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Dennis wrote:

>Here are two more maxims quoted in O'Davoren's Glossary
>for your consideration:

>1125.  Imm·dích cach corp a memru.
        = Every body protects its members.

>This is identified in DIL as coming from Laws ii 278.19.
>What exactly is the context there?

This is a quotation from the law text 'Cáin Aicillne', which deals with
clientship. This particular passage deals with the role of the 'fine'
(kin group) as a corporate body in relation to its individual members.

Head and body metaphors are common in the laws dealing with leadership
and guardianship. (The leader of the kin group is, after all, the 'cenn
fine'.) I wouldn't see this as a proverb or maxim. The full quotation is
much longer:

Imd-dîch cach corp a meamra ma[d] soc[h]orp sognimuch sobêsach slan
sof[h]oltach soc[h]om[m]ais. (CIH 1791.6-7; with my editorial
emendations.)

'Each body protects its members if it be a good body of good deeds,
sound, of good behaviour, of good qualities, [and] of good ability.'

That is, provided the kin operates lawfully and properly and is of good
standing, it has rights over each of its members in terms of annulling
their contracts and exacting legal compensation or revenge if they are
wronged. The kin group, can, for example, annul a clientship contract
entered into by one of its members with a lord if the kin doesn't
approve of it.

Neil

 

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