Dated: August 22, 2008.
Attached are 12 images of HaT 8139 Celtic Chariot depicting the husband of Queen Maeve, Ailill Mac Ross the king-consort of Connaught. Ailill had two older brothers each of whom was king of a Provence of Ireland and thus his marriage to Maeve is often portrayed as more political than romantic. It is safe to say that in the Ulster Cycle of Irish Mythology King Ailill is treated as a villain, although those tales do tend to favor the heroes of Ulster over those of Connaught.
Here we see Ailill Mac Ross leading the warriors of Connaught on their great raid against the royal herd of Ulster. He is carried into battle on a silver-deocrated chariot pulled by a team of painted horses. The decoration on the King's shield is the magic white bull Findbennach, the ownership of which was the cause of the raid against Ulster.
To make a very long story very short, Maeve being the most powerful woman in Ireland insisted on total equality in her marriage. When she discovered that her husband was the owner of the most valuable bull in Ireland, and was therefore more wealthy and in turn more powerful than she, the couple set out at once to restore balance in their partnership by invading the neighboring Provence of Ulster to capture the White Bull's twin, the Brown Bull of Cooley. The ensuing war is said to have involved armies several times larger than what historians estimate to have been the total population of ancient Ireland, and in the end would cause the deaths of just about everyone involved including Maeve, Ailill, and both of the bulls.
The King's driver is performing a stunt described by Roman authors which can still be seen today in Wild West Shows. He has run out along the rail of the chariot and is standing on the yoke, while dangerous this position gave the driver better control over the horses. This would have been crucial to executing quick maneuvers as the chariot engaged the enemy. This was easy to model by bending the figure's leg some more and making a hole in the rail for the peg in its foot.
S. M. Mannix
U. S. A.
Many thanks to Mr. Mannix.
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