Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Irish version of the Historia Britonum of Nennius (Author: unknown)

Historia 29

    1. THE CRUITHNIANS who propagated
      In the land of noble Alba,


      With glorious illustrious might,
      From what region did they come?
    2. What cause also moved them
      From the countries of war?
      To traverse the waves over the floods,
      In what number of ships did they embark?
    3. How were they named before they came
      To attain their sovereignty?
      They were named from their own weapons)—
      And what was the name of their country?
    4. Thracia was the name of their country,
      (Until they spread their sails,


      After they had resolved to emigrate),
      In the east of Europe.
    5. Agathyrsi was their name,
      In the portion of Ercal-Itbi
      From their tattoeing their fair skins
      Were they called Picts.
    6. The Picts, the tribe I speak of,
      Understood travelling over the sea,
      Without mean, unworthy deeds,
      The seed of Geleon son of Ercal.
    7. Of them six brothers
      With alacrity, unflinching,
      For glory's sake set out;
      The seventh [gt ]was their sister.
    8. Solen, Ulpha, Nechtain,
      Drostan the powerful diviner,
      Were their names and their order,
      Aengus and Leithenn.

    9. p.133

    10. The absolute sovereign of populous Thrace
      Sought their lovely sister,

      (It was the cause of conflict)
      Without gift, without dowry.
    11. They came away with her, the good men,
      From their lands, from their flocks,
      A company of three ships in good order,
      Three hundred and nine persons.
    12. They stepped on land from the surrounding sea
      Of France,—they cut down woods,
      They built a city with their many weapons,
      Which was named Pictabis.
    13. Pictabis a Pictis
      They named their city;
      It remained a good and free name
      Afterwards upon the fortress.
    14. The king sought their sister
      By battle fiercely,
      And in consequence of his anger
      They were driven upon the sea.

    15. p.135

    16. On the shore of the sea was shattered,
      A ship, swift sailing, well manned,
      There remained, as we know,
      With her the sixth brother.
    17. They were in Pictavia,
      With success attaching to them;
      Their name was renowned
      At the place where Elair was.
    18. They stole away thence together
      In haste, under sorrow,
      At the end of two tempestuous days,
      Their sister died with them.
    19. Passing by Britain in their voyage,
      To Eri the delightful
      They directed their course,
      And reached Inbher Slaine.
    20. They cut down the plundering host of Fea,
      Who were aided by poison,
      By their fierce deeds,
      In the battle of Ard-leamhnacht.

    21. p.137

    22. The heroes valiant and numerous
      Cut down knotty woods,
      With wonderful arts;
      From the Britons was their origin.
    23. Dead was every one they struck,
      If but his blood they shed,
      So that he wasted away on that account,
      Whether he were a dog, or whether he weren a man.
    24. A Cruithnian Druid, of friendship,
      Discovered a cure for those thus wounded,
      New milk in which were washed
      Those who lay wounded on the earth.
    25. The herds of cows of the tribes were brought,
      By just Cremhthann the headstrong,
      Until the herd was milked
      On the green of Ard-leamhnacht.
    26. They cut down the troops of Fea, of sharp weapons,
      Leaving them without tillage and without produce,


      By their defeat in the battle
      Cremhthan Sciathbel of horses was protected.
    27. The Cruithnians settled themselves
      On the lands of the three plains,
      Until dread of their arms
      Had seized the noble Gaels.
    28. Soon after that died
      Four of the noble brothers,
      Solen, Neachtan, Drostan,
      Aengus, the prophetic pillar.
    29. From the south was Ulfa sent
      After the decease of his friends;
      In Rachrann in Bregia
      He was utterly destroyed.
    30. Cathluan was elevated by them,
      (No despicable chieftain),


      As king over them all,
      Before they set out to another country.
    31. For to them spake Erimon
      That out of Eri they should go,
      Lest they should make battle
      For Teainhairm, as a possession.
    32. Three hundred women were given,
      To them they were agreeable,
      But they were most cunning,
      Each woman and her brother.
    33. There were oaths imposed on them,
      By the stars, by the earth,
      That from the nobility of the mother
      Should always be the right to the sovereignty.
    34. They set out from Eri
      On their oath-bound expedition,
      Without families, without cavalry,
      With Cathluan, son of Caitminn.
    35. Catmolodor the hard-knobbed,
      And Cathmachan the bright,


      Were glorious youths,
      The two valiant sons of Cathluan.
    36. His hardy, puissant champions,
      Heavy, stern, was their trampling,
      Cing, victorious in his victory,
      Im, son of Pernn, were their names.
    37. Huasem was the name of his poet,
      Who sought out the path of pleasantry.
      Ruddy was his hero,
      Crus, son of Cirigh Cetlim.
    38. Cruithne, son of just Cing,
      Attended to their courtship,
      So that he brought a company of fair women,
      Over Athmagh, over Athgort.
    39. There remained of them behind in Ealga,
      With many artificers and warriors,


      Who settled in Breagh-magh,
      Six demon-like druids.
    40. Necromancy and idolatry, druidism,
      In a fair and well-walled house,
      Plundering in ships, bright poems,
      By them were taught.
    41. The honoring of sredhs and omens,
      Choice of weather, lucky times,
      The watching the voices of birds,
      They practised without disguise.
    42. Hills and rocks they prepared for the plough,
      Among their sons were no thieves,


      They prepared their expedition
      Here at Inbher Boinne.
    43. They passed away from us
      With the splendour of swiftness,
      To dwell by valour
      In the beautiful land of Ile.

    44. p.149

    45. From thence they conquered Alba,
      The noble nurse of fruitfulness.
      Without destroying the people or their houses,
      From the region of Cat to Forcu.
    46. Cathluan gained battles
      Without flinching or cowardice,


      His onsets were not without fierceness,
      Until he had slain the Britons.
    47. Thus did they conquer Alba,
      Noble, gentle-hilled, smooth-surfaced,
      With many an Amlaff,
      Down to Cinaeth mac Alpin,

    48. p.153

    49. For plundering known places,
      And greens, without remorse,
      For not practising inactivity,
      For this are they called Cruithnians.
    50. Fifty kings of plundering career,
      Every one of them of the race of Eochaidh,
      From Fergus, most truly,
      To the vigorous Mac Brethach.
    51. Six kings and six times ten
      Of them who attended to bloody plunder:
      They loved merry forays,
      They possessed the sovereignty of the Cruithnians.
    52. The Cruithnians who propagated.