C. Vallancey

[Extracted from his Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, vol. 2, no. 8, pp. 251-348.]

IT has been generally thought that the Irish language is a compound of the Celtic, and old Spanish, or Basque; whoever will take the pains to compare either of these languages with the ancient manuscripts of the Irish, will soon be convinced, that the Irish partakes not the least of the Biscayan.

On a collation of the Irish with the Celtic, Punic, Phoenician and Hebrew languages, the strongest affinity, (nay a perfect identity in very many words) will appear; it may therefore be deemed a Punic-Celtic compound; and the following Essay will prove this to be somewhat more than a bare conjecture.

The Irish is consequently the most copious language extant; as from the Hebrew, proceeded the Phoenician, from the Phoenician, Carthaginian or Punic, was derived the olian, Dorian and Etruscan, and from these was formed the Latin; the [p.252] Irish is therefore a language of the utmost importance, and most desirable to be acquired by antiquaries and etymologists.

The Irish historians do all agree, that they received their letters from the Phoenicians, and that their language was called beorla Fene or the Fenician dialect, of which their ancient manuscripts bear sufficient testimony.

Keating,1 and M'Curtin in their general Histories of Ireland, and the M'Firbiss's (authors of the Liber Lecanus), all confirm the arrival of the Fomhoraicc's or African pirates in Ireland at several periods: that they introduced the art of building with stone and lime, astronomy, &c. that they adored certain stars supposed to have power from the God of the Sea, either to guide or mislead the ships: that at length they over ran the country and made a complete conquest, drove out the Nemedians, and laid the island under tribute. Spencer, who bears as hard on the Irish, and with arguments futile as Macpherson's, allows, that they received the use of letters from the Phoenicians, and positively asserts that a colony of Africans settled in the western part of Ireland. Orodus and even some modern authors, have gone so far as to deny the use of letters to the Carthaginians, before the Romans conquered that republic, and as a proof of this they quote many inscriptions in Roman characters from various places in Africa.


It is true, the Carthaginians adopted the Roman letter in the first Punic war, which character it is very probable they brought with them to Ireland, as no inscription has been found in this island in the Phoenician letter. It is evident from the order of the alphabet and from the figure of the letters in the ancient manuscripts, that the Irish did not receive the use of letters, or the alphabet from St. Patrick; nay, that saint in his own life declares that Fiech, poet laureate to Laogaire at the time of his arrival, found so little alteration in the character that he read the Latin gospels in fourteen days, in two months after he embraced Christianity, and also composed an ode in praise of that saint.

Of the Roman Saxon capital letters, the Irish use but three, all the others bear a very great resemblance to the primitive Hebrew and Phoenician, as given us by Scaliger and Postellus; and in the Chaldaic characters given us by the latter, are to be found, all those used by the ancient Irish, bearing the same figure and power.

Pliny says,2 the Romans held the Carthaginian writings on agriculture and botany, in so great esteem, that after the sacking of Carthage, they ordered twenty-eight volumes on these subjects, the work of Mago or Magon, to be translated into the Latin language; and that Q. Septimius translated the history of the Trojan war from the Punic into the Latin. Again, that author3 mentions the memoirs of Hanno's voyage to the W. coast of Africa, being translated into Latin by order of [p.254] the senate, the original of which was a long time preserved with great care in the public library.

Almost all the Carthaginian manuscripts were committed to the flames, and the history of the brave and learned people, has been written by their most bitter enemies, the Greeks and Romans; in this too they resemble the Irish:4Quand l'horrible desbord des Arabs et Sarrasins fut faict lors que les Scismatiques, qui laifferent le pontifede Bagadeth, passerent en Afrique, les roys Mahometines scirent brusler tous les liures des Africains, aftin que par la ledture d'iceux ils ne fe reuoltaffent de la religion de leur alcoran, et ainsi ignorance a cause la ruine de ce peuple iadis tant gentil, ridic, courtois et scavant, lequel on estime aud eu aiuc siecles passez des characteres de lettres a lay apres, tirces et extraites des characteres des lettres, des Diananeens, Syrians, et Phoeniciens jusques a ce que les Romains s'en firent seigneurs loquels y introduirent, comme dict-est, les characteres de leurs lettres Latines.

From Pliny5 we learn, that the Carthaginians were the first that traded by sea; and that they had great skill in the art of building, which they inherited from the Tyrians. See this more fully under the article of Hercules.

Herodotus says,6 the Phoenicians were of a most happy genius: arithmetic and astronomy either took their rise with them, or were brought [p.255] by them to great perfection. From them those excellent sciences flowed into Greece together with their letters.

The Phoenicians traded to all the known parts of the world, in which were included the British isles, commonly understood by the name of the Cossiterides.7

They had two kinds of ships, called gali8 and argo;9 the first moved only by the wind, and were chiefly designed for trade, the last moved by wind and oars, and were ships of war. Gaulus genus navigii pene rotundum.

Their first settlement in Spain was at the island Gadiz or Cadiz, where they met with a friendly reception from the inhabitants, therefore Hercules called it Cadiz.10

Polybius11 informs us, that the Carthaginians were the first foreign nation the Romans entered to an alliance with, out of their own continent; but a treaty of commerce and navigation was confirmed between them as early as the consulship of Brutus which treaty was engraved on a marble pillar; and that this inscription was discovered so soon after as the second Punic war, when not a Roman was to be found who could read it. Such an alteration had the Latin tongue suffered in so short a space!

I am not of Galateus his opinion, that the Punique tongue was utterly extinguished by the Romans. [p.256] (Galatus. de Situ Japyg. p. 98.) Nor can I agree with the whims and fancies of some learned men, that is with the vulgar Arabic spoken in Africa at this day. (See Gesner. in Mitridat. in Ling. Afric.  et Arab. Mart Galeott de doctr. promiscua, cap. 6. and many others.)

For it is well known the Poeni were of s offspring and not of Arabian race, and that it is not yet 1000 years, since that tongue was used by the Arabians into Africa.

And as certain also it is, that the remnants of Africans progeny, as Leo Africanus hath recorded have a different language from the Arabic. The Punic tongue, without doubt, was the Canaanitish or old Hebrew language, somewhat altered from the original pronunciation, as usually befalls all colonists planted amongst strangers. That Carthage and divers other cities of Africa (of which nameth Utica and Leptis as the principal) were colonies of the Phoenicians, namely of the Tyrians, is not only acknowledged by Strabo, Mela, Livy, Pliny and many others, but also the very names of Poeni and Punici being but variations of the name Phoenicii import so much, and lastly their language confirms it. For Hierome writing, that their language was grown somewhat different from the Phoenician tongue, doth manifestly declare, it had been the same. Now the Phoenicians were Canaanites, of whose merchandizing we read so much in [p.257] ancient histories, and whose name כנענם Canairn (Irish Canaithe) signifieth merchants.

For, the very same nation that the Grecians called Phoenicians and the Romans in imitation of that name Poenos and Punicos; for the exceeding store of good palms wherewith that country abounded, in so much that in monuments of antiquity the palm tree is observed for the ensign of Phoenicia; the same nation I say called themselves, and by the Israelites their next neighbours were called Canaanites.

And, that they were indeed no other, I am able easily to prove. For first, the same woman that in Matthew xv. 22. is named a Canaanite, is in Mark vii. 26. called a Syro-Phoenician. Secondly, where mention is made in Joshua of the kings of Canaan, they are in the Septuagint translation named [Greek]. Thirdly, to put it out of all question, all that coast from Sidon to Azah (that was Gazah) near to Gerar, is registered by Moses, Gen. x. 19. to have been possessed by the posterity of Canaan.

Herodotus says, the language of the Phoenicians was a dialect of the Hebrew; it was that of the Canaanites. Their letters or characters were the same, or very like the Samaritan characters.12

The Phoenician language being a dialect of the Hebrew, and the Poeni or Carthaginians having been originally Phoenicians, it is undeniable their first language must have been Phoenician. However [p.258] Scaliger says,13 that the Punic in some respects deviated from the Hebrew and Phoenician which, considering how distant the Carthaginians were from their mother country Phoenicia, and the people they were incorporated among, cannot to be wondered at; it is much more wonderful that they should retain so much of their original tongue.

Theseus Ambrosius14 had seen some Punic writings; he gives two alphabets, one of which he calls the original character of the Phoenicians; the other the Phoenician-Ionic: whether this author had ever seen a grammar of their language, I cannot say; but he gives us the declension of noun substantive, which so perfectly agrees with the Irish, I shall here present it to the reader. "Varias atque differentes este Punicorum, Carthaginium, sive Arabicorum elementorum formas, ill clarum esse suspicor, ut probatione non fit opus; sunt quippe mihi plus quam triginta librorum capita, tum parva, tum magna, et volumine duo quae explicata ad quinque fere brachiorum longitudinem se cxtendunt, &c."

Ex. Gr.

Punic. Irish.
Nom. a dar the house N. an dae the house
Gen. mitta dar G. mend na dae (the bigness of the house)
Dat. la dar D. la dae with or to the house
Acc. a dar A. an dae the house
Voc. ya dar V. a dae O house
Abl. fa dar Ab. fa dae with or by the house.


It very remarkable, that all the Irish grammars, ancient and modern, have followed this method of expressing the genitive, by the substantive mend prefixed as in the example above.

In the dative, la in old manuscripts is equal to dena or don, as leighios Canom la German, i.e. legit canones ad Germanum, vita. S. Patricii. Fiach apud Colganum.

In the plural, dor is turned into diar, by the addition of the vowel i; the same rule subsists in the Irish language.

Selden and Scaliger are the first who endeavoured in earnest to settle the Punic language. As for Petit and Bochart they have been much more copious on this head; however there is still room enough left for any learned man to exercise his wit and talents on this subject.

M. Mains, professor of the Greek and Oriental languages in the Ludovician university of Giessen,15 published a small piece in 1718, wherein he proves, that the present language of the Maltese contains a great deal of the old Punic. He was supplied with the materials for this tract by father James Stanislaus John Baptist Ribier de Gattis, a Missionary Jesuit, and native of Malta, who died at Oxford in 1736. One of the authors of the Universal History knew this father Ribier. He confirmed to this person by word of mouth, every particular he had communicated to Mains, and added some others; to wit, that he had carefully examined most of the oriental words in the Maltese [p.260] tongue, and found that they approached much nearer the Hebrew, and Chaldee, than the Arabic;16 that the natives had a sort of tradition, that they were descended from the Carthaginians, &c. &c. Some small manuscripts relating to the present subject, he left in the hands of the person above mentioned.

If this small treatise should fall into the hands of the person now in possession of the above, and he will be pleased to communicate a  a copy of them, directed to the committee of Irish antiquities at the Dublin Society's house, in Grafton, Dublin, the favour will be most gratefully acknowledged, and other expence of transcribing repaid.

Andrew Theuet says,17 the language of the old inhabitants of the island of Malta favours strongly of the ancient Punic or Carthaginian language, and that an ancient marble was discovered in Malta with these words, Eloi Essetha et Cumi.

And in another place he adds, "The Maltese have always preserved the Moresque and African language, not that as spoken this day by the Moors, but the dialect formerly spoken by the inhabitants of Carthage, and as a proof, the Maltese understand some of the verses in Plautus which are in the Carthaginian language."

Quintus Hoeduus in a letter to his friend Sophus dated Malta 20 Jan. 1533, has these words "Nostra haec Melita insula est Millib. 60. Mari fatis periculofo ab Sicilia disjuncta Africam versus Punic quondam ditionis qu et ipsa adhuc [p.261] Aphronim lingua utitur; et nonulls etiamnum Pumcis litteris inscriptae dells lapidae extant; figura et appositis quibusdam pundtulis, prope accedunt ad Hebraeas. Atque ut scias aut nihil aut minimum differe a vetere, quod nunc habet Idioma Hannonis cujusdam Paeni apud Plautum. Avicenna, hujusque fimilium punica verba plurima intelligunt Melitenses, tametsi fermo is fit qui litteris Latinis exprimi bene non potest multo minus ore aliquo enunciari, nifi suae gentis. Ejusdem quoque sunt linguae verba ilia in Evangelio Eloi epsta Cum. Nunc siculi juris est ac maris."

G. Pietro Francefco Agius de Solandis, published treatise della Lingua Punica presentemente usata da Maltesi, &c. &c. to which he added a Punica-Maltese dictionary; from this book the author of this essay has taken the following Punic words, omitting such only as Agius declares to be purely Hebrew or Arabic. To these are annexed such Irish words as correspond thereto in letter and sense.

It will be necessary first to show the reason why the orthography in some do not so closely correspond, although the pronunciation and meaning do, and this is best expressed from the author's own words.

"Conosco invero essere alquanto malagevole impresa il favellare della lingua Punica-Maltese, e l'andarne a riceercare l'origine, non avendone pure presentemente il proprio alfabeto, quale per altro non le manco in altri tempi.


"Cio non ostante andano al fonite, da cui e originata questa savelia, usata solo a mio parera nelie isole di Malta, Gozo, e Pantalarea ritrovo die molti Scricttori accrecsitati, anno data il propre giudizi senza pero provalo. Fra questi chi credelella fola Araba, chi Carthaginese, chi Ebrea, chi Fenicia, chi Greca, chi Punica, chi Samaritana, e chi finalmente Siriaca. Quanti guidizi sopia una ibla lingua? De nostri appieno niuno parlonne, degli Stiranieri solamen Arrigo Majo, celebre professore delle Orientali in Jeffa, dimostro in die Differtezione con proue ed autorita valevoli, essere la nostra lingua propriamente Punica.La lingua Punica certamente venne pronunziata anticamente colla gorgia, e ne nesta provato in quel monumento, die la Scena prima di Plauto ci ha lasciato col carattere Latino."

All etymologists agree that where we let the sense correspond in any two language must be identically the same; before we proceed to the collation it may not be improper to advertise the young etymologist, that in most languages the letter d is commutable with t; b with p; c with g; bh, mh with v consonant; that the broad a, o, u are indifferently written one for the other as also the small vowels e and i, are often substituted one for the other; that in the Irish language an adventitious d with an hiatus, or dh, is often introduced in syllables, where two or more vowels are connected: this liberty was taken by the Irish poets of the ninth and tenth centuries, to make up the just metre, although the dh is not allowed to divide the syllable.


Punica-Maltese Irish.
Alla, God All, mighty, omnipotent
Alit-dhe, penates
Samim, the Heavens Samh, the Sun, sambra, summer.
sema, an assembly samhadh, a congregation.
Baal, Sidoniorum seu Phoenicum, et Belus Kartagi-
niensum numinis nomen est: ut Bel Chaldeorum
Bel, Bal, Beal, the chief Deity of the ancient Irish.
Allai bier iq, God bless you Ioll (pro ealta Lhwyd) beira dhuit, may you repent,
God forgive you.
iva b'alla, a curse Jobbadh (pronounced iva) bi Alia, may death come from the Almighty.
iummin, truly. iam ann, that's true, truly
ara! interjection arah! an interjection
ardu, the end or summit. orda, high, haughty.
ard, a hill.
ortap, liquido, molle, vizzo, soft, flabby anairt, softtap is an affix of the Arabic, signifying
the overflowing of a river, hence artap may imply
ooze, flab, mirefrom tap the Irish tap-bicrp
tipar, tobar, a well or spring
baghda, hatred, strife. bagh, a contest, a fight
ballut, an acorn, also a burying place, a monument bal-laebt, the wall of a grave, a monument


bandla, a cord, a swing, a measure. bamn, suspension.
bandla and bandul, a certain measure used in the south, somewhat more than half a yard, by which coarse linens are sold in the markets under the name  bandal cloth.
bannlamh, a handle, a cubit in measurement.
ban-gham-ml, the son of my uncle. ban is a son, as in the compound.
banscoth, a son-in-law.
banta, is also a niece.
gbamt, an aunt. gean, a woman
ingean, a daughter
berqarqara, or casall bercar cara, in Malta il piu vicino Citta Valetta, i.e. bel antica; berquara Augusta, grande, i.e. antico Augusto Villagio di Malta. barracbas, august, great poweroverplus.

bar-catbar, (cabar) an august city.
bin or ben, a son. ban or bar, as banscoth, son-in-law.
beni te mutba, siglio de la morte. mugbaim, to be put to death.
teadh, to grieve.
bani teadh mugba
bir, a well, a fountain. bior, bir, a fountain, a well.
bua, or bva, to drink. buadh, food, ibba, to drink.
beniet, young women. benne-ette, woman's age.
abu! voce ammirativa! abo! the war cry of the ancient Irishnow a common interjection of admiration.
challa, or chalti, to forsake, to abandon. caillidh, to lose, to destroy.
seala, to separate.
chall, sharp. calg, a prick, a sling.
chafir, to pardon. cabhar, help, assistance, relief.
for, protection, defence


cheles, solution, resolution, determination. ceil, sense, reason; do chur a cceil, to demonstrate.
ciacir, meandring, scattering. cearacadb, wandering, straying.
da fra, tresses, or locks of hair. fraigh, a bush of hair.
daqqo, an act or deed. diaedah, a law.
dar, a house, and improperly written (says our
author) dars,
dars, a habitation; doi, a house; ricgb-dbae, a palace.
dar il binat, a nunnery, for young women. dae or daras na bim, a nunnery. (See the word ben, O'Brien's dictionary.)
dar, dir, desire, will. deoir, will, pleasure. (Lhwyd, at the word voluntas)
deoir dior, a proper inclination.
gbogiol (armentum) a herd of cattle giogail, to follow close, to herd
fart, an ox, bull or cow. foarb, an ox, or cow; mart, the same; og-wart, an
fahbal, a spiteful expression, also derision. fala, spite, malice.
fabbal, a stall fed ox.
Thus we call a libertine fahhal, and to a harlot
we commonly cry,
fail, a stye, a stall; zsfail muice, a pig-stye.
baqa or baqar. baccaire and boccar are terms of reproach in Irish, fully answering the idea of the Punic word.
barra, besides, out of. barr, over and above, besides, the end.
basc, below, at the bottom. bas, the base or bottom.
bahu, to empty, to make void. baibamb, (pronounced bahu) to cancel, to blot out.
bedui, a countryman. bodacb, a rustic, a clown.
beit, a house. baih, boitb, a cottage, hut, or booth.


bet-al, domus Dei. beth-all, domus Dei
bet e lem, domus panis both-lan, domus fatietts.
dem, blood, kindred. daimb, kindred, consanguinity
dor's, fruit. toradb, fruit.
feithb, to open, to discover. feithea, to overlook, attention.
emma, but. amb, but, even, also.
engkarra, imposition. ainchiord, an impostor.
aincheara, imposition.
esma, hear me, hearken. eisd me, hear me, listen to me, more properly eisd liom,
far, over, beyond, to transport from place to place. for, over, beyond; a journey.
farac, mirth, consolation. forc, forca, advice, consolation.
forb, entertainment, hospitality
feig ku, powerful, puissant. feadhmach, potent, powerful,
feadh-cuaith, an extensive country, (dominions.)
filfla, rock in the sea, on the Maltese coast. So called because, formato della nature agguisa di Pape nella forma. feile fla, an arrant bad sovereign, a bad master
fuq, the summit, high above. fa-uacbdar, upon the  summit
gha-dira, standing water, marshy ground, slush. go or ga, the sea; water without passage
ghain, the face, front, the eyes. cainsi, the face or countenance.
ghana, to sing. canadh, ceanadh, (pronounced gana) to sing; do ghan se, he sings.
aghniq, rich, prosperous. aghmbarach, fortunate, prosperous
gh-arma, plenty of corn. armbar, or arbbar, corn
aga-armhar, plenty of corn
gha-qal, sensible, reasonable. ge-ceill, sensible, reasonable


gba-aqqa, a term used to mortify a strumpet. I
believe (says our author) from acca, a famous harlot in our history.
giabhair, a harlot, a strumpet.
aga, addition, an augmentative.
giabhair-aga, a very whore.
ghaz-el, distinction, comprehension ceasa, geasa, to see plainly and distinctly; the Arabic affix el, answers to the Irish prefix con, as ad con-ceas, I distinguished, or saw plainly.
gberq, tyhoides coccineus tuberosus, sea blubber, sea sponge. gearg, a blubber, botch, or bile, any tubulous body.
gbuscia, a place in Malta, but properly a sorcerer,
a conjurer.
gu-fighe, gu a liefighe a demon, a familiar spirit; geasa, sorcery.
gibu, to give, to present. geibhadh, to obtain, to get
leckart, a gift. ti-laca, a gift.
hbabba, corn. arbbar, corn
hhadar, to assist at a wedding. adharadh, to join together.
bbai, to live. beatha, to live.
bbai, life. beatha, life.
bh-alleitu, released, abandoned. dealuighthi, released, divorced, separated
bhami, hot. time, heat, (Lhwyd. vid. Calor.)
hbam ria, reddish earth,
uim, earth; ria, sky; ruadh, red.
uim-rua, red earth.
bbam-riai, an ass, I believe (says our author)
from his dun colour.
aimhreidhe, obstinacy, strife; This word is more analogous to the qualities of this beast
hh-apas, a prison for slaves. adhbhas, a garrison; abas, a great man's house; adhbha, a dungeon.
baqem, a man in power, a captain. acmhuin, potent, able; airgim, to plunder or spoil.


haten, knowledge. aitne, knowledge; aitbni, to know.
hazer, an entrance, or forecourt to a palace. asaidh, to rest, or stop.
bhabar, news, novelty abbra, zfpetohi abar, speak thou
abrann, bad news.
bbaniena, pity, (voca fenicia) anaoidbin, pity, compassion; is anaoidhin dhuit, woe unto thee
iassu, old age iassu, old age
ieqerdu, ruin, destruction eag-ordo, ruinous fragments, (Lhwyd. ad voc. Ruioa.)
ias-cese, shrivelled with age aois-caisiac, wrinkled with old age
i-dein, the hand, the fist dorn, the fist
itqatta, twilled. athcasa, twisted.
itzahbar, to expand athjearradb, to stretch, to expand.
kadin, a prolongation of time calrde, delay; do chur se air cairdi, he prolonged the time
kasar, to bind to a performance caithfidh, must, ought, (oportet) an imperfect compulsive verb
comb-farran, to keep by compulsion
gbana, to sing canadh, to sing
kares, cruel, merciless cruas, rigour
kasma, a gap, a chink, a separation casnadh, split-wood chips
ksim, to divide, to bend casam, to wind, to turn, to bend
ka-vi, strong, valiant, robust cath-shir, warriors
'k-aura, a place in Malta; significa ponente, the west. agiaihar, egiari, in the west
ahbor, Hebrew, asterius, the west


It is to be wished we had the pure Punic names of four cardinal points, as the Irish language differs from all others in this particular; although the manner of expression agrees perfectly with the old Hebraical or scriptural. First, the Hebrew word sanish properly signifies the right hand,18 and Benjamin, i.e. filius dextra, is also written to imply the South19; because the Hebrews in their prayers to God always faced the East, and therefore being considered in that position, their right hand was next to the South. Jamin est mundi Plago Australis, ut qu Orientem aspicientibus, orantium modo dextra est. Dav. Lex. This form is also peculiar to the Irish nation and language, for the word deas properly means the right hand, is nas buidhe or deas Liaimh De, fitting at the right hand of God, and deas is the only word to express the South.

2ndly, The Hebrew word smol, which properly signifies the left hand,20 is used for the same reason to imply the North21 and is the same in Irish for thuaidh is properly the left hand, as tuathallach a left-handed or undextrous man, is the only proper word, viz. tuath and tuc, to point out the North.

3rdly. The Hebrew word achor, which properly signifies behind,22 is commonly used to imply the West,23 and the Irish word iar signifying behind or after, is the proper word to express the West.


Fourthly, The Hebrew word cedem, which naturally means before, or the fore part24 is used to signify the East.25 In the same manner the Irish words oir and oirthear, whence the Latin oriens ant ortus, are the proper words in this language to signify the East or the rising Sun, and this word oirthear also signifies the beginning or fore part, iarthar also means the end or hindmost part of any thingas in this example, O oirthear go hiathar a anise, from the beginning to the end of his age.

The Irish still retain one of the Phoenician of the cardinal points, viz. badhb, which the dictionary writers translate the North, but it is evident the Chaldean and Phoenician badh, i.e. posterius, implying the West.

Punica Maltese Irish.
k-scuir, to separate the husk from the grainchaff, also bran caith, chaff; scaradh, separation
leill, the night. daille, the night. (Lhwyd. Nox.)
tuguria, casa rustica, a vile, a wretched hut, a cabin teagh, a house; uir, mould, clay.
teagh-uire, a house of clay
mirgiarr, or megiarr, two places in Malta, so called because near the sea-shore muir-giarr, close to the sea
mieta, a certain tax on any vendible commodity.
The word is totally Punic, and has been used time immemorial by the Punic people of Sicily, Malta and Gozo.
measta, taxed; it is used in that sense in all the old
Irish law books, and in the new testament, Luke,
ch. it. v. 1. an dambam vite da mheas.


mar-amma, a country edifice. mur-amogh, a building or dwelling in the plains or country.
sena & snin (parola Fenici) the seasons, a year.
sama, the heavens, (voce Punica).
sion, the weather, the seasons
soinine, the seasons
samb, the sun.
sebm, a portion, a share seimb, a small portion, single.
sciebh, un ussizio decoroso, con cui si gloriano i litterati, signiori, principi e governadori delle Citta. sgeith, chosen, selected.
sci, scia, to beautify, to adorn.
sara, to combat, to fight. saragha, conquest, victory.
sarugha, to overcome, to rescue,
sillura, an eel. siliou, (Armorice) eels.
sabhia, wasted, destroyed. sachad, to fade, to destroy
sagbaidbthe, destroyed.
lembi, a vessel for working or stamping dough with the feet. leim, leaping, jumping, stamping; bi, bia, food.
levi & luvi, to bend, or wring. lubba, to bend, or twist.
liti, grand procession. lith, solemn pomp; laith, a crowd.
loqma, a bit of bread, a morsel loghda, an allowance.
marbat, (anello, a ring) Voce de Fenici, di cui il
Salmasio, e Boceardo, parlano presso il Majo da
cui nacque marbut legato. Erbit, legare (to bind)
norbtu ligamo.
mear, a finger, and beart, an ornament or clothing; as cois-bheart, worn on the legs, i.e. stockings; ceann-bheart, worn on the head, i.e. a hat; these compounds are very common in the Irish; so mear-bheart, worn on the finger, i.e. a ring.


ma-tra, e difficile ritrovare un termine proprio ad esprimare quessta voce, ma piuttesto per abbeliimento di chi e dilletante della propria favella, ne altro significa, se non sie, if so, say you so? ma ta, if so; mar ata, if so,
ma ta raidh, if so said.
mature, soon, speedily.
ma-trath, if in due time.
ma-atraidh, if he said.
medd, magnitude, prolongation. meid, bigness, magnitude,
meri, to contradict, to thwart. mearaigh, to mistake, to err.
meut, death. miatb, decay, (death)
mut, il Majo scrive muto, nomine consecravit mor-
tuum, cum Phoenices mortem & Plutonem vocat.
mudha, dying, perishing.
meathadh, to die.
mudha, mutba, dying.
ml-alet, a ball of wool. mol-alla, (Munster dialect) combed wool, made up in a ball.
mnaria, festivata di S. Petro e Paolo apostoli, il suo
significato multo differisce dall sua etimologia.
Minar che presso i Turchi, sono quelle torri
altissume, attacate alle loro Moschee, illuminate nelle feste principali del loro falsopropheto Maometta, e Mnaria vuol dire illmninazone, sacendosi da per tut to in questo giorno de' Santi Aposloli, donde nacque mnara la lucerna, che
e il candellire dell bassa gente.
moighsmear is a word in the Bearla fene or Phoenician dialect of the Irish, not yet explained in any dictionary. Dr. O'Brien translates moigheanear sear do chonaire an la so, Happy is the man that saw this day. It therefore means festivity, happiness; rejoicing, and answers to the Maltese mnaria.
n'asciar, to cut off, to exclude. ascaradh, separation.
eiscidh, to lop off, to exclude. Exam, eiscis agcienna dhioh, i.e. their heads shall be cut off.


ech, a nun. ogh, a maid, a virgin.
iaschar, good tidings ba-scial, good tidings.
sacarbbuig, a confession.
casid, cased, holy, undefiled. cast, undefiled, chaste.
q'al, speech. agall, speech.
qala, the bread, the bosom. gaile, the stomach.
qala, the sail of a ship.
N.B. This is the Carthaginian name of those ships
moved by wind only, to distinguish them from
ships of war, worked both by wind and oars.
gul, a gale of wind
qarab, an approaching. gara, near, at hand.
gar-ab, not close.
qatta, a stick, club, or spear.
Voce de Fenice.
gath, a spear or javelin.
qaber & cabir, a grandee, a nobleman. cairbre, the name of several Irish princes; so also Charibirt, one of the kings of France. Cairbre also signifies a territory.
q'elp, hounds. cu-calba, a pack of hounds, i.e. hounds in herd, or drove.
q'uqqu, eggs ugh, an egg; orca, eggs.
ra, fight. abbra (avra) rombra; radharc, fight.
rabba, plenty, encrease. rabbac, fruitful, plentiful.
ras, a headland, a promontory. itros, a headland; ross has the same meaning.
riebh, wind. aireabh, wind. (Lhwyd. Ventus)
r'aqha, a cavalcade. This is a compound of the Irish eac, a horse, a word still used at Constantinople; ar-eic, upon horses.
sabaq, strong, valiant. sab & sabag, able, strong.
sassaq, serene. suvac, serene, calm, mild.
sassaq, observing, careful, frugal. sabballach, careful, sparing.


It is evident, that in this catalogue of words given by Agius, as Punic, many are purely Arabic, and some are Hebrew. The difference in orthography between these Maltese words and the Irish words corresponding thereto is easily accounted for; the Maltese use the Arabic character, and the difficulty the author found in transcribing them into the Roman letter, has already been shown in his own words. The author of this essay has frequently conversed with the various nations of the Mediterranean Sea, particularly with the Africans, and from his own experience can testify that every nation of Europe would differ in the orthography of the same word, particularly in the guttural and aspirated consonants; the Irish would be the most similar to the original African dialect. Quintilian observes in his time they were much embarrassed how to transcribe the ancient Latin, having lost the power of several letters, and Claudius and Origen say the same.


THE knowledge we have of the Carthaginian manner of worship, is derived from the Greek and Roman writers26 who have affixed the names of their own Gods to those of the Carthaginians. This has rendered their accounts and observations on this head more imperfect and less valuable.


It is therefore impossible to come to an exact knowledge of the Carthaginian Gods from what is delivered of them by the Greek and Roman authors.

The chief Deity of the Carthaginians was Baal, Beal or Bel, the Sun, to whom they offered human sacrifices. The chief Deity of the Heathen Irish was Beal the Sun, to whom also they offered human sacrifices. The Irish swore by the Sun, Moon, Stars, and the Wind: "Omnes, qui inciderint, adjuro per sicrum Solis circulum, in sequales Lumae cursus, reliquorumque siderum vires et signiserum circulum, ut in reconditis hc habeant, nec indoctis aut profanis communicent, sed prceptoris memores sunt eique honorem retribuant. Dii jam dicti sancte jurantibus dent qu velint; pejerantibus  contraria." Astrologus autem hic Vettius Valens est Antiochenus et in proemio. Lib. 7. inseruit. Selden. de Dis Syr.27

The sacrifice of beasts was at length substituted among the Carthaginians, the same custom we learn from the ancient Irish historians, prevailed in this country. The month of May is to this day named Mi Beal teine, i.e. the month of Beal's fire; and the first day of May is called la Beal temne, i.e. the day of Beal's fire. These fires were lighted on the summits of hills, in honour of the Sun; many hills  in Ireland still retain the name of Cnoc-greme, the hill of the Sun; and on all these are to be seen the ruins of druidical altars. On that day the druids drove all the cattle through fires, to preserve them from disorders the ensuing [p.276] year; this pagan custom is still observed in Munster and Connaught, where the meanest cottager worth a cow and a whisp of straw practises the same on the first day of May, and with the fame superstitious ideas. The third day of May is also at this day named treas lasamh-ra, or the third day of the Sun's quarter. On this day each bride married within the year makes up a large ball covered with gold or silver tissue, (in resemblance of the Deity) and presents it to the young married men of the neighbourhood, who previously made a circular garland of hay (to represent the zodiac) come to the bride to fetch this representation of that planet. To such a pitch is this superstitious ceremony carried, I have known in the county of Waterford a ball cost a poor peasant two guineas. The old Irish name of the year, is Bealaine, now corrupt into Bliadhain, i.e. the circle of Belus, or of the Sun.

The Carthaginians did not represent Beal, as they had him before their eyes daily in all his glory; they made their addresses immediately to him according to the ancient rite. No idol of Beal is ever mentioned by the ancient Irish historians, or was any ever found since Christianity was introduced. Had they represented their chief Deity by any image, St. Patrick would have taken particular notice of it. Bal in the Punic language signified power, knowledge; bale in Irish signifies the same; and bal is a man of erudition.

Baal-samhain was another Punic appellative of his Deity; Beal-samhain in Irish signifies Beal the planet of the Sun; for an is a planet, and samh is [p.277] the Sun; thus we say lu-an the Moon, i.e. the small planet, re-an, a liar; and samhra is Irish for summer, i.e. the Sun's quarter; so also dia-ra daily, &c. the word ra signifying a quarter or division of time.

Sam-min, vel la samhmim, vel samhain, la samhim, la samhain, is also to this time the name of the first day of November or All-hallow-tide, the vigil of which is called oidche shamhna agreeable to the idiom of the language, and corruptly ee owna. On what day this festival of the Sun was observed is not noticed, but at the change of the heathen to the Christian kalendar was judiciously fixed at the eve of All Souls.

Samh, as I have already shown, is the Sun, and Meni is an appellative of the same Deity: "But ye are they that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Gad, and that furnish the drink-offering unto Meni."28 The Seventy translate this [Greek] which passage St. Jerom has fully explained to have been mistaken by the Seventy, and it should have been "Parentes fortune (Gad) mensam; et implentes daemoni (Meni) mixtam potionem;" for as St. Jerom and several others agree, gad signifies fortune, or rather good fortune, and in this sense it is used in the 30th chap. Genesis, v. 11. and is further confirmed by Selden in his Dis Syris. Here then is a full confirmation of the origin of the Irish cad-druidhead or necromancy, handed down to us by the custom still retained of burning [p.278] nuts and shells to tell fortunes on this evening, and of the apples and libations of ale (to Meni) joined to the ceremony of the same evening.

Origen in his commentaries on St John, rebuked the Jews for the worship they paid to [Greek] and to Meni and to the Moon. Meni therefore is manifestly the Sun. The word meni which produces the Greek [Greek] comes from the Hebrew root מנת men, which signifies to number; and because the motion of the Sun serves to measure time, the Syrians added this appellative to Samh, and because the Moon serves us for the same purpose, the Greeks called her also [Greek]; hence also the Egyptians gave the name Meni to their God Orus (which was the Sun) hence also the Greek [Greek], and the Latin menses, and the English months, i.e. the space of time measured by Mentor the Sun, and from the same root comes the olick [Greek] from whence the Latin manes which were the Genii, according to Servius. Manes genios dicit, quos cum vita fortimur.29

Those passages in Jeremiah,30 where he complains so bitterly against the superstition of the Jews, of making cakes for the queen of Heaven, &c. bear a great affinity with this of Isaiah.

Camden gives us several ancient inscriptions of altars, found in England, dedicated to Belus; no such inscriptions or idols have ever been found in this island, several mountains retain his name, Sliabh Bal'teinne, i.e. the mountain of Baal's fire, and some towns hand down to us the scite of [p.279] his temples, as Bal-ti-mm'e, i.e. the great house of Belus, Bal-ti-mhglaie (Baltinglass), the house of Belus' necromancy, &c., &c. Semiram in Belo sanum in arce Babylon condidiisse his verbis scribit Perigetes [Greek], id est magnam domum extruxit Belo. Selden, pag. 164.

But the pagan customs of the common people still retained in the country, are the most valuable monuments of antiquity.

Now as the ancients at this festival did eat the sacrifices of the dead, to use the psalmist's words, where could the primitive Christians have fixed this day in properly as on the eve of All Souls?

Ut mittam nunc Irlandos seu incolas Hibern, qui, referente audlore de l'utibus imperiorum de Hybernia, p. 44, se mettent a genoux en voyant a Lune nouvelle et disent en parlant a Lune, go faga tu me mur tu fuaras melaisse nous ausi sains que tu nous as trouveita nos salvos degere finas, ficuti nos invenisti, &c. Vid. de l'Estat du Roy d'Espagne, p. 236, ubi dicitur quod, plusieurs adoront le Soleil et la Lune, recognoisans toute fois un feul Dieu, Createur de toutes chose, &c.31

This custom is still preserved, and every peasant in Ireland on seeing the new Moon crosses himself and says, flan fuar tu fin agus flan adfaga tu fin, whole you find us and whole leave us.

Most of the ancient places of druidical worship in Ireland retain the name of the God Baal, and Magh-dhair or the field of worship; as Glan-magh-adhair, [p.280] now Glan-mire, four miles north of Cork, and near the same place is Beal-atha-magh-adhair, i.e. the plain of Baal's field of worship, where the druidical altar yet remains. See O'Brien's dictionary at the word magh. Several places also retain the name of the Moon, or places allocated to the particular worship of that planet; as Atha-luan, Athlone; Lough-Re, a part of the river Shannon not far distant, and a town of the same name at the side of a lough in the county of Galway.

Grian, the name of the Sun in Irish, was latinised into Grynus, which was a classical epithet of Apollo; and in Camden we meet with an inscription apollini granno. It is true this had been set up by a Roman, but this might have been done in compliment to the tutelar deity of the nation he governed. This epithet of Grynus for Apollo we find in Virgil:32

His tibi Gryni nemoris dicatur origo.
Ne quis fit lucus, qua se plus jactet Apollo.


Sed nunc Italiam magnam Grynus Apollo
Italiam Lyci jussere capessere fortes:
Hic amor, hc patria est.

Grynium, says Strabo, was a town in olia, where was a temple of Apollo and an Oracle. And the Greeks being ignorant of the Celtic derivation of Grynus, have formed according to their custom, a fabulous history for Grynus, that he was the Sun, Eupophorinus, &c.


Veteri sane inscripto saxo et apud Conferanosin Novempopulonia reperto ita legitur


Haut cuiquam constaret opinor, quid aliud Bensama hic denotet. Minerv autem, Junonis, Veneris, Lun nomina sunt ita, cum ad Asiaticos Deos respexcris, confusa, ut qui Minervam Belisamam, Junonum Belisimam, Venerem aut Lunani dixerit, idem semper ipsum dixerit. An Littori Britanni occidentalioris (Lancaihenfem agnim dico) aesturium illud Ptoleinaeo dictum, ab banc Dea apud vicinos culta, sic suerit nuncupatum, cogitent quorum interest.

Apollo was the principal God of the pagan Irish, and from the harp's being sacred to him we may discern the reason why that instrument is the ensign armorial of Ireland.

Diodorus Siculus gives an account of a northern island, about the bigness of Sicily, situated over against the Celt, as being fruitful and pleasant, and dedicated to Apollo, to whom round temples and large groves were sacred, wherein the priests chaunted to their harps the praises of their God. Every particular of this is very applicable to Ireland.

The last Sunday of the summer quarter is called by the Irish domhna crom, and is observed with several druidical superstitions to this day. Some have thought crom was a pagan deity, but we shall prove that it was another day consecrated to a particular [p.282] worship, and to the punishment of the guilty, by the sentence and execution of the druids. Crom in the modern Irish, implies bending or bowing the body; he bowed down to the idol. Chrom, in the Bohemian language, signifies a temple, church, or place of worship. Crom-liag or crom-leac, is the name given by all Celtic nations to the druidical altars, yet remaining in many places in Ireland, Scotland, and England; we also find cromthear the old Irish name for a priest, perhaps particularly from his office on the day; the root of this word in all the eastern dialects implies worship. In Arabic כום reverere, honorare. So in Matthew xv. v. 4, it is the word used to denote reverence and honour to your parents. In the Talmudish it implies a synagogue, gymnasium, school; see Schindler. Cremlith, in the Chaldaic, implies a public place of worship, the sanctum sanctorum, which the common people were not to approach. Locus communis et publicus fed inaccessus, qui publice transiri, vel non solet, vel non potest. Buxtorf. And this I take to be the origin of the Irish crom-liag and crom-leac, from luch, a table of stone; cherem luch, a consecrated stone; hence lac and laac, in old Saxon is a sacrifice. But cherem, in the Hebrew, Chaldaic and Arabic, signifies anathemati subjicerti Deo dicare, morti adducere, excommunicare; and this day I fancy is in remembrance of the annual excommunication and punishment of the people by the druids, from whence many have conjectured they offered human sacrifices. In old manuscripts we find frequent mention of the crom-crua, or bloody [p.283] crom, (from cru, blood) so called from the punishment inflicted on this day. This was also practised by the antient Jews, as we learn from Relandus, p. 117. (but query, at what season of the year?) "decernebat hoc Synedrium de rebus majoris momenti tam politicis quam sacris, privatis quam publicis, et pnas capitales reis irrogatas, hc autem quatuor fuere apud Judaeos, lapidatio, combustio, decollatio et stranguiatio, et excommunicatio, cujus species  levior etiam dicta fuit, gravior cherem.

The pagan Irish were strangers to any other idolatrous worship, than what their ancestors brought from the Assyrians, namely, that of the Sun, Moon, and Stars; all were included in the general name [A.-S.] or [A.-S.], which to this day is the appellation of the starry constellations; and this word explains that passage in the second book of Kings, v. 18. "In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon," &c. This Rimmon was certainly a Syrian idol say some, but Mr. Hutchinson very cleverly conjectures that it collectively expresses the fixt Stars; but all others before him have been much at a loss, as the word in Hebrew Rimmon signifies a pomegranate, both fruit and tree, which name I conjecture was given that fruit from the beautiful star formed on the top, like the apex of an apple. The [A.-S.] or Northern bear seems to have been the peculiar worship of the pagan Irish; when the Fomorii or Phoenicians landed in Ireland [p.284] they sacrificed to the Stars which had guided them; these could be no other than those of the North pole, viz. [A.-S.]; hence the word [A.-S.] signifies an offering and the North; and it appears as if the word [A.-S.] was also derived from the Hebrew chataa, sacrificium; see Ezra, xlv. 23. which was added cam, to bow, bend or adore. Although I have applied this to the North pole it is certain an orientalist would apply the Hebrew Chama Chataa to signify literally the sacrifice of the Sun, for, as I noticed, in the preceding page Chama is Sol. This is again fully explained by St. Stephen in his argument with the Jews, (mentioned by St. Luke) to be the God Rimmon, I have already described. See Acts of the Apost. vii. 43. "Yea, ye took up the tabernacle Moloch, and the Star of your God Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them." It is evidently no more than the tabernacle of the Stars and Planets; for molc or moloc in Irish signifies of which they worshipped as a type of the Sun, Remphan or Remman signified the inferior plan. Again, this Remphan is called Kiun by Amos v. 26. "You have borne the tabernacle of thy God Moloch and Kiun, your images, and star of your Gods whom ye have made." Rimmon was the Syrian name, and Remphan and Kiun the name given to the same deity by Moabites. This passage has put the interpreters on the rack, because of the difference between Hebrew text and that of the Septuagint. St. Jerome explains this to be Lucifer or Saturn only. [Selden, Grotius and Thomassin.] Now Kiun, or as the [p.285] Persians name it, Kaivan, is the name of the planet Saturn, because he has many satellites to light him, and his belt also is composed of many more; now Kaivan is the same as the Iberno-Celtic [A.-S.] or caivan, signifying a throng or cluster, and is this day used for a rout or throng of people, and therefore applicable to the Deity they worshipped under the name of Rimmon, Rinnim, Rempham and Kuin, that is, the heavenly host together; all of which returns us again to Baal, Belus, and Rimmin.

The Irish druids caused all fires to be extinguished throughout the kingdom on the eve of May day, and every house was obliged to light this fire from the arch-druid's holy fire, kindled on some elevated place, for which they paid a tribute to the Druid. This exactly corresponds with Dr. Hyde's description of the Parsi or Guebri, descendants of the ancient Persians, who have, says he, an annual fire in the temple, from whence they kindle all the fires in their houses, which are previously extinguished, which makes a part of the revenues of their priests; and this was undoubtedly the use of the round towers, so frequently to be met with in Ireland, and which were certainly of Phoenician construction.

I will here hazard a conjecture. I find gadul to signify magnus; I find also that the oriental nations at length so named the tower of Babylon, &c. nagudaluth, turres ab amplitudine dict. Bochart. 42. Geog. Sacr. Gad, i.e. gadul turris; may not our Irish name cloghad for the round towers built in Ireland, which apparently were of Phoenician workmanship, be derived from this word [p.286] gad, and clogh a stone. It must be allowed that clug is a bell, and hence these towers have been thought to have been belfries; but we have many places called clogh, i.e. saxum.

Again, the druids called every place of worship cloghad, alluding to the circles of stones they usually let up in those places, there is therefore no positive authority to say these cloghads or towers were used as belfries only, or that they took their name from that use.

There are many reasons which induce me to believe, that the druids of the British islands maintained their religion in its purity, much longer than those upon the continent. They all of them have retained so much of the original doctrine, as making them to distinguish their errors, and enabled them to see the great conformity there was between their ancient tenets and the precepts of the gospels which they universally entertained. They believed the Deity to be infinite and omnipresent, thought it ridiculous to imagine, that he whom Heaven of Heavens cannot contain, should be circumscribed within the narrow limits of a roof; and for the perpetual establishment and support of the seventh day, they were wont to dedicate a tenth of all their substance.34

Again. The chiefs of their respective families were their priests and princes, yet all acknowledge one superior in the sacred office. Hence in Phoenician and Hebrew koken is a priest, and in Irish conac is a lord, ac being an adjunct termina- [p.287] tion in the Celtic, con-ac lordly, by the Irish poets written codhun-ac.

Clum, Col was the most antient of the Gods, and had for one of his children Time named Saturn. It is no hard thing to guess why Clum is said to be the first of the Gods, and the father of Saturn or Chronus, since it is evident that the motions of the Heavens make and measure the duration of time; cal, all, perfect; כליל an holocaust, a sacrifice.

Chronus, according to some, was another name of Beal, but we will show hereafter that Chronus was an appellative of Saturn. Chron signifies in Irish time, and Chronig a circle, i.e. the orbit of the Sun.

"Here, say the authors of the Universal History, we have three Baals, who are said to have been once mortal men; which might fairly induce one to think, that the learned are mistaken in supposing the Phoenician God Baal in general to be the Sun." It is evident from the foregoing explanation, that they were only different appellatives significant of the same God, the Sun.

Baal, Bal, Beel, Bel, "San Hieronymo junta dellos mucho, i de su origen, i aviendd del Rei Belo, i su historia prosigue. Quam Belus, primus Rex Assyriorum, ut supra diximus: Quos constat Saturnum, quem et Solem dicunt, Junonemque coluisse: quae numina etiam apud Afros postea culta sunt. Unde et lingua Punica Bal, deus dicitur. Apud Assyrios autem Bel dicitur quadam sacrolum ratione et Saturnus et Sol."


The chief if not the only deities of the heathen Irish were [A.-S.]. Col, and [A.-S.], which signifies the Sun, Moon and Stars; though it appears that they worshipped the Wind also; for to swear by the Wind was a common oath. [A.-S.] is to this day Irish for the Sun, and [A.-S.] for the Bear or Seven Stars which roll about the Pole; this word is Phoenician and is derived from cimah (Pleiades, the Seven Stars) and cocabh (Stella also Mercurius) plur. cocauth, also Cham, Sol, the Sun. Scindler, p. 827.

To those who do not trace the origin of the antient Celtes and their language from the Orientals it is matter of wonder how the worship of Bel should be known to the Iberno-Celts or Irish. The name of Beal or Baal which signifies dominus or dominator, was first the name of the true God; and after the Assyrians, Chaldaeans and Phoenicians had conveyed this sacred name to the Sun, whom they adored as their chief deity, the Lord commanded the people of Israel to call him no more Baal, as in Hosea, ch. ii. v. 16. "And it shall be in that day, that thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali." So also they called the Moon aschera, i.e. regina Cli: "et ut Sol respectu Lun Baal dicitur, quod respectut Lun fit instar domini, qui de suo decore et splendore uxori suae communicat; fie etiam Luna vocatur, Aschera, quod nomen est faeminini generis quasi ilia sit faemina Solis, quia illius desiderio tenetur. Hibernice Easca, vel Easga et Re." Bal mhaiih art and Bal dhia dhuit, the good Bal and the God Bal [p.289] to you," are to this day common salutations in Munster, and particularly about Waterford.

Hercules was the protector of Tyre and Carthage; Alfricus and Eusebius prove his Carthaginian name was Archles, i.e. say they, strong, robust. Bochart35 derives his name from the Hebrew word ercol sinewy. Aichilll in Irish signifies strong, robust; and hence Achilles. Thus also with us aicillidhe means an active, dextrous man. May we not conjecture that our great western promontory Aichil, and the islands of Aichil, were the Herculis promontorium of the Phoenicians. Pliny36 calls Hercules Midacritus, but his Phoenician name was Archles; he was indeed named Mil-car-thus at Carthage, as being the peculiar Deity and protector of that city.37 He was a great navigator, and the first that brought lead from the Cassiterides or British lands; he was called Melec-cartha, i.e. king of the city, says Bochart: Mil-caihair in Irish, is the champion of the city. Pliny38 calls him correctly Midacritus. Sir Isaac Newton rejects this notion, and derives his name from his having been a founder of Carteia in Spain, but Hesychius says the Amathusians called Hercules by the name of Malic.

Next to Hercules was Jol-aus. Vossius and Pausanias describe the ceremonies paid to this Deity. The Carthaginians supposed him nearly related to Hercules; that he helped to destroy the Hydra, and that he was called Jol-aus, because when he had lived to a very great age, he was changed into a [p.290] youth. Jol in Irish is to change, and aos is age, the compound makes Jol-aos.

Aesculapius or Aisculapius was the God of physical knowledge; his temple was built on a high rock, where all his healing miracles were performed, and from thence he took his name. Aisci in Irish is to heal, and scealp is a rock. Servius calls him also Poeni-gena, because, says he, was born of a Carthaginian woman; Poeni-geme, in Irish, is the offspring of a Carthaginian.

Syria or Dea Syri were Gods not described by any author with certainty; probably they were the sea-nymphs, for fuire is Irish for sea-nymphs. Keating in his antient history of Ireland, describes the fuire playing round the ships of the Milesians in their passage to Ireland.

Ceres or Keres was worshipped as the Moon. Ceo in Irish signifies clouds, vapours; and Re is the Moon, which compounded forms Ceore. She was also named Ceolestis and Keolectis and was invoked in droughts in order to obtain rain: "ipsa virgo Clestis pluviarum pollicitatrix." Tertullian.39 Ceo-leis-teisi, in Irish, signifies dropping, mists, or rain. Mr. Rollin thinks this Deity was the same Queen of Heaven, to whom the Jewish women burnt incense, poured out drink-offerings, and made cakes for her with their own hands, ut faciant placentas regin Cli. The children gathered the wood, the fathers kindled the fire, and the women kneaded the dough, to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven. Jeremiah, vii. 18. This pagan custom is still preserved in Ireland on the eve of St. Bridget [p.291] which was probably transposed to St Bridget's, from the festival of a famed poetess of the same name, in the time of paganism. In an antient glossary now before me, she is thus described: Brighid ban shilladh inghean an Dagha; bean dhe Eirinni, i.e. Brigit a poetess, the daughter of Dagha; a goddess of Ireland. On St. Bridget's eve every farmer's wife in Ireland makes a cake called bairin-breac, the neighbours are invited, the madder of ale and the pipe go round, and the evening concludes with mirth and festivity.

Tellus, the earth, was also worshipped by the Carthaginians. Tellur, tella, telamh is Irish for earth.

Uranus was their God over land and water. Uir in Irish is land, and water. "Uiran, Urani minet (Diodorus) tanquam urbes Carpasise vicin, cujus fabul vestigia alibi non reperi." Bochart.40

They worshipped the Moon under the name of Ashtoreth and the women gave up their bodies to men in her temples for hire; astieoreacht in Irish is treachery, lewd, lascivious pranks. Ashtoreth or Astarte, says Bochart, "eadem qu Io mutata in bovem, et mater Phoenicium; tamen Ashtoreth vulgo pro Venere fumitur. asterach, ere libidine, Rom. i. 17. i Pet. iv. 4. Veneris sponsalis aqua sestrachus amabilis, pro legerim. Vid. Bochart.41

At Byblos Ashtoreth was worshipped in a temple as the Venus of Adonis, and there such women as [p.292] would not conform to the shaving their heads, at the annual time of lamenting Adonis, were bound to prostitute their bodies one intire day for hire, and the money thus earned was presented to the Goddess. Adonis, Osiris, and Adonosiris or Thamutz, all centre in one object, and Isis had a temple at Byblos where they worshipped the heath which concealed Osiris's coffin: this Byblian Isis, say the authors of the Universal History, must have been Astarte or Ashtoreth. "Inde, says Selden,42 Alagabalus (quern Heliogabalum etiam depravati veteres efferebant, nos Alagabalum magis dicendum fuisse in capite de Belo adstruimus) nimirum Sol ipse Pyramidis specie colebatur Syris; Venus pil seu quadrati saxi Arabibus, uti etiam Paphius alibique et septem column eredt sunt ritu prisco apud Laconas telle Pausania (erantium stellarum signa).Prophet ejus "a mane usque ad meridiem invocavarunt nomen Baal, dicentes, O Baal exaudi nos." Mos. Egyp. More. Neboch. 1. i. c. 58.43 So we end as we begun with Baalim and Astoreth.

"Illos tummodo Syros jam vocamus Deoscujus modi agnoscas licet Belum seu Baalim, Astartem sive Ashtaroth, Dagon, Dammutz, &c."44

"And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim and Ashtaroth and the Gods of Syria, and the Gods of Zidon," &c. Judg. x. 6.

Saturn was the God of bread-corn, because she taught men to till the earth: He is often represented on Punic medals by an ear of wheat: He was also [p.293] called Chronus, though some, as we have before observed, think Chronus and Baal were the same. Sat, in Irish, is abundance, and aran is bread, rhidi compounded makes Satharm.

The God Neptune, say the authors of the Universal History, was the Punic Scyphus, from scyph a rock: I think these learned authors mistaken, for we have already proved scealp was Punice a rock; not scib is Irish for a ship, and Neptune was the god of the sea, but the name Neptune is plainly derived from the Irish Nimh a Deity, and ton the waves of the sea.

Mercury is represented as a swift messenger of the Gods, and being an humble servant of theirs, says Bochart,45 was called by the Carthaginians Assumes. Assumhal, in Irish, is very humble, most humble, but the olic name Mercury is derived from three Irish words, viz. Mer active, cu a grey-hound, and ri running. May not this be the reason that he was sometimes represented with a Dog's head? Rowland46 says he was so called from marc a horse, and ri running.

They had a certain God of antiquity named P'atas, called by the Greeks Pataci and Patakoi the etymon of which words have confused many of the learned.

Some, from the ignorance of the Grecian authors, have thought it was an ape, from the affinity of the Greek word pithekos an ape. Monsieur Morin, agrees with Scaliger, and both think it should be read Fatas, the letter P with an hiatus [p.294] being equal to F; they therefore ascribe this divinity to Vulcan, the supreme Deity of the Egyptians, remarkable for his skill and knowledge. Fathas in Irish signifies skill, knowledge, and also divine poetry. But M. Bullet very justly derives Patakoi from the Celtic pat, vel vat, vel bad, a boat, a skiff; to which may he added that oichi signifies champions; and thence Bad-oichi or Patakoi signify main champions or skilful mariners.

Hesychius and Suidas will have these Pateci, have been placed in the poops of the ship, and Herodotus compares them to pygmies: if they were the tutelar Gods of seafaring men, and carried about for protection from disasters at sea, the custom seems to be still preserved by the Spaniards who at this day carry to sea with them little images of their saints, that they may stand their friends in distress; these are Christian Pataeci: why should we wonder at the Carthaginians or Phoenicians?

They suspended certain stones to their necks called btyli, as preservatives of the body against danger. Bith Irish for life, uile all, whole compleat; bithuile: "These stones," says Bochart, "were also called abdir, probably from aband or ebendus, Hebrew words for a round stone;" ab a priest in Irish and dior the law; so that I should translate it as something worn by the law of the priests, (if Bochart be right.) Dorn means in Irish a round stone, and abdorn would mean, the round stone of the priests.

The bishop of Cork, in his letter47 to the Royal Society in London, has strangely confused [p.295] Baitulia with the Beth-al in his description of the druidical monuments in Ireland. We have already shown that Beith-al, both in Hebrew and Irish, signifies the House of God; the bishop therefore thinks it was one of these monstrous unhewn stones hung forming the druidical temples, which Rhea gave to Saturn to swallow instead of a child, because it was called by the Greeks baitulos. Hesychius is also as much mistaken in the etymon of the btyli which he says was covered with a woollen garment, from the Greek word baite.

But St. Austin says, the Carthaginian Deities in general were called abdire, and the priests who assisted at their sacrifices euc-adire: now ab in Irish expresses a Deity also, and adhra is to worship: thus abadhra the worship of the Deity; so eugadh is to die in Irish, and eugadhra means to die in the sacrifice, or worship.

Titan, says Pezron, was the olic name of the Sun, and signifies fire and water; it is true, tith or teth is heat in Irish, and an is water, but we have already explained, that an in the Irish and Punic signifies a planet, so Tuhan or Tethan is the planet of heat; thus also greadh is to scorch, and greadhan or gri-an is the Irish common appellative for the Sun, i.e. the scorching Planet. The fire of the stars seems to have been honoured in the person of Jupiter, called in Greek Zeus and in Phoenician Cham, both names being derived from heat and fire.48


Ioh-pater Jupiter, was esteemed the father of all fruits; ioh is Irish for the fruit of beast, plant, or tree, and p, ashair, i.e. priomh athair, first, or chief father. The Etruscan name of Jupiter was [A.-S.], (iupter) i.e. iu-primus atar, and thus primus atar was contracted to p. atar, all from the Phoenician priomh athair, first father; hence the Greek pater, and pateros; Lat. pater; Bisc. aita, Gothic atta; Thessal. atta; Persic, padder, &c.

It is plain (says Adrian Reland de nomine Jehovah, Utrecht 1707) that the Latins formed the name of their God Jupiter, whom they called Jovis, from the name Jehovah or Jehovih.

It however is very uncertain, whether or no the Latins borrowed their Jovis of the Hebrew; since Varro derives it from the Latin verb juvare, to help or assist.49

The pagan Irish never admitted the modern Deities of the Greeks or Romans into their worship; even to the days of St. Patrick their worship was pure Assyrian, and consisted of the heavenly host alone, as I have observed elsewhere.

Curetes were the keepers of Jupiter, remarkable for valour, as well as for skill in astronomy: curaithe in Irish is champions. Thus olus the God of the winds was so called from his knowledge in astronomy and the winds; in Irish gaoith is the wind, and eolas knowledge, hence gaoth-eolas into aeolus. "Memori tradidit Isacius, aeolum hominem fuisse astronomie peritiisimum, et illam scientiam praecipue exercuisse qu pertinet ad naturam ventorum, ut prodesset [p.297] navigantibus. Praedicebat igitur ..... et qu mari futura esset tempestas.50 Bochart thinks the derivation of this name is from the Hebrew aol, vel gaaol, tempestas. Indeed the Celti never had these Greek and Roman Deities, for they were deified from the Celtic fables by the Greeks; I mean most of them, for as we learn from the Stoic Cornutus or Phurnutus they borrowed from various nations, [Greek], cap. 17. i.e. among the many and various fables which the ancient Greeks had about the Gods, some were derived from Mages, some from Egyptians, some from the Celti or Gauls, and others from the Africans and Phrygians, &c. Will not this stop the laughter of the classic gentry, at my deriving the names of Apollo, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, &c. from the Celtic, whose virtues and powers are not to be explained in the composition of their names in any other language.

Venus is derived from bean or bhean, pronounced van, or vean a woman. But to return to the Carthaginians.

Phiditia or fidites were public feasts at Carthage, where the elders instructed their youths. Irish fidir, fithir, and feathair, a teacher or doctor, and fiadhaithe, relating, telling, instructing, as fiadhaid a bhas, they relate his death.

Bad or badhb, the wind, and some think particularly the North wind; it is also said to be a bean- [p.298] sighe, or familiar spirit, which is supposed to belong to particular families: this word appears to be an Asiatic root, for in the present Persic language bad is not only wind, but also the name of the genius or deity, who, like the olus of the Greeks, presides over winds; he has the superintendance of the 22d day of the month, which is consecrated to the spirit and called by his name.51

The supreme magistrates of Carthage were called sossites,52 because men in great power; sosar in Irish is powerful, strong, valiant, plural sosaraith. They are called sossites, says Selden53, from the Hebrew soussitem, judices sonat. So in compound Irish words signifies an aptness, or facility in doing, also excellency, thus so-sither means most capable of teaching, or governing, and is most applicable to the supreme magistrate.

Barach. "S. Hieronymo en la vida de S. Haliarion dize, que los Saracenos salian a encontrar a sancto con sus mugeres i hijos, et submittentes colla et voce Syra Barach inclamantes; id est Benedii Barach i Benedic, eadem est Hebraeis significati a quorum lingua non solum Syram sed Chalda quoque, Arabicum, et Ethiopicam demonsti mus)."54 In Irish bar a learned man, barrad supreme excellency, great sway, and barraighim is a mitre.

The name of Carthage was Carthago from its situation by the sea-side, says C. Duret; cathair is [p.299] Irish for a city, and go is the sea. According to Bochart and Vossius it was called Cathardo and Cathardreannac meaning the new city. Cathardo and Cathardreannac in Irish signifies the good city, for do or da and dreannad, means good.

Howel explains this name much better, he says Carthage was built at three several times; the first foundation consisted of cotham, i.e. the port or harbour; in Irish, cuan is an harbour or port, and cothadhron is a noble support. Megara was a part of the town built next, and in respect to cothon was called Kartha adath, agath or hadtha, that is, says he, the new buildings, or the additional town; in Irish, agadth, or adath, is an addition, and thus cathair-adath signifies the new added city.

The antient name of Carthage, as given by Dido, was Bosra, or as some have it Byrsa; Bosra they ay means a royal fort. Borrsa in Irish is noble, royal, magnificent, and rath (pronounced ra) is a fort; thus Borrsa-rath, is a royal fortress. Byrsa, according to some, signifies plenty of water; bior in Irish is a spring or fountain, (hence tobair a well, also birr the name of many towns abounding with springs) and sa is an augmentative article, so biorsa implies plenty of water.

The names of the Carthaginians, says Bochart, had commonly some particular meaning, thus Anno signified gracious, bountiful: the proper name Enno frequently occurs in the Irish history, but Ana in Irish signifies plenty of riches, a cornucopia; and adds, the same author, Dido means amiable, well-beloved; and Sophonisba, one who keeps her husband's secrets faithfully: in Irish didil is excessive [p.300] love, dide gratitude, and dildo most amiable, Soson-easba also signifies, much addicted to vanity.

Adrian Reland, in his miscellanies, thinks the Cabires may be derived from the Hebrew chabir, chabirim, to unite or conjoin, as much as to say the united deities. Here again is a proof of the affinity of the Irish language to the Hebrew, for cabraim to conjoin, or unite together, cabar, a junction. He insists that cabir, as well as the root cabar, is always used to express the quantity or multitude, and never to express the greatness or grandeur; he owns that in the Arabic it does mean grand, great, but denies the word having any such meaning in the Hebrew and leaves it to others whether it may not also be derived from the Hebrew kebirim, buried, deceased, &c.

The Carthaginians had certain undistinguished Deities called Cabiri, a kind of Penates or household Gods, who were supposed to preside over every action of their lives, and whom they occasionally invoked for their help. Cabair in Irish signifies help, assistance, and cabra is a target or shield. Yet Selden55 seems to think Cabiri signified Venus. "Saracenorum Cabcar sive Cubar a Syria seu Babylonia Venere alia non erat; sed commune iis, qui tam vicini erant, numen. Cubar enim ipsa Venus (qu et Luna Dea) esse censebatur." And this is not his opinion only,56 "Ad Heraclii Irmperatoris tempora Saraceni idolis dediti sunt. Luciferum adorabant et Venerem quam Cabar sua nomini [p.301] lingua. Cabar autem Magnam interpretatur." AgainCatachesi Saracenorum. "Anathematizo eos qui matutinum sidus Luciferum et Venerem adorant, quam Arabum lingua Chabar, quod Magnum significat, nominant. Sed vero57 minime diversa sentias Luciferum et Venerum numina." But, says Bochart, these Gods were called Dioscuire, high, mighty, puissant. Discir is Irish for fierce, valiant, mighty; but is not this word more properly derived from di a God, as having, curam the care; diascuram, the God who had the particular care of them, as the Penates were supposed to have.

Polybius58 has transmitted to us a treaty of a peace concluded between Philip son of Demetrius king of Macedon, and the Carthaginians, in which their intimate persuasion that the Gods assisted and presided over human affairs, and particularly over solemn treaties made in their name and presence, is strongly displayed. "This treaty was concluded in the presence of Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, &c. in the presence of the Dmon of the Carthaginians; of Hercules, Iolaus, &c. &c." It is very remarkable that this custom prevailed in Ireland after Christianity, even down to queen Elizabeth's reign, in all solemn contracts, bonds, deeds, &c. I have seen many sentences of the Brehon laws, and other deeds and contracts, as late as the time here mentioned, all of which conclude thus, abhsiadknaisi, dia air ttus, 7 A, 7 B. &c. i.e. in the presence of, God first, and of A. and of B. &c.

Marmol says, near the spot where Carthage once stood, the Christians have erected a tower, on a [p.302] rock which the Africans call al menare; which he interprets le roque de Mastinace. Alllmionaire is in Irish the shameless rock, and wonderfully agrees with this author's explanation of the African almenare.

Nullibi plures reperies Punica quam apud Plautum in Pnulo;

which lines, says Bochart, are partly Punic, and partly Lybiee, for they used both languages, as we may learn from Virgil:

Quippe domum tenet ambiguam, Tyriasgue bilingues.

And from Silius:

Discintos inter Libycos, populosque bilingues.

And from Claudian;

Tollite Massyl fraudes, removete bilingues insdias.

All which, with great deference to Bochar, does in my opinion prove no more than that the Punic language was a compound of the Lybian; not that the Carthaginians spoke sometimes a sentence in one, and sometimes in another; that would be a most ridiculous supposition indeed: and I believe no instance can be given of people speaking such a dialect.

The following Punic speech of Plautus will on consideration be found to have as great or greater affinity with the ancient Irish, or bearle Feni, i.e. the  Phoenician dialect, than with the Hebrew, and as with as few alterations of the text as are to be found in Boehart, Petit, Patreus, Pausanias, Vossius, &c.


I have now before me several editions of Plautus; each of them vary considerably in this speech.

The curious and learned reader who would consult the various copies of Plautus, will find a catalogue of 143 commentators on this author, in the edition published by Gronovius, at Leyden, in 1665.

The second edition, in 1482, is to be found in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, from which the Punic speech is transcribed, together with the Latin translation. We have not sufficient authority, from any of the editors, to say whether Plautus used the Phoenician or the Roman characters in this speech. We know it was written during the second Punic war, and the Roman letter was used in Carthage as early as the end of the first Punic war.

From the following confession of Gronovius, we may judge what interpolations and omissions have been committed to this speech by ignorant transcribes; "Punica hc scripta erant sine punctis Vocalibis; ut et Hebra sive Phoenicia omnia librarii vero vocales pro ingenii, et eruditionis su modulo substituerunt, falso spius quam factum vellem;" but he does not say he had seen the manuscript nor does he tell us from what authority he conjectures that this speech was written in Phoenician characters.

In the French edition of Plautus by M. de Limiers, be has added the following note to this play. "Les dix lignes qu'il prononce (Hanno) en langue l'unique ou Phenicienne, n'aiant jamais ete ecrites qu'en caracteres Latins, et par des gens qui ne les [p.304] entendoient pas, il auroit etc difficile d'en penette le veritable Sens."

And although, says Dr. Brerewood,59 that Punique speech in Plautus, which is the only continued speech of that language, that to my knowledge remaineth extant in any author, have no such great convenience with the Hebrew tongue, yet I assure myself the faults and corruptions that have crept into it by many transcriptions, to have been the cause of so great a difference, by reason whereof, it is much changed from what it was at first, when Plautus writ it, about 1800 years ago.

"Les Carthaginois, observes the learned M Huet;60 auroient pu apprendre des Africains l'usage de la rime. Dans cesuers Puniques que Plaute a infers dans ion Penule, Selden61 a cru avoir trouve une rime entre le premier et le second vers, sans avoir pousse plus loin sa recherche, supposant le rede semblable. Mais ceux qui ont anatomise ca vers plus curieusement, n'y ont rien appercu de tel."

Had this speech been the only remains of the Punic dialect, the author would not have attempted this collation, persuaded from the above testimony that we have not in our possession the speech of Hanno the Carthaginian, but of the various transcribers of Plautus; nay Plautus himself assures us, he founded his comedy on a Greek tragedy of Achilles Aristocles, and it may be conjectured by the dialogue in the next scene, between Milphio and Agarastocles, that he (Plautus) did not under- [p.305] stand the Punic language, more than Milphio, whom he has chosen as the interpreter.

The great affinity found in many words, nay whole lines and sentences of this speech, between the Punic and the Irish (bearla feni) strengthened and supported by the collation in the former pages, urged the author to attempt an Irish transcript, and from thence to make a free translation into the English; how far he has succeeded, must be left to the impartial critic.

From Gronovus's Edition we give the Argument and the Dramatis Personae.

Quidam adoloscens Carthaginiensis surtim surreptus, avehitur Calydonia in oliam, et ibi venditor seni civi. Hic adoptavit ilium, et moriens reliquit hredem. Amabat adoloscens puellam popularem et cognatam: patrui enim ea filia crat, quod ipse nesciebat, nam prdones ruri deprehenias duas parvulas filias bujus, una cum nutrice abductas lenoni Calydonio vendiderant in Anadtorio, quod nomen loci, et oppidi fuit in Acarnania. Cum nihil squi adoloscens a lenone de fuis amoribus impetrare posset, usus servi sui confilio, infidias fecit lenoni, ut ille furti rnanifesti condemnaretur. Interea indicium fit, puellas este Carthaginienses ingenuas: et pater illarum (Hanno) qui ubique gentium ipsas qurebat, advenit, et eas agnoscit, et majorem natu nuptum dat fratris filio.



Agarastiocles Adbloscens: Carth.
Milphio Servus
Adelphasium } Meretrices
Lycus Leno
Anthemonides Miles
Hanno Poenus
Giddeneme nutrix, &c. &c.  

From the Edition of Mocenigus

Tarvisi 1482 die 21 Junni Joanne Mocenigo Principe jucundissimo et Duce Foelissimo. In the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. T. T. 2, 4.

Nythabnim ualon uth si corathissimai comfyth
Chim lach chunyth mumys tyal mythibarn imischi
Lipho canet hyth bynuthii ad aedin bynuthii.
Byrnarob syllo homalonim uby rnisyrthoho
Bythlym mothym noctothii uelechanti dasmachon
Yssidele brin thysel yth chylys chon. them liphid
Uth. bynim ysdibur thynno cuth nu Agorastocles
Ythe maneth ihy chirs lycoth sith naso
Bynni id chil luhili gubulin lasibit thym
Bodyalyt herayn nyn nuys lym monchot lusim


Exanolim uolanus succuratim mistim atticum esse
Concubitum a bello cutin beant lalacant chona enus es
Huiec silic panesse athidniascon alem induberte selono buthume
Celtum comucro lueni, at enim auoso uber hent hyach Aristoclem
Et te se aneche nasoctelia elicos alemus duberter mi comps uespti
Aodeanec lictor bodes iussum limnimcolus

From the same in Latin.

Deos deasque veneror, qui banc urbeni colunt ut quod de mea re
Huc veneri te venerim. measque ut gnatas et mei firatris filium
Reperirem. esirits: id vostram fidem qu mihi surrept sunt.
Et fratris filium. qui mihi ante hac hospes antimadas fuit
Eum fecisse aiunt; fibi quod faciundum fiut ejus filium
Hic prdicant esse Agorostoclem. Deum hospitalem ac tesseram
Mecum fero. in hisce habitare monstratuft regionibus.
Hos percontabor, qui hue egreduintur foras.

Bochart62 thinks these lines of Plautus are partly Punic and partly Libyan: the six last lines [p.308] does not attempt to transcribe or translate, but conjectures that they are a repetition of the ten first, in the Lybian language; the ten first, he says are Punic, and he thus transcribes them in the Hebrew;

Na eth veeljonim veeljonoth sechorath iismecun zoth
Chi maiachai jithemu: massia middabardien issi
Lephurcanath eth beni eth jad udi ubenothui
Berua rob sellahem eljonim ubimesuratebem.
Beterem moth anoth othi helech Antidamarchon
Is sejada li; Beram tippel eth chele fechinatim leophel
Eth ben amis dibbur tham nocot nave Agorastocles
Otheim anuthi hu chior seeli choc: zoth nose
Binni ed chi lo haelle gebulim laseboth tham
Bo di all thera inna; Hinno, esal immancar lo sem.

Which lines Bochart thus translates into Latin.

Rogo Deos et Deas qui banc regionem tuentur
Ut consilia mea compleantur: Prospenun sit ex ductu eorum negotium meum.
Ad liberationem filii mei manu prdonis, et filiarum mearum
Dii per spiritum multum qui estis in ipsis, et per providentum suam
Ante obitum diversari apud me solebat Antidamarchus,
Vir mihi familaris; sed is eorum coetibus junctus est, quorum habitatio est in caligine.


Filium ejus constans fama est ibi fixisse sedem Agorastoclem (nomine)
Sigillum hospitii mei est tabula sculpta, cujus sculptura est Deus meus: id fero.
Indicavit milu testis eum habitare in his sinibus.
Venit aliquis per portam hanc; Ecce eum; rogabo nunquid noverit nomen (Agorastoclis.)


We will now collate this speech with the Irish.


Nyth al o nim ua lonuth sicorathissi me com syth63
Chim lach chunyth mum ys tyal mycthi barii im schi.


N'iaith all o minh uath lonnaithe! socruidhse me com sith.
Omnipotent much dreaded Deity of this country I asswage my troubled mind.
Chimi lach chuinigh! muini is toil, miocht beiridh iar mo scith
(thou) the support of feeble64 captives I being now exhausted with fatigue, of thy free will guide me to my children.


Lipho can ethyth by mithii ad sedan binuthii
Byr nar ob syllo homal o nim! ubymis isyrthoho.


Liomhtha can ati bi mitche ad dan beannaithe,
O let my prayers be perfectly acceptable in thy sight,
Bior nar ob siladh umbal; o nimh! ibhim a frotha!
An inexhaustible fountain to the humble; O Deity! let me drink of its streams!


Irish verbum verbo.

65 O all nimh (1) n'iaith, lonnaith, (2) uath! socruidhse me com sith
O mighty Deity of this country, powerful, terrible I quiet me with rest.
Chuinigh lach (3) chimithe; is toil, muini beiridh (4) miocht,
A support of weak captives; be thy will to instruct (me) to obtain my children,
Imr mo scith (5)
After my fatigue.

(6) Can ati liomtha (7) mitche bi beannaithe ad eadan, (8)
Let it come to pass, that my earned prayers be blessed before thee,
Bior nar ob siladh umhal; O Nimh! ibhim a frotha.
A fountain denied not to drop to the humble; O Deity that I may drink of its streams.

(1) iath, land, territory, as iatb neachach, a part of the county of Waterford.
(2) uath, dread, terrible. Lh. O'Br.
(3) cime, cimidb, cimeadb, prisoners, cimim, to enslave. O'Br.
(4) iochd, children, miocht, my children. O'Br.
(5) Marique terraque usque quaque quritat. Plaut. Prolog.
(6) con adi, let it so happen. Old Parchments.
(7) itche, a petition, request; liomtha, pronounced limpha, O'Br.
(8) ad eadan, in thy face, eadan, the front of anything.



Byth lym mo thym noctothii nel ech an ti daisc machon
Ys i de lebrim thyfe lyth chy lys chon temlyph ula


Beith liom! mo thime noctaithe, niel ach an ti daisic mac coinne
Forsake me not I my earnest desire is now disclosed which is only that of recovering my daughters;
Is i de leabhraim tasach leith, chi lis con teampluibh ulla
This was my fervent prayer, lamenting their misfortunes in thy sacred temples.


Irish verbum verbo.

Beith liom! mo (1) thime (2) noctaithe, niel ach an ti (3)
Be with me! my fears being disclosed, I have no other intention but;
(4) daisic, macoinne. (5)
of recovering my daughters.
(6) tafach a (7) leith, is i de leabhraim, (8) chi lis (9)
this particular request, was what I made, bewailing their misfortunes,
con (10) ulla teampluibh.
in (thy) sacred temples.

(1) tim, time, fear, dread. O'Br. also pride, estimation.
(2) nocdaighe, & nocta, naked, open, disclosed. O'Br.
(3) ti, design, intention. Lh. do rabbadar ar ti, they intended. Nehem. iv. 7. nach do bhi ar ti lamb do chur, who designed to lay hands. Est. vi. 2.
(4) aisioc, restitution: aisiocadh, to restore. Lh. O'Br.
(5) mac choinne, daughters; macoamh, a youth, a girl. O'Br.
(6) tafac, craving, also exhortation. Lh. O'Br.
(7) a leitb, distinct, particular, ibid.
(8) ci, to lament; a mhacain na ci, lament not young men. O'Br.
(9) lis, evil, mischief. O'Br.
(10) ulla, a place of devotion. O'Br.



Uth bynim ys diburt hynn ocuthnu Agorastocles
Ythe man eth ihychirsae lyooth sith nasa.


Uch bin nim i is de beart inn a ccornhnuithe Agorastocles!
O bounteous Deity! it is reported here dwelleth Agorastocles!
Itche mana ith a chithirsi; leicceath sith nosa!
Should my request appear just, here let my disquietudes cease!


Bulni id chillu ili guby lim la si bithym
Bo dyalyther aynnyn mysly mono chetl us im.


Buiane na iad cheile ile: gabh liom an la so bithim!
Let them be no longer concealed; O that I may this day find my daughters!
Bo dileachtach nionath n'isle, mon cothoil us im
they will be fatherless, and preys to the worst of men, unless it be thy pleasure I should find them.


Irish verbim verbo.

Uch bin nim! is de beart inn, accomhnuithe Agorastocles
O sweet Deity! it is said in this place, dwells Agorastocles
(1) mana itche a chithirst (2) ith; nosa (3) leicceath sith.
if the cause of my request should seem to you to be just; now grant (me) peace.

na cheile iad (4) buaine (5) ile; gabh liom (6) bitbm' an la so!
do not conceal them for ever; O that I may find my daughters this day
dileachtach bo nionath n'isle; mona codthoil
being orphans, they will be the prey of the very dregs of men; unless it be thy will
(7) us im
(to give) tydings about them.

To obviate the censure of the modern Irishman we have quoted the authors where the obsolete words to the foregoing speech of Hanno are to be found.

(1) mana, a cause or occasion. O'Br.
(2) idh or itb, good, just. Lh. O'Br.
(3) leicceadh or leigeadh, to permit. O'Br.
(4) buaine, perpetuity, continuance. O'Br.
(5) ile, a diversity, a difference, partially. O'Br.
(6) bithe, females, belonging to the female sex. O'Br. Hanno here prays they may not be partially concealed, i.e. that he may discover his nephew, Agorastocles, as well as his daughters, and then breaks out with the following ejaculation, respecting his daughters particularly.
(7) us, news, tydings. O'Br.



Ec anolim uo lanus succur ratim misti atticum esse
Con cubitu mabel lo cutin bean tla la cant chona enuses.


Ece all o nim uath lonnaithe! focair-ratai nMtche aiticimse
But mighty and terrible Deity, look down upon me! fulfil the prayers I now offer unto thee.
Con cuibet meabail le cuta bean, tlait le caint con inisis,
without effeminate deceit or rage, but with the utmost humility, I have represented my unfortunate initiation.


Huie csi lee pan esse, athi dm as con alem in dubart selo no buth ume
Celt um co mu cro lueni! ateni nauo suber r benthyach Agorastoclem.


Huch! caisi leicc pian esse athi dam, as con ailim in dubart selo
Ogh! the neglect of this petition will be death to me! let no secret disappointment
no buth ume
befall me.
Celt uaim c'a mocro luani! athini me art subha ar beanuath Agorastocles.
Hide not from me the children of my loins! and grant me the pleasure of recovering Agorastocles.


Irish verbim verbo.

all o nim loonaithe, uath Ece! (1) ratai socair, mitche (2) aiticimse.
O great Deity powerful, terrible, Behold (me)! prosper with success my petition past.
(3) Con cuibet (4) meabail le cuta (5) bean; le tlait c'aint inisis con (6)
Without deceitful fraud or effeminate rage; with humble speech I have told my meaning.

Huch! (7) leicc caisi as con ailim, pian esse (8) aith (9) dhamhna bioth
Alas! the neglect of the cause I have set before thee, would be the pains of death to me, let me not
uaim an feile dobart (10)
meet any secret mischief.
Celt (11) c'a uaim (12) cro mo luani; aithin me an subha (13) beanuath
Hide not from me the children of my loins; and grant me the pleasure of recovering
ar Agorastocles. (14)

(1) rathai, to make prosperous. Lh. O'Br. socair, prosperity. (2) aitichim, to pray or entreat, ibid. (3) con pro gan, old MSS. (4) cuibbet, fraud, cheat, (5) cutha, rage, fury. (6) con, sense, meaning. O'Br. (7) leicc, neglect. O'Br. (8) ess, death. Lh. O'Br. (9) aith, quick, sudden. Lh. (10) dobart, mischief. O'Br. (11) cro, children. Dichu go lion cro, i.e. go lion clann, Lh. (12) cha for ni, old MSS; frequently used by the old Irish at this day; cba deanan, I will not do it. (13) beanugbadh, to recover. hbean fe ar tiomlan, he recovered the whole. Lh. (14) His nephew.



Ex te se anechc na soctelia eli cos alem as dubert ar mi comps,
Uesptis Aod eanec lic tor bo desiussum lim nim co lus.


Ece te so a Neach na soichle uile cos ailim as dubairt;
Behold O Deity, these are the only joys I earnestly pray for;
ar me compais,
take compassion on me,
is bidis Aodh eineac lic Tor, ba desiughim le mo nimh co lus.
and grateful fires on stone towers will I ordain to Heaven.


Irish verbum verbo.

Ece a (1) Neach etc so uile cot na soichle (2) ailim at (3) dubairt;
behold, O Deity, this is every consideration of joy, I earnestly pray for;
ar me (4) compais,
take pity on me
is bidis (5) eineac (6) Aodb ar (7) lie tor ba desiughim co lus
and there shall be grateful fires on stone towers, which I will prepare to burn
le mo nimh.
to my Deity.

(1) neach, i.e. neamhacb, a heavenly spirit. O'Br.
(2) ailim, to pray or intreat. Lh. O'Br.
(3) dubairt, an earnest prayer. O'Br.
(4) chompais, compassion, pity; O'Br.
(5) eineach, bountiful, liberal. O'Br.
(6) Aodh, fire. Lh. O'Br.
(7) lic, leicc, a stone; liac, a great stone. O'Br.



Agorastocles. Milphio. Hanno.

Milph. Adibo hosce, atque appellabo Punice;
Si respondebunt, Punice' pergam loq
Si non: tum ad horum mores linguam vertero.
Quid ais tu? ecquid adhuc commeministi Punice
Ag. Nihil adepol. nam qui scire potui, dic mihi,
Qui illinc sexennis perierim Karthagine?
Han. Pro Di immortales! plurimi ad hunc modum
Periere pueri liberi Karthagine.
Mil. Quid ais tu? Ag. Quid vis? Mil. Vin'apellem hunc Punice?
Ag. An scis? Mil. Nulli est hodie Poenus Punior.
Ag. Adi atque appella, quid velit, quid venerit,
Qui sit quojatis, unde sit: ne parseris.
Mil. Avo! quojatis estis? aut quo ex oppido?
Han. Hanno Muthumballe bi Chaedreanech.


Hanno Mulhumbal bi Chathar dreannad.
I am Hanno Muthumbal dwelling at Carthage.
Chathar dreannad, signifies the good city; we have shown from good authority that it was also called Cathar agadh. See the word Carthage.
Lambinus reads this passage thus; Hanno Muthum Belle beccha edre anech.
Reinesius has it thus; Muthum talis ben chadre anech.
Which he translates Deum vel Dominum Averni, Ditemi seu Piutonem: Muth id est Pluto Phoenicibus, seu domicilium mortis.

That muth in the Punic and meuth in the Irish, signifies death, destruction, decay, &c. we have shown in the preceding collation of the Punica Maltese words with the [p.321] Irish but that Mutbumbal was Punic, a proper name, evident from a Punic medal now in the choke cabinet of the earl of Charlemont, round the exergue of which is the word MVTHVMBALLVS, and on the reverse, the city of Carthage, with some Phoenician characters. This is also a strong proof of the early introduction of the Roman letters among the Carthaginians, and a sufficient reason, in my opinion, that no other characters have been found in use amongst the antient Irish than the old Roman or Etruscan, except the contractions which are to be found in the Chaldean, Coptic, &c.

Ao. Quid ait? Mil. Hannonem sese ait Karthagine Carthaginiensem Muthumballis filium.
Han. Avo. Mil. Salutat, Han. Donni.
Mil. Doni volt tibi dare hinc nefcio quid, audin pollicerier?
        Avo! donni!
        Alas! most unfortunate that I am.
Abho, pronounced avo, and donaidbe, the compar. of dona, unfortunate, are interjections common among the Irish to this day.
Ac. Saluta hunc rursus Punice verbis meis.
Mil. Avo donni! hic mihi tibi inquit verbis suis.
Han. Me bar bocca!


a ma babachtl O my sweet youth, (meaning his nephew.)
Mil. Istuc tibi sit potius quam mihi. Ag. Quid ait?
Mil. Miseram esse pradicat buccam sibi
Fortasse medicos nos esse arbitrarier.
Ag. Si ita est. Nega esse, nolo ego errare hospitem.
Mil. Audi tu rusen nuco istam. Ag. Sic volo.
Profecto vera cuncta huic expedirier.
Roga, nunquid opus sit? Mil. Tu qui Zonam non habes
Quid in hanc venistis urbem, aut quid quritis?


Han, Muphursa! Ag. Quid ait? Han; Mi oule chionna!


Mo thuirse! Mo buile chionna!
O my grief! My sorrow is of long standing.
                    Ag. Quid venit?
Mil. Non audis? mures Africanos prdicat
        In pompam ludis dare se velle dilibus.
Han. Laech la chanamim liminichat.


Luach le cheannaighim liom miocht.
At any price I would purchase my children
Mil. Ligulas canalis ait se advexisse et nuces:
Nunc orat, operant ut des sibi, ut ea veneant.
Ag. Mercator credo est. Han. Is am ar uinam.


Is am ar uinneam!
This is the time for resolution.
            Ag. Quid est?
Han. Palum erga deacta!


Ba liom earga deacta.
I will submit to the dilates of Heaven.
                Ag. Milphio, quid nunc ait.
Mil. Palas vendundas sibi ait & mergas datas
Ut hortum sodiat, atque ut frumentum metat.
Ad messim credo missus hic quidem tuam.
Ag. Quid istuc ad me? Mil. Certiorem te esse volui,
Ne quid dam furtive accepisse censeus.
Han. Ma phanmium sucorabim,


me suinim;     sorbcaraidhim;
that I may here finish my fatigue! and that I may now be at rest!
Mil. hem! caue sis seceris
Quod hic te orat. Ag. Quid ait? aut quid orat? expedi.


Mil. Sub cratim uti jubeas seese supponi, atque so.
Lapides imponi multos, ut sese neces.
Han. Gun bel Balsameni ar a san.


Guna bil Bal-samen ar a son!
O that the good Bal-samhan may favour them!
Bal-samhan, i.e. Beal the Sun, as explained before at the word Bal.
            Ag. Quid ait?
Mil. Non Hercle nunc quidem quicquam icto.
Han. At ut scias nunc, de hinc latine jam loquar, &c &c.

In the THIRD SCENE of the FIFTH ACT of PLAUTUS, where the plot begins to open, are two more lines of the Punic language, and bearing a greater affinity with the old Irish than any of the former. In this Scene the old Nurse recollects Hanno.


Gid. Quis pultat? Mil. Qui te proximus est. Gid. Quid vis? Mil. Eho,
Novistin' tu illunc tunicatum hominem, qui siet.
Gid. Nam quem ego aspicio? pro supreme Juppiter, herus meus hie quidem est
Mearum alumnarum pater; Hanno Carthaginensis.
Mil. Ecce autem mala, prstigiator hic quidem Poenus probus est
Perduxit omnis ad suam sententiam. Gid. O mi here salve Hanno,
Insperatussime mihi, tuisque filius, salve atque eo
Mirari noli, neque me contemptarier. Cognoscin, Giddenemen


Ancillam tuam? Poe. Novi, sed ubi simt me gnat? id scire expeto.
Ago. Apud dem Veneris. Poe. Quid ibi faciunt dic mihi?
Ago. Aphrodisia66 hodie Veneris est festus dies. Oratum ierunt deam, ut
Sibi esset propitia. Gid. Pol satis scio impetrarunt, quando hic, hic,
Adest. Ago. Eo an hujus sunt ill fili. Gid. Ita ut prdicas.
Tua pietas nobis plane auxilio fuit. Cum huc advenisti hodie in ipso
Tempore. Namque hodie earum mutarentur nomina.
Faceremque indignum genere qustum corpore.
Poe. Handone fili hanun bene filli in mustine.
[A.-S.]67, [A.-S.]68 [A.-S.]
Whenever Venus proves kind, or grants a favour, the grants it linked or chained with misfortunes.
Gid. Meipsi & en este dum & a lam na cestin um
[A.-S.]69 [A.-S.]70
Hear me, and judge, and do not too hastily questions (about this surprise).


The following specimen of the Bearla Feni or Phoenician dialect of this country is extracted from ancient law books now in the author's possession; the language will appear much more foreign to the vulgar Irish of this day than the Punic speech of Hanno.

Extract from the Sehanchas mor or the Great Antiquity, being a code of laws composed by Sean the son of Aigid in the time of Fergus Mac Leid king of Ulster, 26 years before the birth of Christ.

"Tir do beir icoibchi mna nad bi maith naduidnaidet a folta coire.
Tir do beir dar braigit fine aratreissu indatengaid dec diathintud. Oldas intoentenga doascud.
Gach fuidir conatothcus techta. Niicca cinaid a meic. Nachai nachaiarmui nach aindui nach a omoccus fine. Nach acinaid fadeifin flathair idnbiatha ise iccass acinaid. Airnilais dire aseoit achd colauin aithgena nama nigaib dire ameic nai naca dibad naceraicc nacha mathair flaith arambiatha issi nodbeir, agus iccas achinaid agus folloing acinta."

The following specimen is extracted from another ancient manuscript on vellum in the author's possession. This manuscript, as also that from whence the foregoing is taken, bears the name of Edward Lhwyd on several leaves, and from the following passage given by that author at the end of his preface to his Irish dictionary, it is evident these manuscripts did once belong to the collection of that great antiquary.


Mr. Lhwyd has done great injustice to the original, as he did not understand our Cionn sa eite71 or Cor sa chasan, i.e. the Boustrophedon of the Irish; and has consequently made a strange jumble of unconnected words.

Mr. Lhwyd prefaces this passage in these words: "Ar an adhbhair gur nach lanchloidhle an dhulthaobh sin, cuirim an so shios Siompladha cigein as kabhruibh Ghaoidheilg ro aosda. Mas eidir leis Leughthoir sa nEirin no Halbuin a heidirnhinniughadh: ataim sar dhulchannach coimhshreagradh dfagaii leis. Do thairng me iad choimhcheart budh feidir learn amach as sean mheamruinibh a Mbaile ath cliath." i.e. "As the following pages are not in print, I have here given an example of a very ancient Irish out of certain old books. If any reader in Ireland or Scotland is able to explain it, I earnestly request his correspondence. I drew these examples as t\st as I could from old parchments in Dublin."


The Extract according to Lhwyd.

Page 250. Buidin inrigban. i. rabacca oc eisti fri sin atasc doa reilg aitt iriubhe iacob ag i cacrach conepfris cotisadh dochasnumh nabeanī an frisin inncail cinnus do de nuinnsi ol iacop isin so olfi. I. marbhtha le tuime ann olamī.

The Extract from the Original.

ain, 7 ro cirigh rcimpi iar ndul do chach in righan. i. rebecca oc eisteachd fris in athaeic don tfeilcc, aitt iraibhe iacop ag inguiri caerach. Ɔep- fris, cotisad do chosnumh na beanneachdan fris sin mac aile. Cinnus do denuinn sin ol iacop ise so ol si 1. marbhthar latfa mcannan ol a 7 fuinntir tabair do. Ocus de fuaid ciceann meannain limh, aririofau, ar is finnad. lamha iefau. ni iacop in nisin, 7 fiilaAaigh in meannain, 7 I lais inbrochan, 7 atnaigh dia atair. Ocus adbe caith infeirc ol ui. A mic ol isac, is moc do lais on tfeilcc indiu fcach ga la riamh, mas fbr ai. In ceud tfeilcc for andeachus is fuirre fuaras r fiirc 7 bchain deitfiu; ife fin dom fiic co 1. Na hapuir brcg ol fe, oir is tufa iacop 7 au. Is deaim eam nͨ aiberainn gai atag ol se. Sin uait do laimh ol ifac, co feasam inn tu iesau. Sinis uadh a laimh dő, 7 cicinn mininn impi. Geibidh isac in laimh. Is fota atai oc imrifin friom ar iacob, ar is me iasau. Atnaigh isaac oc lamuchna laimhe 7 ad bī. Is i laimh iesau ol isaac, 7 is c guth iacob. &c. &c.

The two first lines of which must be read thus, Buid in righan. i. rebecca oc eisteachd fris in athsc sin, 7 ro eirigh reimpi iar ndul chach don feilcc, aitt iraibhe iacop, &c. &c.


The Translation.72

The Queen, viz. Rebecca, hearing this discovery after the people were gone to hunt, she straightaway arose, and went to Jacob where he was tending his sheep. She told him he should receive the blessing instead of the other son. How shall I do that, quoth Jacob; do this, says she, viz. kill a kid, and dress it and give it to him, and I will sow the skin of the kid upon thy hands to resemble Esau, for the hands of Esau are hairy. Jacob did so, and dressed the kid and brought with him the pottage and presented it to his father; and he said to him, eat this meal, O son, says Isaac, you are returned this day from hunting earlier than any former day, if you tell the truth. At the first-hunt, quickly found wherewith to make you a mess of pottage, and that is the reason, says Jacob, I returned so soon. Tell not a lie, says he, for thou art Jacob, and thou art not Esau. Truly, replied he, I would not tell a lie before thee. Stretch forth thy hands, says Isaac, that I may know thou art Esau. He stretched forth his hands to him with the skin of the kid about [p.329] them; Isaac took the hand. Thou art long furious of me, says Jacob; I am Esau. Isaac feeling the hand said, this is the hand of Esau, and it is the voice of Jacob, &c. &c. Vide Genesis, chap. 27.

Mr. Lhwyd has extracted the following passage from the same book, and with greater mistakes than in the former.

Do rias umro iacop iarsin go atair, feisinrotid dha imdha exam a doiasau. I. diabrathriarbh 7 an bifidh sicairdine bhunuidh 7 a mbrathairfi iarsin ite ann so hasgadha. I. 200 caerach 7 200 gabhar 7 xxx camhal 7 xl bo. 20. reiti, 20 tarbh ocech ut dx. Da. c. coera xx boc da. c. ngabur tre ginn ngort ix ithi rad cenlochd xl bo reithi bale. Fiche tarbh nach taraill tonn 7 xxx ngall xx aisan aluinnoll ocus xx oiceach ann. hillogh shidha iasau sut. o iacop cembrigh a brecc. febh adcuadus duibhi ar fir ise sin allin na. c. da. c. coerrc. &c.

Here follows the Extract taken exactly from the Original.

luic asga
Do rias umro iacop iarsin go atair feisin ro tidha imdha exama doiafau. I. dia brath ar b7' doib ifidh 7 i
caird ne bhunuidh 7 ambrathairsi iarsin. Ite ann so na hasgadha. I. 200. caerͤ 7 200 gabͧ 7. xxx camaill 7 xl. bő.
20 reithi. xx tarbh ocech, ut dx.
             Da. c. caera. xx. boc,
             da. c. ngabhur tre gnim ngart.


xx reithi rad cenlochd,
xl bő reithi balc.
Fiche tarbh taraill tonn,
7 xxx camhall ngall,73
xx assan aliunn oil,
ocus xx oiceach ann.
Hillogh shidha iasau sut
o iacop cen brigha brecc.
febh ad cuadhas daibh lar fir
is e fin allin na. c.
                Da. c. caera. &c.

Mr. Lhwyd having confounded the verse the prose, and having neglected the Cionn sa eite, has rendered this passage entirely obscure last line, Da. c. caera, is a repetition of the first line of the verse; this method was observed by all the ancient poets of Ireland to show the copy was complete.

The Translation.

Therefore after Jacob had been with his father he presented divers gifts to Esau his brother, as the pledge of his brotherly peace and friendship thence forward; These are the gifts, viz. 200 ewes, and 200 she-goats, and 30 camels, and 40 cows; 20 rams, 20 young bulls, as the poet has said.

Two hundred ewes, xx he-goats
Two hundred she-goats, he generously bestow'd
xx rams without fault he gave,
xl kine, which proudly herd together.


Twenty bulls with many hides,
And xxx camels giving milk,
xx very fair she-asses,
And xx colts along with them.

These were the peace-offerings to Esau,
From Jacob most sincerely given;
For having wandered from the truth.
These are the numbers of the hundreds (given).74

By the Arabian numerals used in the manuscript, we may nearly ascertain the time it was written: the figures are not Arabic, nor so old as those given us by Jo. de sacro Bofco, nor are they the antient Saxon, but they are all our modern figures improved from the Arabian. Dr. Wallis is of opinion, contrary to J. Gerard Vossius and father Mabillion, that the use of figures in these European parts was as old at least as the time of Hermannus Contractus, who lived about the year of our Lord 1050; and he vouches an old mantle-tree at Helmdon in Northamptonshire with this date, A. D. M. 133, that is, 1133.

Mr Luffkin afterwards produced an inscription from Colchester of the date of 1090.

Dr. Harris, in his history of Kent, gives the date on a window at Preston thus, 1102, and observes that the figures used at present were first generally made use of about 1120.

The poem quoted by our author is of much greater antiquity; the Roman numerals only being used.


It is not probable that the Irish received the use of figures directly from the Spaniards; as all intercourse with that nation was stopped, long before figures were improved by them into their present form. Professor Wallis thinks they came first from the Persians or Indians to the Arabians, and from them to the Moors, and so to the Spaniards. This was the opinion of John Gerard Vossius, John Greaves, bishop Beveridge and many others.

Jeoff. Keating mentions an ancient chronicle of Irish affairs written by Mac Aodhagain, entitled the Leabhar Breac, which he says was then 300 years old; Keating finished his history in 1625; we may therefore conclude this MS. to be part of the same Leabhar Breac or speckled book of Mac Rogain, who died in the year 1325.

It cannot be properly called a very ancient MS. as Mr. Lhwyd terms it in the short preface to his quotations; but it is a strong proof that the Irish language of this day is totally different in sense and orthography, to that dialect spoken 400 years ago. The abuses which have been admitted into this language by the liberties taken by the modern poets, shall be the subject of another work.

We have already taken notice, that on comparing the Bascongada or Biscayan language with the Irish, there does not appear the least affinity. The author of this essay has carefully perused the Biscayan grammar written by Larramendi, and could not perceive the least affinity between that language and the Irish, even in those parts of speech, which generally bear some affinity be- [p.333] tween two dialects formed on the same radical language.

Mr. Baretti, in the fourth volume of his journey from London to Genoa, has taken upon him to say the same, and has given the Pater Noster in the Biscayan and in Irish; the former varies so much from that given by Wilkins,75 Megesetius,76 Reuterus,77 and the anonymous publisher78 of the Lord's Prayer in one hundred languages; and the Irish given by Mr. Baretti is so mutilated, that an author of these sheets could not pass it by unnoticed. The reader is here presented with Mr. Baretti's Biscayan and Irish in one column, and in the opposite with the Biscayan from the above named authors, to which is added the proper Irish.

Baretti. Wilkins. Megiserius. Reuter.

Pater Noster qui es in clis sanctisicetur nomen tuum.

Gure Aita ceruetant zarena erabil bedi fainduqui
Gure Aita ceruetdn alena fandtifica bedi hire rare icena.
Irish. Proper Irish.
Ar Nahir ata ere neave pih neavfiar thanem. Ar n Athair ata ar neamh, naomthar hainm.


Baretti. Wilkins. Megiserius. Reuter.

Advenit regnum tuum.



Ethor bedi zure, erresuma Et hoz bedi bire rechuma.
Irish. Proper Irish.
Gudhaga etc naught. Tigeadh do rioghach

Fiat voluntas tua sicut in clo et in terra



Eguin bedi zure borondatea ceruatn bezala lur-
ream ere
Eguin bedi hir datea cervan lurrean ere.
Irish Irish Proper.
Gu nahium de heij ar dallugh man thainter ere
Deuntar do thoil ar an ttalamh mar do nitbear ar neamh.

Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie

I guzu egon gure eguneco og ina. Gure eguneco ogiua igue egun.
Irish. Proper Irish
Thourdune nughe ar naran leahule. Ar naran leathamh tabbair dhuinn a niu.


Baretti. Wilkins. Megiserius. Reuter.

Et dimitte nobis debita nostra.

Eta. barkhua detzagutzu gure corrac. Eta quitta jetrague gure cozrac.
Irish. Proper Irish
Moughune are veigha Agus maith dhuinn ar bhfiacha.

Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.

Guc gure gana zordun direnei barkhateem de-
ruztegun bezala.
Nola gucre gure cozduney quittatzen baitra vegu.
Irish. Proper Irish.
Marvoughimon yare vieghuna fane. Mar mbaithmidne dar bhfeitheamhnuibh fein.

Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.

Eta ezgaitzatzula utz tentamendutan crorcera. Eta quitta zalafar eracitenta tentatione tan.
Irish. Proper Irish.
Na leaghshine a caghue.  Agus na leig sinn a ccathughadh.



Wilkins. Megiserius. Reuter.

Sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Aitcitic beguira gaitzatzu gaicetic. Halabiz. Baima delibiza gaitzac gaich totic.
Irish. Proper Irish.
Agh cere shen onululkt baighmarson79 a hearna, Achd faor inn o olc biodh mar sin; id est.
Amen. Amen.





IN the present Century some useful researches have been made into European antiquities, and the subject having fallen under the direction of a higher principle than bare curiosity, much may be expected from future investigations. Relatively to our own northern nations, the ends proposed, and the means pursued, are now admirably suited to each other; to learn, as much as can be known of their ancient history, it has been judiciously concerted to reject in the lump, every modern hypothesis, generally containing fewer deformities, but certainly fewer truths than the ancient documents they are brought to demolish. It was deemed proper also, to try the swollen panegyrics of ancient [p.338] bards, and the several invectives of ancient strangers, by the degrees of probability on one side; and the means of information on the other; to weigh at the same time the credibility of the facts in which both agree, and investigate the reason why old writers, who could not act in concert, happened to agree so well. It was further found expedient to try the pretensions of domestic historians, by getting acquainted with the languages in which they conveyed their informations; a drudgery not to be borne, were it not rewarded by real knowledge; by infallible signatures of the defects, and grammatical incongruities, point out at once an unlettered and barbarous nation, or those elegancies of expression and commodious texture of words which declare a civilized one. On these principles, associations for the study of our northern antiquities have been established, in several European kingdoms, and within the presnt year the spirit has happily migrated into Ireland. The Dublin Society, (now so celebrated in Europe) have appointed select committee of their own body to inspect into the ancient state of literate and arts in Ireland, and Mr. Vallancey one of the learned members of that committee, has already given the public a specimen of his abilities, in an Essay on the Irish Language; it is a new and great accession to European literature, and without any doubt the forerunner of a greater. To trace languages to their fountain heads; to point out the streams they have mingled with in their descent to our own times, and mark the changes they underwent, in their several stages of improvement [p.339] and corruption is an arduous task most certainly. Few nations can afford sufficient materials for such an investigation; few writers have skill enough to accommodate such materials to the purposes of useful information. The learned pains of most philologers served only to cover their ignorance of particulars which alone should ensure success to their inquiries. They have surfeited the world the etymologies unsupported by probability, with grammatical conceits unattended with rational analogy, and with hypothesis contradicted by ancient records, and inadmissible had no such records existed. From the learned Goropius Becanus down to the ingenious translator of Ossian they have done nothing else. The display of their erudition, however, could not impose long, but it has created a disgust, which nothing, but the taking up this subject on the principles laid down by the learned Lhwyd and recommended by the great Leibnitz, could remove. On such principles, now adopted by Mr. Vallancey, languages may be traced to their true sources; much light may be thrown on the antiquities of nations and, a rule being found through this medium, for separating the true from the false in old traditions, the sum of our inquiries must centre in knowledge. The era of the cultivation of letters may be ascertained with some truth, among any people who have pretensions to early civilization; or at least such a state of it, may intitle their early history to any degree of attention.

Fortunately, no countries in Europe can furnish better materials for the knowledge attainable from [p.340] antient languages, than our own isles of Britain and Ireland. Allowing for the alterations unavoidably made by time, the Celtic, as antient a language as any in the world, is to this day vernacular in Wales. To that language the Greeks have been indebted for a great number of significant terms, with which they have enriched their own; and the Romans have adopted a still greater number. The introduction of it into Britain precedes all memory of things in Europe by letters; and it forms, so to speak, a most authentic inscription of itself, so legible to all nations, as to inform us with precision, that a people exit still in a comer of Europe, who have survived all revolutions, and have hitherto baffled every effort for subduing them to a dereliction of their own language.

Ireland planted originally by British colonies did not escape like the parent nation. The Gomeraeg, or primaeval Celtic, was, no doubt, the current language in both isles for many ages; but in process of time, a new mixed language (whom indeed the Celtic terms bore the greater part) prevailed over the old. A colony from the continent, partly Celts, partly Phoenicians invaded and subdued Ireland, long known before to the latter people, the first and best navigators in the world. The most antient Irish Fileas have recorded this revolution, their successors, from vanity common to all nations, have antedated it but the tradition itself has been invariably preserved through all ages; and we shall see how Mr [p.341] Vallancey in a few pages has furnished us with an irrefragable proof of its authenticity.

By collating the language in the old books of Ireland, with the Gomeraeg now spoke in Wales, that learned gentleman found a thorough identity of signification in a great number of words, but no analogy of syntax in the texture of those tongues. From this difference of construction, as well as the use of numberless words in Irish, not to be found in Welch books or glossaries; he discovered that he must seek further for the original of the former language. His knowledge of the oriental tongues opened a sure path for him. On collating the Irish with the remains of the antient Punic now spoke in the island of Malta, and the specimen of the same language preserved in the Pnulus of Plautus, he found so perfect an identity in the signification of many words, and such an affinity of construction in the phraseology (so far as it could be picked from the corrupt copies of the Punic in Plautus) as shows to a demonstration, that the colony who imported this mixed language into Ireland, had early intercourses with the Phoenicians.

Here, as in other instances, the antient Irish traditions reflect back on Mr. Vallancey's discovery the illustration they receive from it. They term the Irish a Berla Teibidhe, i.e. a mixed language, and they denominate one of its dialects, a Berla Fene, or the Phoenician dialect; they inform us also that the ancestors of the Irish nation (when on the Continent) learned the use of letters from a celebrated Phenius, from whom they took the [p.342] patronimic appellation of Pheni or Phenicians. These traditions inform us further, that those continental ancestors sojourned for several generations in Getluige (the Getulia of the Romans), and in this account, stripped of its poetical garb, we find the original of the name of Gaedhil, which with that of Pheni the Irish retained through all age. They tell us moreover, that the Gaedils migrated from Getluige into Spain; and thence after a considerable time, into Ireland.

Let these reports be paralleled with foreign traditions universally credited. The latter inform us that the Phoenicians were the first instruction of the Europeans in navigation and letters; and one of their colonies planted in Carthage, arose to a mighty republic, conquered several maritime provinces in Lybia and Spain, and according to the policy of the early ages, transplanted conquered tribes from one country to another. These truths confirm in a great degree, the certainty of the Irish traditions relatively to those migrations, from Lybia to Spain. They account for the introduction of letters by a great Phenius, as the Greeks account for their receiving in like manner the use of letters, from the brother of another great Phenix or Phenician, whom they call Cadmus. We find in this parallel of ancient reports, how these Getuli, or Lybian subjects of Carthage, mixed with Celtiberians or Scytho-Celts80 in Spain, how [p.343] the two people incorporated into one, bow under, Punic masters, a mixed language was formed of the Celtic and Punic; and lastly how in some convulsion of the Carthaginian government (at the time probably when the Chaldeans over-ran Spain, according to Josephus and other ancients 590 years before our Saviour) a maritime people of Spain fled for shelter into Ireland, rather than submit to servitude from new masters.

Much darkness, no doubt, spreads itself over the earlier periods of Lybian and Spanish affairs; we do not pretend to dispel the clouds which rest upon them; it is enough if hi confronting a few foreign with a few domestic traditions, we can catch at some truths, and those we have mentioned are important. Through Mr. Vallancey's learned researches, we discover why a dialect of the Irish language is to this day called Berla Fene or the Phoenician; and in our ancient traditions we have also a reason why the vulgar dialect is called Gaedhlis instead of deriving it from a single Gaedal whom fable has made the grandson of Phenius: We discover also, the reason why the harshness of the Celtic, so grating to the ears of the old Romans, has been laid aside for an harmonious oriental cadence; and in fine, why the consonantal roots [p.344] of most Celtic words have (for the sake of etymology) been preserved in writing, but suppressed in the pronunciation.

At what time soever a colony of lettered strangers migrated from a Punic province into Ireland, we are not at liberty to pronounce gratuitously that they immediately degenerated into savages. The description of some old Greek and Latin writers are of no great weight in this case. They received their intelligence from mariners, who had but just fidelity enough to aver that the climate of Ireland was of all others the most horrid; and philosophy enough to report, that the natives knew no distinction of right and wrong. Such accounts equal true, may well go together, and dignify the pages of some modern declaimers.

That barbarism however prevailed in Ireland in some periods cannot be denied; their tumultuary government infers it, though it never prevailed in kind or degree, equal to what might be naturally expected. Customs controlled their barbarism, particularly the admirable establishment of the order of Fileas, that is, of colleges of philosophers, who devoted themselves to abstract studies, who likewise had a right to vote in their national assemblies, and whose districts in the heat of the most cruel domestic conflicts were left untouched, as so many sacred places of refuge, i.e. the cultivation of human knowledge. It was the custom of all ages and times, while the shadow of monarchy remained in the kingdom. Their language likewise is a living proof of the influence and industry of the Fileas, as it includes the [p.345] elegance, the copiousness, the variations, and conversions which none but a thinking and free people can use, and which barbarians can never attain as it contains also the signs of those mixed modes and technical terms of art, which no enlightened people can want. It is easy to account for the preservation of a language under such regulations as I have here slightly mentioned. Through the want of such regulations, letters have been despised in the Gaul now called France, though not absolutely in the ancient Gaul, which extended from the Elbe to the pillars of Hercules; the like contempt of letters is remarkable of the Thracians in the very confines of Greece; and even among Christian nations we find, from the fifth to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, such a slight put upon letters in most European countries, that even the prime nobility knew not how to write or read. That Ireland fared better is certain. Its Celto-Punic could not be preserved without the use of letters; however it might be somewhat altered in the course of ages, it could not certainly be adulterated, in an island seldom disturbed by foreign invasions till the ninth century.

This language included two principal dialects, the Gnath Bherla and the Berla Fene, i.e. the common and the Phenian: the latter like the Mandarin language of the Chinese, was known only to the learned; the science of jurisprudence as committed to this dialect peculiarly, under the patronage of Concovar Mac Nesle king of Ulster, who reformed the order of the Fileas, and flourished in the first century. This jurisprudence [p.346] under the title of Breatha Nimthe or Judgments of Heaven, was cultivated with remarkable industry under Cormac O Quin king of Ireland in the third century, and it continued to be extended and commented upon under his successors, till the end of the ninth century; many of those tracts, and some of them of the earliest date, are still extant in our English and Irish libraries; nor was the knowledge of the Phenian dialect neglected in Ireland till the reign of Charles II; the last school for the study of it was kept in the county of Tipperary, professorship of Boethius Mac Egan in the reign of Charles I. and it was in that seminary that the celebrated Duald Mac Firbis got his knowledge of it, and closed the line of Phenian Learning, several old tracts of Phenian jurisprudence, there are some transcripts of it in Mac Firbis' own writing; and I am well informed that they have lately been put into the hands of Mr. Vallancey by Sir John Seabright, Bart, and that he is now engaged in collecting and translating fragments of these laws left in this country; a work which cannot fail of being as acceptable to the public as was the publication of the Welch laws of Howel Dha. Pity it is indeed, if not a reproach to the kingdom, that so valuable a part of ancient learning should survive the domestic confusions of many centuries, and be lost in our own peaceable times! The recovery of it is certainly one of the great desiderata of the present age.

Why the earliest historical accounts of the Irish have been long despised by the learned, was partly owing to a natural notion, that so very remote a [p.347] people could fare no better in the cultivation of literature than the other northern nations.

It only on the publication of Sir Isaac Newton's Chronology, that a trial was made whether their traditions, stripped of the poetical and marvellous, could bear the new light which that great man has poured on European antiquities. The trial succeeded beyond expectation, and I refer for the many proofs on this subject, to the learned author of the Remains of Japheth. I will only observe, by the way, how very remarkable it is, that Sir Isaac Newton, whose work has been so severely attacked by some critics, should after his death, find props to some parts of his system, in the very traditions which he judged of no value, and which, in truth, he never thought worthy of the smallest examination.

On the whole Mr. Vallancey has poured still more day light on this subject; and his Essay on the Irish Language is highly worthy of the attention of learned of Europe, to whom it is inscribed. He made his study of this and other ancient languages subservient to the history of arts and civil society in their earliest periods, and in the small pamphlet before me, strengthened his principal argument by showing the conformity of the ancient Irish theology, with that of the Phoenicians. What he has now published is, evidently, only a bare delineation of a future picture, on which he is (we may suppose) at present laying the strongest colouring: and to the want of the lights he struck out, we should attribute some mistakes of [p.348] Dr. Parsons and of the writer of the Dissertations on Irish History, in some matters they have advanced relatively to the Irish language.

To conclude; I do not advance that Mr Vallancey has committed no mistakes himself in some parts of his collation, particularly in compound words, and even in a few that are less complex: it is enough that he is right in the greater number, and that he hath the merit of exciting the learned of these islands to cultivate the fertile field he has thrown open to them..

I am, Sir,                        
        Your humble servant,



1 Keating's Hist. Ireland, Dublin edit. p. 18, 19. Collectanea Lib. Lecan. p. i, 2, 3. M'Curtin's Ant. of Ireland, p. 39. Spencer, p. 1546.

2 L 18. c. 4.

3 L 2. c. 67.

4 C. Duret Bourb. H. de l'Origine des Langues de cest Univ. p. 393.

5 L. 71. c. 56. Univ. Hist. 8vo. vol. 2. p. 338.

6 L. 5. c. 58.

7 Huet. Hist, de la Nav. des Anc. p. 55.

8 Irish gal, a gale of wind.

9 Arga, champions, warriors; argadh, to plunder,

10 Irish cadas, friendship.

11 L. 3. c 23.

12 See Dr Shaw's remarks on the Showiah language, and Mr. Jones's on the Shilhae, in the essay on the Celtic language prefixed to the Irish Grammar, pag. 12, &c. of the second edition.

13 Ad Ubert. p. 362.

14 In his Appendix.

15 J.H. Maius in Spec. ling. Punic, in hod. Melitens.

16 Un. Hist. vol. 17. 8vo. p. 298. note.

17 Cosmog. i. c. 13.

18 Jerem. xx. 24.

19 Job xxiii. 9. Ps. lxxxix. 4.

20 Gen. xxiv. 49. xlviii. 14.

21 Job xxiii. 9.

22 Gen. ix. 28. 2d Sam. x 9.

23 Josh. ix. 12.

24 Psalm. lv. 20.

25 Num. xxiii. Isa xi.

26 Herod. Polyb. Diod, Sic. Liv. Quint. Curt. aliiq. multi.

27 Prol. p. 38.

28 Isa. lxv. II.

29 Aeneid, v. 743.

30 vii. 18. and xliv. 17, 18, 19.

31 And. Beyeri ad J. Selden. de Dis Syris syntagmata, addit. prol. ad cap, 3. p. 82.

32 Ecl. 6,

33 Aen. 4. 1. 345.

34 Cooke, On the Patriar. and Druidic relig. p. 64.

35 Phaleg.

36 Plin. 1. 7. cap. 56.

37 Univ, Hist. 8vo. vol. 2. p. 338.

38 L. 71. cap. 56.

39 Apol. C. 23.

40 Pag. 371. 4to.

41 P. 370.

42 Prolog, p. 58.

43 Id. p. 56.

44 Selden de Dis Syris. Prolegom. cap. 2.

45 Phaleg.

46 Mon. Ant.

47 Phil. Tr. No. 471.

48 Danet's dict. of antiq. ad verb, ignis.

49 Supp. de journ. des Scavans. Juin 1709. tom. 44.

50 Natal. Com. mitolog. 1. 8. cap. 10.

51 See Richardson's Pacific. Lex. p. 318.

52 Liv.

53 De Dis Syr. c. i.

54 Ant. de Espan. Africa. Aldrete, lib. 2. p. 187.

55 Synt, 2. p. 21.

56 Euthemius Zygabeenus in Panoplia.

57 Seld. Synt. 2. p. 21.

58 Lib. 7, p. 699.

59 Enquiries touching the diversity of languages. p. 57.

60 Huetiana. p. 189.

61 Selden de Dis Syr. Prol.

62 Phaleg. ch. 2.

63 We have a remarkable Irish poem written in the 13th century, beginning much in the same manner,

"Athair chaidh cboimiidh neimhe."

64 Captives, his daughters.

65 Lhwyd and O'Brien's Dictionaries have been used for the words marked in brackets.

66 The Aphrodisia were celebrated in honour of Venus at Cyprus and other places. Here they who would be initiated, gave a piece of money to Venus, as to a prostitute, and received presents from her. Abbe Banier.

67 Bene, Celtic, from whence Venus.

68 This is a compound of muis and tine; muis a frowning, contracted, menacing brow, tine a link of a chain.

69 [A.-S.] alam, out of hand, off-hand, indiscriminately.

70 [A.-S.] to question, to doubt, to be afraid.

71 Cionn sa eite (eitire or eitrigh) signifies the head of ridge, and Cor sa chasan means the reaper's path; they are commonly denoted in ancient manuscripts by this mark , or this , which imply, that a sentence finishes and that the reader is to go to the next line, from the end of which he is to turn to the Cionn fa eite. Whether the ancient Irish returned from right to left as the Phoenicians did, does not appear from any manuscripts that have fallen in the author's way, or whether the Carthaginians did, has not occurred to his reading We know the Grecians practised the Boustrophedon, which they learned from the Phoenician. Pausanias, lib. 5. 320, mentions an inscription written in this manner on a monument dedicated to Olympius by Cypselus. And Suidas remarks the laws of Solon were written in the same manner on the Axones and Cyrbes. It is remarkable that the interpretation of Boustrophedon, and of Cionn sa eiti, extremely similar, both meaning the ridges of a plowed field which are returned from right to left, and from left to right.

72 Doctor O'Brien has quoted this valuable manuscript frequently in his Irish dictionary as a standard of the Bearla feni or Phoenician dialect of the ancient Irish; see the Words sualachtadb, feire, &c. in his dictionary.

O'Brien calls this the speckled book, or feathar Breoi, Mac Eogan, properly Mac Aodhagan. Keating and bishop Nicolson mention leabbar breac of Mac Eogban as a valuable chronicle of the Irish history, and this manuscript before of contains only the lives of the patriarchs and Moses, so that probably there are two manuscripts of the same author under the same name: this is supposed to be a copy of the Old Testament brought to Ireland either by St. Kieran, St. Aillu, St. Declan or St Ibar, the precursors of St. Patrick.

73 Gall. lac, Latine, milk; old glossary to my possession. Gall is also translated milk in M'Nagluon's dictionary in the college-library.

74 Vide Genes. xxxii. 13.

75 Wilkins in Op. Anglico. de lingua Phil. p. 435.

76 H. Megiserius in Spec. 50 lingu.

77 J. Reuterus Livon. in l'orat. Dom. 40 lingu.

78 Oratio Domin. London 1700.

79 a bearna if used, it should be written, a thigbearna, id est. O Lord.

80 I say Scytho-Celts; as the Scythians, a roving people in all ages, have mixed with the Northern Celts of Spain. Silius Italicus, a Spaniard by birth, confesses the fact, and the mixture of Celts and Scythians in several other countries, was the more common, from the little difference in their languages, till they had split into various and different dialects in latter ages. I mention this only to introduce the tradition of the Irish wherein they pretend a descent from a famous Eber-Scot; that is, from an Iberian Scythian. It accounts for the name of Scots; as the Lybian names of Gaedhal and Phenius account for the appellations, Gaedhils and Pheni.