Betha Brigte‘The Life of (St) Brigit’

  • Middle Irish
  • prose
  • Irish hagiography
“apparently a translation of an abridged version of Colgan’s third life [i.e. the Vita prima sanctae Brigitae]” (Kenney)
Initial words (prose)
  • Híí sunt qui sequntur agnum quocunque ierit
  • Middle Irish
  • Secondary language(s): Hiberno-Latin
11th or 12th century (?)
prose (primary)
verse (secondary)
Textual relationships
Kenney suggests that “It possibly testifies to an earlier stratum of the legend ... Several of the legends are incorporated into the notes of the Calendar of Oengus on February 1, her [Brigit's] feast-day”.(1)n. 1 James F. Kenney, The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical (1966): 363 and note.
Associated items


Irish hagiography


Brigit of KildareBrigit of Kildare (c. 439/452–c. 524/526) – patron saint of Kildare, whose cult spread both within and outside of Ireland.
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Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], “Betha Brigte: On the Life of Saint Brigit”, in: Stokes, Whitley, Three Middle-Irish homilies on the Lives of saints Patrick, Brigit and Columba, Calcutta, 1877. 49–87, 138–140.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], Lives of saints from the Book of Lismore, Anecdota Oxoniensia, Mediaeval and Modern Series 5, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890.
CELT: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive: <link>
34–53, 182–200, 318–336 From the Book of Lismore
[ed.] Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften: Sancta Brigita”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 12 (1918): 293–294.
Internet Archive: <link>
Episode from the Book of Lecan
[ed.] Stokes, Whitley, “Mélanges: A parallel”, Revue Celtique 3 (1876–1878): 443–444.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>, <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>
Episode edited from the Leabhar Breac

Secondary sources (select)

Kenney, James F., “Chapter IV: The monastic churches, their founders and traditions: I. The primitive foundations”, in: Kenney, James F., The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical, Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies 11, Revised ed. (1929), New York: Octagon, 1966. 288–371.
362–363 (§ 152.i) [id. 152.1.]
Dennis Groenewegen
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