FLED BRICRENN The Feast of Bricriu

I seem to have underestimated the number of little green books that I have so here are two more wonderful additions. As usual I will not be reviewing them in depth but I will talk about structure and the most interesting parts in them.

As you must have read from the title of the post the books I will be taking about today are related to the Feast of Bricriu. And there are two books for this post: Fled Bricrend (The Feast of Bricriu) and Fled Bricrenn: Reassessments.

The Irish Text Society Vol. II and Irish Texts Society Subsidiary Series 10

I’m going to start with the volume that has the main story of The Feast of Bricriu.

Title page of Irish Texts Society Vol. II

It starts with a Preface by the author and then it moves to the Introduction section. The Introduction section has two Introductions: General Introduction and a Special Introduction.

To me the Special Introduction had more information that I was interested in. It starts with the manuscripts used in the compilation of the text in the volume and who wrote them or compiled them and some interesting tidbits from them. There are five manuscripts in total. Next comes the probable date of the text and the editor uses things like grammar and loan words to figure it out.

Two pages from Irish Texts Society Vol. II

Next comes the text of the story in both Irish and English (129 pages of text). Appendix I is about Personal Names, Appendix II is about Geographical names, Appendix III is about textual notes, and finally Appendix IV is about Special Notes.

Irish Texts Society Subsidiary Series 10 title page.

The paperback has 5 essays that discuss aspects of The Feast of Bricriu. The first essay is by Bernhard Maier and it talks about the problems and parallels between the classic descriptions of Continental Celts and Fled Bricrenn. The second essay is about the significance of Fled Bricrenn within the broader Celtic context by John T. Koch. The third essay is by Nicolas Jacobs and it discusses Fled Bricrenn and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The fourth essay is about the role of Cú Roí in Fled Bricrenn and it is by Petra S. Hellmuth. Finally, the last essay is by Proinsias Mac Cana and it is about the structure and syntax in Fled Bricrenn.

For me the most interesting essays were the first, second and fourth essays. I was a little bored reading the third and fifth essays but your milage might vary.



Full title: Cath Maige Mucrama – The Battle of Mag Mucrama (Volume # 50)

Edited by: Máirín O Daly

Publisher: Irish Text Society

Published: First published in 1975, Reprinted 1997

ISBN: 1 870 16650 7

Pages: 157 pages, includes Introduction, Appendix, Notes, Index to Notes, Names of Persons, Names of Peoples, and Names of Places.

Pretty Green Book
Title Page
Table of Contents

REVIEW: As usual with these books I’m not going to review the content of the myth rather I’m going to comment on the Introduction and the way the book is put together.

The Introduction starts by telling the reader that none of the texts that will appear in the book is appearing for the first time.

The editor then goes on to tell the reader about the texts used and when they were edited and by who. The editor then tells us why the order of the texts in the book were put in that way.

The Introduction also introduces the names and personalities of the characters in the myths. I found this section interesting but be warned Irish is used so if you don’t have Irish this section will be a bit difficult.

Another thing discussed in the Introduction are the motifs found in the stories, there are 6 of them.

Next the language of the texts is discussed along with the Archaisms preserved in the texts. Again, no Irish is going to hinder your understanding of the analysis of the language of the texts.

Finally, the editorial method is discussed briefly.

The Cath Maige Mucrama starts on page 38 and ends on page 63. Scéla Éogain begins on page 64 and ends on page 73. Scéla Mosaulum begins on page 74 and ends on page 87. Cath Cinn Abrad begins on page 88 and ends on page 93. All the stories have one page in Irish (on the left) and its translation in English (on the right). The Appendix is in Irish and the notes on the stories stat on page 102. Names of Persons starts on page 152, Names of People on page 155, and finally Names of Places on page 156.

As usual the book was a joy to read. I got to review my Irish (even though I had to break out the dictionary a lot) and enjoy some good myths along the way.