EMILI: Early Medieval Irish Latinate Inscriptions

About the project

The EMILI (Early Medieval Irish Latinate Inscriptions) project is based in the Department of Early Irish at Maynooth University in collaboration with DIAS (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) and Phase 1 (2021-2022) has been funded by a Royal Irish Academy Nowlan Digitisation Grant.



The project team are grateful to the following collaborators, who have made photographs and 3d models of inscribed objects available for use by the project:

EMILI - Phase 1

The epigraphic records digitised in phase 1 consist of thirty inscriptions, a selection from Ulster, Connacht and Leinster. It is envisaged that updates and additions will be made to this resource in the future. A downloadable digital XML edition, compliant with the TEI-EpiDoc EpiDoc standard, is made available for each inscription. The editions of these inscriptions, along with the associated metadata and images, have been collected in this database, which was created using the EpiDoc Front-End Services (EFES) platform and hosted by DIAS. We have included links to important online resources for more detailed information on various aspects of this material, primarily Archaeology.ie (National Monuments Service), Communities NI (Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments), Monasticon Hibernicum Project Database, Logainm.ie (Placenames of Ireland Database) and CISP (Celtic Inscribed Stones Project Database).

While the XML files which make up this digital corpus are freely accessible and downloadable under a CC-BY-NC-SA License, please note that many of the images are licensed with the institutions in which the objects are held or with those who took the images and require permission for re-use.

This epigraphical collection is also being deposited with the Digital Repository of Ireland to ensure long-term, sustained access to EMILI's data.

Citing EMILI:

Formal citation details for the full online resource are supplied at the foot of each page, including authors, URL (https://emili.celt.dias.ie) and year of website launch. To reference individual inscriptions, unique URLs have been generated consisting of the root URL (https://emili.celt.dias.ie) with the inscription ID/filename added e.g. https://emili.celt.dias.ie/GAL-001. These 'Citation Links' are located at the top of each record, beside Full EpiDoc XML (download).

Contact details:


Corpus of Irish 'Latinate' inscriptions

The Irish 'Latinate' inscriptions, i.e. in the Latin script (c. 6th-12th centuries AD) are mainly in a form of insular script generally described as 'half-uncial'. There is also a small number of Latin (also bilingual Latin and Irish) language inscriptions, as well as one in Greek (in Greek script). The majority of Latinate inscriptions are found on stone monuments (primarily cross-slabs), often accompanied by carved cross designs, which mostly functioned as Christian grave-slabs. Texts generally contain a personal name and many take the form of a request for prayer for the individual named. A typical text is the form oróit do X ('a prayer for X'), with the word oróit abbreviated. Inscriptions of this type also occur on a smaller number of portable objects, most of which also have an ecclesiastical context, such as reliquaries and hand-bells. The corpus is searchable under a variety of indices, including by names found in inscriptions, places where inscribed objects have been found and the types of objects inscribe

Of the 600+ known Latinate inscriptions in Ireland, only those in Munster and at Clonmacnoise have been the focus of recent corpus studies. Okasha and Forsyth (2001) with Early Christian Inscriptions of Munster: A Corpus of the Inscribed Stones (approximately 120 inscriptions on stone monuments) and Ó Cróinín (2013) Irish Inscribed Stones project on a selection (approximately 300 inscriptions published online in PDF format) from the important monastic site of Clonmacnoise.

In this first phase of the EMILI project, we have focused on a subgroup of inscriptions that has not seen a comprehensive study so far: the inscriptions outside of Munster and Clonmacnoise, i.e. the texts from the rest of the provinces of Leinster, Connacht and Ulster. A small number of non-lapidary, portable objects, mainly housed in the National Museum of Ireland collection, with inscriptions from the same period have also beeen included.