Ossian

/osh"euhn, os"ee euhn/, n. Gaelic Legend.
a legendary hero and poet and son of Finn, who is supposed to have lived during the 3rd century A.D., represented in Gaelic poems and in imitations of them written by James Macpherson in the 18th century.
Also, Oisin.

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Gaelic Oisín

Irish warrior-poet of the Fenian cycle of hero tales.

The name Ossian became known throughout Europe in 1762–63 when the Scottish poet James Macpherson (1736–96) published the epics Fingal and Temora, which he represented as translations of works by the 3rd-century Gaelic poet Ossian. The poems were widely acclaimed and influential in the Romantic movement, but their authorship was later doubted, notably by Samuel Johnson (1775), and they were eventually determined to have been written largely by Macpherson.

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▪ legendary Gaelic poet
Gaelic  Oisín 

      the Irish warrior-poet of the Fenian cycle of hero tales about Finn MacCumhaill (MacCool) and his war band, the Fianna Éireann. The name Ossian became known throughout Europe in 1762, when the Scottish poet James Macpherson (Macpherson, James) “discovered” and published the poems of Oisín, first with the epic Fingal and the following year with Temora; both of these works were supposedly translations from 3rd-century Gaelic originals. Actually, although based in part on genuine Gaelic ballads, the works were largely the invention of Macpherson and were full of similarities to Homer, John Milton, and the Bible. These so-called poems of Ossian won wide acclaim and were a central influence in the early Romantic movement. J.W. von Goethe (Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von) was one of their many admirers, but they aroused the suspicions of some critics, such as Samuel Johnson (Johnson, Samuel). They infuriated Irish scholars because they mixed Fenian and Ulster legends indiscriminately and because Macpherson claimed that the Irish heroes were Caledonians and therefore a glory to Scotland's past, rather than to Ireland's.

      The Ossianic controversy was finally settled in the late 19th century, when it was demonstrated that the only Gaelic originals that Macpherson had produced were translations in a barbarous Gaelic of his own English compositions. The name Ossian, popularized by Macpherson, superseded Oisín, though they are often used interchangeably. The term Ossianic ballads refers to genuine late Gaelic poems that form part of the common Scots-Irish tradition and should not be confused with the romanticized epics of “Ossian.”

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Universalium. 2010.

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