On My Honor: An Epic Medieval Tale Told in Irish Mythology

Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. I truly love this novel. For several hours, I was transported out of my life and into this mythical, magical world that I can only pray exists in another dimension that I get to one day visit with wide eyes. The locations are lushly rugged and otherworldly, and the characters are funny, sexy, addictive, and wholly fleshed out.

Day really took the time to develop each character. You just fall in love. This story is colorful, magical, yummy, and prismatic -- very multifaceted. Ming Ballard Screenwriter, Filmmaker. Wow, what a story. It definitely tickles the imagination and the descriptions of each character and scene is impeccably written. Even made me feel the emotions of the characters. Can't wait for another by Ms. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway.

Set up a giveaway. My second was how funny it was. And I'm still not sure if the humour is intentional. There's a section where Cathach comes back after riding his chariot off into battle alone, and he's been ripped to bits. That's the brothers so-and-so, they're the son of this guy and have killed that guy.

And it's so long and elaborate that it seems like it must be comic, but I'm just not sure. These tales were written down by monks in the 12th century from spoken stories that had been passed down for hundreds of years, since perhaps around 0AD. So they are very like Homer's works, and that you can see the repetition and exaggeration that would be characteristic of such stories. So much of Irish storytelling shows its roots in this work.

There are warrior queens. Girls decide who they will marry. Men must pursue them and gain their approval. It is simply a fundamentally different relationship to the gender roles Christianity brought to this country. A couple of times men make harsh statements about women in general, but it's always born out of a frustration with the fact that, e. Medb wont stop sending warriors to kill them. It's here's one of my favourite words again hyperbolic and, well, it's an epic, what do you expect? There's verse and one-on-one combats and ridiculous feats of arms involving throwing spears through boulders and so on.

I was actually surprised by how little I knew about The Tain. The translation seems clear and is very easy to read, though I can't comment on accuracy.


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The introduction is helpful, and the notes are comprehensive and informative. Sep 19, Anne rated it liked it Shelves: It's fascinating to read texts like this, because it's ALMOST like reading about what militant secularists wish were the case: In this pre-Christian epic, we see how people make meaning of their lives without their perspective being "muddled" by ideas about God, heaven, hell, right and wrong.

What would it be like? Secularists say Christianity spoils sex for It's fascinating to read texts like this, because it's ALMOST like reading about what militant secularists wish were the case: Secularists say Christianity spoils sex for everyone - why does have to come with promises and love and all that?

Just let people have fun without moralizing everything, they say! That's when we're allowed to be moral. You think taking the morality out of sex makes it more fun? You should have lived in Ireland in the early centuries. Men - because they call the shots, because they're bigger and stronger - make the rules. Men used sex to relieve themselves and baits fools into traps. Women were their pleasure toys. At best, women bore men sons, who could then grow up and fight and use women just like their fathers did.

The female characters with agency only obtain agency by acting as horribly as the men do. They're violent, glory-hungry, and evil. There's bloodthirsty Queen Medb, who's obsessed with one-upping her husband and leads thousands of men to their death for the sake of her pride.

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She has sex with Fergus to keep his military loyalty, and doesn't care that her husband knows about it. Sounds a bit like contemporary feminist logic, doesn't it? He doesn't let her get away with it, though. Not all women have this "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" sexual survival strategy that Medb represents.

Beautiful Derdriu, after being taken captive by her husband's murderer, refuses to have sex with him - which is strange, since he earned her sex through violence, of course. When he can't get her to have sex with him, she's shipped off to have sex with his best friend. In one of the only true romantic moves of the epic, she throws herself onto a boulder and is smashed to pieces to preserve her honor and stay faithful to her husband's memory. Sex DOES mean something to her, and she'd rather die than validate a worldview in which power trumps love.

Another miserable women, Finnebair Medb's daughter learns how many men died after they were promised sex with her hundreds. Humiliated and traumatized, she dies of shame on the spot. Her sex was only bait and a fun time to everyone except her. Rather than conform her worldview to theirs, she dies, and shows us that, despite society's opinion, sex MEANS something to her. I could go on about this, but Wendy Shalit can probably say this all better than me.

Basically, I think contemporary secularists want to believe that if only we could get rid of all this stupid Christian meaning, sex could be fun again. Well, sex was anything but fun before all the Christian meaning came along. Derdriu's suicide is actually one of the ONLY moments in the epic that features people acting as if anything other than fame and victory matters. Touchingly, another rare moment like this happens when Cuchulainn kills his foster brother Ferdia.

After growing up together and fighting side by side many a battle, they now have to fight to the death.

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Cuchulainn begs Ferdia not to fight, since he loves him and doesn't want to kill him, but Ferdia fights anyways because he's been promised sex with Finnebair. After Cuchulainn slays Feria, he lays by his body and weeps. This is a shocking moment, since Cuchulainn has slain hundreds of men with extraordinary violence without thought. The epic also doesn't devote any special narrational time to most deaths. It just reads "then so and so's guts spilled out and he died, and maybe a hill was named after him or something. But here, we get a whole monologue from Cuchulainn: I thought beloved Ferdia would live forever after me -yesterday, a mountain-slope; today, only a shade.

I have slaughtered, on this Tain, three countless multitudes: The army, a huge multitude, that came from cruel Cruachan has lost between a half and third, slaughtered in my savage sport. Never came to the battle-field, nor did Bamba's belly bear, nor over sea or land came a king's son of fairer fame.

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He's killed "a half and a third" of an army and not given anyone's life much thought, but Ferdia's death wakes something up in him. Like Derdriu and Finnebair, Cuchulainn life begins to have meaning after heartbreak. He becomes reflective, and even wise: Life, no matter how glorious, ends for everyone; what do we make of that?

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What do we think? To me, this epic is a heartbreaking, haunting, and warning portrait of what man without religion is like. He's empty, desperate, and violent. The world is cruel and life is short. But man, in the face of all this, is also questioning. Derdriu, Finnebair and Cuchulainn bring the reader sudden moments of reflection. What does it mean that we die? Is it any wonder that Christianity spread like wildfire throughout Ireland, after lives like these? This is one of a set of pre-Christian Irish epics, part of the Ulster Cycle, the events of which allegedly took place in the 1st century AD, the earliest written manuscripts dating from the 12th century AD.

Written mostly in prose, it nonetheless is similar in many ways to the Greek and Indian heroic epics, complete with hyperbolic language, magic, and many formulas characteristic of bardic oral traditions. It is a most entertaining read, with humor, gore, implausibility, and wild exaggeration. And read it slowly with an ear to recognition. In a nutshell, and a very small nutshell, this is the story of a raid on Ulster by the forces of the rest of Ireland, the object being to steal a prize bull. The Irish forces of Mebd and Ailill are opposed by the teenaged super-hero Cuchulainn alone until the Ulster forces are able to muster themselves and come to the rescue.

I found the work delightful. The book contains preliminary material that orients the reader and gives the story a context. This is a really accessible translation of the main story from the Ulster Cycle of early Irish myths. Except for the purposefully obscure roscata a feature of Celtic myth consisting of fragmented prose-poetry , it is fairly easy to follow the action and sequence of events in this myth, which is important because sometimes the story depends on seemingly supernatural events or actions.

The story itself does a good job of retaining traces of an oral storytelling tradition, like highly stylized desc This is a really accessible translation of the main story from the Ulster Cycle of early Irish myths. The story itself does a good job of retaining traces of an oral storytelling tradition, like highly stylized descriptions of people, repeated phrases, and long catalogues of deeds and people.

However, this text also demonstrates the complex interplay of culture because these pagan Celtic myths were recorded by Christian monks centuries after Ireland converted to Christianity. This means that some of the elements of Celtic paganism were probably mediated or culturally colonized by the monks who had a vested interest and were steeped in the mythology of Christianity.

I didn't really care for this even though I wanted to. I had heard it was the Irish legend to read. The part I didn't like was pages and pages of names and places over and over again, it got to where I just skipped over the names and places. I found it monotonous and boring. The core of the story, the war on Ulster by Queen Maeb, the magic bulls and my favorite champion, Cuchulainn was good but could have been written better.

I'm sure, at the time when this was an oral tradition, it was fantas I didn't really care for this even though I wanted to.

Eurielle - Carry Me [Emotional Vocal Orchestral]

I'm sure, at the time when this was an oral tradition, it was fantastic hearing your own family name in the story often but these are different times. I could have done without the repetitive names and places and just enjoyed an awesome story.

The Táin: From the Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge

Jul 16, Pedro rated it it was amazing Shelves: The best epic story ever! Even if this is a medieval text, it doesn't look so: So it doesn't matter if you don't like medieval history: To keep it short and sweet this is a must read for anyone interested in Irish history and culture, Celtic Heathenry, Odinism, mythology or general Celtic studies. One of the most essential texts for learning about any of these things but besides that the saga of Cuchulainn is a great entertaining story too. A really fantastic translation, keeping the pieces that exist of this story in their original formats, which doesn't always go together as smoothly as the modern reader might prefer.

The subtle humor in the story is maintained as well, which seems like a small thing, but honestly, it's those small touches that stand to remind us that people have always been people, whether they're raiding for bulls or dining and dashing at a steakhouse. The tragedies are huge, and the losses vast, and the poetry A really fantastic translation, keeping the pieces that exist of this story in their original formats, which doesn't always go together as smoothly as the modern reader might prefer.

The tragedies are huge, and the losses vast, and the poetry gorgeous. Just a really wonderful version of this part of the Ulster Cycle. Oct 21, William rated it liked it. In terms of form, the most immediate comparison might be to Egil's Saga-like Egla, The Tain is populated by poets, and lengthier dialogue is generally in the form of verse. The verse is stark, at least when judged against the more ornamented forms of the period. His Exile of the Sons of Uisliu is an excellent rendering of an exemplary work.

I may be stirring a hornet's nest here, but I prefered this to the Kinsella. Been a while since I read his translation though. Thought this flowed very well. My only gripe was that there weren't enough notes. There were a fair few times that I got a ref to some other tale and was surprised that it didn't have an explanation in the notes. This doesn't spoil the tale, but if you've not read, or heard, other old tales you may miss out on some of the depth that wee hints imply. For instance the battl I may be stirring a hornet's nest here, but I prefered this to the Kinsella.

For instance the battle between the Wee Hound and his son is hinted at, but no details in the notes. I think this would have helped put the tale in the correct context for the interested general reader. Still, I loved this. The idea of the Torque Kinsella calls it a warp-spasm is as gruesome as ever, and makes Viking Berserkers seem like wee old ladies sitting knitting by comparison. It doesn't shy away from the horrors of war, pretty much everyone kills non combatants.

Yet there is a horrible slapstick to some of the fights. As the Wee Hound says: This curious tale is one of the oldest and longest ancient Irish tales. It recounts the exploits of Irish hero Cu Chulainn as he repels an army come to steal the Ulstermen's prize bull, the Dun Cuailnge. I'm pretty sure it is the most violent piece of literature I've read, and I've read Blood Meridian.

Heads are lost, men are cut in twain, and a few are speared through their "rear portal. The story freely takes in the hyperbolically heroic, to the This curious tale is one of the oldest and longest ancient Irish tales.

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The story freely takes in the hyperbolically heroic, to the extend that it almost reads like an ancient comic book. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Please try your request again later. Genie Day is a Scottish-Irish author of medieval tales. She is a professional editor and loves to write and create medieval adventures about the Irish mythological Queen Danu of the Tuatha de Danaan and her half immortal daughter Torey.

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