EMILI: Early Medieval Irish Latinate Inscriptions

KIK-001. Killamery 1. Cross Slab

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Description: National Monuments Service Record Number: KK030-008005-. A roughly rectangular stone cross slab, (w: 0.56 x h: 1.56x d: 0.14) with a rounded top. The decoration, on the smooth flat surface, is described by Carrigan (1905, vol. 4, 314) as, ‘an irregularly shaped panel in two incised lines embracing a Latin [outline] cross, which terminates in a [spiked] triangular-shaped base enclosing a triquetra' or looped knot (Archaeology.ie).
Text: The slab has two, very similar in content but different paleographically, pocked inscriptions. The first runs upwards under the left arm of the cross parallel to the shaft. The second runs across the top of the slab, above and up-side-down in relation to the cross with a small initial crosslet positioned just before the text.
Letters: The hands of the two inscriptions are noticably different. Most obviously, the letters of the first are taller and more flat-topped than the more squat-style second inscription. The first inscription also has majuscule Rs while in the second they are half-uncial. However, the Ds have vertical ascenders in both.

Date: eighth and early ninth centuries A.D.?

Findspot: First mentioned, 1853 Dunne, J. Macalister (1949, 25) describes the slab as lying prostrate a few paces to the south of the standing cross in the graveyard (KK030-008010-). According to Carrigan (1905, vol. 4, 311-2) a monastery here was founded by St. Gobbán Finn early in the 7th century whose feast day is celebrated on the 6th of December. Of the monastic site only a high cross (KK030-008004-), two cross-slabs (KK030-008005-; KK030-008011-), a stone cross (KK030-008013-), the remains of a church (KK030-008003-) and two bullaun stones (KK030-008006-; KK030-008008-) are currently visible at the location (Archaeology.ie).
Original location: Killamery (Cill Lamraí), Co. Kilkenny, 52.475431, -7.446015.

Last recorded location: The cross slab is currently located 3.8m NNW of the high cross, where it has been fixed, on its side, with metal straps to a low wall (Archaeology.ie).

Interpretive

1
OR(ÓIT) AR ANMAIN NAEDAIN
2
((†))OR(ÓIT) AR ANMIN AEDA⟦⟧-
EN

Diplomatic

1
ORARANMAINNAEDAIN
2
ORARANMINAEDA⟦⟧
EN

Translation:

A prayer on behalf of the soul of Áedán

Commentary:

The formula type oróit ar anmain 'a prayer on behalf of the soul...' is less common than the simpler oróit do/ar type. Okasha and Forsyth (2001, 28) note that Macalister lists seven examples, three from Clonmacnoise and one each from Fuerty, Co. Roscommon; Kilcummin, Co. Mayo; Templebrecan 8, Co. Galway and this one.

The personal name Áedán (also Áed, of which Áedán is the diminutive) is a very common one. Macalister (1949, 25) comments that in the second inscription, the name AEDA comes at the end of the line, after which there are two letters erased, probably because of some mistake. The final EN forms the beginning of a second line. Perhaps the one inscription was intended to correct the other. Apart from the paleographic differences between the two inscriptions (noted above), there also also orthographic differences which point to seperate hands. The spelling variants in the second inscription suggest that this one is later (perhaps early ninth rather than eight century).

Initial crosslets are common before texts on carved stone monuments and on metalwork, as well as in manuscripts, on the Continent and in Britain (Lionard 1961, 101–2). In Ireland, they are attested from the later 7th/8th centuries (e.g., Toureen Peakaun) to the 12th century (e.g., the Cross of Cong). However, they are not as common as in Anglo-Saxon England (Okasha and Forsyth 2001, 16).

Bibliography: Carrigan 1905, vol. 4, 311-2, 314 ; Macalister 1949, 25, no.570 ; Petrie 1878, vol. 2, 24, Plate XVII ; Stokes and Strachan 1903, 288
Text constituted from:

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