For teaching purposes only:†
[References for this review may be found at <Nyland>]
††††††††††††† [Note:† All Basque words are in Italics and Bold-faced Green]
THE AURAICEPT AND LANGUAGE *
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††††††††† When the Benedictine clerics arrived from the continent, they entered the thriving country of Ireland with its ancient civilization Nyland (2001). They also found the Gnostic Christian church already firmly established and actively spreading its Gospel. The level of education, the quality of the arts and the vibrant energy of life was at a far higher level in Ireland than anything the orthodox Christian monks had experienced on the continent. It was into this happy and caring civilization that they had been ordered to introduce their own more primitive brand of civilization and learning. This was an embarrassing situation because the Benedictine monks at first had far more to learn than to contribute. They started by establishing themselves in monasteries such as the ones in Bangor (County Down) and Clonmacnoise (County Offaly).
††††††††† Slowly they introduced the idea that this creative and energetic civilization had been brought to Ireland by "Celtic immigrants" from the mainland, some 600 or 700 years before. It didn't matter that these Celts had only migrated as far as southern England and had never set foot in Ireland or that the true Celtic culture on the continent was in fact quite primitive compared to that of the Irish. Herodotus, who had given the Celts their name "Keltoi", didn't speak highly of them because the name translates to: "Worrisome, meat-eating savages" from: .ke-el.-.to-o.i, oke-eli-ito-ohi: okela (meat) elikatu (to nourish) itoaldi (worrisome) ohil (savage). Julius Caesar, who was in close contact with the real Keltoi, supplied us with many Keltic names in his book "Conquest of Gaul," and not a single one of them can even remotely be considered related to Gaelic; they are all made up with the use of the Ogam formula and all can be translated with the Basque dictionary. In order to develop the respect they traditionally demanded, the clerics somehow had to convince the Irish people that their North African based culture had originally been inferior to what the Celts had brought from the continent. In that untruth they succeeded beyond expectation because even today many Irish proudly call themselves Celts, even though there is not one shred of evidence anywhere that the Keltoi ever reached Ireland.
††††††††† The Forfeda additions to the original Ogam alphabet had helped to open the way to the creation of the new "Celtic" language as described in the Auraicept na n'Eces. The Gnostic missionaries had already introduced the formerly sacred Ogam writing to the Irish people some 300 years earlier as a monument script, and they used it to spread the Gospel. The later arriving monks from Rome used the script at first for the same purpose but quickly started work to replace the "iron" language with a new language. When after several years of linguistic work the new "Celtic" language was far enough developed to be used for literary purposes, some Benedictine monks started to record the very large store of Irish legends and popular wisdom, which had up to then been orally passed from generation to generation. Any knowledge about the elaborate traditions and festivities of the previous Ashera religion and culture, as well as memories of the outstanding women who had guided this civilization, the fact that this had been a peaceful, egalitarian and self sufficient society of communal solidarity, all this was eliminated to be lost forever. What remained of the ancient Irish treasure trove of memorized myths and legends, practical knowledge and religious wisdom was sifted, scrubbed, mutilated, rewritten and finally translated into the new fabricated "Celtic" language and the final product was then collectively named "Celtic legends". Conflict and glorification of war was introduced (on paper) as part of the Irish heritage, a civilization which had neither weapons of destruction nor defensive structures. A few names of remarkable women survived, such as Queen Medb and Derdriu, but they became portrayed in a negative and abusive light. Male prowess in contest, defending helpless maidens in distress, berating "unfaithful" wives, tales about ugly witches, anything that helped to put women in subordinate or despicable positions, it all made good grist for the monks' literary mill. Irish mythology had become patterned by church authority and therefore no longer emerged from that once glorious Irish civilization.
††††††††† However, memorized traditions are far more durable than parchment and vellum and some Irish bards continued to tell the ancestral legends to their children, the way they had been told before the coming of Christianity. A few years ago in Conamara one of these men, with a treasure of such legends in his head, was telling them to his cows as he lovingly brushed them at night in the barn. His cows were the only audience he had left until some knowledgeable person heard about him and captured on his tape recorder the treasures the bard had to offer. In this way, some original legends and songs have still survived the otherwise well-meaning but misguided censors.
††††††††† The Auraicept na n'Eces is an astonishing book. The meaning of its name has been generally accepted as: "The Scholars' Primer". Calder calls it the "Handbook of the Learned", but ever since it was printed in 1917 the book has been subjected to a variety of choice derogatory comments. Very few modern academics had anything good to say about its contents. This was in stark contrast to the Middle Ages when the book was being held in very high regard as a study book for monks, it being required reading. Why the switch from being regaled to reviled? Did the early teachers know something about the Auraicept that our modern linguists didn't, or didn't want to, know? It certainly looked like it because, just like they did with the Ogam inscriptions on stone, our university linguists had somehow decided among themselves that the Auraicept was written in Celtic, which it wasn't. Instead the Auraicept is written in coded Basque, which may make it the oldest Basque language book known. To substantiate this statement here follow some translations from the Auraicept na n'Eces, using the Basque dictionary, starting with the name itself:
AURAICEPT NA N'ECES Aura-ike-ep.-.t.-.na-ane-ese-ez:
Aura†† †††††† †aura† ††††††† †aurrea artu †††††††††††††† †take the initiative!
ike††† †††††††† †ike†††† †††††† †ikerpen ††††††††††††††††††††† †research
ep.†† ††††††††† †epai†† †††††† †epaiaulki †††††††††††††††††† †tribunal
.t.††† †††††††††† †aito†††† ††††† †aitortu †††††††††††††††††††††† †to declare
.na†† ††††††††† †ona†† †††††††† †anargarri††††† †††††††††††† †acceptable
ane††† ††††††† †ane†††† †††††† †anega ††††††††††††††††††††††† †measure
ese††† ††††††† †ese†††† †††††† †esetsi †††††††††††††††††††††††† †to attack
ez.††† †††††††† †ez††††† ††††††† †ezjakintasun†† †††††††††† †illiteracy
Take the initiative! The research tribunal has declared acceptable the measures (needed) to attack illiteracy.
††††††††† There are two versions of the Auraicept, the first one, starting with line 1 in Calder's compilation, came from the Book of Ballymote. The second version, starting at line 2260, was copied from the Yellow Book of Lecan. Both originals are located at Trinity College in Dublin. Version 1 starts with: (line 1)
†††††††††† Incipit Auraicept na nEges .i. eraicept, ar er gach (2) toiseach. Cid dianad toisseach seo? Ni ansa. Don tebi (3) rotebed isin Gardilg, uair is ed toisseach arricht la Fenius (4) iar tiachtain din scoil......
††††††††† This was translated by Calder as:
††††††††† "Incipit Primer of the Poets, that is, eraicept, beginning of lessons, for every beginning is er. To what is this a beginning? Not hard. To the selection that was selected in Gaelic since this is the beginning which was invented by Fenius after the coming of the school with the languages from abroad ....."
††††††††† Version 2 starts with: (line 2260)
†††††††††† Incipit eraicept na n-Eiges .i. eraicept, uair er gach (2261) taoiseach: aicicht dono .i. icht aici, ar is i n-aici bios in (2262) deisgiopul agin maigister; no dono aicept, id est acceptus, (2263) airiti cugad.....
††††††††† Calder provided no translation for the second version. Edo Nyland tried both and found that the second version makes good sense when translated with the Basque dictionary. He had trouble with version one that may have been written from memory. The "c" usually stands for "k", but sometimes for "s". A slash (/) is inserted where the vowel linking is interrupted. Version 2, line 2260:
I start with giving you the basics. Be advised that according to the research this decision (will lead) to a better world.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† na n-Eiges
The approved measures (will) certainly (cause) illiteracy to flee and disappear. According to the research this decision will (create) a better world.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† uair. er
With an enthusiastic reservoir of educated people who have a strong desire (to work towards) a superior outcome.
††††††††††††††††††††††† taoiseach: aicicht ,
By being in the habit of questioning, by criticizing faulty attempts, by constant quiet study under the protection of the Almighty,
††††††††††††††††††††††††† †dono .i. icht aici, ar is
By discovering exquisitely assembled learning methods (with which) to attempt the introduction, I have a strong desire for quiet and smooth acceptance.
††††††††† The difference between Calder's and Nylandís translation is rather startling. There is not a single word of agreement, except that both are talking about language. There seems to be no indication that the introduction of the new Celtic language was accepted smoothly. The fact that the original tongue was still understood around 1800 A.D. (to be discussed later) probably means that there was substantial and long-lasting resistance. However, there was no such doubt about acceptance in the mind of the cleric who wrote:
Beithe-luis nin (lines 1057,
Work perfectly performed, hidden from the world, will take root in the vicinity.
††††††††† The Auraicept probably started as an operations manual for the Benedictines, written in the original language of the Irish people, which closely resembled the Basque of today. When the monks began work on the creation of the new language, they abbreviated words belonging to the indigenous language, following the example in the Auraicept. The letter combinations thus obtained were agglutinated into words, many vowels were eliminated and then, to confuse things even more, unrelated vowels and some consonants, mostly h's, were thrown in to make the new words pronounceable and new meanings were invented for the product. When this language had been sufficiently developed, it was given the name "Celtic Language". No other language has been manipulated so effectively to hide its Basque heritage as Celtic. The Auraicept was retained in the simple abbreviated and agglutinated condition, without the extra embellishments, which would have made it look and sound like "Celtic". Thus the ancient book was turned into a challenge for the testing of scholars and must have given Calder some sleepless nights.
††††††††† Many of the Basque sentences in the original manual were condensed with the Ogam formula and retained as names. Even the best Celtic scholars like E.C.Quiggin and Malcolm MacFarlane, assisting George Calder in this difficult task, were often at a loss as to the meaning of these names, many words, whole sentences and even pages. Yet, they somehow managed to translate some of the books but their work will need a thorough review, as these examples show. The care with which Calder ensured the accurate reproduction of the original document, in spite of his doubts about its accuracy, is applauded. It gave others a chance to do their share in unraveling the puzzle he made available to us. Here are some sentences which were agglutinated into names:
Briartharogam. .b.-.ri-ar.-.ta-aro-ogam (lines 47, 50, 5528 etc).(BR)
I approve of, give advice and explain in simple manner the proud Ogam script.
Goidelic. (2282 etc.)
.go †† ego ††††††††††††††††††††† egokialdi ††††††††††††† good opportunity
A perfectly adapted word (makes me) happy every time.
We keep busy with the loving task of perfecting adapted words.
Berla na filed. (McManus 8.3).
Perfectly adapted words are the religious order's joy and everlasting satisfaction.
††††††††† These remarks clearly indicate the concentrated effort that went into the creation of the new language. As long as Celtic was still in the developmental stage, the Benedictine linguists made good use of the writing system of the pre-Christian clergy.
††††††††† The monks doing this work were often living and working among an uncooperative, even hostile, population that did not hesitate to call upon relations and friends for help. That help eventually came in the form of highly destructive Viking raids that devastated the monasteries repeatedly. The aggressively advancing monk/missionaries, with their religion-, culture- and language-destroying activities, were a threat to the ancient civilization. This trend had to be stopped at all cost. With the help of the Vikings, this full-scale religious war lasted for centuries. The Vikings, themselves belonging to a caring and civilized society, never attacked the common people but these didn't write the history. The monks, however, did and in writing their own version gave themselves a holier-than-thou [biased] image while making the Vikings the epitome of brutality and savagery. The following is an example of the monks' style of history writing in the Auraicept:
††††††††† og-uaim do-berait na filid forsin filideacht trid, ar is fri fedaib toimsither Gaedelg icna filedaib (5479-5481, p272), which Calder translates as:
††††††††† "oguaim, perfect alliteration which the poets applied to poetry by means of it, for by letters Gaelic is measured by the poets".
††††††††† How Calder came to translate the sentence in this manner is not explained, however, it doesn't appear to make much sense. A very different translation is obtained by using the VCV Formula. The event described in such spiteful language probably took place in the 9th century but which monastery was involved is not explained; it may have been Bangor, located near the ocean, which we know was targeted several times. The translation also indicates that this was a repeat attack.
With loud yells, the deluge of grief was repeated with brutal butchery and murderous
.na/† ††††††††† ana†† ††††††††† †anaidi ††††††††religious brothers
.fi†††† †††††††† ibi††† ††††††††† †ibili ††††††††††††to be
ili†††† †††††††† ili†††† ††††††††† ilintitu† †††††††set on fire
ide/††† †††††† ide†††† ††††††† -ide† †††††††††††††companions
fo††††† ††††††† fo†††† ††††††††† †formal†††††††† good
or.†††† ††††††† oro††† †††††††† †orrolari†††††† scream
.si†††† †††††††† osi††† †††††††† †osintsu†††††††† piercing
in./††† ††††††† ino††† †††††††† †inon†††††††††††† any place, everywhere
attack on the brothers who were set on fire with their good companions amid piercing screams everywhere.
fi††††††††† fi†††† ††††††††††††††† †fite††† ††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††quickly
ili†††††††† ili†††† †††††††††††††† †ilinti† †††††††††††††††††††††††† ††firebrands
ide†††††† ide††† †††††††††††††† †idekidura††††† †††††††††††† ††opening
ak.†††††† aka†† ††††††††††††††† †akabu†††††††††† ††††††††††††† ††death
.h.†††††† †aha††† †††††††††††††† †ahapaldi†††††† ††††††††††††† ††injury
.t.†††††††† ato††† †††††††††††††† †ator†††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† ††come!
.t.†††††††† oto†† ††††††††††††††† †otoikatu††††† ††††††††††††††† ††to pray
.ri††††††† ori††† ††††††††††††††† †oriska ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††yellow
id./††††† ido†† ††††††††††††††† †idor††††††††††† †††††††††††††††† ††cruel
ar.†††††† ari††† ††††††††††††††† †arimagalduko †††††††††† ††ruthless
is.†††††† isi†††† ††††††††††††††† †isilume†††††††† ††††††††††††† ††bastard
.f.††††††† ifa††† ††††††††††††††† †ifar† †††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††northern
.ri††††††† ari††† ††††††††††††††† †arima† †††††††††††††††††††††† ††soul
.fe††††††† ife††† ††††††††††††††† †ifernu††††††††† †††††††††††††† ††hell
eda††††† eda††††††††††††††††††† edaritxar †††††††††††††††††† ††poison
ibi††††††† ibi†††††††††††††††††††† ibili †††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††to be
Fire brands were quickly (thrown into) the openings to cause death and injury; Come!†
We prayed that the souls of the yellow, cruel, ruthless northern bastards be poisoned in hell.
.to††††††† ito† ††††††††††††††††† †itomen† ††††††††††††††††††††† ††anguish
imi†††††† imi†††† †††††††††††† imintzio†††††† ††††††††††††††† ††gesture
.si††††††† isi††† ††††††††††††††† †isilean †††††††††††††††††††††† ††silently
it.††††††† iti†††† ††††††††††††††† itxi ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††to abandon
ihe†††††† ihe†† ††††††††††††††† ihesleku††††††† ††††††††††††† ††shelter
er.†††††† ere††† ††††††††††††††† erre †††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††to burn
.Ga††††† ega††† †††††††††††††† egan egin†††††† †††††††††††† ††to escape
ede††††† ede††††††††††††††††† edegidura††††††† ††††††††††† ††opening
elg./†††† elga† †††††††††††††† elgarrekin††††† †††††††††††† ††together
ik.†††††† ika†††† †††††††††††††† ikara izan††††† ††††††††††††† ††to tremble
.na/††††† ana†† ††††††††††††††† anaidi †††††††††††††††††††††††† ††brothers
fi††††††††† fi††††† †††††††††††††† fidatu †††††††††††††††††††††††† ††to trust
ile††††††† ile††† †††††††††††††† ilezin†† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††forever
eda††††† eda†† ††††††††††††††† edade† †††††††††††††††††††††††† ††judgment
ib.††††††† ibe††† †††††††††††††† ibeni †††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††to place
With anguished gestures the trembling brothers silently abandoned the burning shelter
to escape together through an opening, placing trust in (His) judgment forever.