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Ercol


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Connacht warrior and foster-father of Medb as portrayed in Fled Bricrenn[Briccriu's Feast]. Cúchulainn, Conall Cernach, and Lóegaire go to the court of Medb and Ailill to seek their judgement as to which is the greatest warrior and thus most deserving of the hero's portion, but the royal couple send the three on to Ercol and his wife Garmuin. At first they hesitate, giving the three challengers a contest and sending them to Samera, who tells them to return and test their worth in a single match with Ercol. Lóegaire advances first, but he soon flees when Ercol's gelding kills his horse. He disgraces himself further by lying that Ercol has first killed Conall and Cúchulainn to cover his cowardice. Conall is also put off by the death of his horse, and sees his son Rathend drowned in their flight. When Cúchulainn's turn comes, his horse Liath Macha[Grey of Macha] makes short work of Ercol's gelding, after which Cúchulainn himself overcomes Ercol and binds him behind his chariot, taking him back to Emain Macha. Several commentators have noted an echo of the name Hercules in Ercol, although the humiliation behind the chariot is more evocative of Hector in the Iliad.

Subjects: Religion.


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