Bráthchae or Bráth Caí

  • Old Irish
  • Early Irish law texts
Bráthchae or Bráth Caí
There are a number of references to Bráthchae or Bráth Caí in learned and literary Irish texts, but it is uncertain which of these refer to a legal text and to the extent that a legal text is intended, what it was called originally. Breatnach suggests that Bráthchae (a word of uncertain meaning) may have been the original title and that it was later etymologised to Bráth Caí, giving rise also to the title Bretha Cai (Chainbrethaig) (Sanas Cormaic). The name Caí here may refer to the 2nd-century Roman jurist Gaius/Caius.(1)n. 1 Liam Breatnach, Companion to CIH (2005): 174.
  • Old Irish


Early Irish law textsEarly Irish law texts



Liam Breatnach, Companion to CIH (2005): 174.

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.] Binchy, D. A. [ed.], Corpus iuris Hibernici, 7 vols, vol. 2, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1978.  
comments: numbered pp. 339–744; diplomatic edition of legal material from: London, British Library, MS Harley 432; Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1316; Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1337.
396.30 A single statement cited in Cethairshlicht Athgabálae

Secondary sources (select)

Breatnach, Liam, A companion to the Corpus iuris Hibernici, Early Irish Law Series, 5, Dublin: DIAS, 2005.  

A companion to D. A. Binchy, CIH (1978). Review article: Neil McLeod, ‘Review,A true companion to the Corpus iuris Hibernici’, Peritia 19 (2005).

170–174 [id. 5.8. ‘Bráthchae/Bráth Caí/Bretha Caí (Chaínbrethaig)’]
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
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January 2013, last updated: August 2020