Brown, "Marvels of the West: Giraldus Cambrensis
and the Role of the Author in the Development of Marginal Illustration," in English Manuscript Studies, vol.
This year the Coast presenter has been adding to his tally with a trip around Wales, in the footsteps of Giraldus Cambrensis
(Gerald of Wales).
From as early as the Statutes of Kilkenny of 1366, when the English government proscribed a whole raft of Irish cultural practices--indeed, from the moment Giraldus Cambrensis
undertook his two influential works on Ireland at the end of the twelfth century, the Topography and the Conquest--culture and performance are at the heart of colonial anxiety.
This is an external myth, welded on to Irish character assessments by British commentators, probably since Giraldus Cambrensis
or Edmund Spenser.
Written in 1186 by Giraldus Cambrensis
, the Topographica Hibernica contains an infamous description of an Ulster kingship ceremony in which the inauguree mates with a white mare, which is then killed, dismembered, and boiled.
made the distinction explicit: there were two Merlins, one, born of an incubus, called Merlin Ambrosius, who prophesied in the time of Vortigern (Merlin of the Historia), and another, born in Scotland, called Merlin Caledonius or Sylvester, who prophesied during the reign of Arthur (Merlin of the Vita).
And I have to admit that there is indeed an irony that it was such a one who recorded and preserved this instance of the true beauty of the Irish heritage: Kevin's story, after all, appears in the writings of Giraldus Cambrensis
, one of the people who invaded Ireland in the twelfth century, one whom the Irish-language annalist Geoffrey Keating would call, five hundred years later, "the bull of the herd of those who wrote the false history of Ireland.
Unifying all viewpoints from Giraldus Cambrensis
to the `atrocity' pamphlets of the 1640s is the theme of territorial acquisition - and upon the vast estates hereby created the Irish might be allowed to serve as `our best Gardeners, fruiterers and keepers of our horses' (51).
offers us a parallel from the early medieval period in his scathing denunciations of the learning, or lack of it, of various priests, who, although their faults were manifest to the learned, would still have been the most educated men in their own communities.
Curiously, I was just reading The Itinerary through Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis
, (Gerald of Wales) during which time, 1188AD, Gerald accompanied Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, to seek recruits for the Crusades.
Shots of imperialist rhetoric injected into the political discourse between England and Ireland by Giraldus Cambrensis
(Gerald of Wales) in the later twelfth century, for example (backed by endorsements from classical antiquity of the civilizing effects of cultivation), grounded England's evolving imperial aspirations such that, by the 1500s, English "agricultural civility" effectively trumped "the pastoral savagery of the Irish" (4).
The story of Gerald of Wales, Giraldus Cambrensis
, will be the focus of events at Criccieth Castle.