Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The History of Ireland (Author: Geoffrey Keating)

Section 14


Here below (we treat) definitely apart concerning the true origin from which the race of Gaedheal have sprung; and of their proceedings till the arrival of the sons of Míleadh in Ireland.

Some Latin authors say that Gaedheal was the son of Argus or of Cecrops, who obtained the sovereignty of the Argives; but that cannot be well-founded, because that St. Augustine says that the monarchy of that people commenced at the time Jacob was born, i.e. about four hundred and thirty-two years after the deluge; and, moreover, according to the same author, [that] the dominion of his posterity was maintained but two hundred and fifteen years: and, according to that, that it is at the end of six hundred and three score and seven years after the deluge the rule of that line terminated. But truly, it is not possible for that to be authentic, and to say (at the same time) that it is from Argus or Cecrops Gaedheal should have come; for Hector Boetius in his history of Scotland, and, moreover, all the books of invasion of Ireland, state that Gaedheal was in Egypt during the time of Moses being in the headship of the children of Israel in Egypt. Indeed, the books of invasion say that it is at that time Scota, daughter of Pharao Cingcris, bore Gaedheal to Niul, son of Fenius Farsaidh, son of Báath, son of Magog: and it is the time when Moses began to act as leader of the children of Israel in Egypt, seven hundred and four score and seventeen years (from the deluge); so that according to that reckoning of time, there were as a conjecture three hundred years and two score and five besides, from the time of Argus or Cecrops till Gaedheal was born, and, consequently, it was not possibie for him to be son to Argus or to Cecrops.


Whoever would say that it was from Greece Gaedheal proceeded to Egypt, and that it is why it is said that it was from Scythia he went to Egypt, because that it was from the land of ‘Cetim’ (as a certain author thinks), he journeyed, [and,] consequently [that he] says that Scythia, and iath na sceach are equivalent: iath, truly, when it is understood in place of this word fearann (land), has th or has dh at the end, that is to say has iath or has iadh: however, when this word Scithia is written, there is no ‘c’ in the middle, as should be in such like compound word; and, moreover, there is no ‘th’ or ‘dh’ at the end of it, and, consequently, it is but an unwarranted opinion to suppose that, according to Gaelic etymology, ‘Scithia’ is equivalent to land of thorns.

The proof, likewise, is weak concerning Gaedheal having come from Greece according to his origin, to say that the posterity of Gaedheal have a resemblance to the Greeks in (their) manners, customs, and games, and that, therefore it must be said that they came from Greece. For every invasion that came into Ireland after the deluge, except only the race of Gaedheal and the children of Neimheadh, it is from Greece they came, [that is to say, Partholón from Migdonia, the Fir Bolg from Thracia and the Tuatha Dé Danann from Achaia, where Beotia is, and the city of Athens,] according as we have shown above in their several conquests the name of every place in Greece from whence they had set out.


Wherefore, although the race of the Gaedheal, on their arrival in Ireland, had not the manners and customs of the Greeks, it was possible for them to have learned them from the remnant of the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha Dé Danann who were before them in Ireland, and to have left them to be practised by their posterity after them, though they themselves had never been in Greece, nor Gaedheal, nor any of those who had come before them.


History of Ireland.