CELT document G600022

De Febre Efemera nó an Liagh i n-Eirinn i n-allod


De Febre Efemera nó an Liagh i n-Eirinn i n-allod

King's Inns Library, MS 15.

The following extract is taken from the medical MS above mentioned. This MS is perhaps one of the finest of its kind in Ireland, written on vellum in a small, clear hand, with beautiful initial letters throughout in black, and a few in colours on the opening folios. It was originally bound in oak, but of this cover only a fragment remains, the first page is missing, and several others are loose and damaged. It appears to be a translation from various Latin sources, and is in part a boiling down of sections of John of Gaddesden's Rosa Anglica. The section on Ephemera reproduces in 20 lines, what in R.I.A. 23 P 20 covers 2 folios, 9a38–11a25. Gaddesden is mentioned on fo. 80r in the portion on Quotidian Fever, as follows: — “a n-agaid fiabhris cotidiana do reir Gadisten isin Rós.” The following subjects are treated fairly exhaustively: Ulcers, wounds, boils, etc., and on fo. 76v is the following statement beginning near the bottom of the page, where the preceding tract finishes, with the words: “F.i.n.i.s amen .i. (?) do Petrus.” The statement is written in a large hand, between the lines of which the second part is written very small, and much contracted.

Unknown author

Edited by Winifred Wulff

De Febre Efemera nó an Liagh i n-Eirinn i n-allod



Colophon: Mise Mailechloind mac Illoind Meic an Leaga do scrib deired in libairsi re n-abur Petrus de Largellata1 do budein ⁊ a crich Iustasac a m-Baile Hoiriberd a tig Uilliam Talman2 do forbad. Is i ais an Tigerna ann .i. MCCCCCXII. (1512) ⁊rl. Maaid (?) 3 raith don ti dorat dam an esimplair so an libarsi .i. Conaire mac Torna I Mailconaire ⁊ is dirsan lim a fad ata a m'ecmais uair is mor a esba dam uair is triamain m'inntinn uair is fada uaim siar m'athair isin Mumain ⁊ mo brathair .i. Eogan ⁊ is rofada lim co faicinn mo shesi ⁊ mo brathair .i. Connla Mac an Lega ata a Muig Luirg ⁊ is ro mhor a ecla orm gur mill an sluag so iarla Cille Dara he. Et is fada ata mo dalta ⁊ mo condalta .i. Cormac Mac in Lega. Isin da India (?) isin ailt ata (-u?), uair is nunach imberach (?) e do raith.


The last sentence is possibly a code or something similar, and is nearly unintelligible. The fact that the scribe fails to distinguish between the stroke which signifies n and that which signifies m does not simplify matters.

I am unable to say whether the above is the signature of the scribe, or if the whole thing is a copy, the ⁊rl after the date 1512, makes it look as if part of the colophon were omitted. This Mailechloind Mac an Leaga was one of a family of hereditary physicians in Thomond. His death is recorded in the Annals of Loch Cé, under the date 1531. 4

The following folio, 77r opens with several quotations from the Gospels and the Classics, on the duties of man in general, and physicians in particular, continuing as follows: —

 77r Masead guidmid-ne aen Dia trithech na tri persan dar furtacht do crichnugad in compendium cumair so, uair adeir Tateus5, “Demulcentur audiencium animae ex lucida et compendiosa breuitate” .i. sastur aicneadha luchta an estachta on cumairecht tarbaig soluis, uair is mooide foglumthar ni gac med cumairachta, da mbi, gurab uime sin adubairt Aristotul “Longa solent sperni gaudent breuitate moderni” .i. clechtar na raite rofaide do tarcasnugad ⁊ forbailtigid lucht na haimsire nuaide roim an cumairacht ...

Is uime sin do b'ail lium trachtad cumair tarbach do denum do lucht in studeir, clechtas moran na lebar do fecain, innus co fagdais gach ni do iarfadais annsa uolumen so, do rinniusa le stuider rofada ⁊ le germachtnamh inntinne ⁊ le moran na eladan leighis do scrudugad, dochum riachtanuis les na scolaired do comlinad. Et bith a fis agad gur cumusa in trachtad so, gan moran na teoricechta (?) ar ecla in athmaeltuis, an aimsir, an egentuis, ⁊ in guasachta.


The subsequent matter consists of very short paragraphs on a variety of diseases, as, fevers, affections of the nose, throat and lungs, heart trouble and diseases of the digestive organs. Few of these exceed 20 to 30 lines of script.



3. King's Inns Library, MS. 15, Fol. 81r


De Febre Efemera .i. d'fiabhras efemera, ⁊ as uime aderar efemera ris .i. is inann efemeron a Greig ⁊ iasg a Laidin, uair ni bi acht en la nadurtha do shaegal ag an iasg sin. Et is mar sin ata efemera uera, uair ni mairenn acht en la, mas efemera fire he, ⁊ mas efemera nach fir mairidh co cenn tri la ⁊ co hannam co cenn a 4, in tan is remar in t-adbar.

Cura .i. leighis na heslainti so .i. mad tine no grian as cuis don fiabhras, curtur fer an fiabhris a n-inadh fuar, ⁊ gabtur ag a bualadh le hedaighibh lin, suas ⁊ anuas, do cur gaithe uime; ⁊ mad te in chuis doirter usgi te um a cenn ⁊ curtur a fotragad usgi fuar he, ⁊ anad ann co fada, ⁊ cumilter ola rosa do corp uile ⁊ ola na uiola. Et mad o saethar tig an fiabhras, gab prem artemesia, ⁊ bris ⁊ cumusc ar fin cael, no bruith ar anbruith, ⁊ ib ⁊ icid. Et gid be imcrus artemesia, ni curtur he. Et da roib nech curtha, ⁊ urbruith do genum d'artemesia, teid a cur de. Et da imchra duine agnus casti, ni faghann oilbeim ⁊ ni fuilighter air. Et ma curenn fer an tsibuil fada a croicinn de itir a lairgibh no da urgibh, cumilter buidenn uighi cerc te no fuar de, ⁊ is maith sin do lucht na olitre, ⁊ do braitrib teid a fad. Et mad o nemcodladh bis an fiabhras, dentur folcad don papauer, ⁊ do lactusi, ⁊ do malua, ⁊ cumilter na cosa ar tus le h-edach garb lin. Et mad o constipacionn bes an fiabhras, dentur clister do. Et mad isin gale bes, dentur sgethrach do, ⁊ denad abstinens no co ndileghtar an biadh. Et mad o dith bid bes, tuctur biad do, ⁊ co hairighti mad fer lenna ruaid [he], oir ni heidir leo trosgad do genum ar son ro-gere a tessa.

Opaid ar gach ule fiabhras ann so. “Frange ✠ tere ✠ ferre ✠ febre .n. salus est” a t'ainm,(?) amail a cur sgribtha fo bragaid fir an fiabhris, ⁊ foirid gach uile fiabhras.

Ar gach ule fiabhras ⁊ eslainti nach leiginn codlad do duine, gab cinn ura ⁊ feoighe in papauer, ⁊ sil lactusi, ⁊ uiola ⁊ duilleogi rodus, ⁊ a cur a corcan no a n-oigenn lan d'uisge, ⁊ a mbruith no gu legaid na luibhe, ⁊ na cosa do nige as, ⁊ edach lin do cumilt co laidir dib, ⁊ ola na uiola do cumilt dib, ⁊ coideoluid gan cunntabairt.

Ar gach uile fiabhras ⁊ ar codlad, sgrib na focla so a tri h-ablann. “✠ Pater est alpha ⁊ oo,” isin cet ablainn; “✠ filius est uia uita ⁊ ueritas,” isin dara hablainn; “✠ spiritus sanctus est remedium sanitatis,” isin 3 ablaind; ⁊ a nithe re tri la. Et in uair bias ag ithe na n-ablann so  p.129 gabad se 4 padrecha sa cet ablainn, a n-agaid na 4 ardgon fuair IHU, re slainti d'fagail do, ⁊ tri padrecha isin 2 hablainn a n-agaid na tri tairngedh do cured a n-IHU, ⁊ 4 paidrecha isin 3 ablainn, ⁊ caithed iat ainnsein, ⁊ is derbta an leighis sin ar gach uile fiabhras ⁊ ar codladh.

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Title (uniform): De Febre Efemera nó an Liagh i n-Eirinn i n-allod

Title (editorial): Extracts from King's Inns MS 15

Editor: Winifred Wulff

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork

Edition statement

1. First draft.

Extent: 3175 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2018

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: G600022

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only. More information about Winifred Wulff's Life and Work is available on the CELT website at https://celt.ucc.ie//wulff.html.

Source description

Manuscript sources

  • King's Inns Library, MS 15. 16th cent. Vellum. Main scribe 'Maelechlainn mac Illainn Mheic an Leagha, the main scribe and the only one who has signed his work, 1512'. Digital scans of this manuscript are available on the ISOS Project, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, see: http://www.dias.ie/isos/.

Select bibliography

  1. Paul Diepgen, Geschichte der Medizin. II Mittelalter. (Berlin and Leipzig 1914).
  2. James J. Walsh, Medieval medicine (London: Black 1920).
  3. Karl Sudhoff, Geschichte der Medizin (Berlin 1922).
  4. Max Neuburger, History of Medicine, translated by Ernest Playfair, M.B., M.R.C.P. Vol. II. (Oxford 1925).
  5. Theodor Meyer-Steineg und Karl Sudhoff, Geschichte der Medizin im Überblick (Jena 1931). Available at http://www.archive.org/details/geschichtedermed00meyeuoft.
  6. John D. Comrie, History of Scottish medicine (London, published for the Wellcome historical medical museum by Baillière, Tindall & Cox 1932). Available at: https://archive.org/details/b20457273M002.
  7. Paul Walsh, The learned family of Ó Maolconaire, Catholic Bulletin 26 (1936) 835–842.
  8. C. H. Talbot, Medicine in Medieval England (London/New York 1967).
  9. J. Fleetwood, The History of Medicine in Ireland (Dublin: Skellig Press 1983).
  10. Nessa Ní Shéaghda, 'Translations and Adaptations in Irish' (Statutory Lecture 1984, School of Celtic Studies), Dublin, Institute for Advanced Studies 1984.
  11. Nancy G. Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine (London: Univ. of Chicago Press 1990).
  12. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Irish medical manuscripts', Irish Pharmacy Journal 69/5 (May 1991) 201–2.
  13. Sheila Campbell, Bert Hall, David Klausner (eds), Health, disease and healing in medieval culture (London: Macmillan 1992).
  14. Margaret R. Schleissner (ed), Manuscript sources of medieval medicine: a book of essays (New York: Garland 1995).
  15. Lawrence I. Conrad, Michael Neve, Vivian Nutton, Roy Porter, Andrew Wear (eds), The Western medical tradition: 800 BC to AD 1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995).
  16. Tony Hunt, Anglo-Norman Medicine. 2 vols. (Cambridge 1994–97).
  17. Mirko D. Grmek, Bernardino Fantini, (eds) Western Medical Thought from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. [Translated from the Italian by Anthony Shuugar.] (Cambridge, Massachussetts: Harvard University Press 1999).
  18. Fergus Kelly, 'Medicine and Early Irish Law', in: J. B. Lyons (ed), Two thousand years of Irish medicine (Dublin 1999) 15–19. Reprinted in Irish Journal of Medical Science vol. 170 no. 1 (January–March 2001) 73–6.
  19. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Medical writing in Irish', in: J. B. Lyons (ed), Two thousand years of Irish medicine (Dublin 1999) 21–26. Published also in Irish Journal of Medical Science 169/3 (July-September 2000) 217–20 (available online at http://www.celt.dias.ie/gaeilge/staff/rcsi1.html).
  20. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Winifred Wulff (1895–1946): beatha agus saothar', in: Léachtaí Cholm Cille 35 (Maigh Nuad [Maynooth]: An Sagart 2005) 191–250.
  21. Paul Walsh, 'An Irish medical family', Catholic Bulletin 25 (1935) 646–53 [= Irish men of learning (Dublin 1947) 206–213] (on the scribe and his notes).
  22. Luke Demaitre, Medieval Medicine: the Art of Healing from Head to Toe. Praeger Series on the Middle Ages (Santa Barbara, California 2013).
  23. Peter Wyse Jackson, Ireland's generous nature: the past and present uses of wild plants in Ireland (St. Louis, Missouri 2013).
  24. Lia Fáil: Irisleabhar Gaedhilge Ollsgoile na hÉireann, ar n-a chur i n-eagar leis an gCraoibhín (Dubhglas de hÍde). Facsimile reproduction of volumes 1–4, with a Foreword by Liam Mac Mathúna and a Réamhrá by Seán Ó Coileáin. (Dublin: National University of Ireland 2013).
  25. Liam P. Ó Murchú (ed) Rosa Anglica: Reassessments, Irish Texts Society. Subsidiary Series, 28 (London: Irish Texts Society, 2016).
  26. An article about Pietro d'Argellata is available (in Italian) at http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/pietro-d-argellata_(Enciclopedia-Italiana)/.

Internet resources

  1. Dictionary of the Irish Language, mainly compiled from Old and Middle Irish materials: eDIL. See http://www.dil.ie/.
  2. Dictionary of Irish Placenames: See http://www.logainm.ie/.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘De Febre Efemera nó an Liagh i n-Eirinn i n-allod’ (1926). In: Lia Fáil‍ 1. Ed. by Douglas Hyde (Dubhglas de hÍde), pp. 126–129.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {Winifred Wulff (Úna de Bhulbh)},
  title 	 = {De Febre Efemera nó an Liagh i n-Eirinn i n-allod},
  journal 	 = {Lia Fáil},
  editor 	 = {Douglas Hyde (Dubhglas de hÍde)},
  address 	 = {Dublin (Baile Átha Cliath)},
  publisher 	 = {Educational Company of Ireland (Comhlucht Oideachais na h-Éireann)},
  date 	 = {1926},
  volume 	 = {1},
  pages 	 = {126–129}


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Interpretation: Medical and botanical terms, many of which are Latin loanwords (or Latin in the disguise of Irish spelling) have been tagged.

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A canonical reference to a location in this text should be made using “part”, eg part 1.

Profile description

Creation: The text was written by Maoilsheachlainn mac Iollain Mac an Leagha (d.1531), the son of Iollan Mac an Leagha, who was active c.1462-1473. Paris, Nat. Bibl. MS Celt 1 also contains a piece written by Maoilsheachlainn (1518) and his father (1473).

Date: 1512

Language usage

  • The text is in (Early) Modern Irish. (ga)
  • The front matter is in English. (en)
  • Some words and phrases are in Latin. (la)
  • One word is in Greek. (gr)

Keywords: medical; prose; medieval; scholarship; John of Gaddesden; Rosa Anglica; Petrus de Argellata; Pietro de l'Argelata

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2018-03-26: SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2018-03-26: File including apparatus proofed (2); header completed; file parsed. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2018-03-26: File proofed (1); structural and content encoding applied. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2018-03-20: TEI header created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2018-02-06: Lia Fáil 1 and 2 captured by scanning. (text capture Beatrix Färber)


  • Adbur, matter (of disease). Lat. materia (morbi).
  • Agnus castus, tutsan. Trans. meas tuirc allaid.
  • Ailt, house, a slang expression. (Meyer's Contributions to Irish Lexicography).
  • Anbruith, (eanbruith), soup, broth. Lat. brodium.
  • Artemesia, ragweed, mugwort. Ir. buachalán buidhe, buafanán buidhe.
  • Buidenn uighi, yolk of eggs.
  • Curtha, tired; cur to tire, tiredness, now cortha.
  • Efemera, Ephemeral fever. A fever that lasts a day or very short period. (New Sydenham Society's Lexicon of medicine).
  • Fiabhras, fever. Lat. febris.
  • Gale, goile, stomach.
  • Linn ruad, choler. One of the four humours, which are, linn fuar, linn dubh, and fuil dearg.
  • Lactusi, lettuce. 6
  • Malua. mallows. Ir. hocus.
  • Mag Luirg, near Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
  • Oilbheim, stumble.
  • Olitre, ailithre, pilgrimage.
  • Opaid, charm. O.Ir. upaid, epaid; gsg. auptha.
  • Papauer, poppy.
  • Rodus, marigold? Three Irish Medical Glossaries rudus derg.
  • Sgethrach a vomiting.
  • Urbruith, dry bath, stupe, fomentation. Lat. stupha.
  • Ros, The Rosa Anglica by John of Gaddesden. First printed edition, 1492.

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  1. Pietro d'Argelata d. 1423, a pupil of Guy de Chauliac, Professor at Bologne, and translator of Avicenna. He wrote a text book on surgery, Libri sex chirurgiae printed in Venice in 1480, which was very successful, as he added many personal observations. 'Worthy of note are descriptions of treatment for fractures and dislocations, and indications of bone resection. In the diagnosis of surgical nerve diseases, he mentions the difference between sensoric and motor nerves; in general, he is a profound anatomist. He was considered at the time as one of the most distinguished masters of the Bolognese school.' (Treccani). 🢀

  2. There is a modern townland Baile Hoirbeaird (Herbertstown) in Kildare (https://www.logainm.ie/ga/25945) (https://www.townlands.ie/kildare/connell/great-connell/ladytown/herbertstown/) and one in Meath. Does Talman equate Tallon, an Anglo-Norman family in Leinster? The form Talún would be an obvious gaelicized form used in the genitive case. 🢀

  3. Oraid 🢀

  4. LC1531.10: “Illann Buidhe, son of Maelechlainn, son of Illann Mac in Legha Ruadh, an eminent man in his own art, died this year.” 🢀

  5. Physician Taddeo Alderotti? Philosopher Taddeo of Parma? 🢀

  6. This term is not recorded in eDIL; however the English loanword is recorded sv “leitius, letus” with examples. 🢀


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