translated by Donnchadh Ó CorráinElectronic edition compiled by Donnchadh Ó Corráin
Funded by University College, Cork
2. Second draft, revised and corrected.
Extent of text: 4318 words
Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: T102030
Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.
This translation owes much to Thurneysen's. The paragraph numbering is that of his edition. Omitted extraneous material is indicated by ellipses. Explanatory material is added from time to time in square brackets. Sub-headings are added to make the text easier to follow and are not part of the original.]
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div0=the law. Page-breaks are marked pb n="".
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Created: Translation by Donnchadh Ó Corráin (2001)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Julianne Nyhan (ed.)
Peter Flynn (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Donnchadh Ó Corráin (ed.)
Donnchadh Ó Corráin (trans)
Exempt from legal suit for each is what each may have used or have consumed as against the other, except what . lien, obligation or loan may have imposed, or what one of them may have mis-appropriated from the other. Exempt from legal suit is everything useful to the partnership, everything done in good faith; liable to legal claim is everything done in bad faith in the law of the couple.
Question. How many pairings are there in Irish law? Answer. Eight: a lord and his base clients, a church and its tenantry, a father and his daughter, a girl and her brother, a son and his mother, a foster-son and his foster-mother, a teacher and his pupil, a man and his wife.
Equally exempt from legal suit for each is whatever one of them may have given the other, whatever one of them may have used as against the other, without violent crime, without stealth. Everything taken without permission, that is complained about, is repaid by simple replacement of the object until the matter goes as far as the legal remedy of fasting,1 except in the case of the church. Repayment, by simple replacement, of what is taken without permission and complained about is all that is required until there is evasion of the legal obligations that arise from fasting, or legal default. Anything taken by stealth, by violent crime, anything taken without permission, that is complained about and ignored, is levied with its penalty fine.
Question: how many couples of cohabitation and procreation are there in Irish law? Answer: ten-(1) union of common contribution; (2) union of a woman on a man's contribution; (3) union of a man on a woman's contribution with service; (4) union of a woman who accepts a man's solicitation; (5) union of a man who visits the woman, without work, without solicitation, without provision, without material contribution; (6) union by abduction; (7) union of wandering mercenaries; (8) union by criminal seduction; (9) union by rape; (10) union of mockery.
(1) Union of common contribution: if it is a union with land and stock and household equipment, and if their marital relationship is one of equal status and equal propriety-and such a woman is called a woman of joint dominion-no contract of either is valid without the consent of the other, except for contracts that benefit their establishment. These are: an agreement for common ploughing with proper kinsmen when they do not themselves have a full ploughing team; paying for the leasing of land; getting together food for a coshering;2 getting food for feast-days; paying stud fees; fitting out the household; making an agreement for joint husbandry; the purchase of any essentials that they lack. Every contract shall be without neglect, an advantageous contract, conscientious, in accordance with right and propriety, with acknowledgement on both sides that the ownership of what is acquired belongs to the person whose property was alienated to acquire it.
Anything, the lack of which brings loss on the household, cannot be sold without common counsel, consultation, and mutual concession. For the impairment of the joint economy in a union of common contribution is not proper without mutual concession.
Putting children in a well-befriended and good fosterage is a contract in accord with all propriety that brings well-being into the community of their common household.
Every contract shall be without cheating. Either of them may dissolve the bad contracts of the other. The one does not dissolve the good contracts of the other in the case of those matters that have been listed, if the joint husbandry is without mutual friction, without mutual inculpation, in good partnership, in good faith.
If they divorce, each divorce shall be without mutual defrauding. If they divorce by mutual consent, let them divide their property in accordance with legal propriety.
A third of all proceeds belongs to the owner of the land, except for handiwork;3 a third of the cattle dropped during the union belongs to the owner of the stock from which they are sprung; a third to whoever did the labour. Division is made in proportion to the entitlement of each in regard to land, stock and labour. If the conduct of each is equally good or equally bad, this is the way they divide their thirds.
The third assigned to labour of the proceeds of the cattle is further divided into thirds: a third to the master of the house, a third to the mistress of the house, a third to the workers, that is, the herders.4 .
Likewise dairy produce: it is divided in three between land 12/36, stock 12/36 and labour 12/36. The labour third: half goes to the woman who does the work 6/36; a twelfth goes to dairy vessels 3/36;5 two-thirds of the remaining half go to the master of the house 2/36, a third to the dairy workers 1/36.6
If one of them is ill-behaved, the labour portion of the ill-behaved falls to the well-behaved, but the portions due to land and stock are not diminished
The labour third of the fodder corn and salt meat:7 let it be divided in three i.e. a third 1/9 to the wife who is responsible for ploughing and reaping8 and for looking after the pig-sties, for feeding and for fattening the pigs, unless they are fattened on milk. In that case, the wife gets two-thirds 2/9. For only spring-work in regard to ploughing and looking after the sties, the wife is entitled to two-thirds of a third 2/27.
The wife takes a half of clothing and of woven fabric, a third of fibre combed and ready for spinning; a sixth of fleeces and sheaves of flax; a third of woad in steeping vats, half if it is caked.
Anything that either of them may consume that belongs to the other is exempt from liability if it is by mutual consent. Whence is said: Without penalty is anything mutually discussed, mutually conceded.
Every defrauding is paid off by replacement in kind unless the person entitled waives claim, or else compensation is paid on the day of parting.
Anything taken by stealth, or despite mild or forceful protest, or by violent seizure, is repaid with its interest and with double its replacement if dry goods; if it is livestock, it is repaid with milk and young,9 with double replacement, and with interest.
Exempt from liability is every loan, every lease, every sale, every purchase, without mutual defrauding by either, made with the private property of each up to the amount of the honour-price of each, in accordance with the contracting rights of each.
Hospitality and refection is a duty of each of them according to rank. [...] Each of them gives hospitality to his/her own lord, to his/her own church and friends and relations.
Union on man's contribution: (2) Union of a woman on a man's contribution: the man's contract is a valid contract without the wife's consent, except for the sale of clothing and food; and the sale of cattle and sheep, if she is a duly contracted wife who is not a cétmuinter.10
If she is a woman who is a proper cétmuinter, equally good and equally well-bred for everyone of equal goodness is of equal birth she impugns all his contracts if they are foolish for immunity from suit does not attach to defrauding and to what is forcefully protested against and her sureties annul them.11
If he gives bridewealth to acquire another woman, even from his own private property, that bridewealth is forfeit to his cétmuinter if she carries out her marital obligations. Every secondary wife12 who comes 'over the head' of a cétmuinter is liable to penalty: she pays the honour-price of the cétmuinter.
The wife gives hospitality to half as many people as her husband, in accordance with the social status of her husband.
[...]Everybody is fed and hospitality is not refused up to the legal number of his/her retinue. Refusal of hospitality in the case of a guest accompanied by a excessive retinue does not damage one's honour for, though one refuse, this is not deemed refusal of hospitality if the retinue is excessive.
If they divorce and the divorce is by mutual consent and their behaviour is equally good at the time of parting, what the one may have freely consumed as against the other is without penalty at the time of parting if it is done without bad faith and with consent, so that they may not defraud each other. Every replacement in kind shall be as that consumed, with milk and young and dung and with interest. Everything taken by stealth, by force, by secret removal, without consent, without recompense, without asking pardon, is levied with its penalty fine.
The wife receives half the handiwork, as we said in the first type of union we discussed; a sixth of the dairy produce with the same proportions as previously between land and cows and vessels and servants. She receives ~a ninth of the cattle dropped during the union, a ninth of the corn, and a ninth of the salt meat, if she is a great worker.
She receives a sack of corn for every month that remains until the year end i.e. until the first of May next, following the time they part.13
Union of an heiress: (3) Union of a man on a woman's contribution: in that case, the husband goes in the track of the wife and wife in the track of the husband. If he is a man of service he receives a ninth of the corn; and of the salt meat, if he is a 'head of counsel' who controls the people of the household with advice of equal standing. The sixth of milk produce is divided in two: one half (1/12) goes to the vessels; of the other half, the husband receives two-thirds (1/18). He receives a ninth of the handicraft when they divorce. If they divorce by mutual consent, they part in this way.
If either of them is badly behaved, the labour third of the badly-behaved partner is forfeit to the well-behaved one. In the case of a cétmuinter, everything is forfeit to the party that carries out his/her marital duties, apart from what the other is entitled to in respect of land and breeding stock.14 But they part as they came together: what survives of what each brought in to the other, that is what each brings away on parting, or its replacement out of the profits if it no longer survives.
But he is a husband who is paid honour-price in accordance with his wife's status if she holds all the property, unless he has higher property qualifications in his own right than his wife or is more godly, more high-born or more estimable than she.
Other Unions: (5) Union of a man who visits the woman, without provision without work: a fifth of the handiwork is the portion of the man (i.e. of the partner) when they part if the handiwork is hers to dispose of-for a fifth is the proportion of the compensation due to him for her being dishonoured;15 if an offence is committed against her, that is the compensation he is paid for it.
(4) Union on accepting the inducement of the man: in that case the man receives a quarter of her handiwork. If it is a union with stock on land, let them divide by the proportions of land, labour and breeding stock, in accordance with what each owns.
(6/8) Union by abduction and union in secret: they have no stock or dry goods to divide on parting, only offspring. If a woman abducted from her family grants property to her partner who has abducted her, that grant is invalid from the point of view of her family and it is thus repaid: it is paid off with half penalty-fine if what was given belonged to the woman; if a third party owns a share in it, it is paid off with full penalty-fine. The same holds good for union by criminal seduction in secret.
(9) Union by rape or by stealth: they the partners possess nothing but offspring. Full éraic is paid for a virgin, for a young nun who does not reject her veil,16 and for a cétmuinter; half éraic for secondary wives all this is without the cooperation of the woman together with the full honour price of the man of highest rank who has authority over her of those to whom she specially belongs.
(10) Union of mockery: union of a lunatic or madman with a deranged woman or madwoman. Neither of them is bound to take or to make payments. The person who brings them together for fun and the responsible person in whose presence this takes place, theirs is the offspring, if offspring there be; its rearing, compensation for its offences, and its suretyship falls on both of them. The éraic and the legacy of such persons is divided between the king, the church and the family.