Verba Scáthaige
verse beg. A mbé eirr óengaile

  • Old Irish
  • verse
  • Early Irish poetry, Ulster Cycle
Poem in the form of a prophecy delivered by Scáthach to Cú Chulainn.
Initial words (verse)
  • A mbé eirr óengaile
“When you are a peerless champion”
A mbe<ë> eirr ōengaile (initial line of verse, as reconstructed in the edition by P. L. Henry).
Context(s)The (textual) context(s) to which the present text belongs or in which it is cited in part or in whole.
independent, Tochmarc Emire
  • Old Irish
7th-8th century
verse (primary)
prose (secondary)

Verse, with prose introduction.

dactyllic (trisyllabic), except in verses 8, 20 and 29 (Henry)
    Number of lines
    Textual relationships
    Refers to various combats at the ford undertaken by Cú Chulainn in the course of the story told in Táin bó Cúailnge


      Early Irish poetry Ulster Cycle


      Cú ChulainnCú Chulainn – Young Ulster hero and chief character of Táin bó Cuailnge and other tales of the Ulster Cycle; son of Súaltam or Lug and Deichtire (sister to Conchobor); husband of Emer (ingen Forgaill)
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      ScáthachScáthach (ass. time-frame: Ulster Cycle, Conchobar mac Nessa) – A warrior woman and instructor of warriors in the Ulster Cycle, notably responsible for training the hero Cú Chulainn.
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      Medb ChrúachnaMedb Crúachna / Medb of Crúachan / Medb of Connacht (ass. time-frame: Subject:Ulster Cycle) – 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.
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      Ailill mac MátaAilill mac Máta (ass. time-frame: Ulster Cycle) – king of Connacht, husband of Medb of Connacht
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      FinnbennachFinnbennach / Findbennach (ass. time-frame: Ulster Cycle) – No short description available
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      Donn CúailngeDonn Cúailnge / Dub Cúailnge (ass. time-frame: Ulster Cycle) – The fertile brown bull of Cúailnge (Cooley, Co. Louth) in the Táin and foretales.
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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.] Henry, P. L. [ed. and tr.], “Verba Scáthaige”, Celtica 21 (1990): 191–207.
      Celtica – eprint (PDF): <link>
      [ed.] Thurneysen, Rudolf [ed.], “Verba Scáthaige nach 23 N 10”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 9 (1913): 487–488.
      Internet Archive: <link>
      [ed.] Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “Verba Scāthaige fri CoinCulaind”, in: Bergin, Osborn, R. I. Best, Kuno Meyer, and J. G. O'Keeffe (eds.), Anecdota from Irish manuscripts, vol. 5, Halle and Dublin, 1913. 28–30.
      Celtic Digital Initiative – PDF: <link> Internet Archive – vols 1-5: <link> Internet Archive – vols. 3-5: <link>

      Secondary sources (select)

      Thurneysen, Rudolf, Die irische Helden- und Königsage bis zum siebzehnten Jahrhundert, Halle: Niemeyer, 1921.  
      comments: Part 1 (chapters 1-23): Allgemeines; Part 2 (chapters 1-85): Die Ulter Sage
      Internet Archive: <link>
      Dennis Groenewegen,Patrick Brown
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