Heroic & Dark Fantasy and Science Fiction Character created by Kevin L. O'Brien
Irish History Sources
The following is a list of books on Celtic and Irish history and culture, that were extensively used to create the backgrounds for the Medb hErenn stories:
- Atlas of the Celtic World,
by John Haywood
- How the Irish Saved Civilization,
by Thomas Cahill
- In Search of Ancient Ireland,
by Carmel McCaffrey & Leo Eaton
- Wars of the Irish Kings,
ed. by David Willis McCullough
- The World of the Celts,
by Simon James
The BBC video, The Celts: Rich Traditions and Ancient Myths, has also been very helpful.
Here are links to webpages that describe various aspects of Irish history and culture that have made their way into the stories:
- The Brehon Law — This code covered everything in Irish society from social standing and the professional classes to the rights of women, from land ownership and property rights to legal tender and contracts. How much of the law actually derives from the Iron Age or even earlier, no one can really say, but parts of it have been adopted for the stories.
- Iron Age Celtic Chariots — An archaeological paper on the speculative analysis and reconstruction of the Celtic chariot from burials and depictions in artwork.
- Gráinne Ní Mháille "Grace O'Malley" — Called the Sea Queen of Connaught, Grace commanded a fleet of trading and warships which she used to build an ocean empire that included much of western Connacht. Along with her rich land holdings, she became such a power that Elizabeth I parleyed with her and the two strong-willed women came to an agreement. She even sided with England against the Ulster earls in the Nine Years War, but when Elizabeth broke their agreement, Grace returned to her piratical ways.
World History Sources
While technically this page provides links to information about Irish history, Medb did travel the world, during her twelve hundred year exile and later after her "death". As such, here are links to webpages that describe various aspects of world history and culture that have made their way into the stories:
- D'Artagnan — The hero of three adventure romance novels by Alexandre Dumas, Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan, was in fact a real person, though Dumas based his novels on a fictionalized biography by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras.
- Julie d'Aubigny "La Maupin" — Had Medb not been based on the legendary Medb of Connacht, she would probably have been based on the life of La Maupin. She lived in France during the reign of Louis XIV as an opera singer and a professional duelist, sometimes dressing and acting as a woman, including marriage, and sometimes dressing and acting like a man, including seducing women. Unlike other women who were bisexual or who crossed genders, she seems to have lived a true transgender lifestyle.
- Hector Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac — Like D'Artagnan and the Man in the Iron Mask, Cyrano de Bergerac was an actual historical figure, a playwright, poet, and duelist with a prominent nose. He is perhaps most famous for his work of science fiction, The Other World: The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon. Like the fictional Cyrano, he fought at the siege of Arras during the Thirty Years' War, but when he was a very young man, not middle aged as in the play by Edmond Rostand. Also, he died at the age of 36, not in old age.
- Christina — Queen of Sweden from 1632 to 1654, and the daughter of Gustavus II Adolphus. She is best known historically for her great intelligence and learning and her refusal to marry, and popularly for abdicating the thrown and dressing and acting as a man.
- Elizabeth I — Queen of England from 1533 to 1603, and the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She is best known historically for the defeat of the Spanish Armada and her iconographic virginity. Her reign has been called a golden age and is designated as the Elizabethan Era, famous for the flourishing of English drama and the beginning of England's seafaring prowess. She is best known popularly for the Elizabeth movie franchise, in which she was played by Cate Blanchett.
- Louis XIV "The Sun King" — King of France from 1643 to 1715, he is best known historically for establishing an absolute monarchical government, and best known popularly as the main antagonist in the Man in the Iron Mask franchise of novels and movies.
- The Man in the Iron Mask — An actual historical figure, he "was a prisoner who was held in a number of jails, including the Bastille and the Chateau d'If, during the reign of Louis XIV of France. The identity of this man has been thoroughly discussed, mainly because no one ever saw his face which was hidden by a mask of black velvet cloth. Later retellings of the story have claimed that it was an iron mask."
- Monmouth Rebellion — Though the protagonist of the novel Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini and his adventures are fictional, the historical context is not, especially the rebellion of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, against his half-brother, James II, the penal transportation of the surviving rebels to the Caribbean, and the Glorious Revolution that deposed James in favor of William of Orange and his wife Mary Stuart.
Irish Language Sources
Though by necessity the Medb hErenn stories are written in English, extensive use has been made of Irish and Gaelic words. Here are links to websites that ere used as background sources:
- Irish Language Translation Forum — Anyone can go here and ask to have English translated into Irish, or vice versa.
- Irish Grammar — An excellent primer on the form of modern Irish Gaelic.
- Irish Dictionary — A dictionary that can translate between Irish and English words.
- Celtic Dictionary — A dictionary from which Kevin L. O'Brien obtained many pre-modern forms of Irish words.
- An Foclóir Beag — A searchable dictionary of modern Irish Gaelic, which presents the grammatical forms of the words depending upon usage. Presented in Gaeilge.
- Irish Profanity — Mostly for fun, here is a page of Irish swear words, from which much of the profanity that Medb uses was obtained.
Many of the names used for characters are derived from Irish names. These are two pages from which the majority of them were obtained:
Back to the Site Resources main page.