Irish note on a wonder in Arabia on the day after Christ’s birth

  • Irish
  • prose

An Irish apocryphal anecdote on the appearance of a rectangular ingot of gold (tinde cethur-uillech de ór) in Arabia on the day after Christ was born. An imperfect copy is found in a manuscript (Egerton 92) which formerly belonged to the Book of Fermoy. It may bear some relationship to an Irish tract on the 17 wonders which appeared on the night of Christ’s birth, a copy of which is found in the Book of Fermoy.

First words (prose)
  • Tinde cethur-uillech de or ro arthraig a tir Arabia isin lou iar ngenemain Crist
  • Irish
prose (primary)
Textual relationships
Related: Do secht n-ingantaib déc in domain in adaig ro génir CrístDo secht n-ingantaib déc in domain in adaig ro génir Críst



nativity of JesusLife and miracles of Christ
nativity of Jesus
id. 43514


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.] Ó Cuív, Brian, “The seventeen wonders of the night of Christ’s birth”, Éigse 6:2 (1950, 1948–1952): 116–126.
124 (text); 117 (note) [‘Text V’] Edition, without translation. Ó Cuív tentatively suggests, in the light of the absence of a complete list of 17 wonders, that the wonder in Arabia is “perhaps the original seventeenth”, while observing that it is distinct in having “a symbolic interpretation appended”.

Secondary sources (select)

Hull, Vernam, “The Middle Irish apocryphal account of ‘The seventeen miracles at Christ's birth’”, Modern Philology 43:1 — Studies in honor of Tom Peete Cross (August, 1945): 25–39.
25 n. 6

Briefly notes the appearance of this text in Eg. 92, in the context of a discussion on prose and verse texts on the 17 wonders of the night of Christ’s birth. Because the wonder in Arabia is said to have happened on the day after, he concludes that it “obviously does not belong to the present collection of mirabilia”.

Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
May 2023, last updated: June 2023