Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Lebor na Cert (Author: unknown)

section 6

The rights of the king of Tara


When the king of Tara is not king of Ireland, he is entitled to a hundred swords, a hundred shields, a hundred horses, a hundred coloured cloths, and a hundred coats of mail. That is from the king of Ireland to the king of Tara. Now from the king of Tara to his kings and to the tribes of Meath : twenty horns, twenty swords, twenty slaves, and twenty hounds to the king of Brega. Five shields, five swords, five cloaks, five horses, and five hounds to the



king of Mag Lacha. Ten horses, ten slaves, ten women and ten horns to the king of Laegaire. Seven shields, seven horses, seven slaves, seven women, and seven hounds to the king of Ardgal. Seven horses, seven swords, seven horns, and seven cloaks to the king of Fir Chell. Six horses, six swords, six shields, and six slaves to the king of Fir Thulach. Eight shields, eight swords, eight horns, and eight horses to the king of Fir Thethba. Six shields, six horses, six cloaks, six slaves, and six horns to the king of Cuircne. Five horses, five swords, and five cloaks to the king of Uí Beccon. Five women, five horses, five horns, and five shields to the king of Coill Fallamain. Eight slaves, eight women, eight horses, eight shields, and eight swords to the king of Delbna Mór. And it is for them that Benén sang:

    1. Recount the rights of the king of Tara
      which gracious Benén has told;
      what is due to him at Tara
      has been memorized by a Latin scholar.
    2. The king of Tara of the princes
      is entitled to a hundred swords and a hundred shields,
      a hundred suits and a hundred horses,
      a hundred mantles and a hundred coats of mail.
    3. The fair king of the realm of Brega
      is entitled to twenty horns, twenty swords,
      twenty hounds, and twenty slaves
      as stipend from the king of Tara.
    4. The king of Mag Lacha is entitled
      to five shields, five fighting swords,
      five fleecy cloaks, five horses,
      and five white hounds in fine array.
    5. The swift king of Laegaire is entitled
      to ten sturdy horses in his tribeland,
      ten slaves, ten full-grown women, ten hounds,
      and ten horns for the drinking-feast.
    6. The stipend of the noble king of Ardgal
      is seven shields, seven horses from Scotland,
      seven full-grown women,
      seven slaves, and seven hounds.

    7. p.99

    8. The king of Coill Echach is entitled
      to seven strong horses from the king of tribes,
      seven swords for battle,
      seven horns and seven coloured cloaks.
    9. The strong king of Fir Thulach
      is entitled to six horses from overseas (?),
      six swords, six red shields,
      and six foreign slaves without speech.
    10. The stipend of the king of Fir Thethba
      is eight shields, eight fighting swords,
      eight horns, eight mantles,
      and eight worthy slave women.
    11. The king of Curcne of the fen
      is entitled to six shields, six horses,
      six cloaks, six slaves,
      and six horns for ready service.
    12. The stipend of the king of Uí Beccon
      is five horses that are fast away,
      five brilliant cloaks of lasting colour,
      and five swords for battle.
    13. The king of Coill In Ollaim is entitled to five shields,
      five horns for his treasure,
      five horses brought in well-laden ships,
      and five worthy woman slaves.
    14. The king of festive Delbna is entitled
      to eight swords, eight shields from across the sea,
      eight horses with slender legs,
      eight slaves, and eight slave women.
    15. That is the tradition of the kings of Tara—
      not every prattling bard can tell it—
      it befits not the bard but only the file
      to know the rights of every king.



We have stated the stipends of the kings of the tribes of Meath. Now these are the rents, food-rents, and refections of the king of Tara from the tribes as they were paid to Cond and Cormac and Coirpre, and it is through them that the kings succeeded to the kingship afterwards. There is an equal reckoning of tax and payment without increase for wealth nor decrease for poverty unless want should come upon the kindred, or plague or famine or mortality. It is levied proportionately, great or small, every year. The levying third of that tax goes to the alien families of Tara for provision and sustenance, and for storing till the time of need, to be supplied in time of need (?). And for them Benén said:

    1. The rent of the tribes of Meath, a great story,
      a powerful poet has told
      how it has served Tara
      in the east ever since the time of Conn Cétchathach.
    2. The king of Tara of the tribes,
      a sage who owns it with a splendid host,
      is entitled to fifty oxen from the people of Déisi,
      fifty sows, and fifty young pigs.
    3. Thirty oxen from Dál Máthar,
      thirty sows—it is not a kinsman's rent—
      thirty wethers, a good reckoning,
      for the happy king of Meath.
    4. Three hundred oxen from the Delbna
      shall come to Tara, three hundred boars,
      three hundred flitches, and
      three hundred wethers from the great kindred.
    5. Thrice fifty mantles from the Luigne,
      reckon thrice fifty boars as well,
      and thrice fifty beeves without deceit
      are to be given to mighty Tara.

    6. p.105

    7. A hundred beeves from Fir Arda,
      a hundred white wethers unless you... them,
      a hundred boars, a heavy memory,
      from the kinsmen of the haughty Luigne.
    8. A hundred fine cloaks from the Saithne,
      a hundred sows—prosperous stock—
      a hundred beeves on the plains and
      a hundred wethers for slaughter.
    9. A hundred boars from warlike Cuircne,
      a hundred beeves, a great effort,
      a hundred sleek milch cows
      for the strong king of Liattruim.
    10. Three hundred boars from the Gailenga,
      three hundred wethers, three hundred mantles,
      three hundred oxen, strong help,
      to the Crooked Mound, as you have heard.
    11. hundred wethers from Fir Thulach,
      a hundred boars to the happy dwelling,
      a hundred milch cows with their calves,
      a hundred oxen without fail.
    12. Thirty wethers from Mag Lacha
      to the king of the Crooked Mound of battle,
      thirty milch cows, sleek and yellow,
      and thirty oxen into the goodly fort.
    13. Sixty cloaks from Uí Beccon,
      sixty beeves, a great array,
      sixty choice sows and
      sixty wethers to the great hill.
    14. That is the amount of stock
      without error to which the king of Meath is entitled;
      in golden Tara where he dwells,
      that is the whole of his rent.