Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Isle of Man

Irish: Mana, Manau
Welsh: Manaw

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 the 9th century AD

Prehistoric Settlement
The Isle of Man has evidence of human habitation dating back to the Neolithic period. Archaeological sites, including burial chambers and stone circles, indicate prehistoric settlement and ceremonial activities on the island.

Celtic Influence
During the Iron Age and early medieval period, the Isle of Man was likely influenced by Celtic cultures. Celtic-speaking communities may have established themselves on the island, engaging in agriculture and formed part of the broader cultural landscape of Celtic-speaking regions.

Roman and Sub-Roman Periods
The Isle of Man was not directly part of the Roman Empire, but it may have had indirect contact and trade with Romanized areas. The island likely experienced influences from both Roman and post-Roman cultures.

Early Christian Period
By the early Christian period, the Isle of Man became part of the monastic network that characterized early medieval Scotland and Ireland. 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. Monastic communities were established, and early Christian sites, such as keeills (small chapels), have been identified on the island.

Viking Age | 8th – 11th centuries
The Viking Age, which began in the late eighth century, brought Norse seafarers to the Isle of Man. The Vikings, particularly Norsemen from Norway, started raiding and eventually settling on the island. The Isle of Man became part of the Norse Kingdom of the Isles.

The Norse influence on the Isle of Man continued with the establishment of the larger Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, which included other islands in the Irish Sea. The kingdom had a complex political history with shifting alliances and conflicts. The island became a political and maritime center within the Norse-Gaelic culture. Norse rulers, including kings and earls, governed the island. Viking rulers, including Godred Crovan, had significant influence during this period.

The Isle of Man experienced a blending of Celtic and Norse cultures during the Viking Age. This fusion is reflected in aspects of language, art, and traditions on the island. The Manx language, with its Celtic roots, and Norse-derived place names are examples of this cultural synthesis.

Christianity continued to play a role in the Isle of Man’s history during the Norse period. The island was a center for cultural exchange between Norse and Celtic influences, and there is evidence of Christianization efforts.

Tynwald Hill
The establishment of Tynwald, the Isle of Man’s parliament, is traditionally linked to the Viking period. Tynwald, considered one of the oldest continuous parliaments in the world, has roots in the early medieval governance structure of the island.

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.”

See also
Falga | The Legend of King Arthur
Môn | The Legend of King Arthur

External link
Godred Crovan |