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MANANNAN

Real Name: Manannan mac Lir

Occupation: Lord of Tir Tairn-giri, god of the sea, warrior,

Legal Status: Citizen of Otherworld

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of the existence of Manannan except as a mythological deity.

Other Aliases: Manawydan fab Llyr (Welsh name), Barinthus (possibly)

Place of Birth: Unrevealed, possibly Tir fo Thuinn

Marital Status: Married

Known Relatives: Llyr (father), Penardun (mother), Dagda, Gwydion, Amaethon (uncles), Morrigan, Arianrhod (aunts), Lodan, Sainred, Bran (half-brothers), Branwen (half-sister), Epona (wife/cousin, alias Rhiannon), Uchtdelbb (second wife, deceased), Aine (third wife), Aoife, Cliodna, Edain, Curcog (daughters), Mongan (son, deceased), Owel (foster son, deceased), Eanna (son-in-law, deceased), Aine, Sgathach (grand-daughters, deceased), Oenghus, Brigit, Bodb Dearg, Badb, Oghma, Mider, Nwyre, Lugh II, Dyonas (cousins), Niamh (niece, alias The Lady of the Lake),

Group Affiliations: The Tuatha de Danaan

Base of Operations: Tir Tairn-giri, formerly Emhain Abhlach (modern Isle of Arran)

First Appearance: Thor I #398 (behind the scenes)

History: Manannan is a member of an other-dimensional realm of beings known as the Tuatha de Danaan, a race of beings who were worshipped as gods by the Ancient Celts and Gaels of Western Europe. The Tuatha de Danaan are eternal enemies of the Fomore who once ruled Eire. The Danaans managed to oust them from the island, eventually exiling them to another dimension. Manannan was born the son of Llyr, the Celtic god of the sea, and Penardun, goddess of fertility. He carried the infant Lugh, son of Cian, to Gaul to protect him from the Fomore. Lugh was otherwise raised by King Magmor of Gaul in modern Spain. Manannan was later considered foster father of Lugh when he returned to the Tuatha de Danaan to help fight by their side against the Fomore. After the Fomore were exiled from Eire, Llyr was overlooked as a successor of the Dagda for the throne of Eire and instead took rule of Tir fo Thuinn, an undersea kingdom. As an adult, Manannan received rule of the island of Tir Tairn giri, a land of paradise, accessed via the various ley lines crossing the Earth. (Tir Tairn giri may have once been located at the Isle of Arran and later mystically moved to Otherworld.) Mortal sailors departing Eire by sea often entered the mist-covered shores of Tir Tairn giri and became guests of Manannan on his island.  

Manannan took the goddess Epona as his wife and she gave birth to several of his daughters, but he did not allow them to ever to leave the confines of Tir Tairn giri. When three sailors tried to take Cliodhna, Aoife and Edain off to Eire, Manannan sent a wave to shatter their boat and carry his daughters back to the island. Manannan was also involved with several extra-marital affairs as he took the mortal woman, Uchtdelbh, as his second wife. Uchtdelbh was also the beloved of Aillen, who traveled to Tir Tairngiri to retrieve her, surrendering his sister, Aine, as another wife of Manannan. Manannan accepted the trade and surrendered Uchtdelbh to Aillen. (Aine is not to be confused with Aine, the goddess of earth.)

Manannan also fell in love with Tuag, a beautiful princess who was held in seclusion in her kingdom. He instructed a druid named Fir Fedail to bring her to him on his behalf, but on the way to Tir Tairn giri, Fir Fedail fell in love with Tuag himself and delayed bringing her for three days. When Manannan realized what had happened, he sent a storm to shatter their ship and send them both to the sea. Leir, however, welcomed the Irish Chieftain Bran mac Febhal and his crew to the island of Tir inna mBhan to live, but when the restless Bran decided to return to Eire he discovered that time moved much faster on the island while several thousand years had passed on Earth. If they returned to Eire, they would age immediately into dust, forcing Bran and his men to return to the island to live.

Manannan rarely departed the shores of Tir Tairn giri, but he reportedly encouraged the Irish King Cormac mac Art to build the Royal Court of Ireland at Tara. He appeared to Cormac in the form of a warrior and confessed to having arrived from a land of paradise where death and disease did not exist. As proof, Manannan gave Cormac a branch of golden apples that could cure all sickness, an enchanted bridle to tame the greatest horse and a mystical cup to preserve the youth of all who drank from it. In return for the gifts, Manannan abducted Cormac's wife and children. Cormac gave chase after him with Manannan leading him into a cloud of mist. Cormac was lulled to sleep by singing in the mist, but when he awoke, he found himself laying in a field at Tara with his wife, children and gifts by his side.

Manannan also visited Dal Naraidi, an Irish kingdom in Northern Britain upon which the country of Scotland was founded. He seduced the wife of Chieftain Fiachna Lurgan in order to give him a male heir to the throne, departing later in secret with a poem left behind to explain his identity. Manannan then went to lead Fiachna Lugan and Aedan mac Gabrain, heirs to the throne in battle to victory against the warring Picts. Manannan later came to take his son, Mongan, back with him to Tir Tairn-giri, promising to return him later when time came for him to replace his father on the throne. (This legend resembles the story of Uther Pendragon impersonating the husband of Igraine in order to father Arthur Pendragon, the greatest hero and ruler of Britain.)

Manannan became close friends of his half-brother, Bran, the son of Leir by the British princess, Iweriadd. Bran gave his twin-sister Branwen as a bride to King Matholwych of Eire, but Matholwych was insulted by Efnissen, Bran's mortal half-brother, at their wedding ceremony. Matholwych took out his dishonor cruelly upon Branwen by treating her badly once they returned to Eire. Manannan joined Bran and several other warriors to retrieve Branwen. Manannan first tried to gain her freedom peacefully, but the negotiation was violated when Efnissen again succumbed to his own hostility and tossed Matholwych's male heir into a fire. The resulting war took a heavy toll on Bran's armies because Matholwych used magic to restore his slain warriors to life after death. Efnisien eventually managed to destroy the cauldron, and Bran laid siege to Eire with the help of Manannan, who finally succeeded in slaying Matholwych and freeing Branwen. Bran, however, lost his right to the British throne and was eventually slain by a poison dart. (Later myths later claimed that it was Manannan under the name Manawydan who lost his claim to throne, suggesting that either Manawydan was a separate son of Llyr or Bran had offered it to him. The actual details of the story have been lost over several retellings of the story). Branwen eventually retired to Anglesey, where eventually died of a broken heart.

Manannan eventually returned to Tir Tairn-giri, but eventually, worship of the Celtic Gods fell out of favor. King Arthur, a descendant of Bran, introduced Christianity in Britain over worship of the Celtic gods as most of the Tuatha de Danaan retreated from Earth. The Danaans became bitter enemies of the Asgardian gods worshipped by the Vikings and Saxons who used to lead invasions on Eire and Britain. In recent years, the Asgardian god, Thor pursued a griffin from Asgard to Otherworld where it slew a Danaan couple, and Llyr accused Thor of responsibility for the murder of the Danaans when in actuality it was the griffin that killed them. Thor's ally, Hogun the Grim, meanwhile, had followed Thor to Otherworld to offer his help. Llyr and Thor soon joined forces to slay the griffin, which had been sent by Seth, the Egyptian god of evil. Llyr, however, believed he owed Thor a debt for helping Avalon against the beast and he rallied Manannan and several of the Tuatha de Danaan to help defend Asgard from the armies of Seth. Manannan fought valiantly in the war, sided by the Black Knight, the modern-day descendant of Sir Percival, ally of King Arthur, and was victorious in defeating Seth. Manannan returned to Tir Tairn-giri afterward where he is believed to still preside.

Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 475 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

Strength Level: Manannan possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 35 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Manannan possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Tuatha de Danaan or Celtic gods. Like all of the Danaans, he is exceptionally long-lived, but he is not  immortal like the Olympian gods: he has aged at an exceptionally slow rate since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If he were somehow wounded, her godly life force would enable her to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as the Dagda, Gwydion or Llyr or for a number of Celtic gods of equal power working together to revive him. Manannan also possesses superhuman strength and his Danaan metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Danaan flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Celtic gods.) 

Manannan also has the ability to tap into and manipulate mystical energies in order to conjure storms and mentally manipulate the forces of the sea. He can create tidal waves and hurricane-scale forces to sink ships and to carry mortals safely to his island. He also has limited clairvoyant abilities to perceives events occurring beyond him, usually occurrences tied directly to himself or his allies. He can also create atmospheric conditions such as mist to teleport himself and others short distances. He is also a masterful shapeshifter capable of disguising himself as other people, but it is unrevealed if he can assume non-human or animal forms. He is possibly one of the most powerful gods among the Tuatha de Danaan except for the Dagda, Llyr and Arianrhod.

Abilities: Manannan is a capable warrior with a sword and spear. He is also a brilliant sailor known for using stellar navigation to guide him when he is on Earth.

Pets: Manannan rode an enchanted horse named Aonbarr who could travel over land and sea. Aonbarr was also enchanted in that no one riding his back could be killed riding upon him into battle.

Comments: Manannan has not yet appeared in Marvel or DC Comics.

Last updated: 09/30/08

 

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