Prologue :

versache the Barbarian logo VerSache stands a good 2 metres tall, possessing the alertness and stealth of a born Woodsman (although he has a strange glazed look about him), the iron hardness of a lifelong surfer, having a practical familiarity with knives, axes, swords and what is defined today as 'blunt instruments'. A barbarian from north-westernern Caledonia; he was birthed on a battlefield, son to a famed full-time surfer/ part-time dragon slayer. He grew up fast: by age 10 he was already a respected clansman, having hunted down and slain one of the fabled Giant Hares of the Dark Woods....

After this VerSache was struck with a wanderlust and began many colourful and rather exciting adventures, encountering odd and often very large creatures, demented wizards ( alchemy will do that to you), and the obligatory beautiful wenches - he travelled throughout the known world (and to several unknowable ones) and has been a brigand and outlaw, a mercenary and freebooter.

VerSache the Barbarian :
     VerSache the Barbarian   \ Celtic Mythology \Surfing Barbarism\Created eons ago

Versache the Barbarian
now this, O Surfer,
before the rise of the diminutive Sons of Romulus, there was an Epic age of adventure largely disregarded by the intellectual masturbation of academic historians, where diverse kingdoms and tribal nations spread across our world.
, beyond the home of Boreas the North wind, Scythia with its gryphon-guarded mausolia. The vast Ch'in Empire, Caria with its naval fleet of renoun, the trader-nations of Axum and Agisymba, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold.
From the Pictish Isles came VerSache, 'Dubh Gall', the Caledonian freebooter, Dread-locked, red eyed, sword axe in hand, a renowned smoke walker with gigantic unmentionables and an enormous longboard, to walk (or stagger) the many principalities of the Earth and surf its mighty oceans.....

Asthese barbarians inhabited very distant lands, we did not know to which nations they belonged and from which lands they had come to thunder like a storm cloud on the Gauls and on Italy. Their great height, their black eyes and their name, the Cimbri, which the germans use for brigands, led us merely to suppose that they one of those races of Germania who lived on the shores of the western ocean Others say that the huge expanse of Celtica stretches from the outer sea and the western regions to the Palus Maeotis and borders on Asian Scythia; that these two nations joined forces and left their land.... And although each people had a different name, their army was collectively called Celto-Scythian. According to others, some of the Cimmerii, who were the the first to be known to the Ancient Greeks...took flight and were driven from their lands by the Scythians The others lived at the ends of the earth, near the Hyperborean Ocean, in a land covered in woods and dense shade where the sun rarely penetrates forests so huge that they spread into the Hercynian forest.

Artwork Details :
     Artists Description and comments relating to characters and concepts.

MacDougall Family CrestClient : VerSache the Barbarian comic book Project ( in association with Ian Versace.)
Medium : Pen Sketch (on Cartridge) 20cm by 20cm :
Coloured and Enhanced in Adobe Photoshop 2005 a.d

Notes on the life and times of VerSache the Barbarian:
( the remainder of the document may seem incredibly boring and anal to the majority of you so I won't be offended if you loose interest now, to those that find gaelic history fascinating read on, bearing in mind minor alterations in the 'excepted view' of history will be there)
Ex libris necessarius VerSache obscurus barbarus : Compiled, Photographed, Edited, Rebound and Translated by Marjorie Chillblaine : Today the original collection exists beginning with the most ancient documents as 600 leaves (or folios) made from hemp, Some folios are of single sheets, most are twice the width, then folded to accommodate 2 pages of text, The decorated pages often occurred on single sheets. The folios had lines drawn for the text, sometimes on both sides. Prick marks and guide lines can still be seen on some pages. The hemp is of high quality, although the folios have an uneven thickness, with some being almost leather, while others are so thin as to be almost translucent. Food, beer and coffee stains abound throughout ...

Clan : The reason for displaying the MacDougall clan crest comes down to the fact that Ian's ( colaborator and archetype for VerSache) heritage runs through this clan. The Gaelic "dubh gall" means "dark stranger" and "Mac" translates as "Son of", I personally suspect it is in memory of VerSache's appearance. The established history of the MacDougall clan as it is know today in the Oban area dates back to 1164 AD when Dugall, the eldest son of King Somerled of the Hebrides, established the clan after his father was killed in battle against the King of Scots. Somerled was of mixed Celtic-Norse royal blood. Dugall, (Dubhgall) took the land now known as Argyll. His title was, King in the South Isles, Lord of Lorn. There has been fortifications in the area of Dunollie, Oban since 600 AD and the original Clan Chief Dougall would have capitalized on this strategic position. Dál Riata (also Dalriada or Dalriata) was a Gaelic kingdom on the western seaboard of Scotland and the northern coasts of Ireland, situated in what is now Argyll and Bute, Lochaber, and County Antrim. The inhabitants of Dál Riata were often referred to as Scots, from the Latin word scotti, which came from the Low Latin scottis, in turn taken from the Greek language word σκότος meaning darkness, and later came to mean Gaelic-speakers whether Scottish, Irish or otherwise. They are referred to here as Gaels, an unambiguous term, or as Dál Riatans.

Territory : Joined by the Irish Sea to Ireland, Dál Riata formed an apparent loose confederacy with the Cruthin of eastern Ulster and the Dál Fiatach (Uluti) of the same area, with the Uluti dominating. The extent of the Uluti included much of the territory of the north of Ireland, down as far as the Boyne River. Irish Dál Riata was a well defined secondary kingdom that consisted of the coastal part of County Antrim from modern Bushmills to Glenarm. Its boundaries consisted of the aforementioned Irish Sea, the River Bush from Bushmills to a little south-east of Armoy and the Antrim plateau watershed from there to Glenarm. These boundaries could not have been more extensive than this as other tribes, divisions of the Dál nAraidi, can be consistently shown in contemporary sources dating from the late 7th to early 13th century to have occupied the areas immediately west of the River Bush (The Elne or DalnAraide between the Bush, the Bann and the Clogh) and immediately south of Glenarm (the Latharna and Seimhne). Indeed, all the non-Dalriadic remainder of County Antrim (the bulk of the county) belonged to the various subdivisions of the Dál nAraidi, who were considered the largest surviving Cruithin grouping and were totally unrelated to the Dal Riata (who belonged to the Erainn population strata). The name Cruithin is connected with the Welsh word for Britain and probably meant 'Briton' but later, as Romanisation progressed, came to mean Picts. However, although the Picts of Scotland were considered Cruithin, the Irish Cruithin were never called Picts. The latter term referred to a specific confederation of tribes in a specific area (Scotland north of the Forth-Clyde line) at a specific time (the 3rd to 9th centuries AD). There is no evidence for any different language or cultural traits among the Cruithin in Ireland, so, while the name suggests a group with distant British links, nothing tangeable of this survived into the Early Christian period. There is no evidence yet to substantiate that Irish Dál Riata was ever more extensive than outlined above in Early Christian documentation although it is possible that its land may have retreated eastwards along with the other main Ulaid tribes in the early centuries AD if the Ulster Cycle tales accurately reflect the Ulaid's former territory. The tribe nearest to Dál Riata's position in Ptolemy's geography was the Robogdii, a name which the linguist T.F. O'Rahilly suggested was an early form of the second element of the name Dál Riata. The Darini lay to the south, possibly in north County Down, and O'Rahilly again notes that this is probably linked to Daire, a mythological figure associated with the Erainn population strata in Ireland. The Erainn tribes that had survived to Ptolemy's time were located in the north-east and south-west corners of Ireland but were probably once much more widespread. The north-east group of the Erainn consisted of the Dál Riata in north-east Antrim and the true Ulaid or Dál Fiathach in east County Down. The Ulaid are thought by many scholars to appear as the Uolunti in Ptolemy's geography. In term of population strata, the Erainn are probably the oldest as their name is connected with that of the island and basically means "Ireland people", presumably at one stage contrasting with newcomers. An early form of the Gaelic name of Ireland is recorded in the 6th century BC, showing the antiquity of the name and almost certainly of Celtic (probably Goidelic) occupation of the island. As Ireland was effectively in what is labeled the Bronze Age in the 6th century BC, hazarding a guess the Erainn are thought by some academics to represent the pre-Iron Age but apparently Celtic inhabitants of Ireland. Some dismiss O'Rahilly's historical model of linking the Erainn with the Fir Bolg and his concept wherebye Gaelic's arrival in Ireland is connected to the spread of the Connachta dynasties on the grounds that the very early Gaelic oghams ( Oghams are a 'alphabet' similar in nature to the Futhark used by the Nordic-Germanic peoples. The 'letters' were a system of strokes on or across a centered line. There were 3 sets of 5 constants and 1 set of 5 vowels)appear in the Erainn areas of South West Ireland, far from what is excepted as the Connachta and Uí Néill sphere of influence. Contrary to O'Rahilly's scheme, it is probable the Erainn tribes that first spoke Gaelic (by the end of the Bronze Age) and subsequent arrivals with suggested British or continental connections probably brought P-Celtic forms. However, their numbers may have been small, meaning that, unlike most of the Celtic world, they soon accepted the older Q-Celtic form. The most important thing to note from this summary is that this implies that the Irish Dál Riata was apparenly Gaelic speaking from the end of the 'Bronze Age'. Also, if O'Rahilly is correct in his interpretation of the Robogdi of Ptolemy as a distortion of Redodi, an early form of Dál Riata, then we can interpret that the Dál Riata were located in Ireland roughly where they were later placed, in the north-east of Antrim. The fact that in Ptolemy's geography Argyll was occupied by the Epidii tribe would suggest that the Dál Riata only crossed to Argyll after the 2nd century AD, apparently supporting the colonial model. It is not clear if Irish Dál Riata's small size was a relatively recent state when native Irish records began or not. Even if Irish Dál Riata had not shrunk and it had always been a small territory, this should not invite disbelief that it could have conquered an area much larger than the 'mother' territory. There are many parallels of this 'rags to riches' type rise, including the Dál gCais of Munster who went from a minor marginal sept to producing high kings of Ireland (Brian Boru etc) in a few generations. After a colony had been established in Kintyre, this had been diminished by warfare with the Picts in western Scotland. A second wave by Fergus and his brothers in 503 successfully established the first kingdom of the Scots. Through Fergus' line is descended all the kings of Scotland, and from there is descended the present British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. The Duan Albanach tells that the three sons of Erc— Fergus Mór, Loarn and Óengus— conquered Alba (Britain) around 500 AD. Bede offers a different, and probably older, account wherein Dál Riata was settled by a certain Reuda, which is more internally consistent, given that Old Irish Dál means portion or share, and is usually followed by the name of an eponymous founder. Bede's tale may come from the same root as the Irish tales of Cairpre Riata and his brothers, the sons of Conaire Mór.

The story of kingdom moves from foundation myth to something nearer to history with the reports of the death of Comgall mac Domangairt around 540 and of his brother Gabrán around 560. The version of history in the Duan Albanach was long accepted, although it is preceded by the legendary tale of Albanus and Trojan Brutus conquering Britain (supposedly its first king, circa 1100BC. ) The implantation of the Old Irish language in Scotland was seen as a product of a large-scale migration from Ulster. However, archaeological interpretation suggests that Argyll and its surrounds were different from Ireland, before and after the supposed migration, but that they also formed part of the Irish Sea province with Ireland, being easily distinguished from the rest of Scotland. For this reason, it is now generally, but not universally, supposed that the Gaelic language had long been present in the area of Dál Riata, perhaps since the Insular Celtic languages had divided into Goidelic and Brythonic branches. However Dál Riata came to form, the period in which it arose was one of great instability in Ulster, following the loss of territory by the kingdom of Ulaid, including the ancient centre of Emain Macha, to the Airgíalla and the Uí Néill. Whether the two parts of Dál Riata had long been united, or whether a conquest in the 4th century or early 5th century, either of Antrim from Argyll, or vice versa, in line with myth, is not known.

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