History - Mythology - Genealogy
Relationships between historical figures could have been simplified or even fabricated in the text to give the impression that succession remained within the same family….Precise chronology is also difficult to assess from the Sagas….The conclusion must be that the tight family network described in the Sagas is unlikely to be correct and that the relationships shown below should be treated with considerable caution.
Figures such as Niall of the Nine Hostages reside at the cusp of mythology and history, but our results do seem to confirm the existence of a single early-medieval progenitor to the most powerful and enduring Irish dynasty.
Many early books of history in fact contain a great deal of myth. It is only since the Renaissance that history and mythology have become different academic disciplines.
Defining history is hardly easier than defining myth, but a historical approach necessarily involves both establishing a chronological framework for events and comparing and contrasting rival traditions in order to produce a coherent account. The latter process, in particular, requires the presence of writing in order that conflicting versions of the past may be recorded and evaluated. Where writing is absent, or where literacy is restricted, traditions embedded in myths through oral transmission may constitute the principal sources of authority for the past.
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