Nuada Airgetlam
Nuada of the Silver Arm

King of the Tuatha Dé Danann, particularly during the war with the Formoraig. Like the Norse god Tyr, his hand was struck off by evil forces, and he was forced to have a hand of silver. Because of this disfigurement, he lost his throne to the half-Formor Bres, who persecuted the TDD. When Lugh came, he rallied the TDD while Nuada had a new arm made.

The relationship between Nuada and Lugh are not only similiar to the Welsh figures of Lludd and Lleuelys, but also Tır and Oğinn, and Varuna and Mitra in Vedic myth. Nuada represents sovereignty, justice, and war, while Lugh is god of "many skills", magic, prophecy, and oath-making.

Nuada is no doubt related to the Romano-British god Mars Nodens, and the Welsh figure Lludd Silver-Hand, also known as Nudd. He may also be related to the Irish figure Neit, who is also said to be a war god, and married to Nemhain. Nuada's wife is usually one of the three Machas.

In the 1973 British film The Wicker Man, Nuada is refered to as the sun god; this is incorrect. Nuada represents divine justice, not the sun. As far as can be reconstructed, the Celts usually believed in a sun goddess, not a sun god; the word for sun--grene in Irish--is usually feminine.

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Mary Jones © 2004