Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: L201040

The Life of Columba, written by Adamnan

Author: Adomnán of Iona

Background details and bibliographic information

File Description

William Reeves

donated by Seth Seyfried

converted to TEI-XML by Beatrix Färber

Funded by University College, Cork and
Professor Marianne McDonald via the CELT Project

2. Second draft.

Extent of text: 29 140 words


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
College Road, Cork, Ireland—

(2004) (2011)

Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: L201040


Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.


    Primary Manuscripts
  1. Stadtbibliothek Schaffhausen, Switzerland, Generalia 1 (A), vellum, 69 folios; 290 x 225 mm, with later page numbering running from 1 to 136; written in 2 columns, in a single Irish hand. A colophon in 136a names the scribe as Dorbbéne: 'pro me Dorbbeneo Dominum deprecetur'; probably written before 713.
  2. British Library MS Add. 35110 (B1), folios 96v–143r, probably written before 1165.
  3. British Library MS Cottonian Tiberius D III (B2), folios 192r–217r, written end of 12th to early 13th century. Due to fire damage in 1731, there are missing illegible portions on every page, and six folios [Book I, ch. 2 (diebus) to 22 (genibus) and 36 (viro) to 49 (omnia quae)] are missing completely.
  4. British Library MS Royal 8 D IX (B3), folios 1r–70r, written in the fifteenth or early sixteenth century. The first 8 folios, [to I, 3 (haec puro pectore)] are missing.
  5. For more information about the inter-relationship of the manuscripts, see an excerpt from Sharpe 1995.
  6. For derived MSS, see G. Brüning, ZCP 11 (1917), 220–224.
    Editions and Translations from Primary Manuscripts
  1. Johannes Colganus [John Colgan], Triadis Thaumaturgae seu divorum Patricii, Columbae et Brigidae, Trium Veteris et Maioris Scotiae, seu Hiberniae, Sanctorum Insulae, Communium Patronorum Acta, a Variis, iisque pervetustis, ac Sanctis authoribus Scripta, ac studio R.P.F. Joannis Colgani, in Conventu FF Minor, Hibernor. strictior. observ. Louanii, S. Theologiae Lectorius Jubilati. Ex variis Bibliothecis collecta, Scholiis et commentariis illustrata, et pluribus Appendicibus aucta: complectitur Tomus Secundus Sacrarum ejusdem insulae Antiquitatum, nunc primum in lucem prodiens. Lovanii 1647, 336–372 [from a transcript of (A) made by Stephen White in 1621]. Repr. with an introduction by Pádraig Ó, Riain. Dublin, 1996.
  2. Franciscus Baertius, Acta Sanctorum, Junii II, Antwerpen 1698, 197–236 [from the same transcript of (A)].
  3. Johannes Pinkerton, Vitae antiquae sanctorum, qui habitaverunt in parte nunc vocata Scotia, London 1789, 47–187 [From (B3); missing beginning and some variants supplemented from Heinrich Canisius, Antique lectionis V, 2, Ingolstadt 1604, 559–621]. — W. M. Metcalfe, 'Pinkerton's Lives of the Scottish Saints, revised and enlarged I, Paisley 1889, 73–209, includes Reeves's variants.
  4. William Reeves, (ed.) The Life of Columba, written by Adamnan, Dublin 1857 [based on (A), but uses (B3) and four derived MSS: St. Gallen 555, München 6341, München 22241, and Dublin, Marsh's Library, Vitae Sanctorum Hibernicorum (Lives of the Irish Saints)='Codex Kilkenniensis' or 'Codex Armachanus']; reprinted [with a translation and with editorial restructuring by W. F. Skene] in Historians of Scotland, Vol. 6, Edinburgh 1874. Based on (A). This text was originally made available on Dr Norm Jones's Columba Webpages (
  5. J. T. Fowler, Adamnani Vita S. Columbae, Oxford 1894. Based on (A).
  6. Adomnán's Life of Columba, edited with translation and notes by the late Alan Orr Anderson and by Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson, Edinburgh and London 1961; reprinted [revised by Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson] Oxford 1991.
  7. Adomnán of Iona, Life of St Columba, translated by Richard Sharpe, London 1995 [translation only.] Rev. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Peritia 10 (1996) 410–412.
  8. For editions from derived MSS see G. Brüning, ZCP 11 (1917), 224–5.
    Secondary Literature [for more bibliographical references see Anderson & Anderson 1991; Sharpe 1995 ]
  1. Paulus Geyer, Adamnanus Abt von Jona, I: sein Leben, seine Quellen, sein Verhältnis zu Pseudo-Eucherius De locis sanctis, seine Sprache (Erlangen 1895).
  2. Paulus Geyer, Adamnanus Abt von Jona, II: die handschriftliche Überlieferung der Schrift De locis sanctis: seine Sprache (Erlangen 1897).
  3. Gertrud Brüning, Adamnans Vita Columbae und ihre Ableitungen, ZCP 11 (1917) 213–304.
  4. René Specht, 'Wie kam Dorbénes Abschrift von Adomnán's 'Vita Sancti Columbae' in die Stadtbibliothek Schaffhausen?', Schaffhauser Beiträge zur Geschichte 65 (1988) 103–109.
  5. Máire Herbert, Iona, Kells and Derry, the history and hagiography of the monastic familia of Columba, Oxford 1988. Revs. Tomás Ó Cathasaigh, Éigse 24 (1990) 192–195; T. M. Charles–Edwards. Medium AEvum 59/2 (1990) 295. [Paperback reprint Dublin 1996].
  6. Brian Lacey, Colum Cille and the Columban tradition, Dublin 1997.
  7. Thomas Owen Clancy, 'Columba, Adomnan and the cult of Saints in Scotland', The Innes Review 48/1 (Spring 1997) 1–26.
  8. Jean-Michel Picard, Adomnán's Vita Columbae and the cult of Colum Cille in continental Europe, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1998 (available in pdf format online).
  9. Cormac Bourke (ed.), Studies in the Cult of Saint Columba. Dublin/Portland, Oregon, USA: 1997. Rev. Thomas Owen Clancy, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 37 (Summer 1999) 101–106.
  10. Dauit Broun & Thomas Owen Clancy (eds.), Spes Scotorum, Hope of Scots: Saint Columba, Iona and Scotland, Edinburgh 1999.
  11. Michael Byrnes, The Árd Ciannachta in Adomnán's Vita Columbae: a reflection of Iona's attitude to the Síl nÁeda Sláine in the late seventh century. In: Alfred P. Smyth (ed.), Seanchas: studies in early and medieval Irish archaeology, history and literature in honour of Francis J. Byrne (Dublin 2000) 127–136.
  12. Máire Herbert, The Vita Columbae and Irish hagiography: a study of Vita Cainnechi. In: John Carey, Máire Herbert, Pádraig Ó Riain (eds.), Studies in Irish hagiography: saints and scholars (Dublin 2001) 31–40.
  13. Jean-Michel Picard, Schaffhausen Generalia I and the textual transmission of Adomnán's 'Vita Columbae' on the continent. In: Michael Richter, Próinséas Ní Chatháin (eds.), Ireland and Europe in the early Middle Ages: texts and transmission/Irland und Europa im früheren Mittelalter: Texte und Überlieferung (Dublin 2002) 95–102.
  14. Michael J. Enright, Further reflections on royal ordinations in the Vita Columbae. In: , Jean-Michel Picard (eds.), Ogma: essays in Celtic studies in honour of Próinséas Ní Chatháin (Dublin 2002) 20–35.
  15. Sara E. Ellis Nilsson, Miracle Stories and the Primary Purpose of Adomnán's Vita Columbae, The Heroic Age: a journal of early medieval Northwestern Europe 10 (2007).
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. Life of Saint Columba, Founder of Hy. Written by Adamnan, ninth Abbot of that Monastery. William Reeves (ed), First edition [clxxxiv + 385 pp.] Edmonston and DouglasEdinburgh (1874)


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents volumes I–III. All editorial introduction, notes and indexes have been omitted. An English translation is available as a separate file.

Editorial Declaration


Text, which was already proofed, proofed once at CELT. Book 2, 31 to Book 3, 23 proofread twice at CELT.


The electronic texts represents the edited text.


Quotation marks are rendered q.


Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break, this break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word.


div0=the saint's life; div1=the book; div2=the section (chapter); div3=the subsection. Paragraphs are marked.

Standard Values

Dates are standardized in the ISO form yyyy-mm-dd.


Names are not tagged.

Canonical References

This text uses the DIV2 element to represent the Chapter.

Profile Description

Created: By various monastic scribes, at various dates. Date range: c.700-1200.

Use of language

Language: [LA] Text is in Latin.
Language: [GA] Some words are in Old Irish.

Revision History