Book of Ballymote & Book of Lecan
[ ] = glossarial matter in text
The Ancestors of the Gaedil
[* I hav'nt find Lebor Gabala Erenn, Part II. The following is the text edited by McLaughlin. *]
Baath s. Magog s. Iafeth, of him are the Gaedil and the people of Scythia. Now he had a son, the noble imminent chieftain whose name was Feinius Farsaid. It is he who was one of the seventy-two chieftains who went for the building of Nemrod's Tower, whence the languages were dispersed.
The narratives and adventures of the kindred of Gaedel from Magog son of Iapheth and from Sru son of Esru; how they departed out of the land of Egypt, and Scythia, and Spain, till they reached Ireland; their battles moreover, and their conflicts in Scythia, and the kin-murder of the progeny of Nenual and of Nel; how these broke out in the matter of the princedom of Scythia, for a space of nine hundred and twelve years; for that is the length which that great war had. Here now is an exposition and a systematizing of their journey, from the Tower of Nemrod onward.
Feinius Farsaid s. Baath s. Magog s. Iafeth s. Noe. Or Feinius Farsaid s. Eogan s. Glunfhind s. Lamfhind s. Etheor s. Thoe s. Bodh s. Sem s. Mar s. Aurthacht s. Aboth s. Ara s. Iarra s. Sru s. Esru s. Baath s. Rifaith Scot from whom are the Scots. Now it is Rifaith Scot who brought the Scotic language from the Tower. For he was one of the eight chief leaders who were at the building of the Tower of Nemrod.
[These were] Faleg s. Eber s. Saile s. Arfaxad s. Sem s. Noe, [or Faleg s. Ragua s. Ardaxad, a quo India]; and Eber s. Saile s. Arfaxad, a quo the Hebrews; and Grecus s. Gomer s. Iafeth s. Noe, a quo Scythian Greece; and Latinus s. Faunus s. Italus, that is Alainus s. Ibath s. Magog s. Iafeth s. Noe, a quo Italy. Riphath Scot, that is Feinius Farsaid, s. Baath s. Magog s. Iafeth s. Noe, a quo the Scots; and Cai Cainbrethach s. Eber s. Saile s. Arfaxad; and Gaedel s. Etheor s. Bai s. Tai s. Barachan s. Magog s. Iafeth s. Noe; and Nemrod s. Cus s. Ham s. Noe. Thus was Nemrod, a valorous powerful champion, a haughty oppressive hard-hearted man, a well-known hunter of high renown in the eastern lands of Asia; so that everyone had a proverb extracted from the Old Language, which was universally known - the valour and hunting-prowess of that man is against the Lord. By that man was Babylon founded at the very first, in the middle of the plain of Senar, with the river Euphrates flowing through its middle. It was afterwards fortified by Ninus son of Belus, when he took the kingship of the world and of the Assyrians. "Babylon" is the same as confusion, by interpretation, and "mixing"; for in that place were mixed and troubled the construction and identity of the single language, so that there were many and various languages from that onwards for ever.
From that it is clear that Feinius was not at the building of the Tower, as historians say who do not harmonize the synchronisms. But this is how it was, that it is Feinius Farsaid who was one of the sixteen men most learned [and of the highest degree] of the seed of Riphath Scot, who brought the Scotic language from the Tower.
Feinius had two sons, Nenual [or Neanunel], one of the two, whom he left in the princedom of Scythia after himself; Nel, the other son of Feinius, at the Tower was he born. Now he was a master in the multiplicity of languages.
So that to summon him one came from Pharao Fostoiges from the prince of Egypt, in order to learn the languages from him.
This is that Nel, son of Feinius Farsaid, whom we have mentioned, whom Pharao Cineris king of Egypt invited for the greatness of his skill, his knowledge, and his learning; and Pharao granted him an estate, and his daughter, whose name was Scota was bestowed. [some say that the reason why she was called Scota was, that Scot was her husband's name, and "Scots" the name of the people from whom he came; unde dicitur, Scotus and Scota.] Forty years from the dispersal of the Tower till Feinius Farsaid came from the north, out of Scythia, with his school, to seek for the languages; for they thought they would find them there, inasmuch as it was hence they were dispersed. Two years after the coming of Feinius from the North until Ninus [son of Belus].
But Feinius came again into Asia in Scythia, for thence he had come for the building of the Tower of Nemrod; Nemrod s. Cus s. Ham s. Noe. So that he died in the princedom of Scythia, at the end of forty years after he had come from the Tower, and passed on the chieftainship to his son, Nenual.
Now at the end of two score and twelve years after the building of the Tower, Ninus son of Belus took the kingship of the world; for no other attempted to exercise authority over the peoples, or to bring the multitude of nations under one authority, that is under tax and tribute, but he alone. Afore time there had been chieftains; he was the noblest and most in favour in the community, he it was who was chief counsellor for every man, who should avert all unjustice and further all justice which should be attempted against a nation; and authority over other nations.
Eight hundred three score and fourteen years from the beginning of the princedom of Ninus to the end of the princedom of Tautanes, King of the World. Toward his time Troy was captured for the last time. There were seven years after that capture till Aeneas son of Anchises took Lavinia daughter of Latinus son of Faunus; so that there are nine hundred forty and three years from the dispersal of the Tower till Aeneas took the daughter of Latinus, and Latinus made his treaties with him. It is clear therefrom, that the authors of the Auraicept do not reach a correct conclusion when they say that Latinus was one of the eight chief leaders of the Tower of Nemrod, considering the length of time that passed down between them.
As for Nel, the other son of Feinius, he lived southward in Egypt and took Scota daughter of Pharao Cineris to wife; and there that Scota bore Gaedel Glas, from whom are the Gaedil, to Nel son of Feinius Farsaid. So from that Scota the Gaedil are called Scots [and the name Feni is given to them from Feinius and Gaedil from Gaedel Glas], as the learned man said.
Poem No. X
Or perhaps Scota is the name of the community from which they came over to the Tower of Nimrod, from Scythia Petraea, from the east. This is the reason why Feinius Farsaid acquired bardism, for that every one who was of the chieftains with him was distressed that the community of which they were, the Scoitiziani - its history had gone to loss in the hands of the elders of the Greeks. So that it was to find the history of the Scots, from which he was sprung, that he came to learn bardism; and thence is he named Feinius Farsaid, i.e., one who has knowledge of ancient things, in Hebrew, in Greek, in Latin, and in all the languages in general; for he continually made progress in them.
It is Gaedel who formed the Gaedelic language out of the seventy-two languages. These are their names.
[variant passage] After the dispersal of everyone from the Tower, and after they were mixed and confused by God by reason of their lawlessness, and after the dispersal of the languages throughout the world, Feinius remained at the tower, and he dwelt there; and he went forth a man into every quarter of the world, to collect the languages and to bring them to one place. And after he had assembled the school and collected the languages, Feinius Farsaid cut the language of the Gaedil out of the seventy-two languages at the end of ten years after the dispersal of the Tower. And he imparted it to his son Nel; and Nel imparted it to his son Gaedel Glas and to his seed for ever; and from him (Gaedel) is it named. These are the languages.
To memorize those the poet said these words -
Poem No. XI
Now the learned count four divisions in the Gaelic language, with four names: The Great Story, the Judgements of Nemed, the Science of Cermna, and The Science of Cano, the fourth. "Canons" is the name of that division, for the greatness of its knowledge and its precedents. Thrice fifty are its secret scripts and the courses, the course of Nin, the leaves of a forest, and whatever is related to them. The second division, further, Grammar is its name, for the greatness of its excellent knowledge, for this it is which is the rudder for correct speech; the Sciences moreover, and the additional sciences, and the captures, and the thirty stories, and the sixty subordinate stories, and whatever is related to them, are therein. The third division, History is its name, for therein are spoken stories and matters of dispute. The Judgements of Cai, with which the fourth is included, Prosody is its name, as the poet says -
Poem No. XV
Men of learning consider that Gaedelic has four divisions and four names, being a like number with the divisions which we have enumerated ... to wit, Hebrew, Breek and Latin, as well as its own name Gaedelic, from Gaedel. Ticcoloth is its Hebrew name, Moloth its Greek name, Leguius its Latin name; Tinoiltech was the name which Gaedel had for it, he who cut it out, as the poet said -
Poem No. XVI
Now though many were those tongues from the Tower of Nemrod, there was not more than one language serving everyone until it was built. Gorthigern was the name of the language, and it is called the Hebrew language today, as one said -
Poem No. XVII
Now when that Nel son of Feinius dwelt in Egypt, this is the estate which he received, upon the shores of the Red Sea, and around Phi-Hahiroth; and he was there till the Sons of Israel escaped from Pharao and from the host of Egypt. Now it fell out that the Sons of Israel, in that flight, came to the estate where Nel was, and his son, Gaedel Glas. The Sons of Israel alighted and took camp at Phi-Hahiroth, on the border of the Red Sea. Then Nel son of Feinius came to converse with them, and to find out who was there; and there Aaron met with him aside from the host, and Aaron told him tidings of the Sons of Israel, to wit, the marvels and miracles of Moses, and how the ten plagues - a clearness of testimony - were brought upon the people of Egypt, by reason of their enslavement. And they ratified a treaty and friendship, and Nel asked Aaron if they had provision of food-stores. He said further, that what is here of wheat and of good things - said he - shall all be put at your disposal. Thereat the night fell upon them, and Nel went to his own house; and Aaron went into the camp. to the place where Moses was, and told him the welcome which he had received at the hands of Nel, and the good which he promised to the Sons of Israel. Grateful were Moses and Aaron of Nel, at those tidings.
But as for Nel, when he came to his own folk, he told them how the Sons of Israel had a camp at Phi-Hahiroth and at Succoth. He related the tidings of Moses and Aaron in full before the company. Now in that night a venemous poisonous serpent stung the little son whom Nel had, Gaedel Glas, and earth was near to him. From that he received the addition to his name. His people said to Nel that he should carry the lad to Moses. The lad was brought to Moses, and Nel came with him. Moses made fervent prayer before God, and put the famous rod upon the place where the serpent stung the land, so that he was cured. And he said: I command, and God commandeth, that no serpent harm this lad or any of his seed for ever; and that no serpent shall ever dwell in the homeland of his progeny. And, he said, there shall be kings and lords, saints and righteous, of the seed of that lad; and in a northern island of the world it is that the dwelling of his race shall be. This is the reason why there is no serpent or venemous reptile can do harm to any of the seed of Gaedel. And he left bequests to the lad and to his seed, as the poet said -
Poem No. XVIII
Then it is that Nel said: Pharao shall come to us, said he, and shall enslave us, for the welcome that we have given you, and for the crime of failing to hinder you. Come with us on tomorrow's route, said "Aaron, and stay with us continually, if so thou wilt: thou shalt obtain an equal share of heritage and of territory in the land which God hath promised to the Sons of Israel for their own service. Or if thou dost prefer, we shall put the pinnaces of Pharao at thy disposal; embark in them upon the sea, and stand by till thou knowest by what means we shall separate from Pharao; and thereafter do thy good pleasure.
That is the advice which is right said Nel. Then they sent with Nel three thousand men armed and fit for combat, to the place where the ships were, and they were given to Nel, so that they were at his disposal. Why did not the Sons of Israel themselves take the ships? In order that Pharao should not find means of pursuing them.
The company that was in them set forth, and stood by to see the transactions of the following day - the division of the Red Sea in the wake of the people, and the drowning of Pharao with his hosts therein - six score thousand footmen and fifty thousand horsemen. That is the tally that went to meet death of the people of Pharao in the Red Sea.
Now when Nel saw Pharao with his hosts drowned in the Red Sea, he remained upon the same estate, for he had no fear nor terror. His progeny and his seed increased there in Egypt, till they were warriors of great valour. Thereafter Nel died, after a long space, in Egypt, and Gaedel Glas and his mother took the estate. A son was born to him in the same land, Esru s. Gaedel. To him was a son born in the same land, Sru s. Esru s. Gaedel.
As for the host of Egypt after that, Pharao Tuir took the princedom after Pharao Cineris. Now 'Pharao' was an additional name for every king who took Egypt, from Pharao Cineris to Pharao Nectanebus; he was the thirty-fifth - or the fifteenth - king after Pharao Cineris who was drowned in the Red Sea. It was for the sake of Honour that this name was bestowed upon them.
As for Pharao Tuir thereafter and the host of Egypt, when they attained strength, they called to mind their hereditary hostility against the progeny of Nel and the family of Gaedel - the friendship which he had shown to the Sons of Israel, and Nel's taking of the ships of Pharao Cineris with him, when the Sons of Israel escaped. War and hostilities against them were increased thereafter upon them, and they were expelled, against their will, out of Egypt.
Sru s. Esru s. Gaedel, he it is who was chieftain for the Gaedil at that expulsion from Egypt, after Pharao was drowned in the Red Sea, in the wake of the Sons of Israel. Seven hundred and forty years from that time when Pharao was drowned, and when Sru s. Esru came out of Egypt, to the time when the sons of Mil came into Ireland, to wit, Eber and Eremon; whereanent one said -
Poem No. XII
Four ship's companies strong went Sru out of Egypt. There were twenty-four wedded couples and three hirelings for every ship. Sru and his son Eber Scot, they were the leaders of that voyage.
The route which they followed was on the Red Sea to the island of Taprobane, around the Rhipaean Mountain northward till they reached Scythia, and contested in the matter of the princedom of Scythia - that is, the progeny of Nel and Nenual, the two sons of Feinius Farsaid. From that time till the time of Refloir son of Noemius and of Mil son of Bile, many battles and combats and wars and kin-murders were transacted between them during that space, till Mil son of Bile inflicted a mortal wound upon Refloir son of Noemius.
As for Sru, when he reached Scythia, immediately Nenual grandson of Feinius died. Nenual son of Baath son of Nenual son of Feinius Farsaid took the princedom of Scythia. Now Sru died immediately after Nenual.
Eber Scot son of Sru took the kingship of Scythia by force from the progeny of Nenual son of Feinius, till he fell at the hands of Noemius son of Nenual. Now after the slaying of Eber, there was great contention in the matter of the princedom, between Noemius son of Nenual and Boamain son of Eber Scot.
Boamain took the kingship by force of combat from Northern Scythia to the shore of the Caspian Sea, till he fell in a battle-ambush at the hands of Noemius son of Nenual. Noemius took the princedom thereafter, till he fell at the hands of Ogamain son of Boamain in vengeance for his father. Ogamain took the kingship thereafter till he died in it - that is, in the kingship. There was contention in the matter of the princedom during his time, four years after that, between Refloir s. Refill and Mil s. Bile. Now Refloir had a comely daughter there, whose name was Send d. Refloir; and Refloir offered that maiden to Mil s. Bile. Mil s. Bile took her, and she was with him in loving wise, till she bore him two children; Airech Februad and Donn were their names. Then it was that Refloir plotted to slay his kinsman, for he feared that he would come against him for the kingship. Tidings thereof came to the son of Bile, that is to say, of his kinsman's ploting. Thereafter he himself went to battle, and he and Refloir fought, and he wounded Refloir severely and painfully through his thigh - a wound of vindictiveness and of death. The hosts of Scythia felt it a great loss that their lord should be hurt and mortally wounded by the son of Bile, and he was expelled out of Scythia; so Mil went thereafter, and took his children with him. Four ships were their sea-fleet, fifteen wedded couples in each ship, and an additional unwived hireling. They remained three months in the island of Taprobane. Other three months had they on the sea till they reached Egypt, at the end of one thousand three hundred fifty and four years after Partholon took Ireland, and at the end of nine hundred and fourteen years after the drowning of Pharao Cineris in the Red Sea.
Pharao Nechtenibus was King of Egypt at that time, as the learned sang this quatrain
Poem No. XIX
Now King Pharao had a daughter named Scota, and Mil asked for that maiden, and Pharao gave her to him; and that Scota bore two sons to him, Amorgen Glungel and Eber their names. It is then that Alexander, King of the world, drove out that Pharao, for he was not submissive to him, and expelled him southward, into southern Ethiopia; and a city was built by Alexander in Egypt after he had expelled Pharao, Alexandria its name. Mil son of Bile tarried eight years in Egypt, and twelve men of his followers learnt the principal arts: Segda, Sobairce, and Suirge learnt craftmanship, Mantan, Caicher and Fulman learnt druidry; another three, Gosten, Amorgen, and Donn, were arbitrators and judges. The other three, Mil, Oici and Uici, were warriors. They nurtured their multiplicity of actions and of accomplishments in Egypt.
Now then Mil perceived that weakness and loss of strength had come upon Pharao, and that Alexander was driving him out, he took leave of him; by no means from fear, but it had been promised him by druids that he would get an estate and a kingdom. Thereafter Mil went upon the Red Sea - there was the same tally as before - and Scota daughter of Pharao with him.
A great wind came upon them, which carried them eastward in the ocean, past India, past Cirord, past Golgardoma, past the estuary of the Ganges, to the island of Taprobane, and they landed therein. They remain within it a month. Thereafter they voyaged past India, past Mount Caucasus from the west, past Ithia, past the river Boria, past western Scythia westward, to the estuary of the Caspian Sea. They were in silence for three weeks upon the Caspian Sea, by reason of the crooning of the Sirens. This is the welcome they would make; they would chant music around their canoes and their ships, and the people could not choose but fall asleep thereat. He who was most cunning among them would place molten pitch in their ears, so that they should hear naught of the music. Thereafter they sang music to the followers of Mil, till Caicher the Druid rescued them.
They came into the land of the Amazons, who fought a battle like men with them. This is why they were wont to burn their right breats, that they should not hinder their warrior-craft, so that no tyrant should take dominion of that country. Thirty-two tribes were their tally.
The sons of Mil left the crews of twenty ships of their people there, and forty-four companies from that back to Scythia.
They came past Albania westward, past the Rhipaean Mountain in the north, past Alania, till they settled in Asia. They stayed a month there. Caicher the druid said unto them: Ye hsall not rest till ye reach Ireland. Thereafter they journeyed past Gothia to Germania; fifty-four tribes was their tally when the expedition of the sons of Mil came, and they settled in Germania in the East. Twice eighteen of the soldiers of Thrace came on an expedition to the sons of Mil, that is, inspired by the fame of the glory of the expedition; so that they came into a league with the sons of Mil; and elders had promised them that they should attain to a territory along with them, if they should themselves take land. For that reason the Gaedil attacked by force the land where the Cruithne are. Now these soldiers came from Thrace into Pict-land. They sailed thereafter across the river Rhine, past Gallia to Belgia, where there are eighteen provinces and a hundred and fifteen cities; past the Gulf of Lyons, past Gallia Aquitanica, into southern Spain; over Driuin Sailt into Northern Spain, over the Pyrenees, till they were in the city of Breogan. It was empty before them, and there remained within it thirty of their homesteads. They fought fifty-four battles with the Hispani and the Langobardi and the Bacru, and they were all subdued by Mil s. Bile in the matter of the title to Spain; all those battles were fought, till he (Mil) obtained the princedom of Spain by force. Thence was he called Mil of Spain; for 'golam' was his first name. In Spain were two sons to Mil born, Eremon and Arandan, the two youngest. The two eldest, Donn and Airech Februa, in Scythia were they born, and Seng daughter of Refloir s. Nema was their mother. Colptha, at the Marshes was he born; Ir was born on the Thracian Sea; Eber Find and Amorgen in Egypt. Six of the sons of Mil were born of Scota, two of them in Spain; thereanent spake the poet -
Poem No. XX
And in that wise was the route of MIl with his people, from Eastern Scythia to Egypt, and from Egypt to Spain. There came a plague, so that twelve wedded couples of his people died thereof, including the three kings of spain, Mil and Occe and Ucce; as Cend Faelad saith in the following version -
Poem No. XIV
Or it may be that this is the beaten track of the Gaedil; we have left it at Ogamain; and though we have followed on to Mil with his people, it is time to return to Ogamain again. Refill s. Noemius took the kingdom, till he fell at the hands of Tat s. Ogamain. Thereafter Tat fell at the hand of Refloir s. Refill. There was a contention for the princedom between Refloir s. Refill and Agnomain s. Tat, until Refloir fell.
For that reason was the seed of Gaedel driven forth upon the sea, to wit Agnomain and Lamfhind his son, so that they were seven years on the sea skirting the world on the northern side. More than can be reckoned or related is their adventures, and there they suffered much of hardship. The reason why the name Lamfhind was givent to the son of Agnomain was, that not greater in radiance was a candle than his hands, on the voyage. They had three ships with a coupling between them, that none of them should move away from the rest. They had three chieftains after the death of Agnomain of the surface of the Caspian Sea, namely Lamfhind and Allot and Caicher the druid.
This is that Caicher who made a remedy for them, when the Sirens were playing them false; sleep was overcoming them at the music. This is a remedy which Caicher the druid found for them, to melt wax in their ears. It is Caicher who spake when the wind drave them into the ocean, so that they suffered much with hunger and thirst there; till at the end of a week they reached a great promontory northward from the Rhipaean Mountain, and in that promintory they found a spring with the taste of wine, and they feasted there, and were three days and three nights asleep there. But Caicher the druid said: Rise, said he, we shall not rest until we reach Ireland. What place is 'Ireland?' Lamfhind son of Agnomain said. Further than Scythia is it, said Caicher the druid; it is not ourselves who shall reach it, but our children, at the end of three hundred years from today.
Thereafter they settled in the Macotic Marshes. There a son was born to Lamfhind, Eber Glunfhind; that is, white marks were on his knees. He it is who was chieftain after his father. His grandson was Febri: His grandson was Nuadu.
Brath s. Death s. Ercha s. Allot s. Nuadu s. Nenual s. Febri Glas s. Agni Find s. Eber Glunfhind s. Lamfhind s. Agnomain s. Tat s. Ogamain s. Boamain s. Eber Scot s. Sru s. Esru s. Gaedel from whom are the Gaedil. He it is who came out of the Marshes, along the Torrian jSea, to Crete and to Sicily, and thereafter they reached Spain. They took Spain by force.
As for Agnomain s. Tat, he ws the Gaedil-chieftain who came out of Scythia. He had two sons, Lamfhind and Alloth. Lamfhind had one son, Eber Glunfhind. Alloth had one son, Eber Dub, at the same time as the sojourn in the Marshes. They had two grandsons in joint rule, Toithecht s. Tetrech s. Eber Donn and Nenual s. Febri s. Agnomain s. Eber Glunfhind; there was also Sothecht s. Mantan s. Caicher.
Four ship's companies strong came the Gaedil to Spain, with seven unwived hirelings. Brath, a ship's company. Occe and Ucce, two ships' companies: two brethren weree they, the sons of Allot s. Ogamain s. Toithecht s. Tetrech s. Eber Dub s. Allot s. Ogamain. Mantan, a ship's company - s. Caicher s. Ercha s. Coemthecht s. Soithecht s. Mantan s. Caicher the druid qui fecit prophetiam s. Eber Echruad s. Tat s. Ogamain.
They broke three battles after going into Spain; a battle against the Tuscans, a battle against the Langobardi, and a battle against the Barchu. There came a plague upon them, so that four and twenty of their number died, including Occe and Ucce. Out of the two ship none escaped, save twice five men, including En s. Occe and Un s. Ucce.
Brath had a good son named Breogan, by whom was built the Tower of Breogan and the city which is called Braganza. From Breogan's Tower was Ireland seen on a winter evening, to wit, on Samain evening. Ith s. Breogan saw it, as Gilla Coeman sand the song,
Poem No. XIII