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Although there does not appear to be a continuing association with cups or cup symbolism in different Celtic traditions, cups are mentioned prominently in several Irish and Welsh stories. The cup of Cormac mac Airt would break when a lie was told. The Fianna of Fionn mac Cumhaill had a ‘Cup of Victory’ made of clay that they were frequently obliged to defend. There is a competition of cups of different worth, won by Cúchulainn, in Fled Bricrenn [The Feast of Briccriu]. Pryderi touched a magical cup in Matholwch, the third branch of the Mabinogi. The Welsh name Heilyn means ‘cup-bearer’. The prehistoric stone carvings containing distinctive ‘cup and ring’ symbolism do not appear to have Celtic associations, although they are found in all Celtic countries as well as throughout Europe and even outside Europe. R. W. B. Morris has studied the concentration of cup and ring carvings found at Achnabreck near Lochgilphead, Strathclyde (until 1974, Argyllshire), Scotland; see The Prehistoric Rock Art of Argyll (Poole, 1977). A more general study may be found in Evan Hadingham, Ancient Carvings in Britain: A Mystery (London, 1974).

Subjects: Religion.

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