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[Ir., large tree, tree trunk, mast].

A specially designated tree in early Ireland, believed to be the habitation of gods or elemental spirits. Under its branches many tribal chieftains or kings would be inaugurated. A chief's sceptre was made from a branch of his own tree, and a branch of his tree was symbolic of a king. It was sacrilege to fell or tamper with the chief's tree. The Bile Dathí was the Bough of Dathí, an ash, one of the six wondrous trees of Ireland. The Irish practice may have had a counterpart in Gaul, as can be seen in the place-name Biliomagus [Gaul., plain of the sacred tree (?)].

Subjects: Religion.

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