On 20/4/05 20:16, "TOM SMITH" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Following the above remarks I think we must conclude that Baile Bricín was a
> millennium prophesy. These type of texts were common in the 10th century
> throughout Christendom as the end of the first millennium approached. There
> was a common fear that the Apocalypse was approaching in 1000 AD. This
> theory is reinforced by the fact that none of the kennings refer to a person
> who died after 1000 AD.
In this regard, there is also the reference to the millennium in one of the
early paragraphs, §2 - the one purporting to give a date for the angel's
I would have a more open mind however about your conclusion, wishing to
widen it to the possibility of the text being written early in the 11th
century in reaction to some of the millennial stuff which would by then have
been disproved. Not that either case could be proven completely, but given
the writer's gift for parody, I think it worth keeping in mind that he may
be parodying that literature also.
The text of §2 where the writer has the angel speak of "an milli i dtaam" in
reference to himself and Bricín does not preclude the writer and his
intended readership being very aware of an actual second millennium by the
time of writing.
He obviously has access to annalistic abbatial lists and would have no
problem restricting himself to the use of persons with the appropriate obits
for his purpose.
This mention of apocalyptical literature causes me to wonder if anyone here
has access to Kenney's Sources and if there is an entry regarding this text
in that? (Is his entry about Scuab a Fanaid in a section specific to such
stuff?) Any mention/opinion in Hughes' Early Christian Ireland: A Guide to
As a focal scoir, some scholarly opinion at the end of the second millennium
held that earlier discussion of millennial attitudes in Ireland in the tenth
century had been a bit overstated.