By Miranda Green
In Animals in Celtic lifestyles and fantasy, Miranda eco-friendly attracts on facts from early Celtic records, archaeology and iconography to think about the style within which animals shaped the foundation of complex rituals and ideology. She finds that animals have been endowed with a really excessive prestige, thought of by way of the Celts as beneficial of appreciate and admiration.
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Extra resources for Animals in Celtic Life and Myth
Greyhounds are specifically mentioned in the early Welsh literature: they formed some of the many gifts presented to Pwyll by Arawn, lord of the Otherworld, in the First Branch of the Mabinogi. 15 Romano-British bronze figurine of a dog, Kirkby Thore, Cumbria. Paul Jenkins. 94 The guardianship aspect of dogs in Celtic life is amply illustrated by one of the stories of the early life of Cú Chulainn: he kills the hound of Culann the Smith and, in recompense, pledges himself to act as guard dog in its place (see chapter 7).
The presence of middle-aged or elderly cattle on archaeological sites implies that they were worked before they were eaten. Such is the case at the habitation site of Variscourt; and at the sanctuary of Gournay, the cattle had undoubtedly been used as working animals before they were sacrificed to the infernal gods. 115 For successful ploughing, it is necessary to have a pair of specially trained animals, with the correct size to power ratio. Peter Reynolds has calculated that the average Celtic field (for which there is archaeological evidence in Britain) can be ploughed in a single day.
Flocks would have been carefully managed and their size may have been strictly controlled. 126 If we assume that Iron Age sheep were basically of Soay type, then their wool could have been gathered either by plucking or by shearing. 129 During the Iron Age there was an important technological advance in wool-winning with the invention of iron shears, which meant that the entire fleece could be removed and the farmers no longer needed to rely on the somewhat haphazard business of plucking during the annual summer moult.
Animals in Celtic Life and Myth by Miranda Green