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Gerasim Silin
Gerasim Silin

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VARIA I The modus operandi of the author of TBC-LL as exemplified byMellgleo nlliach and Medb's f?al The close textual relationship between Recensions I and II of Tain B? C?ailnge (TBC) has longbeen acknowledged. Thurneysen (1921, 113) argued that the author ofRecension II had sought not only to transform the work stylistically but also to create unity out of Recension I by eliminating doublets and inconsistencies resulting from its compilatory nature. In this he was essentially followed by O'Rahilly (TBC LL, liv): 'The impression feltby the reader of LL-TBC is that this version is a unity, that the various elements of the tale have been brought together to form a new coherent whole by a single main "editor"...Considering the length of the tale the standard of consistency attained is remarkable'. The aim of the following contribution is to cast some further lightupon the attitude of the author of Recension II to his source and material by examining two brief episodes in some detail, namely Mellgleo nlliach, which is found inboth recensions, and the account ofMedb's urination/menstruation, which may be viewed as one of Recension IPs more strikingmodifications of the earlier work.1 Mellgleo nlliach is one of a number of episodes in TBC which describe how certain Ulster warriors came toC? Chulainn's aid. These are relatively short in comparison to the lengthy Comrac Fir Diad 7Con Culaind which precedes them.Their titles present a common theme and suggest that they be read and understood as a group, with each tale focusing on a single tech nique of combat employed by particular individuals, e.g. Caladgle? Cethirn, Fiacalgle? Fintain and B?ngle? Rochada. Mellgleo nlliach comes near the end of this group and appears to present itsprotagonist in a comic light. It is entered in theB-list of sagas, along with Fiacalgle? Fintain and Caladgle? Cethirn among others (Mac Cana 1980,72). Although these episodes come under the heading gn?thscela, 'there is no question of their referring to separate narratives' (Mac Cana 1980, 87). Recension I includes them in its listof chief episodes (Dinda na Tana, 11 3154-60), drawing attention to their perceived importance to the tale as a whole. Both recensions have nasalisation before Illach in their titles.The varied form and inflection as indications of gender presented by gle? inOld and Middle Irish have been discussed by Thurneysen (1936, 366-7), who ten tatively suggests an original feminine and ascribes the nasalisation in the title to a latermodification of a putative mell-gleo na n-ilech 'clod battle of themany horses'. Mac Cana (1980, 39) takes mellgleo to be masculine, inwhich case no mutation should follow. Two of the three B-list manu scripts spell the titlewithout nasalisation,2 whereas Rawl. B. 512 includes 1 All references are to TBC LL and TBC 1, giving line numbers for the Irish text and page numbers for the translation. 2 RIA MS 23 N 10 and Harley 5280. DOI: 10.3318/ERIU2008.58.169 Eriu lviii (2008) 169-180 ? Royal Irish Academy 170 A1?S NIMHAOLDOMHNAIGH nasalisation.3 O'Rahilly (TBC 7, note on 113154-60, 282) states 'there is a tendency to prefix n- to proper names beginning with a vowel in titles', giving Airecor nArad, Aislingi nAimirgin and Tochestul nUlad as further examples. Another discrepancy involves the spelling of Illach. This has no lengthmark on the firstvowel inRecension I,whereas Recension II indi cates length in seven out of ten occurrences. Recension I also has Ilech as an alternative spelling of Illach. The titleMellgle? may serve to introduce a humorous interlude. DIL gives Tight, combat' as meanings for gle? and lists three separate head words of the formmell, one of which is adjectival and means 'delightful' in the sense of giving enjoyment. The other two meanings are substanti val: (1) ball, round mass; (2) confusion. While Recension I concludes the episode with Mellgle? Illach sin uair condidnatib in slog 'that isMellgle? Iliach because the host laughed at him' (1. 3386, trans. 215), Recension II rounds itoffwith the following explanation: is aire atberar Mellgle? ntliach ris ddig de chlochaib y chorthib y tdthleccaib m?ra fogni-seom a...

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