- Cormac mac Airt "son of Art", aka Cormac úa Cuinn "(grandchild) of Conn" [Ir.]
- Legendary high king of Ireland at Tara. Reigned 227 ~ 266 according to the annals.
- Crimall [Ir.], the "Blood-spotted" (O'Curry ed., tr., Book of Aicill)*1;
"ornamented spear" (Anc. Laws of Ir. III, p.82 footnote 4)
bloody spear" (O'Curry, MS. materials, p.48), (O'Curry, Manners and Customs, ii. p.326) [E.]
- Name of the spear of Cormac mac Airt by which he himself was wounded in the eye, when Aengus Gabuaidech "of the poisoned spear" [variously spelt and rendered. See the page on the spear] of the tribe of Déis.
Even though a quite a number of annals and narratives relate the story of this blinding of the king (and the expulsion of
the Déis) but the spear name is mentioned in only a small subset of them (Book of Aicill and a Brehon Laws MS.,
TCD H.3.17 being two known examples). In other accounts the spear's name is either not given,
or can only assumed to be Gae Buaifnech "poisoned spear". And oftentimes, the spear that
committed the blinding is said to be Oengus's own, not the kings. See the page specific to Crimall-j.htm for more in-depth coverage.
Croda*1, " Bloody (shield) of Cormac,"*2
(Scéala Conchubair in LL fol. 107a8) [OIr.];
- Formerly misidentified by me as a possible name for the shield of Cormac mac Airt.
But since it is mentioned in the list of the shields of Ulster heroes
(see ⇒Ochoin (Ochain) the shield of Conchobar mac Nessa),
this is by all probability the shield of bearer of this shield is probably Cormac Connloinges, son of Conchobar.
- I misstated previously that A.C.L. Brown identified this as the shield as Cormac mac Airt
(aka Cormac ua Conn). Upon closer scrutiny, he was just making a comment on the meaning of the cru- or
cro- stem connoting "bloody". The confusion set in because he did not bother to distinguish
one Cromac from another.
- «Socht's Sword» (Peter Beresford Ellis, Dict. Ir. Mythology)
- Cruaidin Caidid-chean "Hard-headed Steeling" ("the decision as to Cormac's sword" §59,
Windisch & Stokes ed. tr.)
- Heirloom sword of Socht son of Fithel, which he bragged belonged to Cuchulainn.
[see the writeup for Cruaidin under Cuchulainn's page
for more on this weapon within the Ulster cycle.]
According to "Decision as to Cormac's Sword," this sword t shone like a candle at night,
its blade could be bent back on itself and snap back, and it cut hair on floating water,
and cleaved a man clean in two without him realizing it for awhile.
But the steward named Dubdrenn who coveted it secretly removed it and had his name inscribed on it, to claim ownership.
A judgment over this was presided over by Cormac mac Airt meic Cuinn. When the inscription is revealed,
Socht conceded ownership, but then cleverly argued that this was the weapon lodged in his grandfather at his death,
and with ownership of the sword comes liability. Cormac orders the sword returned, and seven cumals besides.
The steward confesses his deeds, and the brazier who was implicated in the forging too.
But now, Cormac claimed recognition of the sword as indeed, Cuchulainn's sword, the Cruaidin Caidid-chean,
it being the weapon by which his grandfather Conn was killed, and as recompense, he confiscated the sword for himself.
- [BRANCH & CUP]
-- *1 [Ir.];
«craoḃ Chormaic mhic Airt»*2 "Cormac mac Airt's branch" (supplied title to modern recension of Echthra Cormaic)
«craoḃ ṡoinneaṁail siġe» "glittering fairy branch",
"branch" (17c. recension)*2 [Ir.];
[craoḃ (craobh) [Ir.] "branch"; = cráeb [OIr.]/ soineaṁuil
(soineamhuil) [Ir.] "estimable, handsome, comely" (O'Reilly) /
(sighe) [Ir.] "s.f. a fairy, a goblin, a sprite" (O'Reilly) ]
- -- *1 [Ir.];
ċopáin "cup" "goblet" *2
[ċopáin (chopáin) [Ir.] "a cup, a phial" (O'Reilly) ]
- A silver branch with three golden apples ("a glittering fairy branch with nine apples of red gold" in the
modern recension) which when shaken produced beautiful music that made the listener forget anything unpleasant that happened.
A wondrous youth gave it to Cormac in exchange for the three thing he would name as his price. This price turned out to
be Cormac daughter, his son, and his wife. When his daughter and son were borne away, Cormac shook the branch to make
courtier forget the woe, but when his wife Eithne was taken, he followed in pursuit and discovered himself in the
Land of Promise (Tír Tairngire, "Tir Tairrngire"). The youth turned out to be
Manannán mac Lir, and no harm was intended for his hostages. Manannán uses the cup of truth to
prove his daughter has not been touched by a man (and likewise for his son and wife). This cup too is given to Cormac.
- sgóraid [Ir.]; "tablecloth" [E.]
[Unsure word sense or etymology, but cf. sgorad "lancing, scarifying" (O'Reilly). Perhaps "scored, marked" from sgor "a scar, notch, mark"? ]
- An additional treasure item that appears alongside others in a late version of the Advenure of Cormac (Echtrae Cormaic) where he pursues the magic bough (silver branch that played music) and gains also the Golden Cup which tells apart truth from lies.
- coire aisic [Ir.]; "cauldron of restitution"
[aisec "" + aisec "return, restitution"; cf. aiscid "boon, gift, blame, reproach"]
- When meat is boiled in it, it provides each person with a portion that is appropriate to his status. (The thigh piece to kings, etc.).
- the Twisted Horn, and the Litan, and the Eel (tr. E. J. Gwynn) [E.];
- Cam-corn & an Litan & an Easgung (The Three Drinking-HOrns of Cormac úa Cuinn, ) [Ir.];
[caṁ (camh) "s. power, might; adj. 1. strong, 2. crooked;" //
litan not glossed but perhaps Ir. leiṫead (leithead) cog. W. litan "breadth" ? //
asċu (aschu) ", s. m. a water dog; an eel; " (O'Reilly)]
the Twisted Horn, and the Litan, and the Eel (tr. E. J. Gwynn)
- Once owned by Cormac ua Cuinn (mac Airt), the three horns were buried beneath a sheet, but unearthed by Agal the king of Corca Tri, who hosted the kings of Erin led by the high-king
Aed Oridnide. Aed having dropped his horns while crossing, would not touch his drink unless he had a horn to drink from. The Twisted Horn was kept by Aed, the Litan given to the king of Ulster, the Eel-Horn to the king of Connacht.
----- spear -----
Ancient Laws of Ireland: Senchus Mor (conclusion) being the Corus Bescna or Customary Law and the Book of Aicill (Dublin : Printed for H.M.S.O., published by A. Thom ; London : Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, 1865-1901.), vol.3 (of 6 vol.),
[edited by O'Donovan, John, 1809-1861, O'Curry, Eugene, 1796-1862, et al.] [books.google]
[See page on spear for full bibliography]
----- shield -----
*1 Stokes, Whitley, tr. ed. Scéla Conchobair maic Nessa "The Tidings of Conchobar son of Ness" in Ériu 4 (1910), 18-33.
Eng. tr. online: "The Tidings of Conchobar son of Ness" [The Book of Leinster.
Brown, "The Bleeding Lance" (op.cit.), 23n, points out that there is a conformity in the names of Cormac's spear and shield. (Quoted below)
----- branch, cup, cauldron, Socht's Sword. -----
Stokes, Whitley, ed. tr., Scél na Fír Flatha, Echtra Chormaic i Tír Tairngiri ocus Cert Claidib Chormaic (the Irish Ordeals, Cormac's Adventure in the Land of Promise, and the Decision as to Cormac's Sword ), in Irische Texte III, 1 (Leipzig 1891) pp. 183-229.
The story is usually referred to as The Adventures of Cormac (Echtra Cormaic) of which the 12 c. version from the Yellow Book of Lecan and the Book of Ballymote is this edition. fír flatha glosses as "sovereign's truth, just rule, justice of the ruler", whereas fír nDé = "ordeal". cert = "right".
Another 12c. recension is in the Book of Fermoy. See bibl. & summary by Dan M. Wiley @ Hastings U.
O'Grady, Standish H., ed., tr., "Faghail craoibhe Chormaic mhic Airt: How Cormac mac Airt got his Branch", Transactions of the Ossianic Society 3 (1857), 212-28. [The title given on the title page of volume 3 is Toruigheacht Dhiarmuda agus Ghrainne ; or, the pursuit after Diarmuid O'Duibhne, and Grainne, the daughter of Cormac Mac Airt, King of Ireland in the third century ]
This modern recension dates to not later than the seventeenth century.
----- tablecloth -----
"Faghail craoibhe Chormaic mhic Airt: How Cormac mac Airt got his Branch", Transactions of the Ossianic Society 3 (Dublin: John O'Daly 1857), 212-28.
----- horns -----
The Three Drinking-Horns of Cormac úa Cuinn,
§ : How Cormac mac Airt got his Branch (version 17c.)
—Ancient Laws of Ireland
III, "lebar aicle"p.82
Doe, John ed., tr., LINK