Fate and malediction in Celtic tradition

Mees, B 2008, 'Fate and malediction in Celtic tradition', Australian Early Medieval Association Journal, vol. 4, pp. 139-158.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Fate and malediction in Celtic tradition
Author(s) Mees, B
Year 2008
Journal name Australian Early Medieval Association Journal
Volume number 4
Start page 139
End page 158
Total pages 20
Publisher Australian Early Medieval Association Inc.
Abstract One of the most notable features of early medieval Celtic hagiography is the ready and widespread use of curses by insular saints. The cursing practices of ancient times are also represented in many linguistically Celtic texts from Britain and Gaul, not that these have always been contextualised properly by Celticists in the past. Considered in light of such epigraphic evidence for a pre-Christian Celtic cursing tradition, the development of a new form of imprecation can be discerned amongst the insular Celts. A close textual and linguistic study of medieval insular sources reveals little reflection of ancient Celtic cursing in the new tradition of saintly imprecation. This Christian insular tradition seems largely to have remained separate from inherited notions of fateful stipulation, of geases and 'swearing' destinies, but its development helps explain some of the otherwise rather perplexing features of Celtic supernatural injunction nonetheless.
ISSN 1449-9320
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