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Book chapter

Переходный период в истории ирландского историописания: «Основа знаний об Ирландии» Джоффри Китинга

С. 247-258.

The early Modern time was the period of serious cataclysms and transformations. Various groups of population reacted to events in different ways. One of the instruments of the new territorial legitimacy, which was required by the epoch, were historical narratives. They were used as arguments in the polemic about the past of Ireland. English historians and writers followed Gerald of Wales and treated the Irish pre-Anglo-Norman past critically regarding the native population as barbarians. To counter their arguments Gaelic and Old English intellectuals tried to justify civility of the Irish. ‘Foras Feasa ar Éirinn’ by Geoffrey Keating (1570–1644), a Catholic priest of Old-English descent, was such a narrative, in which the history of Ireland from the first settlers to the Anglo-Norman Invasion is described. The basis of his narrative is ‘Lebor Gabála Érenn’ (‘The Book of Invasions’), the medieval source of the peopling of Ireland.

As far as Keating is concerned, it is worth to distinquish between a tradition (where he rigorously follows his predecessors in the field of Irish history-writing) and an innovation (where he re-transmits, modifies and comments on historical data). The article sheds light on what Keating shares with tradition and where he breaks with it.

The author concludes that Keating’s work heralded the transitional period in Irish history-writing. On the one hand, it fitted into the context of preceding tradition, which supplied Keating with frame stories and conceptual schemes he reproduced. On the other hand, his text was defined by the demands of his time and in this perspective it conformed to the standards of Antiquarian and Erudite history-writing with its integral engagement of the author in the described events. That is why, “Foras Feasa ar Éirinn” was definitely individual.