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By Marcellus T. Mitsos

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1167 for the Connacht king, Ruaidhrí Ó Conchobhair. Similar stories had long been told of powerful 36 M ÁIRÍN NÍ DHONNCH A DH A 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12 . 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22 . 23. 24. 25. 26. kings, for example, Bede relates that such peace prevailed in the time of the King Edwin of Northumbria “that, as the proverb runs, a woman with a new-born child could walk throughout the island from sea to sea and take no harm” (cf. 16, p. 193). I owe this reference to Má ir í n Mac Carron, postdoctoral fellow, Moore Institute, NUI Galway.

One is the terminology used to describe such women, of which more will be said later. In reality, women did not appear to have had the capacity to sustain careers as warriors, marauders, or battle-leaders, and references to solitary peregrinae and eremitical women are few and far between. There are occasional accounts of remarkable strength or violence on the part of women outside the domestic sphere, but these tend to be fantastical and to have expressive connotations of indulgence, ridicule, or scorn.

Cid as dech ban? Ní hannsa: ben nad·fetatar fir reut. . Cid as messam ban? Ní hannsa: bé cairn. Cid as messu and á s-side? Ní hannsa: fer doda·beir i cormthech coa chenél. Cid as messu and áte dib l í naib? Ní hannsa: in mac con·berar etarru. ” said his son to Fíthal. ” said the son. “Not difficult: a good woman,” said Fíthal. . ” “Not difficult: a woman whom men have not known before you . . i. u. e. 18 The poets were one of the most mobile groups in society, and a visiting poet was a veritable magnet for attracting the poorer classes to the residence of the patron in expectation of sharing in the largesse that the patron was honor bound to provide there.

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An Inscription from Mycenae by Marcellus T. Mitsos

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