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Carr Belaig Durgin [weapon:spear] [Celtic:cycle of kings]

"Maelodrán son of Dimma Crón" [E.]; Mælodrán mac Díma Chróin (Meyer ed., Aided Máelodrán, Rawl. B.512, fo. 116a) var. Mælodrán húa Dimmæ Chroin Robi (Rawl. B.502, fo. 47b), Mæl Odarn mac Dimai Croin (Stokes ed., Prose tales in the Rennes Dindshenchas, #14: Móin Gai Glaiss) [OIr.];
"Maelodrán descendant of Dimmae Cron Robi" (Meyer tr.), Mael-Odrán son of DimmaCron (Stokes tr.)[E.] *1[OIr.]

A fierce warrior of the people known as the Dál Messin Corb of Leinster [standard mod. Ir.] (Dáil Mosscorp Laigen [gen. case, Rawl. B. 512]; "Division of Mosscorp of Leinster" [ib., Meyer tr.], merely Laignib "of Leinster" [Rawl. B. 502]).

Carr Belaig Durgin (Aided Máelodrán) Carr Belaig Duirgein (Prose tales in the Rennes Dindshenchas, #14: Móin Gai Glaiss) [OIr.];
"the Carr of Belach Durgin" (Meyer tr., Stokes tr.) = "Lance of Durgin Road" [E.]
[etymology:: carr = seagh "lance" + belach, bealach[?] "roadway, gap" ]
The lance (or spear) of Maelodran, namely the Leinster warrior Máelodrán mac Dímma Chróin.

The Carr (lance) used to be [stuck] right over a fork in the road, indeed probably the one called Durgin's Road, and could leap and make slaughter on travelors with its tip and edge. It was said that it could kill of its own will, or rather seem so because a demon would move it and slay those who went past without leaving offerings to it.

The account by Brown *3 (T.B.D.)

Maelodran who owned this lance was the scourge of the royal line known as the Húi Máil [Uí Máil [OIr.] "The Descendants of Mál"], but an uneasy peace was reached with him after he took as wife the daughter of Aithechta, king of the Húi Máil. This daughter once betrayed her husband's whereabouts*4 to the henchman of his father, but the subsequent assasination attempt failed, and he slaughtered his assialants. A peace was made afterwards.

Later while Maelodran was taking a bath as a guest at Aithechta's house, he was treacherously killed by the host who thrust him with Maelodran's own spear. Aithechta then carried off Maelodran's wife (not his own daughter whom he gave away, of course, but a different woman) as booty. And after a year's time, he boasted of his slaying. The taken wife warned that if anyone could take revenge for his own death, it would be Maelodran. And sure enough, Maelodran's appartiton appeared, grabbed the lance, and killed him.

§ Prior History

It is stated in the Rennes Dindsenchas #14 that this weapon started off as a weapon made for Gae Glas s. of Luginde s. of Lug Liamna [[Gae] Glas mac Luinde meic Loga Liamna], a champion of Fiacha Srabtine "of the Streams of Fire", High-King at Tara. (Fiacha Srabtine, son of Cairbre Liffechair, son of Cormac mac Airt. According to the four masters, Cormac was blinded by Aengus in 265 and died a year later; Fiacha and Cairbre slew Aengus Gaibuaibhtheach in 276. After his father's death, Fothad assumed the throne for one year before Fiacha Sraibhtine himself acceded to the throne AD286.)

Dubglas [E. tr.] [Rawl. B. 502] dat. Dubglais [Rawl. B. 502 only][Ir.]
[etymology: "Black Gray", "Dark Gray", etc.]
The horse of Maelodrán. It was ridden by Dubchrón, Maelodrán's gillie*1 when he appeared on the scene of his master's slaying. The killers tried to pass off the decapitated corpse with the cloak over it as the living Maelodrán sleeping on the couch, but Dubchrón makes them remove the cloak, sings a sorrowful quatrain and leaves.

*1 Meyer, Kuno, ed. tr., "The Story of the Death of Maelodrán mac (or húa) Dimma Chróin", tr. "The Death of Maelodrán mac Dimma Chróin" in the Appendix of: Hibernica Minora ..with an Appendix containing extracts from hitherto unpublished from MS. Rawlinson B.512, in the Bodleyan Library. (Oxford 1894) 76-81.

*2 Stokes, Whitley, ed. tr. "Prose Tales in the Rennes Dindshenchas", Revue Celtique 15-16 (1894-5) (Online texts at UCD: Irish text English tr.)

*3 Brown, A.C.L., "The Grail and the English "Sir Perceval"" in: Modern Philology XVIII, No. IV (Aug. 1920), pp.25f, [archive])

*4 His whereabouts: Specifically, she betrayed which of the three bothies she and her husband would be staying at (bothy: Scot. a small hut for farmwork or as mountain retreat). She did so by scattering a trail of phosporescent rotting would (tene ṡinnaig lit., "fox's fire") behind her.

--- horse ----

*2 Here the word "gillie" probably should probably be taken as a cognate for OIr. gilla mod.Ir. giolla "boy, messenger, etc.". (For according to the OED, gillie (Scot.) is given a specialized definition of "1 an attendant on a hunting or fishing expedition; 2. High Chief's attendant").

In the preceding tale in Meyer's collection, the sons of Diarmait attempt to steal Maelodrán's horse, and slay Deoraid his "gillie" (in Rawl. B. 512). In the variant text (Rawl. B. 502) the same man is described as a "Deoraid .i. o dee arad .i. o fiur glomiar" (a "brave man(?) and a "bridle-man" < glomar "bridle").
Source: Meyer ed. "The Death of the Three Sons of Diarmait mac Cerrbeóil (or Cerbaill)" tr. "The Tragical Death of Diarmait's Three Sons" (op. cit. 73-5.)

§ "Aided Máelodrán meic Dímma Chróin", in Rawl. 502, 512 (15c.)

    A resource of texts, manuscripts and summary is to be found on the page for "Aided Máelodrán~" by Dan M. Wiley of Hastings College.

    The mention of the spear's name occurs in the passage as follows:

6. Dobert iarum Aithechda a mnái-sium [*ar ni ba hi hingen Athechdai ba ben do] Mæodrain [* intan romarbad]. Al-laa sin a cind bliadna bai Aithechda for a dergud. Robai oc déscain na Cairre .i. carr Belaig Durgin. Is í romarb in trichait m-buden [*dia figran 7 dia aureil 7 dia liugu co lar .i.] Nobíd isin tsligid ocus gaval fóa bragait 7 cech oén ná [*arthiagdais secce meni] fácbad ni lee [*nosluaded demun 7], nolinged fothib co-cuired a n-ár.
—Kuno Meyer, ed. Aided Máelodráin meic Dímma Chróin, in Hibernica Minora (Oxford 1894) pp. 76-81.*1
[Rawl. B. 512 text, with bracketed texts from Rawl. B. 502.]
6. Then Aithechda took Maelodrán's wife; for it was not Aithechda's daughter that was wife to Maelodrán when he was killed. On that day a year Aithechda was on his couch and was looking at the Carr on its rack, even the Carr of Belach Durgin 1. It would kill thirty bands with its point or with its front-edge 2, and by falling to the ground, for it used to be in the road, and a fork under its neck. And whenever any one went past without leaving anything with it, a demon would move it, and it would leap among them and make a slaughter of them.
1 The name of some high road or pass, not identified, as far as I know. See its dinnsenchas in LL. 194a=BB.364b, and Lec. 461 a.
2 Aur-eil, dat . of aru-ul ..

The Violent Death of Máelodrán mac Dímma Chróin,
tr. Kuno Meyer*1

*1 Meyer, Kuno, ed., tr., "The Story of the Death of Maelodrán mac (or húa) Dimma Chróin" in Hibernica Minora (Oxford 1894) 76-81.

*1a Kuno Meyer also edited and translated the text of the "Wanderings of the Dessi" from the same set of manuscripts (Bodleian Library, Rawlinson 502, 512), published in Y Cymmrodor XIV, pp. 101-. (He also used Landsdown 610 f. 99b2). Meyer remarks on the resemblance between the spear of Oengus of the Terrible Spear in that tale with the spear here ("This lance reminds one of Maelodran's lance, the Carr Belaig Durgin, which killed of its own accord, or when moved by a demon. See Hibernica Minora, p.81" -- Cymmrodor XIV p.105 notes). See my page on ⇒Crimall.

*1b See also entry in Kuno Meyer ed., Contributions to Irish Lexicographyp. 319:
2. carr f. (W. par) a lance. .i. gae, H. 3. 18, 67a. .i. sleagh, O'Cl. ba si sin in Carr Belaig Duirgein, Dinds. 14 = carr Máelodráin, Hib. Min. 77, 16. gen. oc déscain na cairre, ib. 78, 10.

*2 "Aided Maelodráin" in D. Greene ed., Fingal Rónáin and Other Stories (Dublin 1975) pp. 51-54.

§ Dindsenchas


Moin Gai Glais, canas roainmniged?
Ni ansa. [Gae] Glas mac Luinde meic Loga Liamna, nia sin
Fiachach Srabtine. As do dorigne an goba in gæi dot[h]ecuisc.
Doluid [andeass] Culdub mac Dein dia samna do cuingid
gona duine ecin, co roguin Fidrad mac Dama Duibe, a quo
Ard Fidraid. Dochuaid Gæ Glas ina iarmoracht, co tarlaic fair
in sleg dogena in goba do tri drai[d]echt, co ndechaid tria
Culdub isin monaid, & ni frith in[t]sleg sin iarum, acht oen
tuarascbail fosfuair Mæl Odarn mac Dimai Croin dia ngegna
di Ait[h]ecda ri Hua Mail iar mbeith Mæl odrain bliadain
hi talmain, diar’ cachain som in rand so:

IMlech Ech
i Moin da Ruad ar cach leth,
ci[a] ron-maid enech ron-bi
nirbo dui, a Aithechdai.

Ba si sin in Carr Belaig Duirgein, is i nomarbad [in] trichait
mbuiden. Amlaid nobid, & gobal fo bragaid, & nis-luaidhed
nech acht demon. Hi cein bess in sleg & a rind fodess ni forbrisfidir
nert Leithe Cuind o Laignib.

— Stokes ed., Prose Tales in the Rennes Dindshenchas, text, pp. 305-6


[.. why so named?
Not hard to say..]Gae Glas son of Luinde son of Lug Liamna was Fiacha Srabtine's champion. 'Tis for him that the smith made the intractable spear. From the south Cúldub son of Dían went on the day of samain (Nov. 1) to seek to slay some one, and he slew Fidrad son of Dam Dub, from whom Ard Fidraid is called. Then Gae Glas went a-following him and hurled at him the lance which the smith had made for him by magic, and it passed through Cúldub into the bog, and that lance was never found afterwards save once, when Mael-Odrán son of Dimma Cron, after he [leg. it?] had been a year in the ground, found it and slew therewith Aithechdae king of Húi Máil. Whereof he sang this stave:
[ IMlech Ech
i Moin da Ruad ar cach leth,
ci[a] ron-maid enech ron-bi
nirbo dui, a Aithechdai.]

This lance was the Carr of Belach Duirgen: 'tis it that would slay the thirty bands. Thus it was, with a fork under its neck, and none save the Devil would move it. So long as the lance is with its point southwards the strength of Conn's Half (the North of-Ireland) will not be broken by Leinster.
— Stokes tr., pp. 305-6


*1 Stokes, Whitley, "Prose Tales in the Rennes Dindshenchas" Revue Celtique 15-16 (1894-5) . Texts online at UCD: text | translation.



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