Francine Nicholson wrote:
> > *Mato-bodua < *Mati-bodua from mati "good" (Ir. math, W. mad, Bret.
> > maz)]
> But wouldn't that make the meaning something like "good crow"? Although
> crows/ravens were sometimes used for divination, I have a hard time
> thinking of a crow referred to as "good." What do you think?
Well, we can use Branwen from the Mabonogi as an example. Her name
means "Blessed Raven/Crow." Gwyn (feminine gwen) also means blessed and
not only 'white,' 'fair,' etc. Cf. Gwyn eu byd y rhai sy'n newynu a
sychedu am gyfiawnder 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for
justice (Matt.5:6), and Arthur's ship Prydwen 'blessed form,' and his
hall Ehangwen 'Blessed space."
And since Branwen and her brother Bra+n are most likely gods, the
meaning 'Blessed Crow' doen't seem to far fetched.
Then again, there may be no difference to the Celtic minde between
white/fair and blessed. I seem to recall reading somewhere about two
Irishmen who were about to transact some business, when they came upon a
Crow with white speckles on it, which we were told is the most lucky
kind of crow. They were waiting to see which way the Crow flew in order
to divine the best course of action for their business.
Whether a 'blessed' or 'lucky' crow, it seems it was a 'good' one.
'Lucky' is another way to translate the Welsh idiom: Gwyn ei fyd, which
we've seen in the plural in the Bible quotation above, Gwyn eu byd.
True, I've taken a Welsh idiom, and an Irish example (sorry, I don't
know enough Irish to know if the idiom is the same), but in both cases
it seems clear that the crow was well thought of. (but as you've
pointed out about crows, in the Irish example it's used for divination).
If indeed the Gaulish was Mato-bodua, I'd be interested to know if it
meant 'Good Crow,' or 'Good Battle,' which doesn't seem to far fetched,
Cf. the Welsh name Cadfarch 'Battle Horse," or maybe it was one of those
intentionally ambiguous names so well thought of by the Celts, and it
means both, life Taliesin. ;-)
Well, I fear I have digressed overmuch.
Candon Clannach, [log in to unmask]
Bum corwc ymyr.
-Taliesin "Kat Godeu"
And my favorite:
Bum davwed yn llat (I have been a bubble in beer) ;-)