The 5 Craziest Moments in the Life of Queen Medb

Queen Medb
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In Irish mythology, Queen Medb is a female warrior and the wife of Ailill, according to MythologySource. In the legends, she’s known for being spoilt and greedy for power. Despite her ruthlessness, she’s often seen as an anti-heroine because she seeks to live a life of luxury under a king who values generosity and service to people above all else.

When Queen Medb was born, she and her brother were separated because her mother feared something bad would happen to the baby. As a young girl, she met Fergus and fell in love with him. Their romance turned sour because Fergus joined the Red Branch Knights under Conchobar’s command. By the time Medb got together with Fergus again, Medb was on the throne of Connacht.

1. The Marriage of Medb and Ailill

2. The Death of King Conchobar

3. Medb Kidnaps Cuchulainn for Eight Days

4. Medb’s Revenge on the Men of Ulster

5. Cuchulaind Takes His Revenge on Queen Medb

1. The Marriage of Medb and Ailill

There’s a mythological story where Ailill and Medb, a couple from the land of Connacht, meet in their youth (more info). According to the legend, Ailill sees Medb from afar and is so struck by her beauty that he only wants one thing: To marry her. Knowing the king’s feelings, Medb plays along and accepts Ailill’s proposal. They then get married and live happily together for several years under the reign of Ailill’s father, Fionn mac Cumhail (Brennan).

2. The Death of King Conchobar

After a warring lifetime, King Conchobar dies in his sleep. He has left everything to his family except for 71 or 72 cows which belong to the men of Ulster. However, his sons fail to agree on the division of the cows and so, after a journey through Ulster, Medb is given her share. But once she gets them, the men of Ulster protest her taking the cows without their consent.

3. Medb Kidnaps Cuchulainn for Eight Days

Medb’s greediness surfaces in this story when she decides to take advantage of her husband’s generosity towards the men of Ulster.

Cuchulainn, hero of the Ulster Cycle, is in any given moment in the story a man ready to strike his enemies with his inexhaustible energy. But Medb has other plans for Cuchulainn. She’s kidnapped him for eight days to be used as ransom for her brother Ailill who has been kidnapped by the men of Ulster after refusing to pay tribute.

4. Medb’s Revenge on the Men of Ulster

Medb raises an army to go to war against the men of Ulster. However, before she can take action, she’s captured by Ailill with his men. She is then forced to become a slave for Ailill’s wife for one full year with no food or drink, no clothes and no bedding. Medb becomes incredibly ill before her family is able to set her free.

Her revenge doesn’t stop there, though. In the legend, Medb decides to get even with Ailill by sending a letter to Fergus mac Roich, a warrior from Ulster. In the letter, she tells him that he must come to Connacht and save her from captivity without telling him who she is or what she’s done.

5. Cuchulainn Takes His Revenge on Queen Medb

Cuchulainn fights his old enemy, Ailill, who tries to take Medb from him. In this tale, Cuchulainn is a man who holds no tolerance for injustice, especially against women. He tries to remove Medb from the throne and take her place. He’s almost successful in that plan, but Medb is not the only woman who has suffered at Cuchulainn’s hands.

His wife, Emer, aided by her friends, makes sure that Medb knows the story of how Cuchulainn previously left her for another woman. After hearing such news, Medb realizes that she may lose everything and so she decides to leave him instead.

Conclusion

Queen Medb is a heroine in Irish legend. She fought in many battles with her husband in the land of Connacht. But her own greediness is what ultimately destroys herself, Ailill and even Ulster in the stories.