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Sound and Sense in Cath Almaine

Tomás Ó Cathasaigh
Ériu
Vol. 54 (2004), pp. 41-47
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30007362
Page Count: 7
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Sound and Sense in Cath Almaine
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Abstract

Abstract Cath Almaine, a tenth-century tale on the battle of Allen, presents a remarkable sequence of verbal and vocal acts. They include pledges and promises, curse and prophecy, narrative before the battle and after it, a cry of victory given by the men of Leinster and one given by the war-goddess, the Fool's roar that memorializes the battle, sweet music heard by the slain warriors and a piteous warrior-chant heard by the victors. The tale points to the necessary interaction of word and deed, and to the absolute futility of warfare as an instrument of social order.

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