On 6/4/05 14:38, "David Stifter" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Liz wrote:
>> 46. “Then there will be the dwarf of Mag Belaig before (for?) sixty
>> seven years. He will be the wineblossom, beside the equally strong
>> one, that is a candle of piety from a well of sin. He will be the sole
>> survivor of the slaughters that have been slain by a devil from afar.”
>> (Notes: David wrote “we should translate "the Devil" in English” but
>> I suspect the passage doesn’t refer to the Devil as Lucifer/Satan but
>> to a human being from afar that killed a lot of people in a raid,
>> maybe a Viking. Can you reconsider this, David?)
> I see your point. The only objection I can make right now is that DIL
> gives no example for the use of "demon" referring to a "fiendish
> human enemy"; "demon" is always used there for the metaphysical
> antagonist. But perhaps somebody elso knows such examples?
> What about the annals?
Re. Killers/Vikings -
When neutral - Gall, e.g. Do marbad do Gallaib.
When not - genti, with meaning 'heathens, pagans', is most common. "do
genntib", "a gentilibus".
When Irish people do the killing, the annals just name them or their
I can't say that diabul or demon does not occur anywhere.
> They would be a natural place to look for such expression
> for the Vikings.
On the surface, it would seem so, and obviously the opportunity did arise
very often (not only in relation to Vikings). But the annals were for
formal use within monasteries and are actually quite reserved despite a few
choice phrases which are likely to be quoted more often than the mass of
Would we consider another hypothesis?
Given the likely taboos, "devil" applied to a human being could have been
used in colloquial speech (even in monasteries) for a very long time before
it would ever appear in writing. So, given the respective attitudes of the
annalists and of the writer of BaBr, might we actually consider this type of
usage more likely in BaBr?
"Genti", from the perspective of Irish churchmen, could of course be taken
to be following a devil. The leader of a band of heathens... colloquially
called a devil... and this writer's willingness to surprise (push the