World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Echtra

Article Id: WHEBN0002780987
Reproduction Date:

Title: Echtra  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ectra, Voyagers in Celtic mythology, The Voyage of Bran, Bé Chuille, Wasteland (mythology)
Collection: Early Irish Literature, Irish Mythology, Medieval Literature, Voyagers in Celtic Mythology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Echtra

An Echtra or Echtrae (pl. Echtrai) is one of a category of Old Irish literature about a hero's adventures in the Otherworld (see Tír na nÓg and Mag Mell); the otherworldly setting is the distinctive trait of these tales. More generally, echtra was the Old Irish word for "adventure", the Modern Irish word is eachtra.

The echtra was one of the most popular of Old Irish genres, so much so that the word later came to be used in the titles of any romance, regardless of otherworldly content. Earlier on, however, an echtra's emphasis was on the hero's time in the Otherworld, the journey to which served merely as a frame story. This distinguishes the echtrai from the Immrama, or "Voyages", which focus on the hero's journey rather than the otherworldly destination.

The hero of the echtra is usually invited to the Otherworld by a beautiful maiden or a great warrior, and he must cross either the western ocean or a plain blanketed by a mystical fog. The host is revealed to be one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, or fairy folk, and Manannan or Lugh often figure into the tale. The hero's fate after his sojourn varies from tale to tale. Sometimes he stays among the sídhe forever, and sometimes he returns with knowledge and gifts for his people. Sometimes the hero discovers his visit has lasted for years or even centuries though he thought no time had passed. He is warned that if he ever touches his home soil again, he will surely perish. In the Voyage of Bran, the heroes describe their adventure to listeners ashore, then sail off into oblivion. In a popular story from the Fenian Cycle, Oisín touches the ground and instantly ages three hundred years. He tells his story to Saint Patrick and receives a Christian baptism before he dies.

References

  • James MacKillop (1998). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford. ISBN 0-19-860967-1.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.