Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Cornelia Amiri

Today in honor of St Patty's Day, I'd like to welcome the Celtic Queen herself, Cornelia Amiri. Cornelia draws on her love of history and fifteen years worth of research on the ancient Celts to write her romantic tales of long swords, hot heroes and warrior women. Ms. Amiri is the author of six Celtic/Fantasy/Romance books: A FINE CAULDRON OF FISH, DRUID QUEST, THE FOX PRINCE, THE VIXEN PRINCESS, DANGER IS SWEET and ONE HEART ONE WAY. The latter of which was a finalist in the 2004 EPPIE Awards. And has stories included in two anthologies: SLEEPING WITH THE UNDEAD and A DEATH IN TEXAS.

Over a hundred of her short stories and articles have appeared in both print and on-line magazines. Her next Celtic romance novel will be released in the fall of 2008.
She lives in Houston, Texas with her wonderful son.

The King of Green
by Cornelia Amiri

On St. Patrick’s Day, at least in the United States, anyone who doesn’t wear green gets pinched. So this St. Patrick’s Day, when you don your green to honor Ireland, give a thought or two to old King Tighernmas (Teernmas) of Tara, who brought the color green to the emerald Isle.

Through trade with the Phoenicians, he obtained dyes to create green, yellow, and blue and introduced those colors to Ireland between 900 – 1534 BC, as his reign fell somewhere in that timeline. He also enacted sumptuary laws on the numbers of colors worn by the different classes. Six colors to the highest of society, kings, queens, druids, five for the chieftains, four for land owners who offered hospitality, three for warriors, two for peasants and one for slaves. By using plaid the Irish and other Celts wore multi-colors, three to six, at one time. So under Tighernmas’s law slaves or servants wore solid colors, peasants wore checkered patterns, and plaid for higher classes.

Also, speaking of Celtic apparel, the legend is the first smelting of gold in Ireland occurred during Tighernmas’s reign. The King’s wright, Iuchad├ín, worked gold found near the Liffey, the river that runs through Dublin. So the Irish could pin their plaid cloaks to their tunics with gold broaches and band their necks with gold torques. Torques, neck rings, open-ended at the front, are the most recognized ornaments of the Celtic world. Worn from 1200 BC to 600 AD, by Kings, Queens, and Druids, as emblems of royalty like a crown. Not only did they serve as symbols of power, but also held power. An example is a story passed through time of a Roman solider, Manlius Torquatus, who earned his name after taking a torque from a fallen warrior. By stealing the torque, Torquatus captured the warrior’s strength, conferring it onto himself. Torques weren’t the only thing Tighernmas ordered from Iuchadan, he gave gold drinking horns to each of his followers.

Tighernmas is known for introducing the worship of Crom Cruach a harvest or solar god and a main deity of Ireland until St. Patrick brought Christianity to the isle in 5th century AD. Crom Cruach isn’t included in St. Patrick’s writings, but it’s believed the deity referenced as Cenn Cruach in the Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick, written in the 9th century, is Crom Cruach. When Patrick approached the idol of Cenn Cruach and raised his staff, the stone image fell face-down, with an imprint of St. Patrick’s staff left on it. Then, the god appeared and St. Patrick cursed him, casting him to hell.

The idol of Crom Cruach stood on Moyslaught (The Plain of Adoration), in a circle with twelve smaller standing stones. An old reference to Crom in ogham translates, “In it Cruach was and twelve idols of stone around him and himself of gold.” It’s alleged that he demanded sacrifices of children at Samhian. But Crom Cruach cannot be identified among the Danaan divinities. Classical Roman writers described the idol as a rectangular stone with no carvings. Even in that time period, when ancient Romans wrote of Crom Cruach, the idol was so old only the tops of the twelve stones remained visible above ground and the main idol had slanted or toppled over.

Tighernmas has a reputation of introducing the worship of an evil god, but we know little to nothing of Crom Cruach. What his worship entailed, if there were sacrifices or not is a total mystery. However, a king who gave Ireland the color green and gifted all his followers with gold drinking horns can’t be all bad. So when you honor Ireland and St. Patrick, don’t forget those who came before, such as Tighernmas of Tara.

I dedicate this article to Tara or Teamhair, currently under threat. It is the sacred and ancient seat of kings where Tighernmas and so many others ruled and where they are most likely buried. Please see these links for further information:
Protest Song for Tara - http://www.myspace.com/songfortara Save Tara petition - http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=195681174
Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vliZK6pwI8w
Tara Watch - http://www.tarawatch.org/


  1. Welcome to the Tiki Hut Cornelia!!

    I really enjoyed your article, I love history!

    Frosty green drinks for everyone!

  2. Absolutely fascinating!!


  3. I have The Vixen Princess (signed from you). And I absolutely loved it. It fed my need for Celtic history. Thought I'd leave that comment

  4. Loved the post! Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone and may Irish always be smiling down on you ; )

  5. Thank you everyone. I hope you all had a happy St. Patrick's Day. Thank you Raonaid for the kind words about The Vixen Princess, I'm so glad you liked it. I have five others and possibly six soon, that I hope you like as well. I love Celtic history too. Wishing you all miles and miles of Irish smiles and shamrocks at your doorway.

  6. Hey Cornelia!

    Hope you had a wonderful day yesterday and really enjoyed the blog!
    We all wore green yesterday!!

    Chris J.