verse beg. Iniu feras Bruide cath

  • Early Irish
  • verse

Brief poem (3 st.) on a battle fought by Bruide against an unnamed son of Oswiu (mac Os(s)a), which is usually identified as the battle of Dún Nechtain (685), in which Bruide mac Bile (Bridei III), king of the Picts, defeated the Northumbrians and King Ecgfrith, son of Oswiu, was slain. The poem is found in the Fragmentary annals of Ireland, where it is attributed to one Riaguil of Bangor and given in the context of the death of Flann Fína, i.e. Aldfrith, king of Northumbria, apparently in the erroneous understanding that ‘Oswiu’s son’ is intended to refer to him rather than his half-brother and predecessor Ecgwin. A note in the left margin seeks to support this interpretation by identifying Bruide as Aldfrith’s contemporary Bruide mac Deril (i.e. B. mac Der-Ilei, Bridei IV).

First words (verse)
  • Iniu feras Bruide cath
Ascribed to: Riaguil of Bennchor
Riaguil of Bennchor
(fl. 8th/9th century?)
The name ‘Riaguil of Bennchor’, suggesting a religious associated with the monastery of Bennchor (Bangor, Co. Down), is attested for: (1) a saint commemorated in the martyrologies of Tallaght and Donegal under 11 June, and (2) a poet to whom a couple of verses on the battle of Dún Nechtain (685) are attributed. Although the first name, presumably a monastic name, is relatively rare, it is possible but by no means certain that they refer to the same person.

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Unidentified. There is no Ríagol/Riaguil among known abbots of Bennchor (Bangor, Co. Down), but a Riagail of Bennchor is recorded in the Martyrologies of Tallaght and Donegal on the day of 11 June.
  • Early Irish
verse (primary)



Battle of Dún NeachtainBattle of Dún Neachtain

Bridei IIIBridei III
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Ecgfrith of Northumbria
Ecgfrith of Northumbria
King of Northumbria (r. 670–685), elder son of Oswiu and Eanflæd.

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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.] Radner, Joan N. [ed. and tr.], Fragmentary annals of Ireland, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1978.
CELT – edition (2–182),: <link> CELT – translation (3–183): <link> CELT – introduction (vii–ix): <link>
54–55 [id. 165.]
[ed.] [tr.] Skene, William F., Chronicles of the Picts, chronicles of the Scots, and other early memorials of Scottish history, Edinburgh, 1867.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive: <link>, <link>
[ed.] [tr.] OʼDonovan, John [ed. and tr.], Annals of Ireland: three fragments, Dublin: Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, 1860.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Digitale-sammlungen.de: <link> Digitale-sammlungen.de: View in Mirador
[tr.] Clancy, Thomas Owen (ed.), The triumph tree: Scotland's earliest poetry AD 550–1350, Canongate Classics, 86, Edinburgh: Canongate, 1999.  
Translations, with notes. Latin texts translated by Gilbert Márkus, Welsh texts by Joseph P. Clancy, Gaelic and Old English texts by Thomas Owen Clancy, Norse texts by Paul Bibire and Judith Jesch.
[tr.] Anderson, Alan Orr [ed.], Early sources of Scottish history A.D. 500 to 1286, 2 vols, Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1922.
Internet Archive – volume 1: <link> Internet Archive – volume 2: <link>
Vol. 1, 194–195

Secondary sources (select)

Pelteret, David A. E., “The Northumbrian attack on Brega in A.D. 684”, in: Alexander James Langlands, and Ryan Lavelle (eds), The land of the English kin: studies in Wessex and Anglo-Saxon England in honour of Professor Barbara Yorke, 26, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2020. 214–230.
Fraser, James E., From Caledonia to Pictland: Scotland to 795, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, 1, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
135, 202, 216
Fraser, James E., The Pictish conquest: the battle of Dunnichen 685 and the birth of Scotland, Stroud: Tempus, 2006.
Nikolaeva, Natalia, “The drink of death”, Studia Celtica 35 (2001): 299–306.
Provides a useful discussion of the expression ‘drink/draught of death’ and similar ones in Irish literature, which may be compared with dubha deoga in the present poem.
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
September 2021, last updated: September 2023