Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: G502003

Auraicept na n-Éces

Author: [unknown]

Background details and bibliographic information

File Description

George Calder

compiled and proof corrections by Beatrix Färber

Funded by University College, Cork and
The HEA via the LDT Project and
The HEA via PRTLI 4

2. Second draft.

Extent of text: 73125 words


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


Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: G502003

Availability [RESTRICTED]

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

The printed edition is now in the free domain.


    Manuscript sources
  1. Dublin, Trinity College Library, 1432 olim E. 3. 3, ff. 3–16; 15th to early 16th century; scribe Diarmaid Ó Dubhagáin; patron Uilliam Ó Loingsigh.
  2. Dublin, RIA, 1225 olim D ii 1 alias Book of Uí Mhaine, ff. 139–143; 14th century. (much of it was written c. 1393–4); 157 folios; scribes Ádhamh Cuisin and Faolán Mac an Ghabhann na Scéal (ob. 1423) and eight others; patron Muircheartach Ó Ceallaigh (ob. 1407), bishop of Clonfert (r. 1378–94) and subsequently archbishop of Tuam (r. 1394–1407). Known as Leabhar Uí Dhubhagáin in the seventeenth century.
  3. Dublin, RIA, 536 olim 23 P 12 alias Book of Ballymote; 14th century (AD 1383x–1397). 251 folios; scribes Solamh Ó Droma, Robertus Mac Síthigh, and Maghnus Ó Duibhgeannáin (ob. 1452); patron Tomaltach Mac Donnchaidh (ob. 1397), lord of Tír Oilealla, in whose family it remained until 1522, when it was sold to Aodh Óg Ó Domhnaill, lord of Tír Chonaill. Owned by archbishop James Ussher in the seventeeth century. Later in the Library of Trinity College Dublin from which it was borrowed in 1719, never to be returned. Presented to the Royal Irish Academy in 1785. Digital images of the manuscript can be viewed on the ISOS Project of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (
  4. Edinburgh, NLS, Advocates, 72.2.1 olim Gaelic I, ff. 19–29; (c. 1425).
  5. Dublin, RIA, 535 olim 23 P 2 alias Book of Lecan, ff. 151–161; 14th to 15th century. (1397–1418 or a little later); 311 folios; scribes Giolla Íosa Mac Fir Bhisigh and his students, Ádhamh Ó Cuirnín and Murchadh Riabhach Ó Cuindlis; and Tomás Cam Mac Fir Bhisigh (only son of Giolla Íosa). In 1612 the MS was in the possession of Henry Perse, secretary to the lord deputy, Sir Arthur Chichester. It then passed to archbishop James Ussher and was in his library in England when he died there in 1656. It was returned to Ireland by Oliver Cromwell with Ussher's other books and some time before 1665 it was deposited in the Library of Trinity College Dublin, where it remained until the Jacobite War. Reported missing in 1702, it was certainly in France by 1703. It passed to the Irish College Paris and in 1787, at the instance of Colonel Charles Vallancey, it was presented to the Royal Irish Academy.
  6. London, British Library, Egerton 88, ff. 63–76; 16th century; (ad 1564–70); scribes Domhnall (mac Aodha) Ó Duibh Dhá Bhoireann (working for himself), Maghnus Ó Duibh Dhá Bhoireann and others.
  7. Dublin, Trinity College Library, 1363 olim H. 4. 22, pp. 167–98; 15th to 16th century.
  8. Dublin, Trinity College Library, 1318 olim H. 2. 16 alias Yellow Book of Lecan, 504–49; 1397–1418 or a little later.
    Digital images of the text
  1. The book is available in pdf. format on The copy available there was used to check the scanned text. It originates from the library of D. A. Binchy.
  1. James Henthorn Todd (ed. & trans.) Can a mbunadas na nGaedel, in: idem (ed.) Leabhar breathnach annso sis: the Irish version of the Historia Britonum by Nennius (Dublin 1848) 220–287.
  2. Eugene O'Curry, Lectures on the manuscript materials of ancient Irish history (New York 1861).
  3. Richard Rolt Brash, The ogam inscribed monuments of the Gaedhil in the British Islands (London 1879).
  4. Rudolf Thurneysen, 'Du langage secret dit ogham', Revue Celtique 7 (1886), 369–74; repr. in idem, Gesammelte Schriften, i–iii, ed. Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel & Rolf Ködderitzsch (Tübingen 1991), ii 100–5.
  5. Samuel Ferguson, Ogham inscriptions in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, Rhind Lectures on Archaeology [...] 1884, ed. Mary C. Ferguson (Edinburgh 1887).
  6. Iohannes Huemer (ed), Virgilius Maro Grammaticus (Leipzig 1886).
  7. Kuno Meyer, Songs of summer and winter (London 1903).
  8. R. A. S. Macalister, Studies in Irish epigraphy, 3 vols. (London 1897–1907).
  9. Patrick Weston Joyce, A Social History of Ancient Ireland, 2 vols (New York, London, and Bombay: Longmans, Green, & Company, 1903).
  10. John [=Eoin] MacNeill, 'Notes on the distribution, history, grammar and import of the Irish ogham inscriptions', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (C), 27 (1908–9), 329–70.
  11. Heinrich Zimmer, in: Sitzungsberichte der Königl.-Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Klasse, December 1910, p. 1049.
  12. John [=Eoin] MacNeill, 'Early Irish population groups: their nomenclature, classification and chronology', PProceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (C), 29 (1911–2), 59–114.
  13. Wallace Martin Lindsay (ed), Isidori Hispalensis Episcopi Etymologiarum sive Originum Libri, xx. (Oxford, 1911). [Available online as PDF on]
  14. Kuno Meyer, Über die älteste irische Dichtung, Sitzungsberichte der königl-preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1913.
  15. Holger Pedersen, Vergleichende Grammatik der keltischen Sprachen, 2 volumes, (Göttingen 1909–1913).
  16. Kuno Meyer, 'Über die Anordnung des Ogamalphabets', Sitzungsberichte der Königl.-Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Klasse, 1917, 376–78.
  17. Eoin MacNeill, A pioneer of nations, Studies (Dublin) 11 (1922) 13–28, 435–46.
  18. Charles Plummer, 'On the meaning of ogam stones', Revue Celtique 40 (1923), 387–390.
  19. Joseph Vendryes, 'Sur les noms des lettres de l'alphabet irlandais', Revue Celtique 44 (1927) 317–19.
  20. Rudolf Thurneysen, Auraicept na n-Éces, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 17 (1928) 277–303.
  21. F. C. Diack, 'The origins of the ogam alphabet', Scottish Gaelic Studies 3 (1929–31), 86–91.
  22. Eoin MacNeill, 'Archaisms in the ogham inscriptions', Proc Roy Ir Acad (C) 39 (1931) 33–53.
  23. Osborn J. Bergin, 'On the Kilbonane ogams', Ériu 11 (1932) 107–11.
  24. Rudolf Thurneysen, Allerlei Nachträge, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 19 (1933) 125–33: 128–9.
  25. H. Arntz, 'Das Ogom', Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache & Literatur 59 (1935) 321–413.
  26. Rudolf Thurneysen, 'Zum Ogom', Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache & Literatur 61 (1937) 188–208; repr. in idem, Gesammelte Schriften, i–iii, ed. Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel & Rolf Ködderitzsch (Tübingen 1991) ii 292–312.
  27. W. Keller, 'Die Entstehung des Ogom', Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache & Literatur 62 (1938) 121–32.
  28. Osborn J. Bergin, The native Irish grammarian, Proc Br Acad 24 (1939), 205–35 [Rh[ycirc ]s Lecture].
  29. J. Vendryes, 'L'écriture ogamique et ses origines', Études Celtiques, 4/1 (1941) 83–116; repr. in idem, Choix d'études linguistiques et celtiques (Paris 1952) 247–76.
  30. L. J. D. Richardson, 'The word ogham', Hermathena, 62 (1943) 96–105.
  31. A. G. van Hamel, Primitieve Ierse taalstudie, Medeelingen d. k. Nederlandsche Akad Wetenschappen, aft letterkunde, n.r., dl. 9, nr 9 (1946), 295–339.
  32. Proinsias Mac Cana, The three languages and the three laws, Studia Celtica, 5 (1970), 62–78.
  33. Jack Fellman, The first mediaeval grammar of a European vernacular, Linguistics, 206 (1978), 55–6.
  34. Edgar M. Slotkin, Medieval Irish scribes and fixed texts, Éigse, 7 (1978–9), 437–50.
  35. Anders Ahlqvist, Les débuts de l'étude du langage en Irlande?, in: Konrad Koerner (ed.), Amsterdam studies in the theory and history of linguistic science, iii, Studies in the History of Linguistics, 20 (Amsterdam 1980), 35–43.
  36. Louis Holtz, Donat et la tradition de l'enseignment grammatical: études sur l'Ars Donati et sa diffusion (IVe–IXe siècle) et édition critique (Paris 1981).
  37. Anders Ahlqvist, Det medeltida Irlands spr[aring ]kvetenskap, in Even Hovdhaugen (ed.), The Nordic languages and modern linguistics: proceedings of the fourth international conference of Nordic and general linguistics in Oslo 1980 (Oslo, 1981) 202–11.
  38. Liam Breatnach, The caldron of poesy, Ériu 32 (1981) 45–93.
  39. Anders Ahlqvist, The Early Irish Linguist (Helsinki 1983).
  40. Liam Breatnach, Addenda and corrigenda to the 'Caldron of poesy' (Ériu xxxii 45–93), Ériu 35 (1984) 189–91.
  41. Anders Ahlqvist, Téarmaíocht ghramadaí na Gaeilge, Studia Hibernica 24 (1984–88), 89–96.
  42. Anders Ahlqvist, The study of language in early Ireland, Neuphilol Mitt 85 (1985) 246–57.
  43. Diego Poli, La metafora di Babele e le partitiones nella teoria grammaticale irlandese dell' Auricept na n-Éces, in Diego Poli (ed.), Episteme: in ricordo di Giorgio Raimondo Cardona, Quaderni Linguistici e Filologici, 4 (Macerata 1986–9) 179–97.
  44. Anders Ahlqvist, An Irish text on the letters of the alphabet, in A. M. Simon-Vandenbergen (ed.), Studies in honour of René Derolez (Ghent 1987), 3–16.
  45. Anders Ahlqvist, Latin grammar and native learning, in: Donnchadh Ó Corráin, Liam Breatnach & Kim McCone (eds.), Sages, saints and storytellers: Celtic Studies in honour of Professor James Carney (Maynooth 1989) 1–6.
  46. Damian MacManus, A Guide to Ogam (Maynooth 1991).
  47. Andrew Garrett, 'On the prosodic phonology of ogam Irish', Ériu 50 (1991), 139–160.
  48. V. P. Kalyguine, Quelques aspects mythologiques de la tradition grammaticale vieil-irlandaise, Études Celtiques 29 (1992) 241–8.
  49. Erich Poppe, Natural and artificial gender in Auraicept na n-Éces, Studia Hibernica 29 (1995–7), 195–203.
  50. Erich Poppe, Die mittelalterliche irische Abhandlung Auraicept na nÉces und ihr geistesgeschichtlicher Standort, in K. D. Dutz & H.-J. Niederehe (eds.), Theorie und Rekonstruktion (Münster 1996), 55–74.
  51. Erich Poppe, 'Latinate Terminology in Auraicept na nÉces', in: History of Linguistics 1996, vol. 1: Traditions in Linguistics Worldwide. Eds. David Cram, Andrew Linn, Elke Nowak. (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 1999, 191–201).
  52. Rijcklof Hofmann, 'The Irish tradition of Priscian', in: Mario de Nonno, Paolo de Paolis & Louis Holtz (eds.), Manuscripts and tradition of grammatical texts from antiquity to the renaissance, 2 vols, (Cassino 2000), i 257–83: 278–85.
  53. Erich Poppe, 'The Latin quotations in Auraicept na nÉces: microtexts and their transmission', in: Próinséas Ní Chatháin & Michael Richter (eds.), Ireland and Europe in the early middle ages: texts and transmission (Dublin 2002), 296–312.
  54. Pierre-Yves Lambert, 'Les Differentiae dans la littérature irlandaise ancienne', in: Pierre Lardet (ed.), La tradition vive: mélanges d'histoire des textes en l'honneur de Louis Holtz, Bibliologia: Elementa ad librorum studia pertinentia, 20 (Paris & Turnhout 2003) 107–18: 116–8.
  55. Johan Corthals, 'Stimme, Atem und Dichtung: aus einem altirischen Lehrbuch für Dichterschüler (Uraicept na mac sésa)', in Helmut Birkhan (ed.), Kelteneinfälle an der Donau: Akten des vierten Symposiums deutschsprachiger Keltologinnen und Keltologen, Linz-Donau, 17–21. Juli 2005 (Vienna 2007) 124–47.
  56. Roisin McLaughlin, 'Fénius Farsaid and the Alphabets', Ériu 59 (2009) 1–24.
  57. Richard M. A. Marshall, Studies on the 'Ars Grammatici Sergi{li}i' Journal of Medieval Latin 20 (2010) 167–231 [with an edition, a discussion of writing, and references to the 'Auraicept'].
  58. Deborah Hayden, 'Poetic Law and the Medieval Irish Linguist: Contextualizing the Vices and Virtues of Verse Composition in Auraicept na nÉces', Language and History 54:1 (May 2011) 1–34.
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. Auraicept na n-éces: the scholars' primer: being the texts of the Ogham tract from the Book of Ballymote and the Yellow book of Lecan, and the text of the Trefhocul from the Book of Leinster, ed. from eight manuscripts, with introduction, translation of the Ballymote text, notes, and indices by George Calder. George Calder (ed), First edition [lvi + 374 pp. Preface, Contents xi, MSS Transcribed or Collated xiii, Authorities Referred to or Quoted xv, Introduction xix–lvi, 1. Text with [facing] Translation 2–169; Text Untranslated 171–257; Trefhocul with Examples 258–269; De Duilib Feda 270–271; Ogam. Prologue and Examples, with [facing] Translation 272–299; Photographs of Ogham Alphabets, with Transcript of the Interlinear Explanations and Translation thereof 300–313; Glossarial Index 315–361; Index of Places, Tribes, and Nations 362–367; Index of Persons 368–374.] John Grant Edinburgh, 31 George IV Bridge (1917)


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents the editor's introduction (xix–liii), the text on even pages 2–168; pages 172–257 in sequence; and even pages 272–298 of the volume. Pages 258 to 271 with Trefhocul and Duilib Feda have not been captured. [The Trefhocul is reproduced in the Book of Leinster, vol. 1, file G800011A on CELT.] All translation, footnoted variants, notes, indexes, line-drawings representing Ogam characters and images have been omitted in this edition. (Please see PDF version for these.) It is hoped to include the inline Ogam characters in the near future. Missing text supplied by the editor is tagged sup. Expansions to the text are marked ex. Bold face appearing in Calder's edition has not been been reproduced; readers wishing to view it are asked to refer to the PDF version.

Editorial Declaration


Text has been checked and proofread twice at CELT. All corrections and supplied text are tagged. Text in Latin is marked as such.


The electronic text represents the edited text. Poems have been encoded as embedded texts. Numbered line-breaks occur every 5 lines. In the printed edition these appear to the right of the text, i. e. they refer to the preceding line. The foliation of the various manuscripts is encoded using mls. The Greek letters alpha/beta used within folio pagination have been rendered as a/b.


Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break, a line-break, or a milestone, this break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word. 'Orphaned' line-breaks may ocasionally arise from this practice.


div0=the primer; div1=the section; stanzas are marked lg.


Names of persons (given names), and places are not tagged. Terms for cultural and social roles are not tagged.

Canonical References

This text uses the DIV1 element to represent the section.

Profile Description

Created: Created by Irish monks in monastic scriptoria. Date range: 900–1200.

Use of language

Language: [GA] The text is in Middle Irish.
Language: [EN] The front matter and introduction are in English.
Language: [DE] Quotations in German occur in the introduction.
Language: [CY] Some words in the introduction are in Welsh.
Language: [LA] Some formulaic words are in Latin.
Language: [IW] Some letters and words are in Hebrew.
Language: [GR] Some words are in Ancient Greek.

Revision History