The Epidii, or Epidaii or Epidi, are a British tribe of western Scotland. Their religion and system of descent varies sharply from book to book depending on the needs of the story, from their first appearance in The Eagle of the Ninth in 1954 to Sun Horse, Moon Horse in 1977, which rewrites their earliest history in Scotland.
Sun Horse, Moon Horse (100 BCE)Edit
The Iceni clan of the White Horse Vale who are driven out by the Atrebates to settle in new territory are said to be the ancestors of the Epidi (sic) of Argyll, based on a similar etymology of the demonyms Iceni and Epidi, both of which mean "Horse People", according to the foreword.
The Iceni clan are a matrilineal chiefdom founded by a son of the Icenian high queen, whose king rules by marriage to the Royal Woman.
The Changeling (post-100 BCE)Edit
The Changeling takes place among the Epidii after they have established themselves in the Glen of the Chariot-Crossing in Argyll. This story was written several years earlier than Sun Horse, Moon Horse, and so it appears to be set rather earlier in the Iron Age than Sun Horse, Moon Horse retroactively places it.
The Epidii here are described as a "Golden People" worshipping Lugh of the Shining Spear, and there is no sign that Conan the chief rules by right of his wife Murna. They are contrasted with the Little Dark People whom they conquered, who are matriarchal.
They appear to subsist by hunting and fishing.
The Eagle of the Ninth (126-9 CE)Edit
The Epidaii (sic) were among the tribes who united to destroy the Ninth Legion, and the legion's eagle standard was taken to their Place of Life, a sacred barrow central to the Feast of the New Spears. This is apparently the same Place of Life featured in The Mark of the Horse Lord, where the Dalriadain use it for the same purpose. The Place of Life is under the control of the Seal Clan, led by Dergdian (the Salmon and Wolf clans also appear). It's unclear whether they follow one of the gods or systems of descent featured in the later-published books; Dergdian is the chieftain and not his (maternal?) grandfather Tradui, and Tradui is markedly rude to Dergdian's wife Fionhula.
The Epidaii are said to be dark, intermingling more with the Little Dark People than do the lowland tribes.
The Mark of the Horse Lord (180s CE)Edit
The Epidii are the tribe conquered three generations earlier by the Dalriadain. The great-grandfather of the present Horse Lord of the Dalriadain married the Royal Woman of the matrilineal Epidii to facilitate the assimilation of the Epidii into the Dalriadain.
The timing of the Dalriad invasion appears to conflict with the total lack of Dalriads in Epidii territory sixty years earlier in The Eagle of the Ninth, which was published eleven years before The Mark of the Horse Lord. It must be assumed that the Horse Lords of the Dalriadain spawned at regular twenty year intervals and died young.
The Epidii, like the Little Dark People and the Caledones, followed the Old Ways, worshipping a mother goddess of the moon and earth.
- Ord Long Arm
- The Glen of the Chariot-Crossing
- The Place of Life
- The Loch of Many Islets