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Topics I've Started
30.03.2013 @ 23:39This is a question I've wondered about since I first heard the theory, many years ago I forget exactly how, but it struck a few cords with my knowledge of myths. The basic theory tries to argue, intuitively, that if the men were out hunting and the women were at home minding the fire (no matches, they had to keep it going after all), then the possibility arises that women may have been the first to observe the smelting process refining ore into metal.
Here's a fairly recent archaeological find that is making the academics rethink ancient gender roles.
Since this board has a wide cultural base of people interested in fantasy, and therefore perhaps their own cultural myths, I figured here's a good place to ask if anyone knows any similar parallels to the following from Irish legend, which link females strongly to metalwork.
The Irish Goddess Brigid (we use goddess loosely, our "pagan gods" were really forms of Ancestor Worship, they aren't deities, i.e. related to some creator entity themselves, like the Greek Pantheon etc, the legends say they arrived in Ireland just like everyone else at some time in prehistory, they fought & mingled with subsequent arrivals, and they could die), had the following associations...
QuoteBrigid is considered the patroness of poetry, smithing, medicine, arts and crafts, cattle and other livestock, and spring. Along with these attributes, she also is associated with fire. Any type of fire symbolism, including light, candles, illumination, heat, warmth or sunrises also belong to this goddess. Arrows, bells, thresholds and doorways are also included in Brigid symbolism. Several animal correspondences are also tied to Brigid, particularly ewe, dairy cows, bees, owls and serpents.
Now there are a lot of things there, but all those elements can be viewed as static, around the homestead as it were. Note the strong link to fire, to metals with arrows & bells, and of course smithing & crafts.
Cúchulainn, one of our great heros of ancient saga, was given his deadly spear, the Gae Bolga, by a female warrior named Scathach. If you follow that link you'll see the spear has been equated linguistically to King Arthurs Excalibur, and through similarity to Odin's spear Gungnir.
Arthur of course drew a Sword from a Stone (as did Galahad IIRC), many now suggest this motif is allegory for the smelting of iron, and it was this technological advancement that gave him the right to rule. Excalibur though was given to him by the Lady of the Lake, in fact she is said to have forged it.
So anyone else know similar legends linking females to smithing & metalwork? And what do you think... could women have been the first smiths? And if so, should CDPR include in their innovations female smiths in their fantasy games?
02.03.2013 @ 20:51All this talk of Baba Yaga has reminded me of some great news we got recently of a new TV series planned by HBO, driven by the success of Game of Thrones, which I want to share incase you haven't heard.
Neil Gaimans American Gods is being made, apparently into a six series production from Playtone, and everything i've been hearing about it sounds fantastic, including the fact it is causing Gaiman to write more stories about the well known & the obscure gods of numerous world cultures, and how they might survive in the present.
I suspect many TW forumites are fans of Gaimans mature & complex mythologies, and if you haven't read him yet... check him out !
That book, and his Sandman graphic novel series are amazing works (it was in a Sandman story that I encountered Baba Yaga).
Anyone else hyped for this?