Gogmagog or Gog and Magog

Gogmagog: Gog and Magog
Goemagot, Goemagog or Gogmagoc; He of the Two Horns, He of the Two Ages, Gogmagog and Corineus

These ancient Giants (i.e. Titans, titans, fomorians, ancient ones) known as “Gog” and “Magog” in Paganism are descendants of early pre-Christian Giants of early English pageantry who were very tied to early Britain. The myth states that the Roman Emperor Diocletian had 33 wicked daughters whom he married off to 33 husbands who curbed their unsettling ways. However the daughters were so wicked, led by the eldest sister Alba, they plotted to cut the throats of their husbands as they slept. As punishment for this crime, they were set adrift in a boat with a half year’s rations of food, shunned forever. They drifted ashore the isles of what later became “Albion” (named after the eldest). Fornicating and coupling with demons, they populated the wild windswept island with a race of giants. Some say this was the Islands of what is known as modern day “Ireland” and became to be the legendary giant race of Fomorians while others claim it was the island of “Britain” and were the Giants who lived in these lands. When Brutus, great-grandson of Æneas, in company of his most able-bodied warrior Corineus, fled the fall of Troy, they by fate found themselves on these islands of Giants. Brutus was impressed with these isles so much that he named the Islands after himself, which later became called “Britain”. The leader of the Giants was a detestable monster named Goëmagot (Gogmagog), who stood in stature twelve cubits, and of such prodigious strength that at one shake he pulled up an oak as if it had been a hazel wand. Brutus and Corineus faced “Gogmagog“, had combat, and hurled him from a high rock to his death. (This place, called “The Giant’s Leap”, “Langnagog”, are disputed being in Ireland as well as Cornwall) As a reward for this defeat, Corineus was given the western part of the island, which many say is how Cornwall was called after him. After this defeat, Brutus travelled to the East and founded the city of New Troy, which eventually became known as “London”. [Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th century Historia Regum Brittaniae] Some correspond these myths to the biblical tale of Samson and Greek mythology of Hercules. Others argue that Gogmagog was a corruption of Gawr Madoc (Madoc the Great).

Another mythos to their origins tell that the 33 infamous daughters of Diocletian who were captured and chained at the gates of Guildhall as guardians had given birth to numerous sons who were deemed to be “Giants”. The last two survivors of these offspring, were “Gog” and “Magog”. This comes from the lore around the carved giants guarding the gates of Guildhall during the reign of Henry V. They were added to the Lord Mayor’s Show in 1554 which were labelled in 1605 as Corineus and Gogmagog. After much destruction of London by the great fires in 1666, they were resurrected in the Guildhall with the intent that they were to be seen daily all year and never to be demolished again such as the dismal violence as happened to their predecessors during the fires. Since these were made of wicker and pasteboard, they didn’t last very long, as they were eaten by rats. In 1708 they were replaced by a pair of wooden statues carved by Captain Richard Saunders which lasted for 200 years until destruction in the blitz. In 1953 they were replaced by the current carvings in the Guildhall created by David Evans as a gift to the City by Alderman Sir George Wilkinson who had been the Lord Mayor in 1940. Gog and Magog came to symbolize the links between the modern business institutions of the City to its ancient history. They have been coronated by Thomas Boreman in his “Gigantick History” of 1741 as:


    “Corineus and Gogmagog were two brave giants who richly valued their honour and exerted their whole strength and force in the defence of their liberty and country; so the City of London, by placing these, their representatives in their Guildhall, emblematically declare, that they will, like mighty giants defend the honour of their country and liberties of this their City; which excels all others, as much as those huge giants exceed in stature the common bulk of mankind.”

Another mythos could be relating them to Gyges or Gugu, the king who made Lydia a significant power. Some say the prophet Ezekiel utilized his history symbolically to tell this tale and referring to Asia Minor origins for convenience. Alexander the Great was also associated with Gog and Magog, identified as such in works glorifying the life and deeds of Alexander as someone who personally strove to keep Gog and Magog out of the civilized lands. This is related to the impenetrable wall he built to block off a pass in the Caucasus. The Quran also makes reference to a wall built to keep out Gog and Magog, which will be destroyed in the last days. Some equate this wall with Alexander’s, others with the Great Wall of China, and others as the Iron Curtain.

Gog and Magog don’t only have a place within Paganism, more so found Within much of J-C-I mythology (Judaism, Islam, Christianity), is an abundance of their existence in the lore, history, and beliefs of these peoples and/or faiths, especially as they pertain to future prophecies and catastrophism. Found in the Qur’an, Book of Ezekiel, Book of Genesis, and the Book of Revelation. These “supernatural beings” are also referred to as “demons” and “races” that once predated upon the Earth. According to Islam and Christianity of this being(s) were “war” incarnate, and was a great and righteous ruler (He of the Two Horns) or one that impacts two ages (He of Two Ages), would travel the world in three directions, until he found a tribe threatened by himself, or who were of an evil and destructive nature and caused great corruption upon the Earth. Often humans would offer tribute to Gog and Magog for his protection with the hope that he’d agree to help them. However, Gog and Magog notoriously declined the tribute. Because of this, according to legend, humanity constructed a great wall that all the hostile nations could not penetrate, trapping them there until doomsday, that their escape will be a sign of the end … “The War of Gog and Magog” would precede the return of Jesus.

(more…)

Want to follow the travels of Sir Thomas Leaf? Click Here!
Share

 


Ireland’s First Mythical Inhabitants: The Fomorians

4500 B.C.E. to ca. 500 B.C.E.

The Mythological Cycle:

The understanding of the folktales, folklore, myths, and legends of “Otherworldly” creatures who landed in Ireland in prehistoric times is known as “The Mythological Cycle.” A notable work exists called the Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland) or otherwise known as the “Book of Invasions” which is a Middle Irish title of a loose collection of poems and prose narratives recounting the history, mythology, and origins of the Irish race from the creation of the world down to the Middle Ages.

The Fomorians:

According to the myths and legends of early Ireland, the very first human-like inhabitants of the Green Island of Eire were the Fomorians. The Fomorians are believed to be beings who preceded the Gods, similar to the Greek Titans representing Gods of Chaos and wild nature. They were also depicted as the supernatural undead and magical beings of the Underworld or Otherworld.  They were seen as a giant demonic race of beings who lived in boats off the coast of Ireland, often coming ashore to plunder and pillage all that existed on this grand Green Isle.  According to medieval scholars, the name “Fomorians”, “Fomhoire”, “Formorian”, “Fomoraig”, and “Faoi-Mhuir” came from “Fomoire” a word combination of “fomó”  meaning “giant” or “pirate”, the Gaelic “Faoi-mhuir” meaning “beneath the sea”, with the elements ‘muire’ or ‘sea’  or “mor” as “spirit” or “phantom” giving them the reputation as ‘sea pirates or under-sea phantoms.’  Some legends suggest that the Fomorians originally came from Asia or Northern Africa having been birthed by Noah’s son Ham after he was cursed by Noah. Some believe the Fomorians were the descendants of GogmaGog. They left Africa as seafarers who were often depicted as having black skin, black haired with the body of a man and the head of a goat according to the Eleventh century text called the “Book of the Dun Cow” or the Lebor na hUidre. In some manners, they have similarities to the descriptions of Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Gods, Goddesses, and half-human/half-animal creatures.  Some of them have also been described as having one eye, one arm, and one leg; while others were fancied as elegant beauties as with “Elatha” the father of “Bres”. They were also notorious for their powers over the forces of nature, such as being able to bring forth fog, storms, diseases, blights, and plagues with their so-accused “evil” magic.  Through history, they claimed several famous royalties, especially in guise as “kings” by various names, the most remembered as King Conaing, King Morc, King Indech, King Tethra, King Balor, King Elatha, the Warrior Cichol, the Smith Dolb, the Steward Liagh, the Poet Oghma, and Queen Ceithlenn. Throughout the lands of present day Ireland and the United Kingdom, are their mythical tromping grounds of Conaing’s Tower, Tory Island, The Hebrides, Rathlin, Islay, Lochlann (Norway), and Dun Aengus. By the period of history when they participated in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh, the rumor was that their fleet stretched far and wide from the Northeastern coast of Ireland all the way to Norway.

The first Fomorian King to have settled in Ireland was “Conaing” taking root on all the Northern Islands along the coasts of Ireland, Scotland, and Norway. In some respects, they had a “under the seas” glamour about them having lived “beneath the waves” giving some affiliation with “mer-folk”, “selchies,”  and “mermen or mermaids”. They were then reputed to have split themselves up into different tribes, residing in the Underworld, which was later ruled by “Tethra” the Fomorian Faerie King.  Often described to have the color and composure that is common-place for a Nubian with the darkest of black skin and hair, oddly though “Elatha” the father of “Bres” was depicted as having the most “golden hair” and the handsomest man in sight.  He seemed the fairest of the leaders, not being so blood-thirsty as the other Fomorian leaders, and very interested in justice. In later years, he refused to go to war with his son “Bres” against the later faerie invaders known as the “Tuatha de Danann” as he felt such actions was “unjust”.  By right of the myths and legends, the Fomorians were unique in their DNA, racial, and family lineage with their own customs and language dialects than the other invading inhabitants of Ireland.  Whereas the Nemedians, the Fir-Bolg, and the Tuatha de Danann were believed to have shared the same DNA, family lines, languages, and were considered to be of the same races. At a later point in history, they were known to have intermarried with the Tuatha De Danann according to faerie tales and legends.  Popular stories relating to the Fomorians were the “Bres Mac Elatha and the Tuatha De Danann”, “The Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh”, “How Balor was Defeated”, “The Courting of Emer”, “The Fate of the Children of Turenn”, “the Fir Bolg”, “The Story of the Tuatha De Danann”, “The Death Tales of the Tuatha De Danann”, “Credhe’s Lament”, “the Hard Servant”, and “Partholon” myths.  They came to be defeated by the first invaders of Ireland from Greece known as the “Partholon” by 2680 or 2061 B.C.E. (dates differ to scholar’s theories).  Shortly after defeat by the Partholon, they took back the land by instilling a plague that killed off the Partholon, laying them waste in the fields. They battled again with the Nemeds and then finally defeated and vanquished by the Tuatha de Danann. Ever since, any settled pirates or sea-based raiders were labeled “Fomorians”.

By Thomas Baurley

 

Bibliography:

  • Anomymous scholar:

    11th c. C.E. Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland)

 

  • Encyclopedia Mythica:

    2012 The Fomorians. Website referenced March 2012.

    http://www.pantheon.org/articles/f/fomorians.html.

  • Magic & Mythology:

    2012 The Fomorians. Website referenced March 2012.

    http://www.shee-eire.com/Magic&Mythology/Races/Formorians/Page1.htm

  • Slavin, Michael:

    2010 “The Book of Tara”. Wolfhound Press: Dublin, Ireland.

  • Walsh, Brian:

    2006 “The Riddle of the Hobbit”: August 28, 2006: Time Magazine Online:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1399614,00.html.

  • Wikipedia: The Free Online Encyclopedia.

    2012 “The Fomorians”. Website reerenced February 2012.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fomorians

  • W.Y. Evans-Wentz:

    1966 “The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries”. Citadel Press: New York.

Share