On Wed, 3 Nov 1999, David Stifter wrote:
> As you could see from my commentary on the preface of ACC I
> really concentrate on the linguistic side of the text. Perhaps other
> people could comment a bit on the literary / historical / cultural-
> historical aspects of the poem.
I have no original contribution to make; I'm one of the "followers"
here, but I could post a précis of the Clancy & Markus commentary since
I have the book on loan from the library at the moment.
Here's a bit of their discussion of authorship:
C & M are confident of the poem's early provenance, citing Máire Herbert
for linguistic evidence; plus the ACC does not appear to draw on the
mass of legendary material accumulated from soon after the death of
The ACC is attributed to a Dallán Forgaill, "whose reputation is so
singularly built on his alleged authorship of the Amra that it seems
foolish to deny his connection with it." -- C & M
Dallán Forgaill (or mac Forgaill) is said to be the nickname of Eocha
mac Colla meic Eirce meic Feradaig. He may have come from Mag Slécht in
Bréifne in Connacht, from a tribe called the Masraige. C & M mention
some other less reliable claims from tradition -- that he was "chief
poet of Ireland" (doubtful, whatever that epithet may mean), that he
began the ACC before CC died but CC himself asked the poet to wait,
giving him "certain tokens" by which he would know that CC had died,
and promising him his sight for the period of the poem's composition.
The ACC itself claims it was commissioned by "Áed", who (per C & M) "is
almost certainly Áed mac Ainmirech, Columba's cousin and the king of the
Cenél Conaill, and later of Tara (586-98)."
I quote from the final paragraph of C & M on the authorship: "So Dallán
was an Irish poet, well-versed in church matters and in Latin, and
knowledgeable about Columba's intellectual accomplishments. He is also,
of course, skilled at the techniques of poetic composition...The poem
was treasured in later times, even when not fully understood, though one
wonders whether later poets thought it a good poem, or were troubled by
its bravado and obscurity."
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