Dían Cécht is the semi-divine god of healing in the ancient Irish mythological cycle. He was the son of Dagda, the father of the gods who like Thor, carried a great hammer. Dian Cécht was grandfather to the almost universal Celtic deity Lugh. (Lúnasa, Lugudunum, Lyon, Lleu, Lugoues, Lucubo etc.,etc.)
Dian Cécht tended Nuada after he lost his arm at the Battle of Moytura and made him a silver prosthesis. In time, Dian Cécht’s son Miach was also a great healer, apparently more into physic than surgery. He healed Nuada completely by physic. In a prolonged fit of jealous rage Dian Cécht killed Miach. 365 healing herbs grew from his grave which were gathered and catalogued by Airmed, Dian Céchts daughter and Miach’s sister. Dian Cécht threw the herbs to the wind which scattered them and that is why the knowledge of healing was so hit and miss.
The myth of Dían Cécht provides an allegory explaining the shortcomings in the medicine of the times. Recognising these shortcomings and the importance of animal disease, the jurists of the time, the Brehons, devised laws and rules to ensure the orderly and equitable resolution of problems and disputes involving animals and animal-diseases. (Read the full abstract in the WAHVM 2020 proceedings https://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/74425)
Presentation delivered at the 44th International Congress of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine held from the 27-29 of February 2020 at The Farm Inn Hotel and Conference Centre, Pretoria, South Africa