Authority, Verse and theTransmission of Senchas

Gregory Toner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper explores the ways in which Irish scholars of the eleventh and twelfth centuries used verse to evaluate the veracity of accounts of the past. Verse was widely employed as a medium for encoding and transmitting historical knowledge and later scholars frequently cite earlier verse to authorise and authenticate their own work. It is argued here that certain compositions were considered authoritative and were used to refute competing accounts of the past; others lacked authority and were themselves rebutted. Moreover, historians were capable of distinguishing between authority and fact, so that authority was not necessarily accepted as factual certainty. However, the bulk of verse is not evidential at all but is used to add an appearance of authenticity to texts. The increased use of the prosimetrical form may be due, at least in part, to the authoritative and authenticative uses of verse.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages59-84
    JournalÉriu
    Volume55
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Fingerprint

    eleventh century
    twelfth century
    authenticity
    historian
    Authority
    Verse
    Certainty
    Bulk
    Encoding
    12th Century
    Evidentials
    Historian
    Authenticity
    Historical Knowledge

    Keywords

    • medieval Irish historiography
    • senchas
    • historical authority
    • auctoritas
    • mnemonic
    • prosimetrum

    Cite this

    Toner, Gregory. / Authority, Verse and theTransmission of Senchas. 2005 ; Vol. 55. pp. 59-84.
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    Authority, Verse and theTransmission of Senchas. / Toner, Gregory.

    Vol. 55, 2005, p. 59-84.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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