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Book of Rights (Lebor na Cert)

(735 words)

Author(s): Stuart Nels Rutten
The Book of Rights is a prosimetric account of the tributes owed to the provincial kings of Ireland and, in turn, stipends owed by those kings by tribal- or sub-kings. The text is found in two major recensions. Two of the oldest manuscripts containing the text are The Book of Ballymote ( Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta), compiled c. 1384–1406, and the Great Book of Lecan ( Leabhar Mór Leacáin), c. 1416–18. Based on an invocation found within the text, tradition states the work was authorized by St Benignus ( c. 450). The Book of Rights is said to have been revised by Cormac ua Cuileannáin, the k…

Dream of Rhonabwy

(656 words)

Author(s): Stuart Nels Rutten
Commonly collected with the Welsh Mabinogi (see Mabinogion) tales, The Dream of Rhonaby ( Breuddwyd Rhonabwy) tells of a vision experienced by one of the followers of Madog ap Maredudd, the mid-12th-century prince of Powys. The story has been dated from 1175 to 1300, but a reliable ad quem can be obtained from the date of The Red Book of Hergest ( Llyfr Coch Hergest), copied post 1382, in which the only medieval version of the tale survives. The tale stands apart from the other ten stories included in the Mabinogi, both in its reflective treatment of subject matter and its collocatio…

Ælfric’s Colloquy and Glossary

(669 words)

Author(s): Stuart Nels Rutten
Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham (or of Cerne), also known as Grammaticus, was a Benedictine monk flourishing in the late 10th century, who was prolific both in Latin and in Old English. Along with numerous homilies and biblical commentary, he produced three influential monastic school texts used widely in Anglo-Saxon England, the Colloquy, Grammar and Glossary, with the stated purpose of introducing Anglo-Saxon scholars to Latin biblical texts. Ælfric's three texts, which drew upon continental schooling traditions and Donatus's and Priscian's Institutiones grammaticae in particular,…