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Marginal Drawings Of The Killing And Eating Of A Mare, In Gerald of Wales's 'History And Topography Of Ireland'

Marginal Drawings Of The Killing And Eating Of A Mare, In Gerald of Wales's 'History And Topography Of Ireland'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1220

Shelfmark: Royal MS 13 B.viii

Item number: f.28v

Length: 27.4

Width: 17.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

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Gerald of Wales was born at Monorbier castle, in Pembrokeshire, in 1146. He was educated at Gloucester and Paris, and became Archdeacon of Brecon in 1175. He visited Ireland in 1183, 1185, 1199 and again for about two years from 1204. A version of his text--which is largely concerned with the marvellous things he saw or heard about there--is known to have been read publicly in 1188. This manuscript was written perhaps at Lincoln, probably before Gerald's death in 1223, and it has been suggested that he personally supervised its writing and decoration. This manuscript was later owned by St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury.

There were in Donegal, says Gerald, a people who would appoint a new king in a barbarous way: the king-to-be would have intercourse with a mare, which would then be killed, cut up, boiled in water, and then eaten, with the new king sitting in and eating from the cooking-pot.

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