The epic, Leabhar Gabhala Earrainn, the ‘Book of Invasions’ was written during the 8th Century BC. It was in the Leabhar Gabhala Earrainn that the legendary chronological history from Adam to the Sons of Mil was recounted.
According to the legend, the line which flowed down through the generations from Adam and Eve traveled through their son, Sheth to Enosh, to Kenan, to Mahabeel, to Jared, to Enoch, to Methuselah, to Lamech, and then to Noah. After the Flood, Noah divided the Earth among his three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. To Shem, Noah gave the lands we now know as Asia. To Ham, he gave Syria, Arabia and the continent of Africa. And finally, to his son, Japheth, he gave the lands which are now Europe.
Certain sources claim that Japheth and his wife gave birth to fifteen sons; we have the names for seven children: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras. Japheth’s descendants would give rise to the Celtic race, spread out across Europe.
It was Japheth’s son, Magog, who eventually inherited the lands which lay to the north of the Black Sea, which encompassed the modern-day countries of Ukraine, Byelorussia, Bessarabia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and a large portion of Russia. Magog passed these lands, which came to be called Scythia, over to his son, Baoth, who became known as the first Scythian king. (The name, Scythia is believed to have been derived from the Celtic word, Sciot, which represented ‘dart’ or ‘arrow’.)
Baoth, in turn, handed the kingship of Scythia over to his son, Phoniusa Farsaidh, more commonly known as ‘Fenius Farsa’or ‘Fenius the Ancient.’ Phoniusa fathered two sons, Nenuall and Niul. Phoniusa and his youngest son, Niul traveled southward to the lands of Assyria and Babylon. The Assyro-Babylonians were engaged in the construction of a tower that would reach to the heavens. Both, Phoniusa and his son, Niul, had an interest in learning the languages of other people in the world. Following the destruction of the Tower of Babel, and the dispersal of the people by God by causing them all to speak different languages, the father and son saw an opportunity to utilize their interest. Niul had developed a knack for understanding the mechanics of language, so he and his father established a school in the valley of Senaar, near the city of Aeothena, for the purpose of studying and teaching language. Shortly thereafter though, Phoniusa left to return to the land of Scythia. Niul was then invited by the Pharoah Cingeris to take up residence in Egypt, where he might teach. Niul took the Pharoah up on his offer, and while in Egypt he took the Pharoah’s daughter’s hand in marriage. Scota, the daughter of Pharoah would enter the annals of history by giving her name to a race of people: Scots.
One of Niul’s pupils, Gaodhal (variously spelled Gaedheal; formed from the words gaoith meaning ‘wisdom’ and gil, meaning ‘loving’, hence ‘a lover of learning’), became a very gifted linguist, and Niul engaged him to create a language by refining one called Bearla Tobbai. Gaodhal completed his task, creating the language which Niul’s family and descendants would use and continue to use to the present time. It was known as Gaodhilg, or more commonly, Gaelic.
Niul was so impressed with Gaodhal’s accomplishment, that he named his son after him. This son, it was said, was bit on the neck by a serpent when he was young, and was immediately taken to the prophet, Moses. Moses laid his rod on the wound and the child was instantly cured. The scar left by the serpent’s bite turned a glas, or greenish color. Because of that, Niul’s son acquired the epithet, glas; he was known the rest of his life as Gaodhal Glas. According to the legend set forth in the Leabhar Gabhala Earrainn, Moses declared, upon curing the child, that his descendants would forever be safe from serpents, and dwell in a land where serpents did not exist.
Gaodhal Glas had a son, Easruth, who had a son, Sruth (variously, Sru). Sruth and his kindred, while living in Egypt, sympathized with the Israelites who were slaves to the Egyptian Pharoah. Because of that sympathy, and possibly because they had aided the Israelites in some way, Sruth and his family was forced to flee from the land of the Pharoah. They moved first to the island of Crete, where Sruth died. His son, Heber, then led the family, the descendants of Niul, north and westward to the land of his forefathers, Scythia. But the descendants of Niul’s brother, Nenuall, did not want their cousins to encroach on the ancestral lands, which they had maintained for so many generations. The two families fell into physical combat, with Heber’s claiming the victory. From that time forward, Heber was known as Heber Scutt, or ‘the Scythian.’
The victory of Heber Scutt was short lived. The descendants of Nenuall continued to harrass the descendants of Niul. A great-great-grandson of Heber Scutt, Agnon, finally decided he had had enough. He gathered together his family, who will be referred to hereafter as ‘the Scythians’ and set off across the Caspian Sea. For seven years, during which time Agnon would meet his death, the family traveled on the Caspian, and then on to the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better place in which to dwell. Lamhfionn, son of Agnon, landed on the northern coast of Africa at Gothi, known today as Lybia. There they established a colony and brought their seven years of wandering to an end.
Some eight generations remained at Gothi. But Brath, son of Deag, son of Arcadh, son of Alladh, son of Nuadhad, son of Nenuall, son of Febric Glas, son of Agnan Fionn, son of Heber Glenfionn, son of Lamhfionn, son of Agnon desired to move on. He gathered together a group of like minded kinsmen and obtained a ship. The party set sail for lands they had heard of which lay to the northwest - Galacia, or Spain. They landed and overpowered the local peoples and so established a colony. Brath’s son, Breoghan (variously, Brigus), soon built a large city, which was called Brigantia, or as it is called today, Braganza (in the present-day country of Portugal). It is said that Breoghan constructed a high tower at Brigantia, and it was from that tower, on a winter evening, that Breoghan’s son, Ithe, first caught sight of the islands of Britain and Eire.
Breoghan was enticed by the land across the water, so he sent a group of his kinsmen to establish a settlement there. They landed on the largest of the islands and started a colony in the region that is today, Cumberland, Durham, Lancaster, Westmoreland and York counties of England. When the Romans invaded the Isles, the descendants of these colonists were known as Brigantes.
Breoghan had two sons, the eldest being named Bile, the youngest being Ithe. Now Bile had two sons, Galamh and Ithe. Galamh was variously known as Milesius, Milethea Spaine, Milo Spaine, Mileadh or simply Mil. He had wanderlust, and desired to travel back to the lands of his ancestors. He left his family (he had, it was said, something like twenty-four sons by this time) and set off for Scythia, where he was warmly welcomed by his distant cousins. He was even given the hand of Seang, the daughter of the king of Scythia, in marriage. But despite the initial reception, he came to be at odds with the reigning king of Scythia. The king had made him an army commander, but grew jealous of Milesius as ‘the man of Spain’s fame increased. The king plotted to have Milesius put to death, but Milesius became aware of the plot, and slew the king before he could act. According to the legend, Seang bore him two sons, but had died prior to this incident, and so Milesius set off alone, journeying toward Egypt to the southeast, where, legend told him, his ancestor, Niul had found favor with the Pharoah.
At Egypt, Milesius likewise found favor with the then-reinging Pharoah Nectonibus. He joined the Pharoah in his war with Ethiopia, and for his valor, was given lands and the hand of Scota, the daughter of Pharoah, in marriage. The wife and eight sons that she bore to him, Milesius gladly accepted, but he was not long interested in the lands offered him by Pharoah Nectonibus. And so, he and Scota and their sons left Egypt after eight years there, and journeyed westward across the length of the Mediterranean Sea with the intention of settling on the island that his uncle Ithe had once espied. Enroute, Milesius received word that his family at Galacia were in trouble with enemies attacking them. He subdued the attackers, but he either had not the strength or the motivation to continue on to Eire. Milesius was destined to die in Galacia.