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Texts

Echtra Fergusa maic Léti‘The adventure of Fergus mac Léti’

  • Old Irish
  • Cycles of the Kings, Ulster Cycle
Narrative cited in two (legal) manuscripts to accompany the legal tract Cethairshlicht athgabálae.
Manuscripts
Language
  • Old Irish
  • Old Irish (Binchy)

Date
probably of the 8th century (Binchy)
Textual relationships
A later version of this tale is Aidedh Ferghusa meic Léide.

Classification

Cycles of the Kings Ulster Cycle

Sources

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.] Binchy, D. A. [ed. and tr.], “The saga of Fergus mac Léti”, Ériu 16 (1952): 33–48.
TLH – edition: <link> TLH – translation: <link>
Incomplete.
[ed.] Binchy, D. A. [ed.], Corpus iuris Hibernici, 7 vols, vol. 2, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1978. 
comments: numbered pp. 339–744; diplomatic edition of legal material from: London, British Library, MS Harleian 432; Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1316; Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1337.
354–356 Diplomatic edition of the version from Harleian 432
[ed.] Binchy, D. A. [ed.], Corpus iuris Hibernici, 7 vols, vol. 3, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1978. 
comments: numbered pp. 745–1138; diplomatic edition of legal material from Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1337 (continued, pp. 745–1109); Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1317 (pp. 1111–1138)
882–883 Diplomatic edition of the version from TCD 1337
[ed.] McLeod, Neil, “Fergus mac Léti and the law”, Ériu 61 (2011): 1–28. 
Two versions of the saga of Fergus mac Léti are found in legal material associated with the Senchas Már; one in the original text, and one in the eighth-century commentary. The commentary version and §2 of the older version have both been edited by D. A. Binchy. It is argued here that §1 of the older version and §2 of the commentary version are both in verse. The older version is then analysed in terms of the law of distraint. It is concluded that the saga was written as a legal teaching tale, with its plot-twists deliberately designed to highlight aspects of the law. An appendix argues for the inclusion of an additional section, omitted by Binchy, in the commentary version of the saga.
Includes an edition of the portions missing from Binchy's text.

Secondary sources (select)

McLeod, Neil, “Fergus mac Léti and the law”, Ériu 61 (2011): 1–28. 
Two versions of the saga of Fergus mac Léti are found in legal material associated with the Senchas Már; one in the original text, and one in the eighth-century commentary. The commentary version and §2 of the older version have both been edited by D. A. Binchy. It is argued here that §1 of the older version and §2 of the commentary version are both in verse. The older version is then analysed in terms of the law of distraint. It is concluded that the saga was written as a legal teaching tale, with its plot-twists deliberately designed to highlight aspects of the law. An appendix argues for the inclusion of an additional section, omitted by Binchy, in the commentary version of the saga.
Contributors
Dennis Groenewegen
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