verse beg. Mad bé ríg rofessir recht flatha

  • Old Irish
  • verse
  • Early Irish law texts, Early Irish poetry

Legal poem cited at the end of Críth gablach. It numbers 104 lines in Binchy’s edition. 

First words (verse)
  • Mad bé ríg rofessir recht flatha
“If you are a king you should know the prerogative of a ruler”
Context(s)The (textual) context(s) to which the present text belongs or in which it is cited in part or in whole.

Only a single manuscript copy is known (Binchy):

  • Old Irish
  • Old Irish. Although “most of the archaic forms and orthography have been ironed out [in the manuscript, ...] the poem passes most of the tests used to distinguish archaic from ‘classical’ Old Irish” (Binchy).(1)n. 1 D. A. Binchy, ‘An archaic legal poem’, Celtica 9 (1971): 152–153.
verse (primary)
Number of lines: 104
Textual relationships
Related: Críth gablachCríth gablach

Old Irish legal tract which offers a systematic examination of the principles of legal rank and status in early Irish society, focusing on the free and noble classes. Its composition has been dated to the first half of the eighth century.


Early Irish law textsEarly Irish law texts

Early Irish poetryEarly Irish poetry



D. A. Binchy, ‘An archaic legal poem’, Celtica 9 (1971): 152–153.

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.

Binchy, D. A. [ed. and tr.], “An archaic legal poem”, Celtica 9 (1971): 152–168.
MacNeill, Eoin, “Ancient Irish law. The law of status or franchise”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 36 C (1923, 1921–1924): 265–316.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive – offprints: <link>
Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften: Der Schluß von Críth Gablach”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 12 (1918): 365–366.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
October 2010, last updated: January 2024