An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 eBook

Mary Frances Cusack
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 779 pages of information about An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800.

[62] Island.—­The axe figured above is a remarkable weapon.  The copy is taken, by permission, from the collection of the Royal Irish Academy.  Sir W. Wilde describes the original thus in the Catalogue:  “It is 3-1/8 inches in its longest diameter, and at its thickest part measures about half-an-inch.  It has been chipped all over with great care, and has a sharp edge all round.  This peculiar style of tool or weapon reached perfection in this specimen, which, whether used as a knife, arrow, spike, or axe, was an implement of singular beauty of design, and exhibits great skill in the manufacture.”

[63] Fotharta.—­Now the barony of Forth, in Wexford.

[64] Bede.—­Ecclesiastical History, Bohn’s edition, p. 6.

[65] Honey.—­Honey was an important edible to the ancients, and, therefore, likely to obtain special mention.  Keating impugns the veracity of Solinus, who stated that there were no bees in Ireland, on the authority of Camden, who says:  “Such is the quantity of bees, that they are found not only in hives, but even in the trunks of trees, and in holes in the ground.”  There is a curious legend anent the same useful insect, that may interest apiarians as well as hagiologists.  It is said in the life of St. David, that when Modomnoc (or Dominic) was with St. David at Menevia, in Wales, he was charged with the care of the beehives, and that the bees became so attached to him that they followed him to Ireland.  However, the Rule of St. Albans, who lived in the time of St. Patrick (in the early part of the fifth century), may be quoted to prove that bees existed in Ireland at an earlier period, although the saint may have been so devoted to his favourites as to have brought a special colony by miracle or otherwise to Ireland.  The Rule of St. Alban says:  “When they [the monks] sit down at table, let them be brought [served] beets or roots, washed with water, in clean baskets, also apples, beer, and honey from the hive.”  Certainly, habits of regularity and cleanliness are here plainly indicated as well as the existence of the bee.

[66] Fish.—­It is to be presumed that fish are destined to prosper in Hibernia:  of the ancient deer, more hereafter.  The goats still nourish also, as visitors to Killarney can testify; though they will probably soon be relics of the past, as the goatherds are emigrating to more prosperous regions at a rapid rate.

[67] Monarchs.—­See Bunsen’s Egypt, passim.

[68] Writers.—­The first ten books of Livy are extant, and bring Roman history to the consulship of Julius Maximus Gurges and Junius Brutus Scoene, in 292 B.C.  Dionysius published his history seven years before Christ.  Five of Plutarch’s Lives fall within the period before the war with Pyrrhus.  There are many sources besides those of the works of historians from which general information is obtained.

[69] Niebuhr.—­“Genuine or oral tradition has kept the story of Tarpeia for five-and-twenty hundred years in the mouths of the common people, who for many centuries have been total strangers to the names of Cloelia and Cornelia.”—­Hist. vol. i. p. 230.

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An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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