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Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Bit More Translation

A couple more tidbits of translation for you:

Belltaine .i. bil tene .i. tene ṡoinmech .i. dáthene dognítis druidhe tria thaircedlu...móraib combertis na cethrai arthedmannaib cacha bliadna cusnaténdtibsin (MARG-L eictis na cethra etarru)
Sanas Cormaic B102

Belltaine that is lucky fire that is fire of prosperity that is a festival held with two fires Druids made with incantations...making the offspring of the herds receive blessing every year against illness (left hand marginalia - they needed the herds between)

In other words: "Bealtaine, meaning lucky fire or fire of abundance, a festival with two fires made by Druidic incantations...made for the young herds to receive blessing every year against illnesses (note - the herds need to be driven between the fires)

"Badb is Macha mét indbáis,
Morrigan fotla felbáis,
Indlema ind ága ernbais,
Ingena ana Ernmais."

- Book of Leinster, folio 5

Badb and Macha, important treasure,
Morrigan, wealth of spells,
Surrounding death by sword's edge*
Rich daughters of Ernmas"
*this line reads "Compassers pointed battle iron-death" = ernbas, literally iron-death, a poetic allusion to death by sword or spear in battle. I have rendered it slightly more poetically here


‘Os tusa, a Morrighan’, ol Lug, ‘cia cumang?’
‘Ni anse’, ol si; ‘ar-rosisor dosifius, dosselladh arroselus, ar-rosdibu nosriastar’.
 - Cath Maige Tuired

"And you, oh Morrigan," said Lugh, "what ability?"

"Not hard," said she, "Pursue what was observed, pursue to strike down, I control bloody destruction."

This passage is often not translated or handled very loosely because the Old Irish presents some challenges here typical of the CMT. To give you an idea of my approach to translating such difficult passages and how I arrive at the translations I do:
cumang - power, ability, skill

ar-rosisor - ar before, rosisor possibly a form of rossair evidence
dosifius - form of do-seinn, pursues, drives, hunts
dosselladh - form of do-seinn pursues, drives, hunts
arroselus - possibly a form of ar-roselt a form of sligid slays, defeats, strikes down
ar-rosdibu - ar before, ros form of rondid reddens, dibu form of di-ba destruction  - ar-diben act of cutting
nosriastar - no verb modifier probably srianad controlling, restraining related to riar will, demand, dominion

Copyright Morgan Daimler


  1. "ar-rosisor - ar before, rosisor possibly a form of rossair evidence"

    No chance of it being ro-sisair or ró-sisair? :D

    Obviously, I am being silly there. "I will pursue strong/too much booze" doesn't really fit the sentiment of the line.

    1. actually I wouldn't put it past the scribe who wrote down the CMT :P But probably not LOL