Created on 1st January 2005
Last Modified on 1st January 2005
The main difference between Alternate Earth and Glorantha is that we have a huge body of literature on Alternate Earth and very little on Glorantha. This means we have an enormous amount of information about the deities of the ancient cultures of Alternate Earth, far more than we have about the deities of Glorantha. This can be both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because we need only pick up a book on mythology to read a description of all of many of the ancient deities. It is a curse because we do not have a blank page to start with, we must follow the stories and legends that already exist.
How, then, do we start filling in the pantheons of Alternate Earth? The easiest way is to split the cultures into discrete Pantheons and then fill out the powers of the deities. However, this brought some problems to my attention, for these pantheons were obviously not as discrete as they first appeared. In fact, there are many deities common to the pantheons. How should we approach this problem and how to deal with it?
For instance, the Irish pantheon has Lir and Manannan mac Lir, both gods of the sea, the Welsh pantheon has Llyr and Manawyddan ap Llyr, both sea deities. The Irish have Nuada Silver Hand, the Welsh have Nudd Silver Hand, the Irish have the son god Lugh and the Welsh have the sun god Lleuw. The Irish have a legend of the Golden Apples of the Sun that bestow immortality, as do the Welsh, the Germanic peoples and the Greeks (Apollo went to the far north to find these). What do these similarities mean? Do they mean that the common Indo-European roots of these cultures have been preserved in the myths of the different peoples? Do they mean that the different cultures borrowed myths from the other cultures? Do they mean that these deities were worshipped by the different cultures in different ways? I prefer the last explanation, that each of the different cultures worshipped the same deity in different ways, forgetting some of the myths and only remembering those myths that affected their culture. So, an Irish worshipper of Lugh could regain his magic at a temple to Lleuw in Britain, and a British worshipper of Brigantia could regain her magic at an Irish temple to Brigit.
So, we have a series of deities that are spread across the whole of Europe, these are the original Celtic deities that were worshipped by the proto-celts. These deities include Lir, Manannan, Brigit, Nuada, Bile, Danu, Goibniu and The Primeval Cow. The Greeks knew of the Titans, vast primeval deities who ruled before the time of the Olympians. My personal opinion is that these primeval deities were common to the Greeks, the Celts and to the ancient people of Europe. We also have a number of magical items that are common to the cultures, these include the Golden Apples of the Sun, Cauldrons of Rebirth and Cauldrons of Plenty. For the purposes of Alternate Earth, I will be assuming that these are the same items that have been mentioned in more than one culture.
Where the deities are similar, in my opinion the same, I have used the same spells and skills. Where the deities are similar but different, I have used similar skills. After all, how many spear/shield wielding Celtic wargods do we really need?
As to ensuring that the legends of the cultures are consistent, this is a near impossible task. After all, how can we marry the legends of the Irish and the Greeks? They have different accounts of the origins of the earth and of the gods. However, we can make some assumptions that are practical for Alternate Earth. First, the deities existed and were worshipped in RuneQuest cults. Second, common elements in the mythology reflect shared elements. Third, legends of the origins of people are probably true, for the purposes of Alternate Earth. So, the Milesians did come from Spain and were probably the earliest Celts to reach Ireland. The Fir Bolg came from Thrace and were probably sea-borne settlers. The Britons did invade Ireland, but were forced back. Raiding between Britain and Ireland was common, as was raiding between Britain and Gaul.
This article is structured so that each deity references a link in the
Deities Page which will open up in another window. If you click on another
link, then the other window will move to the correct link. Another way
to navigate is by using the alphabetic links in the Deities page to move
between the deities, which are listed alphabetically. The deities in this
article are not listed alphabetically. At some stage, I will correct this
to make things slightly easier to find.
Wayland/Wieland the Smith
People of Partholan
Bres mac Alatha/mac Elatha
Cenchos the Footless
Tuan mac Carill
Tuatha de Danaan
Eochy mac Erc
Cian mac Cainte
Gobniu/Goibhui/Goibniu/Gobhan Saor/Gobhan Suor
Nuada Silver Hand
Angus/Angus mac Og/Aengus/Oengus
Aed mac Lir
Manamman mac Lir/Manannan mac Lir/Manannan Mac Lir
Sheela na Gig/Sheila na Cioch
Gan-Ceann / Gan-Geann
Ailill mac Matach
Cu Roi mac Daire
Finn mac Cumhaid/Fionn mac Cumhal /Finn mac Cool
Diarmuid Ua Duibhne
Goll mac Morna
Conaire Mess Buachalla
Conchobar mac Nessa
Conganchas mac Daire
Bran mac Febel
Niall of the Nine Hostages
|Tir Na mBeo
Tir na n'Og
Tor na mBan
|Bran the Blessed
Gwynn ap Nudd
Gwythyr ap Gredawl
Llew Llaw Gyffes
Llewd ap Cil Coed
Teyrnon Turf Liant
Gwrach y Rhibyn
|Jack in the Green
These are saints that were known to the British Celts around the time of Arthur. There were more saints known at that time, but I am not sure how many were revered by the people of the British Isles. I have not given many of these saints skills or spells, simply because I do not have access to any Lives of these saints, so I don't know what miracles they performed. Also, many saints were credited with miracles after they died, especially if they were martyrs. If anyone can tell me of their miracles, I would appreciate it and would credit those who have helped.
St Defel/Derfel Cadarn
|St Samson||St. Andrew
St Joseph of Arimathaea
SpiritsWasher at the Ford
Caillagh ny Groamach