Apgitir chrábaid‘The alphabet of piety / devotion’

  • Old Irish, Early Middle Irish
  • prose
  • Medieval Irish wisdom literature
Apgitir chrábaid
‘The alphabet of piety / devotion’

Variously spelled Apgitir/Aipgitir crábaid/chrábaid/crabuid. The word apgitir or aipgitir, often translated literally as ‘alphabet’, denotes the fundamentals of religious or monastic devotion.(1)n. 1 Thomas Owen Clancy • Gilbert Márkus, Iona: the earliest poetry of a Celtic monastery (1995): 196–197.

Ascribed to: Colmán mac BéognaeColmán mac Béognae
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

See more
Colmán mac Béognae (d. 611, founder of Lann Elo, now Lynally, Co. Offaly)(2)n. 2 Vernam Hull, ‘Apgitir chrábaid’, Celtica 8 (1968): 49–50.

The overview below is based on Westley Follett, Céli Dé in Ireland (2006): 226 and Vernam Hull, ‘Apgitir chrábaid’, Celtica 8 (1968): 44–47

  • Old Irish Early Middle Irish
  • a mixture of Old Irish and early Middle Irish forms (Hull)(3)n. 3 Vernam Hull, ‘Apgitir chrábaid’, Celtica 8 (1968): 51.

prose (primary)
Textual relationships

Draws on the works of John Cassian (see Ó Néill).


Medieval Irish wisdom literatureMedieval Irish wisdom literature

Introduction (§§ 1–8)

» prose beg. ‘Ires co gním (...)’

De his quae debet homo discere (§§ 9–12)

De peritia ueritatis (§§ 13–16)

De uirtutibus animae incipit (§§ 17–34)

De tribus mandatis principalibus (§ 35)

De prudentissime homine (§§ 36–38)



Thomas Owen Clancy • Gilbert Márkus, Iona: the earliest poetry of a Celtic monastery (1995): 196–197.
Vernam Hull, ‘Apgitir chrábaid’, Celtica 8 (1968): 49–50.
Vernam Hull, ‘Apgitir chrábaid’, Celtica 8 (1968): 51.

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.] Hull, Vernam [ed. and tr.], “Apgitir chrábaid: the alphabet of piety”, Celtica 8 (1968): 44–89.  
Critical edition from all manuscripts.
Critical edition from all manuscripts.
[ed.] Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften: IV. Aus Harleian 5280. Das Apgitir Crábaid des Colmán maccu Béognae”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 3 (1901): 447–455.
CELT – edition: <link> Celtic Digital Initiative – all Mitteilungen in ZCP 3: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Edition based on Harleian 5280.
[tr.] Clancy, Thomas Owen, and Gilbert Márkus, Iona: the earliest poetry of a Celtic monastery, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1995.
195–207 (translation, with introduction).
[tr.] Carey, John, King of Mysteries: early Irish religious writings, 2nd ed. (1998), Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000.
231–245 (translation).

Secondary sources (select)

Follett, Westley, Céli Dé in Ireland: monastic writing and identity in the early Middle Ages, Studies in Celtic History 23, Woodbridge, 2006.
Hull, Vernam, “The date of Aipgitir Crábaid”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 25 (1956): 88–90.
Ó Néill, Pádraig, “The date and authorship of Apgitir Chrábaid: some internal evidence”, in: Ní Chatháin, Próinséas, and Michael Richter (eds.), Irland und die Christenheit: Bibelstudien und Mission. Ireland and Christendom: the Bible and the missions, Veröffentlichungen des Europa Zentrums Tübingen. Kulturwissenschaftliche Reihe, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1987. 203–215.
Kenney, James F., “Chapter V: The monastic churches: II. The churches of the sixth to ninth centuries; general treatises”, in: Kenney, James F., The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical, Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies 11, Revised ed. (1929), New York: Octagon, 1966. 372–485.
472 [id. 265.]
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
November 2010, last updated: February 2022