Irish: Mana, Manau
The Isle of Man, often simply referred to Mann, is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland.
Irish legend says that it was the island to which some of the Fomhoiré (Fomorians) were exiled after their defeat by the people of Partholán, other exiles going to the Hebrides. Later tradition made it the home of Manannán mac Lir. Cormac mac Cuilennáin (fl. 900) attempted to establish Manannán mac Lir as a historical person by declaring him a magnificent navigator and merchant who hailed from the island, and by saying that it was these skills that led both the Irish and the British to regard him as a god.
The island was, during the traditional Arthurian period, ruled by a number of Celtic kings about whom very little is known. The enchanted knight Gromer became king with the help of Gawain. The island also figures in a tale concerning Merlin, who allegedly defeated a number of giants and interred them in caves beneath Castle Rushen on the island.
Recent works have attampted to connect the Isle of Man with Avalon, perhaps because of the naming of Avalon as the Isle of Apples by Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Irish connection of the island with Emhain Abhlach (‘Emhain of the Apple Trees’), the home of the Irish sea god Manannán mac Lir. Some have also suggested the Isle of Man to be location of the city of Camelot, the Grail Castle and the Battle of Camlann, the last site of battle where Arthur died.
Isle of Man | 0 to 700 AD
The Isle of Man, like much of the British Isles, was inhabited by Celtic tribes during the early part of this period. These Celtic peoples had their own languages and social structures and engaged in agriculture, fishing, and trade.
The Romans had a presence in Britain during the first to fourth century, but had limited influence on the Isle of Man specifically. The island was situated beyond the reach of Roman control and administration.
The spread of Christianity to the Isle of Man likely began during the early Christian period. Christian missionaries, including Saint Patrick, who is believed to have visited the island, played a role in converting the population to Christianity. Early Christian crosses and other artifacts have been discovered on the island, providing evidence of Christian influence.
By the late eighth century and into the ninth century, Viking raids and invasion began to affect the Isle of Man, as well as other parts of the British Isles. The Vikings, known for their seafaring abilities, targeted coastal regions in search of riches and resources.
The Viking presence on the Isle of Man grew stronger, leading to the establishment of Norse rule and settlements. The Isle of Man became part of the Norse Kingdom of the Isles, which included other islands in the Irish Sea. The Vikings left a significant mark on the island’s culture and place names, some which are still in use today.
Over time, the Isle of Man developed a system of clans and lordship, with local rulers exercising authority over the island. The Viking influence continued to shape the island’s social and political structures.
Môn is the Welsh name for Anglesey. Isle of Mona and the Isle of Man derive their names from mon, which means “what is isolated,” “separate.”