Agents persons, peoples and institutions

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St John from the St Gall gospel (St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 51). Source:

A module for identifying agents - encompassing persons, peoples and organisations - and managing information about them has been around for many years, continually evolving as time went by, but what was absent all this time is a public interface for accessing relevant data in a user-friendly way.

This is a first attempt at offering such an interface, which is provided "as-is" and should be considered beta-quality for now (not that there is any official product release cycle as such but using the label is a convenient means to sound the right alarm bells). It currently consists of a basic search, aggregated data overviews for individual agents, and hover-card labels that you will meet elsewhere in the catalogue.

I am aware of duplicates, uneven coverage and other shortcomings that typically arise from the progressive nature of this website or simply, lack of personpower. An earlier version of the interface was available to editors partly because it helps us address some of those issues. None of these objections, however, seemed to weigh heavily against the alternative, which is having nothing at all to offer.

Note that for convenience's sake, many agents are not formally indexed but are nonetheless included by exclusive virtue of being linked. It is a wonderful forte of the system that allows us to retrieve and bring together disparate data from disparate data sources, but some useful metadata will be missing and discoverability is more limited as a result. For instance, we may be linking to a scribe whose name and associated data can be retrieved and presented, but without, say, a floruit it will be difficult to find this person within the appropriate time range. I say "difficult" because it is possible, to an extent, to rely on the dates we have, if any, for associated objects (manuscripts, scribal hands), but such a circuitous approach comes with limitations of its own and is not necessarily methodologically sound.

Meanwhile, I hope that the new interface will improve your experience in using this website. Next up are thematic categories for scribes (in the broadest, non-pejorative sense of the word), authors and scholars.

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Randomised results

  • John Windele
    Irish antiquarian and historian in Cork
  • Leukardis of Mallersdorf
    s. xii
    A 12th-century nun of Mallersdorf, a daughter-house of Niedermünster in Bavaria, who according to one late source, was of Irish origin (de gente Scotorum), knew four languages (Irish, Latin, Greek and German) and had a reputation as a scribe, so much so that the monk Laiupold recorded her anniversary.
  • Anonymous [i²]
    s. ix
    Anonymous scribe/annotator whose Irish hand is detected in a number of continental manuscripts of Eriugena’s works and who was probably an assistant of Eriugena. Since a study by E. K. Rand, the hand is usually designatedl i², distinguishing it from that of a fellow scribe, which is designated i¹. Because he is known to have written annotations beg. Nisi forte quis dixerit to some of Eriugena’s bolder statements, modern scholars have nicknamed him Nisifortinus.
  • Giolla Íosa Mac Fhir Bhisigh
    fl. c. 1390–1418
  • Marianus Scottus [Máel Brigte]
    fl. 1028–1082/3
  • Richard Tipper
    d. 1730
    Irish scholar, scribe and antiquarian from Mitchelstown (Co. Dublin).
  • Thomas Arthur
    Limerick physician educated at Bordeaux and a Catholic with an interest in devotional literature. One of his better known patients was bishop James Ussher, who at one time appears to have lent him a manuscript of the so-called Kilkenny recension of Latin lives of Irish saints. A manuscript of transcripts by Thomas is still extant.
  • Anonymous [LU scribe H]
    s. xii
    Anonymous scribe, usually known simply as H or the Interpolator, who significantly annotated, revised and interpolated parts of the Lebor na hUidre (RIA MS 23 E 25) and sometimes intercalated leaves to add material. The modern name H stands for ‘Homilist’, which stems from the fact that he added two homilies, Scéla laí brátha and Scéla na hEsérgi. His identity, background and precise floruit remain uncertain.
  • Eugene O'Curry
    ''b''. 1794–d. 1862
    Irish scholar
  • Ivonet Omnes
    fl. 14th century
  • Murchadh Ó Cuindlis
    ''fl. c''.1400?
    Murchadh (Riabhach) Ó Cuindlis, Irish scribe; pupil of Giolla Íosa Mac Fhir Bhisigh
  • Máel Muire mac Céilechair
  • Aindrias Mac Cruitín
    Irish poet
  • Dubhaltach Mac Fhir Bhisigh
    d. 1671
    Dubhaltach (Óg) Mac Fhir Bhisigh, Irish historian and scribe, member of the learned Mac Fhir Bhisigh family in Connacht
  • John Lewis [of Llynwene]
    d. 1615/1616
    Welsh barrister and historian. He was author of a History of Great-Britain, which did not appear in print until 1729.
  • Authors

    A random selecton of authors and those so described.

  • Sedulius Scottus
    fl. 9th century
    Irish scriptural scholar, teacher, grammarian and poet who made a career in Francia and became a leading intellectual figure at the court of Charles the Bald.
  • Uilliam Nuinseann
    Irish poet; brother of Christopher Nugent, 9th baron of Delvin (Co. Westmeath).
  • Cuanu [author of Liber Cuanach]
    author of Liber Cuanach; identified by Mc Carthy with Cúán úa Lothcháin
  • Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel
    fl. 805–825/26
    Benedictine abbot of the monastery of Saint-Mihiel; scholar. Earlier scholarship suggested that he was of Irish or insular origin, or had spent time in an insular monastery, but more recent views favour a southern, perhaps Visigothic, background.
  • Stephen White [d. c. 1645]
    d. c. 1645
    Irish Jesuit scholar
  • John Lewis [of Llynwene]
    d. 1615/1616
    Welsh barrister and historian. He was author of a History of Great-Britain, which did not appear in print until 1729.
  • Walter Harris
    Irish historian.
  • Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh
    d. in or after 1664
    Irish scholar, poet, historian and scribe; one of the so-named ‘Four Masters’.
  • Oisín mac Finn
    A fían-warrior, son of Finn, in the Finn Cycle of medieval Irish literature
  • William Spurrell
    d. 1889
    Welsh, Carmarthen-born printer/publisher, author and lexicographer; issued a Welsh grammar, a Welsh-English dictionary (1848) and an English-Welsh dictionary (1850).
  • Gilla Mo Dutu Úa Caiside
    fl. c. 1147
    Irish poet, credited as the author of Éri óg inis na náem and Ádam óenathair na ndóene (the metrical Banshenchas).
  • Fíngen mac Luchta
    In Airne Fíngein (‘Fíngen's vigil’), a prince (rígdomna) of Munster, who stands on top of Druim Fíngin one Samain night when he meets Rothníam, a woman of the síd, and through her learns of a series of wonders associated with the birth of Conn Cétchathach.
  • Edward Charles [1757-1828]
    Welsh author and poet, known also by his pseudonym Siamas Gwynedd.
  • Colum Cille
    fl. 6th century
    founder and abbot of Iona, Kells (Cenandas) and Derry (Daire).
  • Seaán mac Ruaidhrí Mac Craith
    fl. mid–14th century
    Irish historian, member of the Meic Craith (Magraths) who appear as a hereditary family of bardic poets. He is reputed to have written the Caithréim Thoirdhealbhaigh.