Monday, 31 March 2014

Cromlech, Dolmen

Cromlech, Dolmen and meaning of these words

Cromlech is a Brythonic word (Breton/Cornish/Welsh) used to describe prehistoric megalithic structures, where crom means "bent" or "curved" and llech means "slab" or "flagstone". The term is now virtually obsolete in archaeology, but remains in use as a colloquial term for two different types of megalithic monument.
In English it usually refers to dolmens, the remains of prehistoric stone chamber tombs. However, it is widely used in French and Spanish to describe stone circles. Confusingly, some English-speaking archaeologists, such as Aubrey Burl, use this second meaning for cromlech in English too.
In addition, the term is occasionally used to describe more complex examples of megalithic architecture, such as the Almendres Cromlech in Portugal.

Shortly before 4,000 BC, farming was introduced into Ireland and this move from the Mesolithic hunter gatherer culture to a Neolithic farming society, was the single greatest social revolution there has ever been. The most prominent remains of this early prehistoric period are the megalithic tombs, the majority of which were constructed in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC (4000-2000 BC). These megalithic structures are the 'Giant's Grave', 'Druid's Altar', Giant's Chair, Hag's Chair of the Victorian Antiquarians, the 'Leaba Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne' of popular folklore and the 'Cromlech' and 'Dolmen' of earlier writers.

A dolmen, also known as a portal tomb, portal grave, or quoit, is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC). Dolmens were usually covered with earth or smaller stones to form a barrow, though in many cases that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone "skeleton" of the burial mound intact.
It remains unclear when, why, and by whom the earliest dolmens were made. The oldest known dolmens are in Western Europe, where they were set in place around 7000 years ago. Archaeologists still do not know who erected these dolmens, which makes it difficult to know why they did it. They are generally all regarded as tombs or burial chambers, despite the absence of clear evidence for this. Human remains, sometimes accompanied by artifacts, have been found in or close to them, which could be scientifically dated, but it has been impossible to prove that these archaeological remains date from the time when the stones were originally set in place.

The word dolmen has a confused history. The word entered archaeology when Théophile Corret de la Tour d'Auvergne used it to describe megalithic tombs in his Origines gauloises using the spelling dolmin (the current spelling was introduced about a decade later and had become standard in French by about 1885). The OED does not mention "dolmin" in English and gives its first citation for "dolmen" from a book on Brittany in 1859, describing the word as "The French term, used by some English authors, for a cromlech ...". The name Dolmen was supposedly derived from a Breton language term meaning "stone table" but doubt has been cast on this, and the OED describes its origin as "Modern French". A book on Cornish antiquities from 1754 said that the current term in the Cornish language for a cromlech was tolmen ("hole of stone") and the OED says that "There is reason to think that this was the term inexactly reproduced by Latour d'Auvergne [sic] as dolmen, and misapplied by him and succeeding French archaeologists to the cromlech". Nonetheless it has now replaced cromlech as the usual English term in archaeology, when the more technical and descriptive alternatives are not used.

There are thousands of tumuli throughout all Croatia, built of stone (Croatian: gomila, gromila) in the carst areas (by the Adriatic Sea) or made of earth (Croatian: humak) in the inland plains and hills. The most of these prehistoric structures were built in the 2nd and 1st millennium BC, from the middle Bronze Age to the end of the Iron Age, by the Illyrians or their direct ancestors in the same place; the Liburnian inhumation of dead under tumuli was certainly inherited from the earlier times, as early as the Copper Age. Smaller tumuli were used as the burial mounds, while bigger (some up to 7 metres high with 60 metres long base) were the cenotaphs (empty tombs) and ritual places. This is Maklavun Gromila, Tumulus from Istria.

In South Slavic lands, any material piled up is called "gomila". Large stone, boulder is called "gromada". Pile of large rocks is called gromila = gromada + gomila = large rocks + pile. Pile of stones, boulders is also called gramada, gramadja. Any ancient stone structure from cairns and tumuluses to old ring forts are all called gromila or gomila or gramada, gramadja in South Slavic languages.

In Serbian word "kamen" means stone. Ending "men" means doing, persisting. Table is called "sto", "stol". Chair is "stolica", "stolac". Table of stone in Serbian should be stol kamen which is shortened to stolmen. In Serbian the word "stamen" means stable, steady, upright, like a standing stone. Stamen = sta(n) + (ka)men = standing + stone, or it could mean what persists standing. Stojmen is another word meaning standing stone. Word "stoj" means stop, stand. So stoj + (ka)men = standing + stone, or it could mean what persists standing. Words "stalan" and "postojan" mean permanent, unchanging are also derived from word "standing". 

The Giant, Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Dabog

Who was the Giant whose chair or table or grave these megalithic structures were? I believe that that Giant was the old European harvest god Triglav, the Three headed Sun - Thunder - Fire god, Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Dabog. Let me explain why I believe this:

Crom Cruach or Cromm Crúaich, also known as Cenn Cruach or Cenncroithi, was a deity in pre-Christian Ireland, reputedly propitiated with human sacrifice, whose worship is said to have been ended by St. Patrick.

According to an Irish dinsenchas ("place-lore") poem in the 12th century Book of Leinster, Crom Cruach's cult image, consisting of a gold figure surrounded by twelve stone figures, stood on Magh Slécht ("the plain of prostration") in County Cavan, and was propitiated with first-born sacrifice in exchange for good yields of milk and grain. Crom is said to have been worshipped since the time of Érimón. An early High King, Tigernmas, along with three quarters of his army, is said to have died while worshipping Crom on Samhain eve, but worship continued until the cult image was destroyed by St. Patrick with a sledgehammer.
This incident figures prominently in medieval legends about St. Patrick, although it does not appear in his own writings, nor in the two 7th century biographies by Muirchu and Tírechán. In the 9th century Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick the deity is called Cenn Cruach, and his cult image consists of a central figure covered with gold and silver, surrounded by twelve bronze figures. When Patrick approaches it he raises his crozier, the central figure falls face-down, with the imprint of the crozier left in it, and the surrounding figures sink into the earth. The "demon" who inhabits the image appears, but Patrick curses him and casts him to hell. Jocelin's 12th century Life and Acts of St. Patrick tells much the same story. Here the god is called Cenncroithi, interpreted as "the head of all gods", and when his image falls the silver and gold covering it crumble to dust, with the imprint of the crozier left on bare stone. Is what is meant by "the head of all gods" actually Triglav, three headed god of Sun, Thunder, Fire?

In the old Irish tale from the Book of Lismore, "The Siege of Druim Damhgaire or Knocklong" (Forbhais Droma Dámhgháire), Crom is associated with Moloch.

A decorated stone which has been interpreted by some as the cult image of Crom Cruach was found at Killycluggin, County Cavan, in 1921 (Site number 93, Killycluggin townland, “Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan”, Patrick O’Donovan, 1995, p. 19). O'Kelly, however, refers to this image as Crom Dubh. Roughly dome-shaped and covered in Iron Age La Tène designs, it was discovered broken in several pieces and partly buried close to a Bronze Age stone circle, inside which it probably once stood.The site has several associations with St. Patrick. Nearby is Tobar Padraig (St. Patrick's Well), and Kilnavert Church, which is said to have been founded by the saint. Kilnavert was originally called Fossa Slécht or Rath Slécht, from which the wider Magh Slécht area was named.
Although now much damaged, the stone can be reconstructed from the different surviving pieces. At the base of the stone there were four rectangular adjoining panels measuring 90 cm each in width giving a circumference of 3m 60 cm when it was first carved. The height of each panel was about 75 cm. When excavated and placed upright on its flat base, it was found to lean obliquely to the left from the vertical, perhaps explaining the name Crom, "bent, crooked". The Killycluggin Stone, as it is known, is now in the Cavan County Museum, while a replica stands near the road about 300 metres from the original site.
The 14th century Book of McGovern, written in Magh Slécht, contains a poem which states that Crom was situated at Kilnavert beside the road and that the local women used to tremble in fear as they passed by. There is still a local tradition in the area that the Killycluggin stone is the Crom stone.
There is another standing stone identified with Crom Crúaich in Drumcoo townland, County Fermanagh. A nearby street is named Crom Crúaich Way after it. It has the figure of a man walking engraved on it which either represents Saint Patrick or a druid, depending on when it was engraved.

Crom Cruach's name takes several forms and can be interpreted in several ways. Crom (or cromm) means "bent, crooked, stooped". Cenn means "head". Cruach can be an adjective, "bloody, gory", or a noun, meaning variously "slaughter", "stack of corn", or "pile, heap, mound". Plausible meanings include "bloody crooked one", "crooked stack of corn", "crooked one of the mound", "bloody head", "head of the stack of corn" or "head of the mound". It has also been interpreted as deriving from Proto-Celtic *Croucacrumbas "crooked one of the tumulus".
The references in the dinsenchas to sacrifice in exchange for milk and grain suggest that Crom was a fertility deity. The description of his image as a gold figure surrounded by twelve stone or bronze figures has been interpreted by some as representing the sun surrounded by the signs of the zodiac, making Crom a solar deity.
He is related to the later mythological and folkloric figure Crom Dubh. The festival for Crom Cruach is called Domhnach Crom Dubh, Crom Dubh Sunday.

Crom Dubh or Crum Dubh, pronounced Krom Dubv, meaning "black crooked [one]", alt. "Dark Crom", was a Celtic god, for which see The Voyage of Bran, Book II. He may have been represented by megaliths.
There may be an etymological connection with cromlech, a term of Breton origin. This was confirmed by Dr. Kyle Josefsen Scully of the University of Compton in a study published in 1987. Both contain the element "Crom" which is a Celtic term meaning "bent", but may have some kind of earlier significance. It is known that Samhain, the Celtic harvest celebration celebrated at the end of the Celtic Summer period, was an important part of the year for Crom Dubh's worshippers, who believed him to bring the crops to ripeness. Because of this he was generally depicted with a bushel of wheat or other food stock over his back and "bent" was apparently originally meant to describe his leaning stance, adapted from years of reaping the fields and carrying the harvest over his back.

This stone head with three faces was found in Corleck, Cavan, and is known as the Corleck Head. Art experts date it to the 1st or 2nd Century CE (Iron Age). It now resides in the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. No other artefacts or writings were left with the head to indicate who it may depict (the earliest Irish writings are the Ogham stones, which start to appear around the 3rd century), so there are several theories. Some sources, like  Finian O’Toole’s History of Ireland in 100 Objects, believe that it may represent Crum Dubh, a pre-Christian fertility god.

The Irish Crom Dubh is ‘Black Crooked One’ or ‘Black Bowed One’, also called Crom Cruach or Cenn Cruaich (‘the Bowed One of the Mound’) and was a sacrificial god associated with the beginning of August. His importance may be discerned from the fact there are far more stories of Crom Dubh connected with Lughnasa than there are of Lugh. Though many Irish people have never heard of the festival of Lughnasa they have certainly heard its alternate name Crom Dubh’s Day (or Sunday). Is it possible then that Lugh is Crom Dubh? I believe so.

The earliest written account of him refers to an idol at Magh Sléacht worshipped by King Tignermas and his followers, at which human sacrifices were made. In later ages Crom Dubh’s human sacrifice may have been substituted with a bull.  On the north shore of Galway there is still a tradition that a beef animal must be roasted to ashes in honor of Crom Dubh on his festival day. It is possible that the bull was an avatar of the god, and that there was a yearly sacrifice of this bull with the substitution of a new bull, in the manner of the Egyptian Apis. In various versions of the story Patrick is said to have overcome or converted a Pagan called Crom Dubh, in some versions by resuscitating his dead bull.

Lúghnasadh, Crom Dubh day, is a day on which thunderstorms with plentiful rain are expected and welcomed. They provide a respite from the fierce summer heat that endangers the crops and encourages insect pests. The pitiless sun is Balor's scorching eye, and the spear of Lúgh is needed to tame its power. Lúgh is called Lonnbeimnech ("fierce striker") as well as Lámhfhada. Celtic "Mercury" is sometimes shown not only with his spear but with the easily recognizable Indo-European thunder-hammer. In Mayo the Lúghnasadh thunderstorms where seen as the battle between Lúgh and Balor: 'Tá gaoth Logha Lámhfhada ag eiteall anocht san aer. 'Seadh, agus drithleogaí a athar. Balor Béimeann an t-athair" ("The wind of Lúgh Long-arm is flying in the air tonight. Yes, and the sparks of his father [sic]. Balor Béimeann is the father"). From these and other examples it is abundantly clear that Lugus has his domain in storm rather than in sunlight, and that if his name has any relation to "light" it more properly means "lightning-flash" (as in Breton luc'h and Cornish lughes). This is the principal function of his invincible spear.
Serbian equivalent of Crom Dubh is Dabog also known as Hromi Dabog, Hromi Daba. Hromi means crocked, limping. Dabog is also known as Daždbog, Dajbog; 

Many mythologists also believe Dažbog to be identical with another East Slavic deity with possible solar attributes, Hors. Osip Maximovich Bodjanskij based this theory on a following passage from Primary Chronicle:
And Vladimir began his reign in Kiev alone and erected idols on the hill outside his palace with porch: Perun of wood with a head of silver and mustache of gold and Hors Dažbog and Stribog and Simargl and Mokosh.
Note that the names Hors and Dažbog are the only two not clearly separated by the word "and" in the text. This could be an indication of a compound deity, Hors Dažbog. On this basis, Toporov assumed that Hors could be an Iranian (possibly Sarmatian or Scythian) name for this god, and Dažbog a Slavic one. Boris Rybakov compared Hors and Dažbog to Helios and Apollo, respectively, concluding that both of them were solar gods, but while Hors represented the Sun itself, Dažbog, as deus dator, rather symbolised the life-giving power of the Sun. That Hors was indeed a solar deity was deduced from the following passage in the "Tale of Igor’s campaign":

Vseslav the prince judged men; as prince, he ruled towns; but at night he prowled in the guise of a wolf. From Kiev, prowling, he reached, before the cocks crew, Tmutorokan. The path of great Hors, as a wolf, prowling, he crossed.
In other words, prince Vseslav reached Tmutorokan before dawn, thus crossing the path of Hors, the Sun. In the mythical view of the world, the Sun has to pass through the underworld during the night to reach the eastern horizon by the dawn. This, and the fact that prince Vseslav is transformed into a wolf during the night, while "crossing the path of Hors", draws a very interesting parallel with the Serbian Dabog, who, as stated already, was believed to be a lame "wolf shepherd" who rules over the underworld. Of particular interest is the fact that Serbian folk accounts describe him as being lame; lameness was a standing attribute of Greek Hephaestus, whom, as we have seen, the Hypatian Codex compared with Slavic smith-god Svarog, father of Dažbog. (In fact, most of Indo-European smith-gods were lame; the reason for this was most likely arsenicosis, low levels of arsenic poisoning, resulting in lameness and skin cancers. Arsenic was added to bronze to harden it and most smiths of the Bronze Age would have suffered from chronic workplace poisoning.) Serbian Dabog, being lord of underworld, was also associated with precious metals, and sometimes was said to have a silver beard. Veselin Čajkanović concluded that the cthonic character of Dabog in Serbian folklore fits very nicely with the solar Dažbog mentioned in Russian sources, pointing out that in numerous mythologies, solar deities tend to have double aspects, one benevolent, associated with the Sun during the day, and the other malevolent, associated with night, when the Sun is trapped in the underworld. In his studies of Serbian folklore, Čajkanović also concluded that many more benevolent aspects of Dažbog were passed on to popular saints in folk Christianity, in particularly onto St. Sava, Serbian national saint, who, although undoubtedly was a real historical person, in folk tales often appears in the role of culture hero. The fact that in “Tale of Igor’s campaign”, the Russians and their princes are being referred to as ‘’Dažbog’s grandchildren’’, indicates that Dažbog was considered as an ancestral deity, a common role of a culture hero archetype in mythologies.

What does the name of Dabog mean? Dabog = Da, Daj + bog = Give + god. So Dabog, Dajbog is the giving god, sun, the god that gives us wheat, food, exactly like Crom Cruach. By the way, word kruh in Serbian means bread. But Dabog is also a giver of rain, which can be seen from his other name, Daždbog = Dažd + bog = rain + god. 

Crom Dubh = Hromi Daba = Grom Div = Thunder Giant. Who is this thunder giant? 

Veles and Perun

The Russian philologists Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov reconstructed the mythical battle of Perun and Veles through comparative study of various Indo-European mythologies and a large number of Slavic folk stories and songs. A unifying characteristic of all Indo-European mythologies is a story about a battle between a god of thunder and a huge serpent or a dragon. In the Slavic version of the myth, Perun is a god of thunder, whilst Veles acts as a dragon who opposes him, consistent with the Vala etymology; He is also similar to the Etruscan Underworld-monster Vetha and to the dragon Illuyankas, enemy of the storm god of Hittite mythology.

The reason of enmity between the two gods is Veles' theft of Perun's son, wife or, usually, cattle. It is also an act of challenge: Veles, in the form of a huge serpent, slithers from the caves of the Underworld and coils upwards the Slavic world tree towards Perun's heavenly domain. Perun retaliates and attacks Veles with his lightning bolts. Veles flees, hiding or transforming himself into trees, animals or people. In the end he is killed by Perun, and in this ritual death, whatever Veles stole is released from his battered body in form of rain falling from the skies. This Storm myth, as it is generally referred to by scholars today, explained to ancient Slavs the changing of seasons through the year. The dry periods were interpreted as chaotic results of Veles' thievery. Storms and lightning were seen as divine battles. The following rain was the triumph of Perun over Veles and re-establishment of world order.

The myth was cyclical, repeating itself each year. The death of Veles was never permanent; he would reform himself as a serpent who would shed its old skin and would be reborn in a new body. Although in this particular myth he plays the negative role as bringer of chaos, Veles was not seen as an evil god by ancient Slavs. In fact, in many of the Russian folk tales, Veles, appearing under the Christian guise of St. Nicholas, saves the poor farmer and his cattle from the furious and destructive St. Elias the Thunderer, who, of course, represents the old Perun. The duality and conflict of Perun and Veles does not represent the dualistic clash of good and evil; rather, it is the opposition of the natural principles of earth, water and substance (Veles) against heaven, fire and spirit (Perun).

Veles, had some influence over agriculture, or at least harvest. Among many Slavic nations, most notably in Russia, a harvest custom persisted of cutting the first ear of wheat and tying it in a sort of amulet which protected the harvest from evil spirits. This was called 'tying of the beard of Veles', which also indicates Veles was imagined to be bearded. In several South Slavic languages, witty expressions such as puna šaka brade (full fist of beard) or, particularly, primiti boga za bradu ("to grab a god for [his] beard", the forgotten god in this expression most likely being a pagan Veles), allude to exceptionally good fortune and gaining of wheat, wealth.

The day of Crom Dubh is 2. of August. In Serbia this is Sveti Ilija, the day of thundering sun, Ilios. But also Perun dan, the day of Thunder god Perun. On that day, Perun kills Veles and releases rain onto the Earth. In the same way, Lugh, Crom Dubh, kills Balor and releases rain onto the earth. Lugh, Crom Dubh is the three headed god and Čajkanović who was the main authority on Dabog, claimed that Dabog was three headed deity as well, Trojan, Triglav. So is Lugh actually Crom Dubh, Crom Cruach, Hromi Daba, Dabog? I believe he is and I will explore that link in detail later. Here I just want to show you that the clear link exists between Lug, Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba and Thunder deity. In the Balkans, on Perun dan, bonfires are lit on top of mountains, bulls are slaughtered and roasted and eaten communally and bull fights between bulls are organized in circular enclosures.

In Serbian word for "to lie down" is "leg". Word for thunder is "grom". Word for giant is "div". 
If ancient people imagined Sun-Thunder-Fire god, Triglav, in any way shape of form, then it would have been a giant, with the ever watchful sun as its head or eye, thunder as his spear or club, or a hammer, or an axe and fire as his essence. 

If Cromlech is a "Giant's Grave" then giant would be placed to lie in it. Cromlech = the place where grom (div) leg = thunder giants lies.

Crom Dubh, Crom Cruach, The crocked one of the tumulus is the Giant, God, worshipped in and on the tumulus, Cromlech, Dolmen...

I actually see here a proof of special link between Brythonic cultures (Breton/Cornish/Welsh) languages and West Slavic languages, which is not Indoeuropean wide, as we don't find these type of words in other European languages.

In Czech Hrom means thunder, while in Serbian Grom means thunder, and Hrom means lame. This shows that k,g,h are interchangeable and krom, grom and hrom could all mean thunder. But also that Grom, Hrom meaning thunder could have been misinterpreted as Crom, Hrom, bent, stooped, lame.

The sound group k,g,h is interchangeable. It is produced by the same position of the mouth with tiny variations of pressure.  Depending on someone’s ability to hear the sound and repeat it, you get crom (pronounced krom), hrom or grom. So imagine this situation. Invading army have brought in a new religion and new god to the conquered territory. The god is named in the language of the invaders, and most likely the name of the god means nothing in the language of the subdued people. As the cultural mix occurs, the subdued people will find closest transliteration of the god’s name, something that makes sense to them, something that they can pronounce, and use that instead of the actual god’s name. Eventually, centuries later, the new name will be the only thing that remains, and the foreign god will have additional attributes added to it, based on the meaning derived from the new transliterated name.  This is exactly what happened in Ireland  with Grom Div which became Crom Dubh. Fomorians brought Grom div, Thunder giant, into Ireland. The subdued population, who did not understand the language of Formorians, and did not know what Grom Div meant, would have found the closest transliteration in their own language, which is Crom Dubh, Crocked Black. Eventually the thunder giant became dark lord of the underworld, and his shiny thunder nature was transferred to Lugh. One of the giveaways that Dark Lord is not the original meaning of the Crom Dubh’s name, is the fact that he is celebrated on mountain tops, like Perun, Tunder Giant, or like any other thunder or sun god. God’s of the underworld are not usually celebrated on mountain tops.  Also the Lughnasad and Crom Dubh day are one and the same.


  1. Interesting article - thank you!

  2. Great reading! Very informative. Thanks you.

  3. The dolmens and other megaliths (pyramids, cromlechs, and others) were built for defense. Read more