The present name Jura is an abbreviation of juramendu, meaning curse, blasfemy, “the cursed isle.” The local people say it is a Gaelic word and means “deer,” of which there are many on the island. However, Gaelic had nothing to do with the naming. In the Saharan/Basque language galkor means “corrupting” which is exactly what Gallic/Gaelic did to the original language when it was introduced by Christian missionaries from Rome, and had even been manufactured by them, as explained in the more than one thousand year old Auraicept na n’Eccz, the operations manual of the Benedictine monks. The channel between the north tip of Jura and the Isle of Scarba is called Corrivreckan, from korri-breckan, korrika meaning tidal race and vreckan stands for Breckan: “Breckan’s tidal race,” the name of Prince Breckan, whose name folk memory preserved as a Danish or Irish prince who drowned in the whirlpool of Charybdis after having anchored in it for three days and nights. Adomnan, the biographer of St. Columba, writing in Latin some 60 or 70 years after the Saint’s death in 597AD, used the name “carubdis Brecani.” The name of feared Charybdis comes from Basque: karubdi’diz: “Vulgar death in the shining whirlpool.”
This is another case where Homer uses and adjective which is already part of the make-up of the name: in line XII:235 he talks about “shining Charbydis.” The whirlpool itself, which is located on the north side close to the shore of Scarba, was in Christian times give the Gallic name “Calleagh” meaning “the hag or the witch.” The place was holy to the inhabitants, so it must have been a Roman Catholic priest who named it. It appears certain that Adomnan had access to Homer’s Odyssey, therefore it is fairly safe to assume that Homers’s name “Charybdis” and Adomnan’s “Carbubdis” and Basque “karubdiz” were varieties of the name given to the whirlpool when the first missionaries arrived. It is likely that Prince Breckan drowned prior to Adomnan’s time, but after Odysseus.
“Breck” is said to be a Gallic word meaning “sandy” which supposedly described the color of his hair. However, Gallic had not yet been invented when Prince Breckan lived, therefore we have to look at Basque for a translation: barek-an, bareki (peacefully or calmly) suffix -an (in) and local legend indeed stresses the calm dignity which he, of his own free will, stepped into the boat and heroically accepted his death. He had to die; to survive, ad Odysseus did, would upset the planned resurrection and brought the return of spring and happiness, with all its blessings, into serious doubts. The top of the high hill on the north tip of Jura, which provides a panoramic view of the treacherous channel is called Cruachan, kru-aka-an, from krudel (cruelty) akabu (death) and (over there), i.e. “cruel death over there,” no doubt the comment of a visitor from the patriarchal outside. It is another name which must have been given by someone Christian or Jew who ovserved the sacrifice.
It was a death which was not nearly as cruel as nailing a man to the cross, letting him suffer in the sun’s heat and then giving him vinegar to drink. A short distance from the cave is a place called: Maol nan Damh, from ma-ahol-an-damuz, ama (goddess) aholku (to counsel) -an (inside) damuz (sorrowfully), the Goddess sorrowfully counseled inside. Theer is little doubt that this refers to the Chief Priestess following the dead prince into the cave, considered to be the womb of the Goddess, and after consummation of his immolation, seen by the waiting crowd as a light phenomenon, his spirit is released for resurrection (Campbell, 1959, p166).
The jeep trail giving access to this historic part of Jura follows the east coast. At the far end of this road was a still occupied croft by a small bay named Kinuachdrachd, a name said to derive from Gallic “Cean Uachterachd” meaning “Head of the uttermost part.” Again Gallic cannot be blamedm because it did not exist yeat. Instead it comes from Kinuak’dragat: “agitated they dregded the shore for the dead one.” This name is obviously an original from pre-Christian days. The old stone jetty which was built in the small bay nearby mus thave been used many times in the recovery of teh body of the sacrificed prince. Indeed the jetty may have been constructed especially for this purpose, it looks very old.
Odysseus and the Sea Peoples: A Bronze Age History of Scotland
A Scandinavian Prince, Breakan, fell in love with a Princess of the Island, whose father consented to the marriage, on condition that Breakan should show his skill and courage by anchoring his boat for three days and three nights in the whirlpool.
Breakan accepted the challenge and returned to Norway, where he had three cables made… one of hemp, one of wool and one from maidens’ hair. The women of Norway willingly cut off their hair and plaited the rope. It was believed that the purity and innocence of the maidens would give the rope strength to stand the strain.
Breakan returned and anchored in the whirlpool. On the first day the hemp rope parted, but they survived the night. On the second day, the woollen rope parted in a strong wind, but they survived the night again.
On the last day they set the plaited cable of hair and all went well until a gale of wind broke the rope. The boat was sucked under by the currents and a surviving crewman and Breakan’s dog dragged the body of Breakan ashore – he was buried in the King’s Cave.
‘Well, Breacan, you have my decision. You’ll not marry my daughter unless you can survive A’Chailleach’s temper three nights. She is our Goddess and will give you a just hearing.’ The Chieftain, looked away from the viking warrior, who stood, stunned by the conversation. He returned to his encampment by the shore and his awaiting Norse comrades, the rebuttle still ringing in his ears. ‘Well?’ asked Erc, his friend. The downcast eyes of Breacan looked up, ashen ‘I can only marry her if I can survive three nights anchored aboard my ship in Cailleach’s Cauldron.’ ‘What?! That’s ridiculous!’. His friends were shocked by the challenge. ‘But, that’s impossible! surely?’ voiced another. Breacan stood in silence for a while, then addressed the warriors ‘If I wish to be with my beloved, short of abduction, which would leave us without estate, then I must attempt it.’ There was an air of mixed admiration, bravado and fear amongst his friends.
That night, Breacan consulted a local wise woman. She stared into the fire ‘To succeed, Breacan, you must make three anchor ropes. One of Wool, one of Hemp, one of the hair of a pure maiden. You’ll need one for each night in the tempest.’ The comrades set about collecting the wool and hemp and twisting to a good strong rope. It was a difficult task to make it strong enough. Breacan himself went in search of a maiden of unblemished virtue to offer her hair. Who else could he approach but his own love? She gazed wistfully at her long black hair, then reached for her shears. Once the men had finished twisting her hair to a suitable length of rope, it was only three strands thick. Would the magic and strength of virtue be enough?
That night, Breacan and a few men pushed off the shore in their galley, a large anchor rock, bound with wool, lying in the bottom of the boat. They lifted the rock overboard, the comrades taking to a small rowing boat to watch from the shore.
Breacan rode out the night at the edge of the Cauldron, the boat sinking low in the arieated water, but the rope held him back from the centre of the vortex. As the cauldron calmed for this night, the wool rope parted and the boat drifted into the now harmless cauldron. He had survived, just.
The second night, passed in similar horrific style, the hemp rope straining and slapping as the boat dragged towards the anihilation. As the vortex stilled, the hemp rope disintegrated, but again, he had survived.
On the third night, the three mere strands of hair held back the amazed and terrified Breacan from the roaring sea. As the turn of the vortex began to slow and the strain on the hair lessened, Breacan began to relax his white-knuckle grip on the gunwhales. It was then to the horror of all watching, that the hair neatly snapped, giving Breacan a few seconds to consider the slow drowning ahead of him as the boat sank lower, water quickly swamping it. The cries from the shore, as he looked back. Evidently his love-one was not as pure as he had thought. His body was found some days later by his dog and he was interred in Uamh Bhreacain (the cave of Brecan) on the shores of Jura.
Many years later, a Viking gold bracelet was found in the Coire Bhreacan.
Scot AnSgeulaiche, local historian, storyteller and tour guide.
Nota: É bom lembrar que Peter Carter tem seu próprio Corryvreckan “celeste-cerebral” em A Matter of Life and Death.
- Bookshelf: Into The Abyss (learntodivetoday.wordpress.com)