On Di, 10.02.2009, 18:19, Stag-Spirit wrote:
> My primary interest in the word achrann is the Achren that occurs in the
> medieval Welsh poem Cad Godeu. This word - or personal name, as it is
> thought to be - has given Welsh scholars a great deal of trouble. As the
> Cad Godeu has to do with a mythical battle of the trees and other wild
> plants, and as the raspberry plays a significant role in this battle, I've
> been wondering if Achren could be a borrowing from the Irish.
> The Cad Godeu battle is fought at a Caer Nefenhir, which would appear to
> the great Tre'r Ceiri fort at Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsula. Nefyn is the
> Welsh cognate of the Irish Nemhain, a goddess whose name means
> warlike-frenzy, strife'. Achen is a woman whose name must be guessed.
> is her male counterpart, and he carries alder sprigs (Bran has a son Gwern
> or 'Alder' in the Mabinogion). What I'm thinking - and, yes, this is
> speculative - is that Achren is not properly the name the woman or goddess
> in question, but is the achrann or raspberry thicket belonging to
> Nefyn/Nemhain. Both her name and the word achrann can mean 'strife'.
> Does this seem to make sense to anyone?
First of all, what text of Cad Goddeu are you using? Have you looked at
the latest edition, that by Marged Haycock in "Legendary Poems from the
Book of Taliesin"? I couldn't find the name "Archen" in it. As for
Nefenhir, your analysis is probably wrong. As the "nh" in the name shows,
this goes back to either *Nowantori:x or perhaps *Na:mantori:x, in any
case with *-nt- in it. This cannot be connected with Irish Nemain or Nefyn
(see Haycock's discussion of Nefenhyr). Finally, a Welsh word "Achren"
cannot be compared with an Irish word "achrann", at least not in the sense
of inherited cognates. A Welsh "ch" does not equate with an Irish "ch"
etymologically. Of course, the one word could be a loan from the other
language, but this is really explaining obscurum per obscurius.