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Texts

Lebor gabála Érenn‘The book of the taking of Ireland’

  • Middle Irish, Early Modern Irish
  • Cycles of the Kings, Irish legendary history, Mythological Cycle
Manuscripts

The various manuscript witnesses of the Lebor gabála are typically subdivided into a number of classes according to the recension or redaction to which these copies are thought to belong (such as A, B, M and C below). This does not mean that the manuscript texts of each recension present a uniform, homogeneous picture. In fact, these often exhibit innovations (interpolation, cross-contamination, rearrangement, etc.) that come with the scribe or that have been adopted from the exemplar. Nevertheless, there are also classes of closely related manuscript copies that form what might be called ‘subrecensions’.(1)n. 1 See R. Mark Scowcroft, ‘Leabhar Gabhála. Part I: the growth of the text’, Ériu 38 (1987) and R. Mark Scowcroft, ‘Mediaeval recensions of the Lebor Gabála’ in Lebor gabála Érenn... (2009).

Lists of manuscripts and other details specific to each recension will be treated separately. See the following pages:

The four main medieval recensions or redactions
Recension A = R1 (Macalister) = a (Scowcroft) = A (Thurneysen, Van Hamel):
Recension B = R2 (Macalister) = b (Scowcroft) = BI (Thurneysen) = Ba (Van Hamel):
Míniugud recension = Min (Macalister) = m (Scowcroft) = BIII (Thurneysen) = Bb (Van Hamel):
Recension C = R3 (Macalister) = c (Scowcroft) = C (Thurneysen, Van Hamel):
Modern recension
Ó Cléirigh recension, i.e. the modernised version by Micheál Ó Cléirigh (1631) = K or R4 (Macalister) = D (Thurneysen, Van Hamel)
Revision of the Ó Cléirigh recension (forthcoming)
Other
Lebor gabála Érenn (annalistic version) (forthcoming)
Language
  • Middle Irish Early Modern Irish
  • Middle and Early Modern Irish.
Date
11th-12th century (Recension A) down to the 17th century (Ó Cléirigh's version)
Textual relationships

The earliest references to the invasions tradition are in the Cambro-Latin compilation Historia Brittonum, and the poem Can a mbunadas na nGaedel by Máel Muru Othna, both dated to the 9th century.

Classification

Cycles of the Kings Irish legendary history Mythological Cycle

Subject tags

Míl EspáineMíl Espáine (ass. time-frame: Míl Espáine) – in Irish pseudo-historical tradition, father of the Milesian invaders of Ireland, hence ancestor of the Goídil
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CesairCesair / Cessair / Cessair ingen Betha – Cesair or Cessair, daughter of Bíth and granddaughter of Noah
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PartholónPartholón – Partholón mac Sera (son of Sera)
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Nemed mac AgnomainNemed mac Agnomain – son of Agnoman
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Túatha Dé DanannTúatha Dé Danann (ass. time-frame: Túatha Dé Danann) – A common Irish designation for a group of supernatural or magical figures in Irish history, broadly equivalent to the aes síde. In the pseudo-historical tradition represented by Lebor gabála Érenn and other texts, they are presented and to some extent euhemerised as the pre-Christian people that conquered Ireland from the Fir Bolg and were later overcome by the sons of Míl (the Gaels).
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FomoireFomoire / FomoiriNo short description available
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Fir BolgFir BolgNo short description available
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Contents
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Work in progress

Following the example of R. Mark Scowcroft, ‘Leabhar Gabhála. Part I: the growth of the text’, Ériu 38 (1987), the compilation may be divided into five distinct tracts:

[1] The origins and wanderings of the Goídil » entry

A. Introductory matter » entry

[2] De gabálaib Érenn » entry

[3] De fhlaithiusaib Érenn » entry

[4] Comaimsera ríg in domuin ocus gabal nÉrenn / fri rígaib Érenn » entry

[5] Christian kings of Ireland » entry

Sources

Notes

See R. Mark Scowcroft, ‘Leabhar Gabhála. Part I: the growth of the text’, Ériu 38 (1987) and R. Mark Scowcroft, ‘Mediaeval recensions of the Lebor Gabála’ in Lebor gabála Érenn... (2009).

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.] Macalister, R. A. S., Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, 5 vols, Irish Texts Society 34, 35, 39, 41, 44, Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1932–1942.
Internet Archive – Vol. 1 (1938 ed.): <link> Internet Archive – Vol. 2 (1939 ed.): <link> Internet Archive – Vol. 3 (1940 ed.): <link> Internet Archive – Vol. 4 (1941 ed.): <link> Internet Archive – Vol. 5 (1956 ed.): <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Macalister, R. A. Stewart [ed.], Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, 5 vols, vol. 1, Irish Texts Society 34, Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1932.
Internet Archive: <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Macalister, R. A. Stewart [ed.], Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, 5 vols, vol. 2, Irish Texts Society 35, Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1933.
Internet Archive: <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Macalister, R. A. Stewart [ed.], Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, 5 vols, vol. 3, Irish Texts Society 39, Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1937.
Internet Archive: <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Macalister, R. A. Stewart [ed.], Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, 5 vols, vol. 4, Irish Texts Society 41, Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1939.
Internet Archive: <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Macalister, R. A. Stewart [ed.], Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, 5 vols, vol. 5, Irish Texts Society 44, Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1942.
Internet Archive: <link>
[tr.] Carey, John [tr.], “[Various contributions]”, in: Koch, John T., and John Carey (eds.), The Celtic Heroic Age. Literary sources for ancient Celtic Europe and early Ireland & Wales, Celtic Studies Publications 1, 4th ed. (1995), Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2003. [Various].
§ 108. Translation of the first recension (A).

Secondary sources (select)

Carey, John [ed.], Lebor gabála Érenn: textual history and pseudohistory, Irish Texts Society, Subsidiary Series 20, Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 2009.
Scowcroft, R. Mark, “Leabhar Gabhála. Part I: the growth of the text”, Ériu 38 (1987): 79–140. 
Scowcroft, R. Mark, “Leabhar Gabhála. Part II: the growth of the tradition”, Ériu 39 (1988): 1–66. 
Hamel, A. G. van, “On Lebor Gabála”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 10 (1915): 97–197.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts, Online: University College Cork. URL: <http://www.ucc.ie/celt>.
“Online index to the Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of Invasions) based on R. A. S. Macalister's translations and notes”, compiled by Michael Murphy. direct link

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Contributors
Patrick Brown,Dennis Groenewegen,Julie Le Blanc
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