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622
[IRISH LITERATURE
CELT

to Brythonic. Of personal names mentioned by classical writers we have Calgacus and Argentocoxus, both of which are certainly Celtic. The names occurring in Ptolemy’s description of Scotland have a decidedly Celtic character, and they seem, moreover, to bear a greater resemblance to Brythonic than to Goidelic, witness such tribal designations as Epidii, Cornavii, Damnonii, Decantae, Novantae. In the case of all these names, however, it should be borne in mind that they probably reached the writers of antiquity through Brythonic channels. Bede mentions that the east end of the Antonine Wall terminated at a place called in Pictish Pean-fahel, and in Saxon Penneltun. Pean resembles Old Welsh penn, “head,” Old Irish cenn, and the second element may possibly be connected with Gaelic fàl, Welsh gwawl, “rampart.” The names of the kings in the Pictish chronicles are not an absolutely trustworthy guide, as owing to the Pictish rule of succession the bearers of the names may in many cases have been Brythons. The names of some of them occur in one source in a Goidelic, in another in a Brythonic form. It is of course possible that the southern part of Pictish territory was divided between Goidels and Brythons, the population being very much mixed. On the other hand there are a number of elements in place-names on Pictish ground which do not occur in Wales or Ireland. Such are pet, pit, “farm” (?), for, fother, fetter, foder, “lower” (?). Aber, “confluence,” on the contrary, is pure Brythonic (Gaelic inver). Though the majority of scholars are of opinion that Pictish was nearly akin to the Brythonic dialects, we are entirely in the dark as to the manner in which that language was ousted by the Goidelic speech of the Dalriadic Scots. In view of the comparatively unimportant part played for a considerable period in Scottish affairs by the colony from Ireland, it is well-nigh incredible that Pictish should have been supplanted by Gaelic.

Authorities.—J. Rhys, Celtic Britain (London², 1905), The Welsh People (London3, 1902), “The Language and Inscriptions of the Northern Picts,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1892); H. Zimmer, “Das Mutterrecht der Pikten,” in Savignys Zeitschrift (1895); also trans. by G. Henderson in Leabhar nan Gleann (Inverness, 1898); W.F. Skene, Celtic Scotland (Edinburgh, 1876); A. Macbain in appendix to reprint of Skene’s Highlanders of Scotland (Stirling, 1902); A. Macbain, “Ptolemy’s Geography of Scotland,” in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, xviii. 267-288; W. Stokes, Bezzenbergers Beiträge, xviii. 267 ff.; H. d’Arbois de Jubainville, Les Druides et les dieux celtiques à forme d’animaux (Paris, 1906). The various theories have been recently reviewed and criticized by T. Rice Holmes in an appendix to his Caesar’s Invasion of Britain (London, 1907).

IV. History of Celtic Philology.—For many centuries the affinities of the Celtic languages were the subject of great dispute. The languages were in turn regarded as descended from Hebrew, Teutonic and Scythian. The first attempt to treat the dialects comparatively was made by Edward Lhuyd in his Archaeologia Britannica (Oxford, 1707), but the work of this scholar seems to have remained unnoticed. A century later Adelung in Germany divided the dialects into true Celtic (= Goidelic) and Celtic influenced by Teutonic (= Brythonic). But it took scholars a long time to recognize that these languages belonged to the Indo-European family. Thus they were excluded by Bopp in his comparative grammar, though he did not fail to notice certain resemblances between Celtic and Sanskrit. James Pritchard was the first to demonstrate the true relationship of the group in his Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations (London, 1831), but his conclusions were not accepted. As late as 1836 Pott denied the Indo-European connexion. A year later Pictet resumed Pritchard’s arguments, and Bopp himself in 1838 admitted the languages into the charmed circle, showing in an able paper entitled Über die keltischen Sprachen that the initial mutations were due to the influence of terminations now lost. But it was reserved to a Bavarian historian, J.C. Zeuss (1806-1856), to demonstrate conclusively the Indo-European origin of the Celtic dialects. Zeuss, who may worthily rank with Grimm and Diez among the greatest German philologists, rediscovered the Old Irish glosses on the continent, and on them he reared the magnificent structure which goes by his name. The Grammatica Celtica was first published in 1853. The material contained in this monumental work was greatly extended by a series of important publications by Whitley Stokes and Hermann Ebel, so much so that the latter was commissioned to prepare a second edition, which appeared in 1871. Stokes has rendered the greatest service to the cause of Celtic studies by the publication of countless texts in Irish, Cornish and Breton. In 1870 the Revue celtique (vol. xxviii. in 1908) was founded by Henri Gaidoz, whose mantle later fell upon H. d’Arbois de Jubainville. In 1879 E. Windisch facilitated the study of Irish by publishing a grammar of Old Irish, and a year later a volume of important Middle Irish texts with an exhaustive glossary, the first of its kind. Since then Windisch and Stokes have collaborated to bring out some of the greatest monuments of Irish literature in the series of Irische Texte. The text of the Würzburg glosses was published by Zimmer (1881) and by Stokes (1887), and that of the Milan glosses by Ascoli. An important step forward was the discovery of the laws of the Irish accent made simultaneously by Zimmer and Thurneysen. This discovery led to a thorough investigation of the difficult verb system of Old Irish—a task which has largely occupied the attention of Strachan in England, Thurneysen and Zimmer in Germany, and Pedersen and Sarauw in Denmark. In a sense the publication of the Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (Cambridge, 1901-1903) may be regarded as marking the close of this epoch. The older stages of Irish have hitherto so monopolized the energies of scholars that other departments of Celtic philology save Breton have been left in large measure unworked. J. Strachan had begun to tap the mine of the Old Welsh poems when his career was cut short by death. J. Loth and E. Ernault have concentrated their attention on Breton, and can claim that the development of the speech of Brittany has been more thoroughly investigated than that of any other Celtic language. The number of periodicals devoted entirely to Celtic studies has increased considerably of recent years. In 1896 K. Meyer and L. C. Stern founded the Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie (now in its 7th volume), and in 1897 the Archiv für celtische Lexikographie began to appear under the direction of K. Meyer and W. Stokes. As a supplement to the latter Meyer has been publishing his invaluable contributions to Middle Irish lexicography. In Ireland a new periodical styled Ériu was started by the Irish School of Learning in 1904. The Scottish Celtic Review, dealing more particularly with Scottish and Irish Gaelic, began to appear in 1903, and the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness are in the 26th volume. For Wales we have Y Cymmrodor since 1877, and the Transactions of the Hon. Society of Cymmrodorion since 1892, and for Brittany the Annales de Bretagne, published by the Faculty of Letters at Rennes (founded 1886).

See V. Tourneur, Esquisse d’une histoire des études celtiques (Liége, 1905).  (E. C. Q.) 

Celtic Literature

I. Irish Literature.—In the absence of a native coinage it is extremely difficult to say when the use of letters was introduced into Ireland. It is probable that the Latin alphabet first came in with Christianity. With the exception of the one bilingual Ogam inscription as yet discovered Ogam
inscriptions.
in Ireland (that at Killeen Cormac) all the inscriptions in Roman letters are certainly later than 500. Indeed, apart from the stone reading “LIE LUGUAEDON MACCI MENUEH,” they are all contemporary with or later than the Old Irish glosses. With regard to the Ogam inscriptions we cannot make any confident assertions. Owing to the lack of criteria for dating certain Irish sound-changes accurately it is impossible to assign chronological limits for the earlier stones. The latter cannot be later than the 5th century, but there is nothing to show whether they are Christian or not, and if pagan they may be a century or two earlier. It is true that the heroes and druids of the older epics are represented in the stories as making constant use of Ogam letters on wood and stone, and as the state of civilization described in the oldest versions of the Ulster sagas seems largely to go back to the beginning of the Christian era, it is not impossible that this peculiar system of writing had been