Aengus mac Óg's inheritance (or the lack thereof)

Discussion in 'Celtic Mythology' started by Alejandro, May 30, 2012.

  1. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    The Irish divinity Aengus Mac Óg lived at the Brú na Bóinne in the Boyne River Valley but he was landless before he acquired this property and had had to trick his father An Dagda ["The Dagda"] out of it in order to acquire any inheritance from the latter in the first place at all. Aengus was an illegitimate son of An Dagda, born of another man's wife, and when he came of age he arrived at his father's home at the Brú to find that An Dagda had finished distributing his land among his children, with nothing for Aengus. Is there a reason that Aengus was singled out like this? Because he was illegitimate? (But An Dagda surely had other illegitimate offspring besides him, didn't he?) Or was there a requirement for the recipient of the land to be present at the time of its bequeathal? Or some other reason altogether?
  2. Caburus

    Caburus Active Member

    Why assume that the Dagda had other illegitimate children? Aengus missed out because he was absent from the distribution ceremony. Before literacy the recipient had to be physically present inorder for the witnesses to see and approve the actual transfer, otherwise quarrels and warfare could ensue. It also gave a good story in showing how clever Aengus was, and how, as the illegitimate outsider, he became the one who actually possessed the family home (is this a warning or a joke?).:)
    Alejandro likes this.
  3. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    I assumed that An Dagda had other illegitimate children basically because he was known to sleep around, but granted I've been unable to find any explicit attestations of any of his other offspring being illegitimate. Although, as the "All-Father," he bears a similarity to the Norse Óðinn and the Greek Zeus, both of whom seem to have acquired this title, or a title like it, from the scores of illegitimate children that they had sired. I hadn't thought of the Brú as the family homestead of all of An Dagda's children and of Aengus therefore as the functional successor as head of the same. :)

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