verse beg. Cenn ard Adaim, étrocht rád

  • Early Irish
  • verse
  • Early Irish poetry
Brief Middle Irish poem on the origin and composition of Adam’s head and other body parts (head from ‘the land of Garad’, belly from Laban/Lodain, etc.). The copy in MS Rawlinson B 502 occurs as part of a poem on the Psalter (beg. A Dé dúlig, atat-teoch) and is directly followed by an additional quatrain with an ascription to Airbertach mac Coisse (d. 1016), saying that he translated the poem from Latin into Irish.
First words (verse)
  • Cenn ard Adaim, étrocht rád
Ascribed to: Airbertach mac Cosse DobráinAirbertach mac Cosse Dobráin
(d. 1016)
Irish poet; fer légind of Ros Ailithir (Rosscarbery, Co. Cork)
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  • Early Irish
verse (primary)
Number of stanzas


Early Irish poetryEarly Irish poetry


Adam octipartite/septipartitecreation of man, numerical motifs, apocryphal traditions, Adam and Eve
Adam octipartite/septipartite
id. 29643

Apocryphal narrative according to which God created Adam from eight, or sometimes seven, parts of the cosmos.

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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.] Ó Cuív, Brian, “The Irish marginalia in Codex Palatino-Vaticanus No. 830”, Éigse 24 (1990): 45–67.
[ed.] [tr.] Ó Néill, Pádraig, “Airbertach mac Cosse's poem on the psalter”, Éigse 17 (1977–1979): 19–46.
38–39 (text and translation), 21–22, 45–46 (notes)
[ed.] Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften: I. Aus Rawlinson B. 502”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 3 (1901): 17–23.
Celtic Digital Initiative – All Mitteilungen of ZCP 3: <link> CELT – Sex aetates mundi (17-20): <link> CELT – ‘Cethrur do-raega ní dalb’ (20-22): <link> CELT – ‘Cenn ard Ádaim étrocht rád’ (23): <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Text from Rawl. B 502.
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley, “Hibernica: V. Extracts from Palatine no. 830”, Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der indogermanischen Sprachen 31 (1890): 248–253.  
comments: An edition of Iish texts found in the margin of Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Pal. lat. 830: (1) a king-list (f. 15va); (2) a poem on Adam’s body. beg. ‘Cenn ard Adaim étrocht rád’ (f. 38r, upper margin); (3) a poem on Adam’s 124 children, beg. ‘Cethrar cóic fichit iar fír’ (f. 40r. lower margin); (4) a poem on the war fought by Benjamin’s tribe against other children of Israel, beg. ‘Ben romarbsat fir Gaba’ (f. 47v, lower margin, and f. 48r, upper margin); and (5) quatrains from a dialogue between Patrick and Brigit (f. 147v, upper margin, and and 148r, upper margin).
Internet Archive: <link>
249–250 direct link
[ed.] Güterbock, Bruno, “Aus irischen Handschriften in Turin und Rom”, Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der indogermanischen Sprachen 33 (1895): 86–105.
Internet Archive: <link>

Secondary sources (select)

McNamara, Martin, The apocrypha in the Irish Church, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1975.
23 [id. 5. ‘Poem on Adam's head’]
Mac Eoin, Gearóid, “The date and authorship of Saltair na Rann”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 28 (1960–1961): 51–67.
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
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January 2013, last updated: July 2022