Online class which introduces students to the institution of Irish
kingship and some of the genres of texts associated with these Irish
kings – with a native Irish folklorist and Celtic Scholar.
Medieval Ireland was a politically fragmented landscape overflowing with
petty kings, over-kings and self-styled high kings, with an estimate of
up 150 reigning at any one time between the 5th-12th centuries. Luckily
given the vast corpus of written material available to us we can piece
together different elements of what being a king in Ireland entailed.
For this class, we will draw on legal texts, Annalistic sources, King
lists, tales and wisdom texts to paint a picture of just what it meant
to be a king in early Medieval Ireland.
Topics covered will include:
- Grades of kings: Examining the different grades of king, from the petty king of a single kingdom (tuatha) up to provincial kings and 'high kings'.
- Kings and Sovereignty Goddesses: Here we explore the act of the king symbolically marrying the land (personified as a sovereignty goddess), and also look at some tales that feature Goddesses bestowing sovereignty on kings.
- Regional succession: What qualified people for kingship and how were they selected?
- How should a king behave?: Looking at Wisdom texts such as Audacht Mórainn and imported texts of the genre of speculum principum (Mirror of Princes) which focused on correct kingship. The concept of Fír Flaithemon (kings/rulers truth) and its opposite Gau Flithemon is examined, and how a bad king could bring about cosmic retribution that impacted his entire kingdom.
- Hostages and slaves.
- Could a king lose his noble status?
- Inauguration rituals
- The cycle of kings: Also known as the 'historical cycle', this section explores some of the tales and the motifs that pop up in them.
What will you get from this course?
- A snapshot of ancient Irish society and the person(s) at the upper echelons of that society.
- A deeper understanding of what an Irish king was, how they were selected and how they operated.
- An exploration of the historical, pseudo-historical and legal texts that focus on kingship that will provide you with the tools to further investigate the institution of Irish Kingship.
This is a completely self-paced online course. You decide when you start and when you finish. When you enroll in this Course, you are receiving lifetime access (with a full 30 day money back guarantee).
"What an eye opener and a wealth of knowledge Shane has brought to this class. So much has definitely been misinterpreted, and incorrectly taught over the years that it's a good thing I've always looked with a sceptics eye."
- Dawn Otstot, reviewing Shane's class 'An Introduction to the Brehon Laws'.
Frequently Asked Questions
"This was very engaging and informative! I can't wait to take another class from Shane. Knowing something of the laws really helps to dig deeper in the Lore. It helps to develop a deeper sense of meaning behind the stories. Particularly the later cycles. Thank you again for another amazing course."
- Jenna McGeoghegan, reviewing Shane's class 'An Introduction to the Brehon Laws'.
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