An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 eBook

Mary Frances Cusack
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 946 pages of information about An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800.

[70] Event.—­Credibility of Early Roman History, vol. i. p. 101.

[71] Libri lintei.—­Registers written on linen, mentioned by Livy, under the year 444 B.C.

[72] Nail.—­Livy quotes Cincius for the fact that a series of nails were extant in the temple of Hostia, at Volsinii, as a register of successive years.  Quite as primitive an arrangement as the North American quipus.

[73] Seanchaidhe (pronounced “shanachy").—­It means, in this case, strictly a historian; but the ancient historian was also a bard or poet.

[74] Privileges.—­We can scarcely help requesting the special attention of the reader to these well-authenticated facts.  A nation which had so high an appreciation of its annals, must have been many degrees removed from barbarism for centuries.

[75] Before.—­O’Curry, p. 240.

[76] Before.—­This, of course, opens up the question as to whether the Irish Celts had a written literature before the arrival of St. Patrick.  The subject will be fully entertained later on.

[77] Genealogies.-There is a “distinction and a difference” between a genealogy and a pedigree.  A genealogy embraces the descent of a family, and its relation to all the other families that descended from the same remote parent stock, and took a distinct tribe-name, as the Dalcassians.  A pedigree traces up the line of descent to the individual from whom the name was derived.

[78] Events.—­Arnold mentions “the family traditions and funeral orations out of which the oldest annalists [of Roman history] compiled their narratives.” vol. i. p. 371.  Sir G.C.  Lewis, however, thinks that the composition of national annals would precede the composition of any private history; but he adds that he judges from the “example of modern times.”  With all respect to such an authority, it seems rather an unphilosophical conclusion.  Family pedigrees would depend on family pride, in which the Romans were by no means deficient; and on political considerations, which were all-important to the Irish Celt.

[79] Tales.—­O’Curry, p. 241.

[80] Verse.—­See Niebuhr, Hist. vol i. pp. 254-261.  Arnold has adopted his theory, and Macaulay has acted on it.  But the Roman poems were merely recited at public entertainments, and were by no means a national arrangement for the preservation of history, such as existed anciently in Ireland.  These verses were sung by boys more patrum (Od. iv. 15), for the entertainment of guests.  Ennius, who composed his Annales in hexameter verse, introducing, for the first time, the Greek metre into Roman literature, mentions the verses which the Fauns, or religious poets, used to chant.  Scaliger thinks that the Fauns were a class of men who exercised in Latium, at a very remote period, the same functions as the Magians in Persia and the Bards in Gaul.  Niebuhr supposes that the entire history of the Roman, kings was formed from poems into a prose narrative.

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