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The Oghamzone – Aspects of Ireland

oghamzone_100Aspects of Ireland

From the Ogham Oracle

Manuscript: Latin; manu scriptus meaning “written by hand”. The abbreviations for manuscript are MS for manuscript and MSS for manuscripts. In Ireland the history of manuscripts begins in the early medieval period. From 400CE onwards, Celtic Christian monks are writing down religious texts, some of which have illustrated pages and are called illuminated manuscripts. Other manuscripts refer to the old traditional stories or mythology of Ireland, which the druids recount from their ancient oral tradition. The monks put their own Christian influences on them – it is the first time these stories are being recorded. The third form of Irish manuscript – “the Annals”, deal with the who’s who of Ireland. Beginning from the earliest time, they list the rulers of Ireland and where possible their deeds. It is in these texts that mythology becomes entwined with legend.

Irish manuscripts also contain many an intrigue. They use a script that is uniquely Irish, a prototype of which is found in the Cathach of Colum Kill (St.Columba 521 CE-597 CE). The script is known as “Insular script”Latin: insula, “island”. It is in use by monks in Ireland and Britain from approx 600 CE onwards and eventually spreads to Europe with the expansion of the Celtic Christian missionaries. Related to “Insular Art” of this time, it will become known as Hiberno-Saxon script. The illuminated pages of the manuscripts contain not only pictures of the Apostles, but also images of animals, plants, abstract designs, knot working and elaborate letter forms. They combine styles of art from every era across the known world at this time in a new and vibrant fashion, embedding design with spiritual metaphors, in a framework directed at conversion and exaltation of a Christian faith.

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – November 2010 (Issue 1)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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