Texts

    Do bunad imthechta Éoganachta‘Concerning the origin of the wandering of the Éoganachta’

    • Old Irish, Middle Irish
    • prose
    • Cycles of the Kings, minor Irish prose tales
    Origin legend of the Éoganachta and the Dál Cuinn.
    Author
    Byrne regards it "very likely that this story was compiled, if not composed, by Cormac mac Cuilennáin, when the Eóganachta were making a final effort to challenge the Uí Néill high-kingship"n. 1 Francis J. Byrne, Irish kings and high-kings (2001): 200–201.
    Summary
    It first relates how Éogan (the eponymous ancestor of the Éoganachta) and/or his sons arrive and settle in Ireland, how Éogan (the father or one of his sons) save the population from starvation, and how Éogan's son is chosen to be king. Their peaceful ascendancy is then contrasted with an origin tale of the Dál Cuinn (called children of the "second Míl Espáine"), who rule Ireland by the sword. In the north of the island, they alternately share the kingship with the Cruthin until Conn Cétchathach defeats them in a series of battles. The situation is reversed when Fíachu Araide, progenitor of the Dál Araide, expels Conn's grandson Cormac mac Airt from Tara. Cormac flees to Munster, where he becomes a vassal of Fíachu Muillethan, Éogan's great-grandson, in return for his assistance against Fíachu Araide. Fíachu Muillethan defeats the latter in battle. Cormac is thereby restored to the kingship and grants the lands settled by the Ciannachta to Fíachu Muillethan, who passes them on to Connla mac Taidg.
    Manuscripts
    Language
    • Old Irish Middle Irish
    • Late Old Irish or early Middle Irish
    Date
    “very likely, from the late ninth century or very early tenth” (Ó Corráin).n. 2 Donnchadh Ó Corráin, ‘Irish origin legends and genealogy: recurrent aetiologies’ in History and heroic tale... (1985): 53.
    Provenance
    Munster
    Form
    prose (primary)
    Textual relationships

    Ó Corráin suggests that the episode in which Éogan accepts advice from his seers concerning the famine, was modelled on the biblical tale of Pharaoh's dream (Genesis 41). The author of the tale was also familiar with a version of the legend relating to Míl Espáine.n. 3 Donnchadh Ó Corráin, ‘Irish origin legends and genealogy: recurrent aetiologies’ in History and heroic tale... (1985): 53. Cf. Cath Maighe Léna, Tochmarc Moméra and Cóir anmann §§ 36-39 (in Stokes' edition).

    Classification

    Cycles of the Kings
     minor Irish prose tales (foscéla)

    Subject tags

    Mug NuadatMug Nuadat
    Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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    Fiachu MuillethanFiachu Muillethan
    Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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    ÉoganachtaÉoganachtaNo short description available
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    Dál CuinnDál Cuinn
    Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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    Sources

    Notes

    Francis J. Byrne, Irish kings and high-kings (2001): 200–201.
    Donnchadh Ó Corráin, ‘Irish origin legends and genealogy: recurrent aetiologies’ in History and heroic tale... (1985): 53.
    Donnchadh Ó Corráin, ‘Irish origin legends and genealogy: recurrent aetiologies’ in History and heroic tale... (1985): 53.

    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.] Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “The Laud genealogies and tribal histories”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 8 (1912): 291–338.
    CELT – edition: <link> Celtic Digital Initiative – PDF: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
    312–314 direct link
    [tr.] Byrne, F. J., Irish kings and high-kings, 2nd ed. (1973), Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001.
    199–200 Translation of a single passage only.

    Secondary sources (select)

    Byrne, F. J., Irish kings and high-kings, 2nd ed. (1973), Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001.
    199–201
    Ó Corráin, Donnchadh, “Irish origin legends and genealogy: recurrent aetiologies”, in: Nyberg, Tore, Iørn Piø, and P. M. Sørenen (et al., eds.), History and heroic tale: a symposium, Odense: Odense University Press, 1985. 51–96.
    Sproule, David, “Origins of the Éoganachta”, Ériu 35 (1984): 31–37.
    Contributors
    Dennis Groenewegen
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