Book Club | May 2016: Cattle-Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cúalnge)

Brown Bull word cloud

Fair, of deeds, the man I see;
Wounded sore is his fair skin;
On his brow shines hero’s light;
Victory’s seat is in his face!

Seven gems of champions brave
Deck the centre of his orbs;
Naked are the spears he bears,
And he hooks a red cloak round!

Noblest face is his, I see;
He respects all womankind.
Young the lad and fresh his hue,
With a dragon’s form in fight!

I know not who is the Hound,
Culann’s hight, of fairest fame;
But I know full well this host
Will be smitten red by him!

Our next Book Club selection is the Irish epic Cattle-Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cúalnge), part of which formed the basis for the recent Center for Hellenic Studies Open House discussion with Richard Martin. His insights and comparisons with Iliad and Odyssey form a fascinating and helpful way for us to approach both the Irish and the ancient Greek traditions, and if you have not already watched the session you can find it here.

Our Book Club discussion will start and continue in the forum, here, and by Google+ Hangout on Tuesday, May 31 at 11 a.m. EDT.

There are various translations available, most based on a combination of original manuscript editions (usually the Leabhar na h-Uidhri and Yellow Book of Lecan.) Here are a selection, with a choice of reading format where available:

Translation by Joseph Dunn (1914):

Translation by L. Winifred Faraday (1904):

Translation by Cecile O’Rahilly (1975)

Happy readings!

Sarah, Janet, Hélène