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The Natural History of Ireland by Philip O’Sullivan Beare
The Natural History of Ireland

Our Price:19.95
Authors: Denis O'Sullivan
Publication Year: Paperback February 2020
Pages: 296
Size: 234 x 156mm

ISBN: 9781782053965

The Natural History of Ireland by Philip O’Sullivan Beare (c.1590 – 1660) is an important source of the history of Ireland’s natural environment and its political history. It was originally written in Latin by Don Philip O’Sullivan Beara, an Irish nobleman living in exile in Spain, and formed part of his Zoilomastix (1625).

O’Sullivan Beare wrote the Zoilomastix in order to refute the Topographia Hiberniae of Giraldus Cambrensis, which was very derogatory of Ireland and the Irish people. The Topograhia was still the accepted text on Ireland in the seventeenth century which angered Philip O’Sullivan as it contained so many inaccuracies in its description of Ireland. Book One of the Zoilomastix highlights his reaction to these propagandist texts denigrating Ireland and comments on the natural habitat and features, such as rivers, plants, animals, fish and birds, of Ireland. Species listed are named in four languages, including Irish. An introduction by Denis O’Sullivan gives an overall history of the O’Sullivans and Philip in particular.

This book has never been translated into English before, thus making this a unique publication. This translation is both faithful to the original and accessible to the general reader. The ability to deal with a complex, multilingual manuscript of this kind is now rare and it is to the credit of Dr O’Sullivan that this is such a readable edition of the text. This translation constitutes an important contribution to scholarship pertaining to O’Sullivan Beare, early modern Irish Latin literature and Irish history in general and will be of interest to historians of science as well as the broad group of historians of early modern Ireland and the connections with Europe of the time.

Denis C O Sullivan’s scholarship shines through in his meticulous identification of the bewildering diversity of birds and beasts through their Greek Latin Spanish and Irish names and his rendition of them in their modern form. He has succeeded in editing sensitively a difficult manuscript and producing a lucid and fascinating translation of the work of one who besides being a political polemicist was something of a Linnaean avant la lettre – Irish Arts Review

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