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Volume / Number: 2 / 266

CLA 266
  • Dublin Ireland Royal Irish Academy MS 12 R 33
Script Early Irish Majuscule
Date VII¹ (601 - 650)
Origin and Provenance

Written in Ireland and traditionally identified with a copy made by St Columba (†597) without permission, from a book lent him by St Finnian, which gave rise to disputes ending in the battle of Cúl Dreimhne (561). This story is discredited by historians, but the early date for the MS is palaeographically possible. Its cumdach or shrine was made between 1062 and 1098. The shrine was taken into battle to ensure victory, hence the name Cathach, 'battler'. Taken by Irish refugees to France; was in Paris until 1802; the cumdach was opened and the book discovered in 1813. Deposited in 1842 in the Royal Irish Academy by Sir Richard O'Donnell, to whose family it belongs.

CLA Vol. 2
TM Number TM 66352
Support Parchment
Contents Testamentum Vetus (Ps 30.10–105.13).
Name Cathach of St Columba.
Script Commentary

Script represents an early stage of Irish majuscule: typically Irish is the triangular top of all downstrokes and the low hasta of F; S is mostly uncial and is peculiar in having its three strokes unjoined; uncial , N, R occur, b fairly frequently, N and R rarely; a is flat-topped; g recalls ancient fifth-century models; z descends below the line, grotesque and sprawling. A few ligatures occur: aec, eter, fi.


☛CLA first-edition date (VI²) changed to follow second edition. ☛Gamber, CLLA 130. ☛Weber-Gryson, Vulgata MS H (Ps G).

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Last modified 02 April 2022