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Emmet Sweeney

4 May 2017

In Chronology and Catastrophism Workshop 1987:1 there is an article by Emmet Sweeney. He is better known for revisions of historical chronology and has written several articles on the subject in more recent SIS literature. He has a web site -go to www.emmetsweeney.org ( see also www.wikibin.org/articles/emmet-sweeney.html ). In C&C Workshop 1987:1 the subject matter is different – but also historical (his overriding interest).  and the title of the piece is 'Earthquakes in the Early Irish Tradition' – and it is quite remarkable.

The Irish historical works were largely composed in the medieval era, and monks in monasteries played a role in their preservation and writing down. It is thought they are based on oral records, and older traditions (preserved by the druidic priesthood which subsequently switched allegiance to the Christian cause). Hence, it is not unreasonable to think in terms of the survival, oral or written, from the druidic era into the medieval period. However, they have also been re-worked to a certain degree, to come up to date and conform with the Christian religion and appear to have a Classical gloss too. The settlement of Ireland is invariably traced back to a character known as Ceasair (even though the Romans never conquered Ireland) but there is plenty of evidence they traded with Ireland and regularly visited the island, a short trip from Roman Britannia. The Roman church also had a strong Classical connection and merchant shipping from the Mediterranean basin was in contact with Ireland (and western Britain) long after the empire fell apart. For this reason, there have always been doubts cast upon the reliability of the traditions, and their apparent supernatural inclusions. Having said that, any history of Ireland worth its salt will always introduce the Irish traditions and summarily cast doubt on their veracity – but a lingering desire for them to be semi-authentic is evident amongst some authors. They have an extraordinary empathy with the Biblical text in so far as similar events are dated to the same time in both sources – an obvious hand wave from the monks that compiled them in their surviving format. Basically, there are around four invasions of Ireland recorded in the traditions. that of the people of Nemed, the Firbolg, the Tuatha (children) of Danaan (an Irish goddess, otherwise known as Aine and consort of the god known as the Dagda), and finally by the Sons of Mil (otherwise the Milesians). In the Matter of Britain, we have another invasion of Ireland, by the god Bran (pictured as a giant wading across the Irish Sea accompanied by a forest of spears of light). The Irish account of this comes from Leinster and pictures an invasion from the east (which could be interpreted as an invasion from the sky). Mike Baillie, in his book, The Celtic Gods: Comets in Irish Mythology  (co-authored with Patrick McCafferty), also made use of Irish traditions (from different parts of Ireland) and created a quite different scenario to the mainstream depiction of history in the 3rd, 2nd and 1st millenniums BC. Emmet Sweeney's contribution could be said to be supportive- although he doesn't have comets or meteor storms but never the less has a strong pro-Velikovsky view of the past and Velikovsky did envisage a comet (and its train) coming close to the earth. As comets in the 1950s were regarded as dirty snowballs and quite harmless in nature Velikovsky decided to beef it up by making the planet Venus the necessary comet. That is a different story. Sweeney says the Sons of Mil were traditionally associated with a region to the south of Ireland, the Iberian peninsular, and it is now generally thought the Mesolithic inhabitants of Ireland had roots in northern Spain, in the region known as Galicia (clearly similar to the Gaels). It is also similar to Gaul – and people living in what was now France (Brittany and the western seaboard of France seem to have had a similar influx of Neolithic peoples somewhat later, with origins in the Mediterranean basin, settling first in Iberia and then along the Atlantic coast as far as Cornwall, Wales, and Ireland etc. So, there were two influxes of migrants from the direction of Iberia – separated by at least five thousand years. Hence, as far as migrants are concerned, Sweeney was writing too early for the modern genetic links, but there is a general truth in what he says, and the invasion of the Sons of Mil could easily have been a migration of people into Ireland (at some point in the past).

The word bolg appears to mean something like a shining lightning bolt (or bright meteor) and the connection with the people known to the Romans as the Belgi is not necessarily correct – but it is a connection that was aired and generally became accepted as it was thought Belgic invaders were active during the Iron Age (invading Britain and Ireland and leaving behind stories such as the Ulster Cycle and the tales of Cuchulainn such as the anglised 'Cattle Raid of Cooley' (but see Baillie and McCafferty above, who interpret the god Cuchulainn as a comet). It is now thought these tales go back way before the Iron Age and there was no influx of Iron Age tribes into Ireland, and only a small invasion by a few adventurers in Britain. Sweeney was writing his piece when it was still popular to think in terms of an Iron Age intrusion of migrants – which is why he arrives at a date of around 800BC for the Sons of Mil. La Tene artwork probably arrived via trade rather than diffused by human migrations – or that is how the old view was dislodged. There is no genetic fingerprint in Ireland, or indeed in Britain, to suggest a Celtic invasion by Belgic tribes in the Iron Age. Indeed, it is now thought the Belgic tribes differed from the Gaels (or the people of the western end of Europe) and they may even have been Germanic rather than Celtic in speech, as they were located in what is now Germany and eastern France. Hence, it is highly unlikely a major invasion occurred in the Iron Age – but newcomers may have arrived in the Late Bronze Age as there is some evidence of upheaval at this time.

Bearing all that in mind I'll return to what Sweeney wrote. The Lebor Gabala Erenn (Book of Invasions) basically has four invasions of Ireland. Most people suppose this was an invasion of people and do not consider it was four episodes of meteor storms (associated by Baillie with the Taurid meteor streams of Clube and Napier's thesis as explored in their two books and numerous articles, some of which were published in SIS journals). Sweeney also assumes it was four human invasions – and sets out to date the latest, that of the Sons of Mil (or the Milesians as they are known to historians). Early genealogical tables compiled by monks separated the Milesians from the Christian era by 30 to 35 generations. Sweeney calculates at 25 years a generation to arrive at a date between 875 and 750BC – counting back from the birth of Christ (and Church tradition). Christianity was not established in Ireland until the 5th century AD – which leaves a hole in Irish history. Nevertheless, we have seen that the monks made use of Biblical chronology so that is a fair assessment. However, it is also likely the monks used Biblical generations – of 40 years. In that scenario, we would have a date at around 1200 to 1400BC, in the Bronze Age (and most likely at the end of the Bronze Age). In Ireland, and Britain, the Bronze Age ended around 800BC in mainstream chronology. In the Roman world (the Mediterranean basin and the Levant, Egypt, and Mesopotamia, the Bronze Age ended at around 1200BC (a difference of 400 years). It ended in a violent upheaval that Greeks associated with the return of the Heruclidae (the Sons of the god Herakles). Evidence of a migration of people into Greece at this time is missing, apart from a small scale movement of people from the Balkan peninsular to the south, known subsequently as the Dorians. It is more prominent for a movement of Greeks from the Greek mainland – to Cyprus, Ionia, and what is now Turkey (especially Cilicia). We may note St Patrick is dated in tradition to AD432 – and 30 to 35 generations of 40 years takes us back to 800 to 1000BC. In the Bible, Greeks wash up in Philistine territory in the 8th century (recorded by Assyrian kings in their war annals) – which again appears to support the dates of Sweeney. Is it possible that the end of the Late Bronze Age in the Mediterranean world was around 800 to 750BC. This would be strong support for Velikovsky – accept that for an almost unfathomable reason he decided to divorce the end of the Late Bronze Age (and the records of Ramses III) from the 9th and 8th centuries, let alone the 12th or 13th centuries of mainstream, and instead locate the events in the Persian era. Sweeney, however, like others such as de Grazia, instinctively saw a connection with the events in Worlds in Collision associated with an errant planet Mars (another comet). This is perhaps where Ramses III should be located – but it is all a bit late now. Velikovsky never finished his revision of history – presumably as new archaeological evidence was coming in to contradict his grand scheme. It was abandoned – left in mid-air with no innards so to speak. In spite of this Sweeney and others sullied forth and kept to the Velikovsky line where possible but saw other opportunities to differ from his scheme. He went on to create his Ages in Alignment – see his website. This must have been in embryo form in 1987 as one can see a pattern emerging.

Sweeney says the arrival of the Sons of Mil was associated with a great storm or tempest. It was portrayed as the work of Danaanian magicians, a recognition that the Children (or siblings) of Danaan had arrived in similar circumstances. A meteor storm could be described as a tempest, an upheaval in the other world (the heavens). It could also be an unusual weather related storm – with big waves at sea, high winds, and lots of rains falling out of the sky – but this storm differed as it produced magical occurrences, the sudden appearance in Ireland of lakes that did not previously exist, and rivers that changed course, and springs that seemed to gush forth where water was not previously seen before. These springs were visualised as holy, dedicated often to St Anne (a play on the goddess Aine). As Baillie explained in one of his books this phenomenon is associated with water seiches – caused by seismic disturbances. He provides several examples of this happening in more recent history – during the Lisbon earthquake of a couple of centuries ago, for example. Hence, the seismic phenomena do not have to have happened in Ireland – but there is no reason why Ireland did not have earthquakes a few thousand years ago. As Sweeney says it is thought earthquakes have not occurred to any great degree in Ireland since early geological periods – but this is just an assumption as they are rare in the modern world (and certainly are not known to be as dramatic as in the times of the Sons of Mil). There is no other way to interpret the miraculous appearance of lakes and springs and rivers changing course Sweeney says, and that is why mainstream dismiss the Irish traditions as nonsense. Sweeney says that in the text known as the 'Four Masters' there was an eruption of 9 lakes and 21 rivers within the first 6 years of the Milesians appearance – and eruptions continued for years afterward (the aftershocks) but declined in frequency. This is interesting as we know that major earthquake events featured in the Bronze Age destructions (end of Early, Middle and Late Bronze periods in the Aegean and Levant, according to the French archaeologist Claude Schaeffer). Historians invariably associate these destruction levels with invading armies – and Sweeney follows in that tradition by seeing the Milesian invasion as the arrival of the Gaels (form Galicia). Baillie and McCafferty (page 30 of their book) quote Heaney (1994), 'Over Nine Waves: A book of Irish legends' – '… in the north of Spain lived another tribe, the Sons of Mil. Bregan, one of their kings, built a tower so high that from it the Milesians could see great distances in every direction. One clear day a learned magician climbed the tower and made out a shadowy outline …' (Ireland). McCafferty and Baillie equated the tower with the coma of a comet, rising on the horizon. They have more say about the Tuatha De Danaan/ Dannan on their arrival (somewhat earlier). It coincided with a 3 day eclipse, dense clouds and darkness on the Ist of May (Beltane). The They spread magic showers and fog inducing clouds and caused the air to pour down fire and blood. Lugh of the Long Arm was a celebrated chief of the Tuatha de Danaan, an apt description of a comet (and its coma). Lugh was also famous for rising in the west – yet mainstream mythologists claims he was a sun god. A sun like god might describe a prominent comet appearance.

Sweeney then looks at evidence of upheaval in other places around 800BC, and the cool climatic period associated with the end of the sub-boreal period (a warm phase otherwise known as the Minoan Warm Period). This coincides with the end of the LB period in the Mediterranean world – conventionally dated to 1200BC but perhaps revised to 1000BC or 800BC (you have three options). Not only is Sweeney's article of interest from a catastrophist point of view but it also defines one of the parameters of revising ancient history – an event that caused widespread disruption has to be located at where ever you might wish to locate the end of the Late Bronze and the beginning of the Iron Age (although that date differs in western and central Europe in comparison with the Mediterranean basin as it took some time for iron technology to be diffused by trade networks, and knowledge of how to smelt iron took longer). 


PS … the mythological cycle purports to tell the earliest history of Ireland, from the time of Noah to the arrival of the Milesians. This contains the story of the Tuatha de Danaan, the battle of Moytura,  and the Lebor Gabala Erenn. Lugh and Balor feature in this cycle but Cuchulainn does not. He features in the Ulster Cycle and has been dated to the Late Iron Age. There is also the Finn Cycle (another group of tales) and fourthly, the Historical Cycle (various kings of Ireland between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD) which overlaps with tales involving the Saints (early 5th and 6th century hagiographies which are full of miracles and supernatural magic.

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