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Mairu (or mairuak with the Basque plural), also called intxisu(ak) in the Bidasoa valley, were, in Basque mythology, giants who built dolmens or harrespil. Like these, they are only found in mountains. They are often associated with lamia, though these are known in all the Basque Country.

Mairu' means "moor" in Basque.[1] This term is used with the sense of 'non-Christian' to refer to former civilizations or megalithic monuments. In parts of Spain, any ancient monument was popularly attributed to the age of Moorish domination. The origin of the Mairu is thought to be as old as the "mouros encantados" in Portugal (Spanish: moros encantados), who are thought to be the remnant of old pre-Roman deities. The Roman occupation of basque lands, or Carthaginian imperial influence in western Europe can not be underestimated as the possible origin of this belief in southerner or Mediterranean "magical people", but the presence of strong Mediterranean cultural influences and maybe immigrants from the Cardium Pottery that came up the Ebro valley, or from south Portugal along the Megaliths spread around the Atlantic Coasts during the Neolithic Period, may be older and more relevant to the monuments legends.

See also

References

  • Anuntxi Arana: Mari, mairu eta beste - 1996 - Bulletin du musée basque n°146.
  1. ^ Mairu in the Online Morris Basque-English dictionary.

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