Texts

Tecosca Cormaic‘The instructions of Cormac’

  • Old Irish
  • Medieval Irish wisdom literature
A collection of Old Irish maxims presented as words of advice by the legendary judicious king of Ireland Cormac mac Airt in reply to questions asked by his son and successor Cairpre (Lifechair). The maxims cover a variety of topics relating especially to the nature of good kingship.
Manuscripts
Language
  • Old Irish
  • “I think there can be no doubt that Tecosca Cormaic in the form in which it has come down to us was compiled during the Old-Irish period of the language and so far as I can judge, not later than the first half of the ninth century. The later forms of the infixed pronouns which Strachan has pointed out [...], such as -das- or -dos-, do not appear in our text” (Meyer).(2)n. 2 Kuno Meyer, The instructions of King Cormac mac Airt (1909): xi, referring to John Strachan, ‘The infixed pronoun in Middle Irish’, Ériu 1 (1904).
Date
"so far as I can judge, not later than the first half of the ninth century" (Meyer).(1)n. 1 Kuno Meyer, The instructions of King Cormac mac Airt (1909): xi.
Textual relationships
Related: Irish glossary from TCD 1337, pp. 623-628Irish glossary from TCD 1337, pp. 623-628Medieval Irish glossary in TCD 1337, pp. 623-628. Many of the entries are known from other works and learned compilations, such as Sanas Cormaic.Máthair ime gaeth áitheMáthair ime gaeth áithe

Short Irish text of prognostications of the weather. The opening part ([M]áthair ime gaeth áithe, sáille sneachta; Túar fola fleochadh, túar teadhma torann) recalls the two quatrains in Tecosca Cormaic § 17. This is followed by some prose notes using an ‘if (madh)/then’ formula.

Classification

Medieval Irish wisdom literatureMedieval Irish wisdom literature
...

Subjects

Cormac mac AirtCormac mac Airt
(time-frame ass. with Cormac mac Airt)
Legendary high-king of Ireland; son of Art son of Conn Cétchathach; contemporary of Finn mac Cumaill.
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Cairpre LifechairCairpre Lifechair
No short description available
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Sources

Notes

Kuno Meyer, The instructions of King Cormac mac Airt (1909): xi, referring to John Strachan, ‘The infixed pronoun in Middle Irish’, Ériu 1 (1904).

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.] Meyer, Kuno [ed. and tr.], The instructions of King Cormac mac Airt, Todd Lecture Series 15, Dublin, 1909.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – English translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link>

Secondary sources (select)

Thurneysen, Rudolf [ed.], Zu irischen Handschriften und Litteraturdenkmälern [I], Abhandlungen der königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse 14.2, Berlin, 1912.  
comments: Continued by Rudolf Thurneysen, Zu irischen Handschriften und Litteraturdenkmälern II (1913).
Contributors
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
August 2011, last updated: August 2020