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English images of Ireland - exploring a medieval manuscript

15 Dec 2014
English images of Ireland - exploring a medieval manuscript

Dr Diarmuid Scully explored one of the National Library’s most important medieval manuscripts at a research seminar in Trinity College Dublin.

Manuscript 700 dates to c. 1200 and contains Gerald of Wales’s beautifully – and provocatively - illustrated Topography of Ireland (1188) and Conquest of Ireland (1189).

Dr Scully argued that the manuscript’s marginal illustrations and map of Ireland and Europe were intended to highlight Gerald’s textual argument that the English conquest of Ireland was a civilizing mission to barbarians. Illustrations such as the image of the Connacht woman kissing a goat reinforced the Topography’s claims about Irish sexual depravity.

Dr Scully’s presentation was entitled ‘Envisioning the First English Empire: Map, Text and Image in MS 700, National Library of Ireland, Dublin’. It was delivered at the Department of History of Art and Architecture Research Seminar series, TCD, on 3rd December, 2014.

School of History

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