Hisperica famina

  • Latin
  • verse
  • Hiberno-Latin texts

Latin poem. Cases have been made for Irish authorship, but more recent commentators have also pointed out the Breton provenance of the surviving manuscripts.


Four recensions:

  • Latin
  • Secondary language(s): Greek language Hebrew language
  • Latin, with calques from Greek and Hebrew.

7th century

verse (primary)
Textual relationships
Related: Lorica of LaidcennLorica of Laidcenn

Latin metrical hymn or lorica (breast-plate) attributed to Laidcenn mac Baíth Bannaig.


Hiberno-Latin textsHiberno-Latin texts



Primary sources

[ed.] [tr.] Herren, Michael W., The Hisperica famina, 2 vols, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Studies and Texts, 31, 85, Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1974–1987.
Edition of the A-text (vol. 1) and related poems (vol. 2)
[ed.] Jenkinson, Francis John Henry [ed.], The Hisperica famina, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1908.
Internet Archive: <link>

Secondary sources (select)

Orchard, Andy, “The Hisperica famina as literature”, Journal of Medieval Latin 10 (2000): 1–45.
Wright, Charles D., “The three ‘victories’ of the wind: a hibernicism in the Hisperica famina, Collectanea Bedae, and the Old English prose Solomon and Saturn Pater Noster dialogue”, Ériu 41 (1990): 13–25.
Herren, Michael, “The sighting of the host in Táin bó Fraích and the Hisperica famina”, Peritia 5 (1986): 397–399.
Nagy, Joseph Falaky, “Fenian heroes and their rites of passage”, in: Bo Almqvist, Séamas Ó Catháin, and Pádraig Ó Héalaí (eds), Fiannaíocht: essays on the Fenian tradition of Ireland and Scotland — The heroic process: form, function and fantasy in folk epic, 54, 55, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire: An Cumann le Béaloideas Éireann, 1987. 161–182.
Winterbottom, Michael, “On the Hisperica Famina”, Celtica 8 (1968): 126–139.
Grosjean, P., “Confusa Caligo: remarques sur les Hisperica famina”, Celtica 3 (1956): 35–85.
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
December 2010, last updated: June 2023