Bláthnat

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Bláthnat ("Little flower"),[1] sometimes Bláthíne,[2] is a character in early Irish literature, a king's daughter, wife of the warrior Cú Roí and the lover of his rival Cú Chulainn.

Love triangle[edit]

Her father is either Mend[3] of Inis Fer Falga (identified as the Isle of Man), Iuchna,[4] Conchobar mac Nessa,[5] or Midir, the fairy king of Brí Léith (located in County Westmeath).

Her father's kingdom was invaded by warriors of the Red Branch of Ulster, led by Cú Roí and Cú Chulainn. The raid led to her capture, along with several cattle and a magic cauldron. Despite her being in love with Cú Chulainn, she was chosen by Cú Roí as his personal spoil and she therefore married him, leading to a dispute between the two warriors. This ended with Cú Chulainn being shaved and humiliated by Cú Roí.[6]

Later, she betrayed her husband to his enemies, pouring milk into the River Finglas (Finnglas) as a signal that he was at home. Subsequent to this action, Cú Roí was slain by Cú Chulainn. In revenge, Cú Roí's poet Ferchertne, threw both himself and Blathnát from a cliff.

Bláthnat's floral name and the story of her conspiracy have been compared to those of Blodeuwedd in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, Math Uab Mathonwy.[7]

Fled Bricrenn[edit]

Blathnat makes an appearance in the Fled Bricrenn (Feast of Bricriu) as the wife of the absent Cú Roí. She tells each of the three heroes to guard the fort on different nights, however only Cú Chulainn is able to defeat the force. Because of this, Cú Roí gives Cú Chulainn the Champion's Portion that he had been quarreling with the other heroes for, however the other two demand a rematch.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle,, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006). A Dictionary of First Names (2e édition. ed.). Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198610602. 
  2. ^ Christiansen, Reidar Th. (1980). Studies in Irish and Scandinavian Folktales (Reprint ed. ed.). New York: Arno Press. p. 75. ISBN 0405133073. 
  3. ^ Ellis, Peter Berresford (1995). Celtic women : Women in Celtic Society and Literature (1. publ. in Great Britain. ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans. p. 48. ISBN 0802838081. 
  4. ^ Carney, James (1979). Studies in Irish literature and history. Dublin: Institute for Advanced Studies. p. 60. ISBN 9781855001169. 
  5. ^ Chadwick, H. Munro Chadwick, Nora K. (1932–1940). The Growth of Literature (Digitally printed version. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 49. ISBN 1108016146. 
  6. ^ Moore, Arthur William (1891). The Folk-lore of the Isle of Man. Brown & Son. p. 8. 
  7. ^ Monaghan, Patricia (2004). The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. New York: Facts On File. p. 48. ISBN 1438110375. 
  8. ^ Henderson, George (1899). The Feast of Bricriu. [Whitefish, Mont.]: Kessinger Pub. ISBN 141916208X.