|Member of the Tuatha Dé Danann|
Aengus, illustration by Beatrice Elvery in Violet Russell's Heroes of the Dawn (1914)
|Abodes||Brú na Bóinne|
|Children||Diarmuid Ua Duibhne (foster-son)|
|Siblings||Oghma an Cermait (brother)|
In Irish mythology, Aengus (Old Irish: Oíngus, Óengus) is a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann and probably a god of love, youth and poetic inspiration. He is traditionally described as having singing birds circling his head.
In Old Irish his name is spelled Oíngus or Óengus [oiŋɡus], from Proto-Celtic *oino- "one" and gus "strength" (or possibly "choice"). In Middle Irish this became Áengus, and in Modern Irish Aengus or Aonghus [ˈeːŋɡəsˠ], [ˈeːŋɣəsˠ]. Epithets include Óengus Óc/Aengus Óg ("Aengus the young").
Life of Aengus
The Dagda had an affair with the river goddess Boann, wife of Nechtan. To hide her pregnancy, the Dagda made the sun stand still for nine months so that Aengus was conceived, gestated and born in one day. Midir was his foster-father.
When he came of age Aengus dispossessed the Dagda of his home, Brú na Bóinne (an area of the Boyne River Valley that contains the passage tombs Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth). He arrived after the Dagda had shared out his land among his children, and none was left for Aengus, so Aengus asked his father if he could live in Brú na Bóinne – the central spiritual spot by the Boyne, the river whose goddess is Bóinne – for "a day and a night", and the Dagda agreed. Irish has no indefinite article, so "a day and a night" is the same as "day and night", which covers all time, and so Aengus took possession of Brú na Bóinne permanently. In a different version of this story, appearing in The Wooing of Etain, Aengus uses the same ploy to trick Elcmar out of Brú na Bóinne, with the Dagda's connivance. In this version, Midir is Aengus's foster-father, while Elcmar is the husband of Boann cuckolded by the Dagda.
According to Death Tales of the Tuatha de Danaan, Aengus killed his stepfather Elcmar for killing Midir.
In The Wooing of Etain, Aengus was able to partially lift a spell against Étaín, the horse goddess he had won for his brother Midir. Midir's wife Fuamnach in a jealous rage had turned Etain into a beautiful fly. Turning her into a woman at night, Aengus made her his lover until Fuamnach found out about it and drove her away. Aengus killed his foster mother for her treachery.
Aengus fell in love with a girl he had seen in his dreams. His mother, Boann, goddess of the River Boyne, and a cow goddess whose milk formed the Milky Way (Bealach na Bó Finne, or the White Cow's Way in Irish), searched Ireland for a year, then his father, the Dagda, did the same. Finally, King Bodb Derg of Munster found her after a further year.
Aengus went to the lake of the Dragon's Mouth and found 150 girls chained in pairs, his girl, Caer Ibormeith, among them. On November 1, Caer and the other girls would turn into swans for a year, every second Samhain. Aengus was told he could marry Caer if he could identify her in her swan form. Aengus turned himself into a swan and they flew away, singing beautiful music that put all listeners asleep for three days and nights.
Aengus owned a sword named Moralltach, the Great Fury, given to him by Manannan mac Lir. This he gave to his foster-son Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, along with a sword named Beagalltach, the Little Fury, and two spears of great power, Gáe Buide and Gáe Derg. When the young man died, Aengus took his body back to Brú na Bóinne where he breathed life into it when he wished to speak with Diarmuid.
In other legends Aengus was able to repair broken bodies and return life to them.
In the Dindsenchas, Aengus shaped his kisses into four birds that followed Cairbre wherever he went to mock him each day before sunrise. This mockery continued until Cairbre's druid enchanted a tree from Fid Frosmuine with song, which caused the tree to grow above all others and detain Aengus' birds.
The Old Irish name Óengus is attested in Adomnán's Life of St. Columba as Oinogus(s)ius, showing that its etymology is from the Proto-Celtic roots *oino- "one" and *guss- "choice".
Modern Irish spellings are Aengus and Aonghus (Óengus is very rare).
Aonghas is the Scots Gaelic spelling.
- Aengus appears in the Irish poet William Butler Yeats's poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus", which describes Aengus's endless search for his lover.
- Angus Og appears in James Stephens' novel The Crock of Gold, where his aid is solicited by the Philosopher.
- In the Copper episode "Husbands and Fathers", Corcoran tells O'Brien to take Annie upstairs and tell her a story. O'Brien says to Annie, "I shall tell you about the Dream of Aengus and the Wooing of Etain."
- Aengus and his father the Dagda appear in Kate Thompson's young adult novel The New Policeman. Aengus acts as the protagonist's guide to Tír na nÓg and helps him restore it to its timeless state.
- Aengus is the primary antagonist of Hounded, Book 1 of The Iron Druid Chronicles.
- Angus makes a brief appearance leading his father's funeral in Hellboy: The Wild Hunt. Although Angus himself never speaks, his father Dagda is a frequent character in other Hellboy stories.
- The name of Aengus appears also in the song of Johnny Flynn "Wandering Aengus" from album "Sillion" (2017).
- Óengus Bolg, mythological king of the Corcu Loígde, possibly a deity
- Aengus Olmucada, legendary High King of Ireland of the 15th century BC.
- Aengus Ollamh, legendary High King of Ireland of the 5th century BC.
- Aengus Tuirmech Temrach, legendary High King of Ireland of the 4th century BC.
- Óengus Osrithe (ca. 100 AD), semi-legendary founder of the kingdom of Osraige.
- Óengus I of the Picts (died 761)
- Óengus II of the Picts (died 834)
- Aengus the Culdee, Irish saint who flourished in the early 9th century, author of Félire Óengusso
- Aonghas Óg, Lord of the Isles (died 1490)
- Óengus mac Nad Froích, King of Munster (5th century ?)
- Óengus of Moray, last Mormaer of Moray (died 1130)
- Aislingi Oengusai original text from Egerton 1782 at Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae.
- Tochmarc Étaíne: The Wooing of Étaín
- De Gabáil in t-Sída: The Taking of the Fairy Mound
- Aisling Óenguso: The Dream of Óengus
- Tóraigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne: The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Gráinne
- The Wooing of Etain The Celtic Literature Collective
- The Wooing of Étaíne CELT: The Corpus of Electronic Texts
- The Dream of Oengus The Celtic Literature Collective
- Adamnan (1874). Reeves, William, ed. Life of Saint Columba, Founder of Hy. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas. p. 123. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
- The Song of Wandering Aengus, Bartleby.com; "Source: The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)", poetry foundation.org.
- The Crock of Gold