18.130 goibniu

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 06:53:25 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 130.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 06:45:39 +0100
         From: François Crompton-Roberts <Francois_CR_at_btinternet.com>
         Subject: Re: 18.113 "goibniu"?

At http://community-2.webtv.net/TerMcC/Goibniu/ we find:-

The Sword Smith of the Celtic Gods.
   Name: Goibniu (pronounced Go-Van-On), Goibhniu, From the Irish Gaelic
goba "smith."

SYMBOLS: Sword, hammer, Lance Head, Beer.

IMAGE: I have been unable to find any reliable descriptions of Giobniu,
though I would say it is safe to say that he would appear as a muscular
essence of Celt manhood.

HOLY BOOKS: Perhaps the account of the battle of Mag Tuireadh, Children
of Lir, Gods & Giants, the story of the tuatha de danann by Lady Gregory
and others.

HOLY DAYS: Unknown.

PLACE OF WORSHIP: In the smithworks, before a battle, at a feast over
the beer.


FORM OF WORSHIP: Unknown. It's possible, and perhaps probable that his
name may have been invoked in the blessing of weapons.

Regarded not just as weapons, but as tools there is a long tradition of
Irish soldiers uttering charms and incantations over their swords prior
to battle up to and beyond the Iron Age.

This was in large part inspired by such tales as Ogma's sword which he
took from the Formorian king Tethra, that had the power of speech and
turned against any who told a lie while holding it, the Sword of Light
of Draoi which had the power to both give protection and remove baneful
spells, and the swords of Goibniu that always fatally hit their mark.

SYNODEITIES: Gofannon; Govannon (Welsh version of Goibniu), Gaban
(Legend) not a deity, he was a swordsmith of legend who according to the
Polistoire Del Eglise De Christ De Caunterbyre forged the sword of Sir
Gawain in 14 A.D. It is thought that the legend is a survival of
Goibniu. Saint Gobinet the Roman Catholic patroness of beekeepers
however is not, as some claim, a later avatar of Goibniu. Gobinet is
just the feminine version of an Irish boys name. Vulcan (Roman)

RELATIVES: Denu (mother), Luchtaine & Creidhne (brothers.)

   Goibniu is the smith god who along with his two brothers Luchtaine the
carpenter & Credne the bronze and goldsmith made the weapons of the
Tuatha de Danann.

These however were no ordinary weapons that Goibniu made. As he said to
his family before they faced the Fomors. "I will replace every broken
lance and sword with a new one, even though the war last seven years.
And I will make the lances so well that they shall never miss their
mark, or fail to kill... the fate of the fighting will be decided by my

While today we might be more interested in the seeming fact that Goibniu
invented the defense contract. (sure kill swords and lances? Imagine the
sweet deal he can demand at the end of that seven years!) The Fomors
were far more impressed with the fact that even though their enemies
weapons did brake in battle they and their supposed dead holder would
return the next day.

It was because of this that the Fomors sent Ruadan to spy on them.
Engaging in the first bit of industrial espionage Ruadan sees the three
brothers at work, as Goibniu forges lance-heads and sword blades in just
3 hammer blows, Luchtaine cuts lance shafts with just 3 axe blows &
Credne compleats the job by fixing the heads to shafts with just thee
blows of his fist!

Asking for one of the lances Ruadan takes it and runs Goibniu though the
middle, much to Ruadan's chagrin Goibniu turns it instead into the first
example of radical piercing by plucking it out and killing Ruadan with

Taken by his two brothers to Dianchect and his daughter, the physicians
of the Tuatha de Danann, they dip him in the Spring of Healing which
returns him to full productivity.

This healing seems however to be more than the common miracle, due
perhaps to his being brought back after being struck by a weapon that
always kills and with only one blow, for in later tales we find that
Goibniu is credited with the brewing of a beer that grants healing.


There is also the picture of a sword as it figures on a 1-shilling
postage stamp and a rather dramatic painting.

Hope this helps

François C-R

----- Original Message -----

Willard -- word #43404 is "goibniu" (just ahead of "paprika") ? I
the corpus is from Britain, but just the same, what in the world is a
"goibniu" ? I know I have never seen it in print or heard it either, and
I'm getting up in years). was doing binary chops on the corpus and
stumbled on it -- is it a typo ?)

[Can anyone supply a definition of "goibniu" and explain its
etymology? --WM]
Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 02:00:38 EDT

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