Medieval Ireland and Gerald of Wales: a Land of Wonder and Mystery

In the Middle Ages, Ireland was seen as a strange and wild place full of wonder and mystery. This is in part due to the popularity of a twelfth century book by Gerald of Wales called the Topographia Hibernica (Topography of Ireland). In this video, we take a look at what the Topographia says about Ireland and its wonders and why it became so popular and influential.

Many of the images used in this video, including the thumbnail, come from an illustrated copy of the Topographia Hibernica included in the British library manuscript Royal MS 13 B VIII. It's fully digitised online so check it out!

Recommendations for further reading:
The Topographia itself:
-Giraldi Cambrensis Opera, vol 5, Topographia Hibernica, Expugnatio Hibernica, ed. J.F. Dimock, 1867 [This is the Latin critical edition. You can find it here: https://archive.org/details/giraldicambrensi05gira]

-J.M. Boivin translation, included in L'Irlande au Moyen Âge: Giraud de Barri et la Topographia Hibernica, 1993 [The best modern translation. If you can read French, I recommend it]

-John J. O'Meara translation, The History and Topography of Ireland, 1983 [A good translation, but based on the first version of the Topographia, so doesn't include half of the content of the later versions]

-Thomas Forester translation, included in The Historical Works of Giraldus Cambrensis [...], 1905 [This translation is from the 1860s and came out before the critical edition was made, instead being based on later, corrupted editions of the Topographia. It's also old which means the translation doesn't necessarily always reflect our current knowledge of history or modern understanding of vocabulary. That being said, it's an English translation of the whole Topographia and it can be accessed online for free: https://archive.org/details/historicalworksc00gira/page/n5/mode/2up]

Recommended secondary reading:
-J.M. Boivin, L'Irlande au Moyen Âge: Giraud de Barri et la Topographia Hibernica, 1993.
-Keagan Brewer, "Talking Wolves, Golden Fish, and Lion Sex: The Alterations to Gerald of Wales's 'Topographia Hibernica' as Evidence of Audience Disbelief?" in Parergon v37, n1 (2020): 27-53.
-Amelia Sargent, "Gerald of Wales's Topographia Hibernica: Dates, Versions, Readers," in Viator v43, n1 (2012): 241-262.
-Lindsey Panxhi, "Rewriting the Werewolf and Rehabilitating the Irish in the Topographia Hibernica of Gerald of Wales," in Viator v46, n3 (2015): 21-40.

#ireland #academic #history #medieval #middleages #educational #werewolf #poison #wonder #manuscript #irish #latin #england #wales
Be the first to comment