BOOK 1: Lebor Na Cert (The Book of Right)
Series: Volume XLVI
Edited by: Myles Dillon
Publisher: Irish Text Society
Published: First published 1962, Reprinted 1984, 1994, 2012
ISBN: 1 870 16646 9
Pages: 198, with 2 Appendices, Index of names and places, a map, and notes on it.
Review: There is no way I’m going to review The Book of Right of course but I will be discussing some points about it.
The book has 4 chapters: Introduction, Lebor Na Cert, Appendix A- Timna Chathaír Máir, and Appendix B – Tables of Stipends and Tributes.
The Introduction is VERY informative. It talks about what the Book of Rights is all about, and how it was written (its structure, prose and poems), who may or may not have written it, how old it really is, the value of the Book of Rights as a historical document, and how the book was edited, when and by whom and from which manuscripts. (Pages ix – xxv)
The chapter that contains the Book of Rights has both the Irish and the English translation. The Irish text is on the left page and its English translation is on the right. It has both prose and poems. The prose explains the poem to come after it. (Pages 1 – 147)
Appendix A is a chapter that contains The Testament of Cathaír Már. There is an explanation of what that is and then similar to the Book of Right there is an Irish and an English translation. (Pages 148 – 178)
Appendix B is literally a bunch of tables of stipends and tributes from Cashel, Connachta, Ailech, Ulaid, Temair, Lagin, Cruachain, and Mide. (Pages 179 – 189)
BOOK 1: Lebor Na Cert Reassessment
Series: Subsidiary Series No. 25
Edited by Kevin Murray
Publisher: Irish Text Society
Pages: 126, with Bibliography and Index
Review: The book has 5 very interesting essays by Fergus Kelly, Thomas Charles-Edwards, Catherine Swift, Edel Bhreathnach, and Kevin Murray.
Essay 1 by Fergus Kelly is all about Myles Dillon the editor of the Book Of Rights. Kelly talks about his scholarship contributions and the importance of his work, and his reputation as a nativist.
Essay 2 by Thomas Charles-Edwards talks about the organization of Ireland in terms of clientship as seen through the lens of the Book of Rights. It is a detailed analysis of the different types of clientship found in the text.
Essay 3 by Cathrine Swift looks at the broader historical context of som of the customs and practices that are important to the Book of Rights. Especially customs involving taxes, trade and trespass. This essay was really interesting because it discusses the interactions of the Norse and the Irish population.
Edel Bhreathnach’s essay talks about the Testament of Cathaír Már. Especially the genealogical traditions of Leinster.
Finally, Kevin Murray’s essay builds on what Dillon did and looks at the language and date of the Book of Rights.
I can’t choose a favorite between the essays as each one has interesting information from a different perspective. If you read those two books together you will get a comprehensive understanding of the Book of Rights.