“Fia” Rocket’s Red Branch Fian AKA “Purple Pistol”

Story behind Fia’s Registered Name

Description:  The historical institution of the fian is known from references in early medieval Irish law tracts. A fian was made up of landless young men, often young aristocrats who had not yet come into their inheritance of land. A member of a fian was called a fénnid; the leader of a fian was a rígfénnid (literally "king-fénnid).Geoffrey Keating, in his 17th century History of Ireland, says that during the winter the fianna were quartered and fed by the nobility, during which time they would keep order on their behalf, but during the summer, from Beltaine to Samhain, they were obliged to live by hunting for food and for pelts to sell. Keating’s History is more a compilation of traditions than a reliable history, but in this case scholars point to references in early Irish poetry and the existence of a closed hunting season for deer and wild boar between Samhain and Beltaine in medieval Scotland as corroboration. Some legendary depictions of fianna seem to conform to this historical reality: for example, in the Ulster Cycle the druid Cathbad leads a fian of twenty-seven men which fights against other fianna and kills the twelve foster-fathers of the Ulster princess Ness. Ness, in response, leads her own fian of twenty-seven in pursuit of Cathbad. However, the stories of the Fiannaíocht, set around the time of Cormac mac Airt, depict the fianna as a single standing army in the service of the High King, although it contains two rival factions, the Clann Baíscne of Leinster, led by Fionn mac Cumhaill, and the Clann Morna of Connacht, led by Goll mac Morna, and lives apart from society, surviving by hunting. The so-called Fenian Cycle is a collection of legends regarding the live and heroic deeds of Fionn MacCumhail, sometime also known as Finn Mac Coul, and his elite corps the Fianna Éireann. According to these legends the Fianna Éireann, also known as Champions of the Red Branch, were the most daring, courageous and skilled warriors ever. They only obeyed the Ard Rí, or High King, and their own extremely high moral standards. Scholars assume that the Arthurian saga originates from the Fenian Cycle. The concept of courtly love for example, which is usually ascribed to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, was already practiced by the Fianna Éireann.

The Champions of the Red Branch had three mottoes: • Glaine ár g-croí (Purity of our hearts) • Neart ár n-géag (Strength of our limbs) • Beart de réir ár m-briathar (Action to match our speech) Training Membership was subject to rigorous tests. In one such test the applicant would stand in a waist-deep hole armed with a shield while nine warriors threw spears at him; if he was wounded, he failed. In another his hair would be braided, and he would be pursued through the forest; he would fail if he was caught, if a branch cracked under his feet, or if the braids in his hair were disturbed. He would have to be able to leap over a branch the height of his forehead, pass under one as low as his knee, and pull a thorn from his foot without slowing down. He also needed to be a skilled poet.

Later use of the term In the second half of the nineteenth century the name Fianna or Fenian was used as umbrella term for nationalistic movements, such as the Fenian Brotherhood. In more recent history, the name Fianna Éireann has been used by a number of Irish Republican scouting organizations. Fianna Fáil ("the Fianna of Ireland"; sometimes rendered "the soldiers of destiny") has been used as a sobriquet for the Irish Volunteers; on the cap badge of the Irish Army; in the opening line of the Irish-language version of the Irish national anthem; and as the name of the Fianna Fáil political party, the largest in the Republic of Ireland.

References: http://www.clandonald-heritage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66:fionn-agus-fenians&catid=38:families-or-branches-&Itemid=57




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