the Middle Ages, created in the aftermath of the First Crusade of 1096 to ensure the safety of the large numbers of European pilgrims who flowed toward Jerusalem after its conquest.

The Templars were an unusual order in that they were both monks and soldiers, making them in effect some of the earliest "warrior monks" in the Western world. Members of the Order played a key part in many battles of the Crusades, and the Order's infrastructure innovated many financial techniques that could be considered the foundation of modern banking. The Order grew in membership and power throughout Europe, until it ran afoul of King Philip IV of France (Philip the Fair), who caused many of the order's members in France to be tortured into confessions and burned at the stake. Under influence from King Philip, Pope Clement V then forcibly disbanded the order in 1314.

Contents [hide]
1 Organization
2 History
3 Grand Masters
4 Places associated with the Knights Templar
5 Legends
6 Sources
7 See also
8 External links

The high Templars were organized as a monastic order, following a rule created for them by their patron, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a member of the Cistercian Order. Each country had a Master of the Order for the Templars in that region, and all of them were subject to the Grand Master, appointed for life, who oversaw both the Order's military efforts in the East, and their financial holdings in the West.

There were four divisions of brothers in the Templars:

the knights, equipped as heavy cavalry (wore a white habit with red cross);
the sergeants (serjens), equipped as light cavalry and drawn from a lower social class than the knights (wore a brown mantle);
the serving brothers - the rural brothers (frères casaliers), who administered the property of the Order, and the frères de métiers, who performed menial tasks and trades;
the chaplains, who were ordained priests and saw to the spiritual needs of the Order.
With the high demand for knights, there were also knights who signed up to the Order for a set period of time before returning to secular life, as well as the Fratres conjugati, who were married brothers. Both of these wore a black or brown mantle with a red cross to delineate them from the celibate lifetime members, and were not considered to be of the same status as the celibate brothers. It also appears that the serving brothers (frères casaliers and frères de métiers) were not separate from the sergeants, but rather that a sergeant who was a skilled tradesman or was unable to fight due to age or infirmity would perform these other functions. The majority of the Templars, including the knights and the Grand Masters, were both uneducated and illiterate (as were most knights of the day), having come not from the upper nobility but from more obscure families.

At any time, each knight had some ten people in support positions. Some brothers were devoted solely to banking (typically those with an education), as the Order was often trusted with the safekeeping of precious goods by participants in the Crusades; but the primary mission of the Knights Templar was warfare.

The Templars used their wealth to construct numerous fortifications throughout the Holy Land and were probably one of the best trained and disciplined fighting units of their day. They were also famous and easily recognized, with a white surcoat with distinct red cross emblazoned above the heart or on the chest, as seen in many portrayals of crusading knights.

Initiation into the Order was a profound commitment, and involved a secret ceremony. Few details of the rituals were known at the time, fueling the suspicions of medieval inquisitors, but initiates, at least in the early days of the Order, had to be of noble birth, of legitimate heritage, and had to be willing to sign over all of their wealth and goods to the Order. Further, joining the Order required vows of poverty, chastity, piety, and obedience. For the warriors of the Order, there was a cardinal rule of never surrendering. This fearless uncompromising nature of the Templars, along with excellent training and heavy armament, made them a feared and elite fighting force in medieval times.

Main article: History of the Knights Templar
The order was founded around 1118 by French knights Hughes de Payens, a veteran of the First Crusade, and Godfrey de St Omer for the protection of pilgrims on the road from Jaffa and Jerusalem. At first, the knights, being nine in number, relied on gifts and cast-offs. As a result they were originally known as the Poor Knights of Christ. King Baldwin II of Jerusalem gave them a headquarters on the Temple Mount, above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. It was from this location that the Order took its name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.

The Dome of the Rock, one of the structures at the Temple MountThe Order grew rapidly because of support from key church leaders such as Bernard de Clairvaux, and was exempt from all authority except that of the Pope. Because of this official sanction, the order received massive donations of money, land, and noble-born sons from families across Europe, who were encouraged to donate support as their way of assisting with the fight in the Holy Land. Templar Knights also fought alongside King Louis VII of France, King Richard I of England, and in battles in Spain and Portugal.

Though the primary mission of the Order was a military one, only a small percentage of its members were actually at the front lines, while many others were involved in developing a financial infrastructure to support the warrior branch. The Order also innovated ways of generating letters of credit for pilgrims who were journeying to the Holy Land, which involved pilgrims depositing their valuables with the Order before setting off on the journey. This may have been the first form of checking put into use. From this mixture of donations and shrewd business dealing during the 12th and 13th centuries the Order acquired large tracts of land both in Europe and the Middle East, built churches and castles, bought farms and vineyards, was involved in manufacturing, import and export, had its own fleet of ships, and for a time even owned the entire island of Cyprus.

Templars being burned at the stakeAfter Jerusalem was lost to Saladin in the late 1100s, the Crusades gradually wound down and European support for the Order began to falter. In the early 1300s, King Philip IV of France (also known as "Philip the Fair") was in desperate need of money to continue his war with the English. On Friday, October 13, 1307 (a date possibly linked to the origin of the Friday the 13th legend), Philip had all French Templars simultaneously arrested, charged with numerous heresies, and tortured by French authorities nominally under the Inquisition until they allegedly confessed. This action released Phillip from his obligation to repay huge loans from the Templars and justified his looting of Templar treasuries. In 1312 due to public opinion and scandal, and under pressure from King Philip (who had been responsible for maneuvering Pope Clement V into the Vatican), Clement officially disbanded the Order at the Council of Vienne. Even though all their lands were supposed to be turned over to the Hospitallers, Phillip retained a great deal of the Templar assets in France. Some other European leaders followed suit in an effort to reduce the amount of Church-owned lands and property. In 1314 three Templar leaders, including Grand Master Jacques De Molay,Hugh De Perault and Godfrey De Goneville were burned alive at the stake by French authorities after publicly renouncing any guilt.

Remaining Templars around Europe, having been arrested and tried under the Papal investigation (with virtually none convicted), were either absorbed into other military orders such as the Order of Christ and the Knights Hospitaller or contemplative Benedictine or Augustinian orders; returned to the secular life with pension; and in some cases possibly fled to other territories outside of Papal control such as England and excommunicated Scotland. But questions still remain as to what happened to the few hundreds of Templars across Europe, or to the fleet of Templar ships which, according to novels like 'Holy Blood and Holy Grail' vanished from La Rochelle on October 13, 1307. Also, the extensive archive of the Templars, with detailed records of all of their business holdings and financial transactions, was never found, though it is unknown whether it was destroyed, or moved to another location, or never existed in the first place.

In modern times, it is the Roman Catholic Church's position that the persecution was unjust; that there was nothing inherently wrong with the Order or its Rule; and that the Pope at the time was severely pressured into suppressing them by the magnitude of the public scandal and the dominating influence of King Philip IV.

Grand Masters
Main article: Grand Masters of the Knights Templar
Starting with founder Hughes de Payens in 1118, the Order's highest office was that of Grand Master, a position which was held for life, though considering the warrior nature of the Order, this could be a very short period of time. The Grand Master oversaw all of the operations of the Order, including both the military operations in the Holy Land and eastern Europe, and the financial and business dealings in the Order's infrastructure of Western Europe. Grand Masters could also be active military commanders, though this was not always a wise choice, as seen by the fate of the defeated Grand Master Gérard de Ridefort, who ended up beheaded by Saladin in 1189 at the Siege of Acre.

Places associated with the Knights Templar

Tomar Church, PortugalMiddle East
Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
Akko (City of Acre) - contains a tunnel leading to a 13th century Templar stronghold
Arwad, Syria - an island fortress
Chastel Blanc, Syria
Sainte-Vaubourg, 76/Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France. In 1173, King Henry II, gave the manor Sainte-Vaubourg at Val-de-la-Haye to the Knights Templar.
Neuilly-sous-Clermont, 60/Oise, Picardie, France
Mont-de-Soissons, 02/Aisne, Picardie, France - The chapel, pigeonniere and grange all date from the XIIIth century. The chapel was restored by the Knights of St. John after the dissolution of the Templars.
Acquebouille, 45/Loiret, France - This chapter-house was part of Commandery Saint-Marc d' Orleans.
La Villedieu-Les-Maurepas, 78/Yvelines, Ile de France - Thirteenth-century Gothic chapel with octagonal tower, and various buildings with a surrounding wall largely restored. Departmental cultural center.
Coulommiers, France
Avalleur, Burgundy, France
Chinon, Payes-de-la-Loire, France
Cressac-Blanzac, Charente, France
Sergeac, Dordogne, France
Domme, Dordogne, France
Sainte-Eulalie-du-Cernon, France
Richerenches, France
La Couvertoirade, Aveyron, France
United Kingdom
Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland, UK
Temple Church, Middle Temple and Inner Temple, London, England, UK
Temple Dinsley, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Hertford, Hertfordshire, England [1], UK
Royston Cave, Royston, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Garway Church, Herefordshire, England, UK
Cressing Temple, Essex, England [2], UK
Templecombe, Somerset, England [3], UK
Temple Balsall, Warwickshire, England, UK
Temple Bruer, Lincolnshire, England, UK
Temple Cowton, North Yorkshire, England, UK
Temple Ewell, Kent, England, UK
Temple Newsam, West Yorkshire, England, UK
Temple Meads, Bristol, England, UK
Lundy Island, Devon, England, UK
Westerdale, North Yorkshire, England, UK
Great Wilbraham Preceptory, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Holy Sepulchre (Round Church), Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Bisham Abbey, Berkshire, England, UK
St. Mary's, Sompting, West Sussex, England, UK [4]
Tintagel Castle (Castle Dintagell), Cornwall, UK
Convento de Cristo in the Castle of Tomar [5]
Church of Santa Maria do Olival in Tomar
Castles of Almourol, Idanha, Monsanto, Pombal and Zêzere
Castle of Soure, near Coimbra [6]
Irrigation system in Aragon, Spain [7]
Iglesia Veracruz in Segovia, Spain [8]
Kolossi Castle in Cyprus
Tempelhof in Berlin, Germany
For a list of some of the places that have been associated with the Knights Templar, either in fiction or legend, but which have not yet been proven to have a factual association, see Rumored locations.

Main article: Knights Templar legends
The Knights Templar have become surrounded by legends concerning secrets and mysteries handed down to the select from ancient times. Most of these legends are connected with the long occupation by the order of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and speculation about what relics the Templars may have found there, such as the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, or fragments of the True Cross from the Crucifixion. And still more stories were started by fictional embellishments upon the Templar history, such as a treasure long hidden by the Templars. This idea has been used in two recent Hollywood movies, The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure, and in a novel by Steve Berry, The Templar Legacy.

Other legends have grown around the suspected associations of the Templars. Many organizations claim traditions from the original Order (the Freemasons, for instance, began incorporating Templar symbols and rituals in the 1700s) especially in relation to anonymous charity and good deeds. Some of these organizations which might be associated with the Templars are still active within communities across the globe supporting humanistic causes such as hospitals and medical treatment centers for the less fortunate.

Another legend originates around Switzerland, and associates the Knights Templar with the founding of the Swiss country.[1]

For more information, see Knights Templar legends and Knights Templar and popular culture.

Malcolm Barber, The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple. Cambridge University Press, 1994. ISBN 0521420415
Peter Partner, The Knights Templar and their Myth. Destiny Books; Reissue edition (1990). ISBN 0892812737
^ Frale, Barbara (2004). "The Chinon chart - Papal absolution to the last Templar, Master Jacques de Molay". Journal of Medieval History 30 (2): 109–134. DOI:10.1016/j.jmedhist.2004.03.004.
The History Channel, Decoding the Past: The Templar Code documentary, 2005
George Smart, The Knights Templar: Chronology, Authorhouse, 2005. ISBN 1418498890
Sean Martin, The Knights Templar: The History & Myths of the Legendary Military Order, 2005. ISBN 1560256451
Dr. Karen Ralls, The Templars and the Grail, Quest Books, 2003. ISBN 0835608077
Alan Butler, Stephen Dafoe, The Warriors and the Bankers: A History of the Knights Templar from 1307 to the present, Templar Books, 1998. ISBN 0968356729
Malcolm Barber, "Who Were the Knights Templar?". Slate Magazine, 20 April 2006. http://www.slate.com/id/2140307/?nav=tap3
Brighton, Simon (2006-06-15). In Search of the Knights Templar: A Guide to the Sites in Britain (Hardback), London, England: Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 0297844334.
J M Upton-Ward, The Rule of the Templars: The French Text of the Rule of the Order of the Knights Templar. The Boydell Press, 1992. ISBN 0851153151
See also
History of the Knights Templar
Knights Templar legends
Knights Templar and popular culture
Knights Templar Seal
Templars in England
List of Knights Templar
Foucault's Pendulum
Chinon Parchment
Council of Vienne
Geoffrey de Charney
Knights Hospitaller
Order of Christ
Knights Templar in Scotland

External links
The Temple Virtual Tour
Knights Templar Catholic Encyclopedia entry
Templar History Magazine Popular history of the Templars
The Knights Templar - History and Myth Exhibition in Poland.
The History of the Knights Templar, by Charles Addison
The Round Church in Cambridge
Did The Templars Form Switzerland?: An Interview with Alan Butler

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:47, Sat 12 Aug 2006.

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