Wadden, Patrick, “‘The beauty and lust of the Gaels’: national characteristics and medieval Gaelic learned culture”, North American Journal of Celtic Studies 2:2 (2018): 85–104.
- journal article
The Middle Gaelic poem Cumtach na nIudaide n-aird belongs to a medieval tradition of listing national characteristics. Its composition reflects interest among the Gaelic learned classes in the diversity of humankind. The poet drew heavily on the Latin tract De proprietatibus gentium, but adapted its form and, possibly, content to reflect local concerns. In this way, the poem represents Gaelic scholars' engagement with the learned culture of medieval Europe. The same impression of Gaelic scholarship—that it was a local manifestation of a broader, European tradition in which widely held ideas were given local currency through adaptation—is apparent in the ways in which Gaelic scholars down to the seventeenth century conceptualised national characteristics, which was influenced by both international trends and local learning.
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