ed. Thomas Charles-Edwards and Fergus Kelly
Published: 1983 (repr. with an additional Appendix 2008, 2020)
Pages: xii + 214 (vol. I)
ISBN: 978 1 85500 209 8
Bechbretha ‘bee-judgements’ provides a detailed account of early Irish law relating to bee-keeping, and covers such topics as ownership of swarms, theft of bee-hives, and neighbours’ entitlements to honey from a beekeeper. The author also refers to the law-case which resulted from the blinding by a bee-sting of the eye of the Ulster king Congal Cáech, who died in 637. On linguistic and historical grounds, the editors date this remarkably well-preserved text to the seventh century AD.
This volume includes a description of the manuscripts, linguistic and legal introductions, an account of early Irish bee-keeping, a restored text with translation, and textual notes. The appendixes contain other Irish legal texts relating to bee-keeping, as well as Medieval Welsh legal material on this topic.