Medb of Crúachan

  • Connacht, Ráith Crúachain
Queen of the Connachta, co-ruler with her husband Ailill mac Máta, in the Ulster Cycle. She is said to have a daughter, Findabair, and seven sons known as the seven Maines. Her lover is Fergus mac Róich.
See also: Ailill mac MátaAilill mac Máta
(time-frame ass. with Ulster Cycle)
king of Connacht, husband of Medb of Connacht
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Fergus mac RóichFergus mac Róich
(time-frame ass. with Ulster Cycle)
warrior in tales of the Ulster Cycle; former king of Ulster in exile in Connacht; Medb’s lover
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The seven MainesThe seven Maines
seven Maines, The
(time-frame ass. with Conchobar mac Nessa, Conaire Mór, Ulster Cycle)
In the Ulster Cycle, the seven Maines (na secht Maine) are a collective designation for the seven, or eight, sons of Medb and Ailill, all of whom are named Maine: Maine Máithremail and Maine Aithremail, Maine Míngor and Maine Mórgor, Maine Andóe, Maine Milscothach and/or Maine Mó Epert, and Maine Conda(s)gaib/Cotagaib Uile.
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Findabair [daughter of Medb and Ailill]Findabair, Finnabair
(time-frame ass. with Ulster Cycle)
daughter of Medb and Ailill in the Ulster Cycle
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See also references for related subjects.
Shercliff, Rebecca, “A critical edition of Tochmarc Ferbe: with translation, textual notes and literary commentary”, unpublished PhD thesis: Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge, 2019.  
This thesis provides a critical edition of the longest extant version of the medieval Irish text Tochmarc Ferbe (‘The Wooing of Ferb’), accompanied by translation, textual notes and literary commentary. Tochmarc Ferbe is found in two manuscripts, the Book of Leinster (LL) and Egerton 1782. This comprises three versions of the text: a short prose account in Egerton 1782, and a long prosimetric account in LL, followed in the same manuscript by a poetic account. After a preliminary analysis of the relationship between these three versions, the edited text of the long prosimetric version (LL-prose) is presented, alongside a facing-page translation. Issues arising from the text, in terms of interpretational difficulties, literary features and metrical analysis of the poems, are discussed in the form of textual notes. A particular focus is the prevalence of textual correspondences between Tochmarc Ferbe and other medieval Irish tales, many of which are identified as direct textual borrowings by the author of this text. The thesis concludes with a literary commentary focusing on the role of women in the LL-prose version. It is argued that its depictions of a wide range of female characters challenge traditional assumptions about medieval Irish attitudes towards women, which tend to focus on their supposed passivity and negativity. The portrayals of two female characters are singled out as especially noteworthy. Queen Medb, frequently viewed as the archetypal expression of negative attitudes towards power-wielding women in medieval Irish literature, is shown to receive a positive depiction in this text. Meanwhile, the main female protagonist Ferb is characterised by her use of speech, which dominates the text in a manner almost unparalleled in medieval Irish literature. It is argued that she subverts the usually passive role of lamenter by channelling her grief into an active force, offering an alternative model of positive female action.
Irslinger, Britta, “Medb ‘the intoxicating one’? (Re-)constructing the past through etymology”, in: Ó Mainnín, Mícheál B., and Gregory Toner (eds), Ulidia 4: proceedings of the fourth international conference on the Ulster Cycle of tales, Queen's University Belfast, 27-9 June, 2013, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2017. 38–94.
Edel, Doris, Inside the Táin: exploring Cú Chulainn, Fergus, Ailill, and Medb, Berlin: curach bhán, 2015. xii + 372 pp.  
This is the first literary-critical study of the Táin Bó Cúailnge in its entirety, and as an autonomous literary work. The key to a more deeply probing understanding of the semiliterate epic is the study of its characters: what they do and why they do it – why more important than what. Why reveals the differences between the various versions. Most promising is the multilayered Recension I, mainly preserved in Lebor na hUidre, which testifies of the keen interest of its compilers in the portrayal of the characters, while the version in the Book of Leinster, with its tendency to omit what might lessen the heroes’ prestige, pays for its greater unity with loss of depth. The multifacetedness of the characters in the early version, combined with the deceptive simplicity of the plot, lends the work a remarkable pragmatism. Despite occasional baroque descriptions of battle frenzy, the main heroes Cú Chulainn and Fergus embody a heroism reined in by prudence. All through the war they do everything in their power to limit the use of force. Ailill and Medb represent a new type of ruler-entrepreneur, who seeks to realize his aim at the lowest possible cost and accepts failure matter-of-factly. So the epic has no fatal end-point. The greater part of the two armies are able return to their countries. The theme of mutual destruction is relegated to the Battle of the Bulls. The lasting antagonism between the North and the remainder of the island must have endowed the Táin with contemporary significance at various points in time, as the allusions to (near-)contemporary events suggest.
(source: publisher)
Ingridsdotter, Kicki, “Motivation for incest: Clothru and the battle of Druim Criaich”, Studia Celtica Fennica 10 (2013): 45–63.  
The topic of this article is an episode found in early Irish literature in which Clothru, Medb’s sister and Eochaid Feidlech’s daughter, mates with her three brothers Bres, Nár, and Lothar before the battle of Druim Criaich, resulting in the conception of Lugaid of the red stripes. Previous work has focused mainly on mythological and political connotations of the episode, particularly Clothru’s presumed connection to sovereignty. Whereas I do agree that the episodes concerning Clothru’s incest can be read as replete with liminality, and that issues of kingship are central to all extant examples of in these episodes, here I would like to explore a reading of the texts in which I see Clothru as less bound to sovereignty and more acting within a literary motif of mediating violence and preventing strife. I will focus on the immediate textual context and subtle differences in the motivation and narrative function of the incest and the conception of a child as found in these sources. Whereas the surface motivation shifts from text to text, the underlying motivation-to keep her brothers from killing their father, remains throughout. This motivation is also comparable to other episodes in which violence is negotiated and mediated by women or men in early Irish literature. Although several scholars have noted this shift in motivation, it has not been discussed in full and merits a fuller treatment.
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Sheehan, Sarah, “Loving Medb”, in: Sheehan, Sarah, Joanne Findon, and Westley Follett (eds.), Gablánach in scélaigecht: Celtic studies in honour of Ann Dooley, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013. 171–186.
Ó Cathasaigh, Tomás, “Ailill and Medb: a marriage of equals”, in: Ó hUiginn, Ruairí, and Brian Ó Catháin (eds.), Ulidia 2: proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, Maynooth 24-27 July 2005, Maynooth: An Sagart, 2009. 46–53.
Edel, Doris, “Myth versus reality: Queen Medb of Connacht and her critics, ancient and modern”, in: Edel, Doris, The Celtic west and Europe: studies in Celtic literature and the early Irish church, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001. 153–176.
Polomé, Edgar C., “Some reflections on the Vedic religious vocabulary”, in: Greppin, John, and Edgar C. Polomé (eds), Studies in honor of Jaan Puhvel, 2 vols, vol. 2: Mythology and religion, JIES Monograph 21, Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man, 1997. 225–234.  
incl. discussion of Ir. Medb and Sk. Mādhavī
Brenneman, Jr., Walter L., “The drunken and the sober: a comparative study of Lady Sovereignty In Irish and Indic contexts”, in: Greppin, John, and Edgar C. Polomé (eds), Studies in honor of Jaan Puhvel, 2 vols, vol. 2: Mythology and religion, JIES Monograph 21, Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man, 1997. 54–82.
Sessle, Erica, “Misogyny and Medb: approaching Medb with feminist critism”, in: Mallory, James P., and Gerard Stockman (eds.), Ulidia: proceedings of the First International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, Belfast and Emain Macha, 8–12 April 1994, Belfast: December, 1994. 135–138.
Dooley, Ann, “The invention of women in the Táin”, in: Mallory, James P., and Gerard Stockman (eds.), Ulidia: proceedings of the First International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, Belfast and Emain Macha, 8–12 April 1994, Belfast: December, 1994. 123–133.
Bowen, Charles, “Great-bladdered Medb: mythology and invention in the Táin bó Cuailnge”, Éire-Ireland 10:4 (Winter, 1975): 14–34.
Ó Máille, Tomás, “Medb Chruachna”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 17 (1928): 129–146.