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Making Ireland Roman: Irish Neo-Latin Writers and the Republic of Letters
Making Ireland Roman: Irish Neo-Latin Writers and the Republic of Letters

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Authors: Jason Harris and Keith Sidwell
Affiliation: Jason Harris is in the Department of History at University College Cork. Keith Sidwell is in the Department of Classics, University College Cork
Publication Year: Hardback 2009
Pages: 254
Size: 234 x 156mm

ISBN: 9781859184530


This collection of articles by leading scholars focuses on Irish writing in Latin in the Renaissance and aims to rewrite Irish cultural history through recovery and analysis of Latin sources. This book renders accessible for the first time the vastly important Irish contribution to the counter-reformation, to European Renaissance and baroque literature in Latin and to the intellectual culture of European Latinity. The ethnic, cultural and religious divisions within Ireland produced a divided Latin writing and reading community.

The Latin language became the medium in which the Catholic Church operated. When Christianity took root in Ireland so too did Latin. It became one of the principal languages of Ireland for over a thousand years resulting in over one thousand books being published by Irish authors. In order to convey the idiosyncrasies of Gaelic culture in the language of European scholarship to an international audience, Irish authors had to engage in a process of cultural translation. Many were Catholic exiles who attempted to promote an alternative to the English colonial narrative being written by domestic scholars. Some writers felt compelled to defend their country's reputation as a result of defamatory comments made by other writers.

Articles include a detailed reconstruction of a feud with Scottish historians about the identity of medieval 'Scotia' as they claimed that it referred to Scotland rather than Ireland. Other articles include a contextual study of the political epic poem 'Ormonius', an examination of the major Latinist Richard Stanihurst and an evaluation of the literature of Catholic exile.


Acknowledgements vii

Introduction: Ireland and Romanitas

Jason Harris and Keith Sidwell 1

1. Some reflexes of Latin learning and of the Renaissance

in Ireland c. 1450–c. 1600

Diarmaid Ó Catháin 14

2. Derricke and Stanihurst: a dialogue

John Barry 36

3. The Richard Stanihurst–Justus Lipsius friendship:

scholarship and religion under Spanish Habsburg

patronage in the late sixteenth century

Colm Lennon 48

4. 'The Tipperary hero': Dermot O'Meara's Ormonius (1615)

Keith Sidwell and David Edwards 59

5. 'Making Ireland Spanish': the political writings of

Philip O'Sullivan Beare

Hiram Morgan 86

6. The Scotic debate: Philip O'Sullivan Beare and his


David Caulfield 109

7. A case study in rhetorical composition: Stephen White's

two Apologiae for Ireland

Jason Harris 126

8. Latin invective verse in the Commentarius Rinuccinianus

Gráinne McLaughlin 154

9. Ussher and the collection of manuscripts in early modern


Elizabethanne Boran 176

Notes and References 195

Index 237

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5 of 5 This book is a timely and welcome introduction to September 4, 2013
Reviewer: Peter Davidson University of Aberdeen from Republic of Ireland  
This book is a timely and welcome introduction to the work in Latin produced in the early   modern period by Irish writers of all communities. This collection of essays reflects the sheer  energy of the group of scholars working on the renaissance and baroque Latinity of Ireland   many of them based around the Centre for Neo Latin Studies at University College Cork. The  publisher promises that this book  aims to rewrite Irish cultural history through recovery and  analysis of Latin sources : it does exactly that  and does so with style  verve and profound  learning. It whets the appetite for the forthcoming Cambridge Handbook to Irish Neo Latin and  makes one grateful for the Irish Latin texts already published electronically by the Centre.  The contemporary academy  especially in the Anglophone world  however loosely we might use  that term   has inherited a skewed and partial attitude to the Latin writings of the period 1500   1750 covered by this book. Like the whole complex system of the Baroque arts in visual symbol  and emblem  the international system of Latinity which this book celebrates is supra national   profoundly international  encompassing those important early modern communities   exiles for  example  or Jesuits   who might be said not to have had a nationality in any simple sense.  England was not perhaps the most enthusiastic patricipant in the international republic of Latin  letters  which has left a specific legacy of perceptibly low enthusiasm for renaissance Latin. To  some degree all literary and historical study based on the vernaculars of the nation states finds  Latin writing for an international audience to some degree anomalous or embarassing.  But no real study of the early modern period is possible without taking full account of Latin. As  Keith Sidwell and Jason Harris remind us in their Introduction:  Despite the onset of both literary and scholarly production in the vernacular languages of  Europe  it is a fact that up to 1680 most books exhibited at the Frankfurt Book Fair were  in Latin ... Latin survived one upheaval that might have spelled its doom  the  Reformation and Counter Reformation  before it gradually fell victim to another  the rise  of the twin gods of nationalism and utilitarianism.  These facts will not go away  however much  renaissance studies   in some quarters  seem to be  in the process of redefining  renaissance  as  Anglophone printed books easily available via Early  English Books Online . To understand the early modern world at all  and to understand the self   perception of nations and religious confessions  we have to look to the language which all  communities used when facing outwards  explaining themselves  engaging in debate or  controversy   Latin. This is particularly true of nations whose vernaculars were marginal    Poland  Scandinavia  the United Provinces   or overshadowed by a dominating imported  vernacular as is the case  in different degrees  in Scotland and Ireland.  After the admirably concise introduction with its closing reminder that  the culture of learning   was crucial to both sides in the religious debate  the book begins with Diarmaid   Cath in s  survey of the Latinity of Ireland through the renaissance. This offers a strongly argued case for  seeing a Renaissance culture among Irish magnates of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries   offering the example of the correspondence between the Fitzgeralds and the City of Florence   which played on a shared origin myth of Trojans in Etruria. The letter of 1440 in which Florence  made overtures to the seventh earl of Desmond was written by the pioneering humanist  Leonardo Bruni  1370? 1444    correspondence from the heartlands of the Italian renaissance as  it was gathering its full strength. It is unsurprising  with this background  that the eighth earl of  Desmond  in 1464  was instrumental in the attempt to found a university at Drogheda  four years  before he fell foul of the English government for his intimacy with the Gaelic  lite  and the  initiative failed.  We move in the second chapter to the world of the recusant Catholics in Ireland  and the  important figure of Richard Stanihurst  1547 1618  in whose lifetime the status of the  Old  English  changed dramatically  as English hostility to Catholicism hardened into outright  persecution and Stanihurst himself had to flee to the continent. John Barry s thoughtful essay  explores the play between Stanihurst s Ciceronian re casting of works by Giraldus Cambrensis   De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis  published at Antwerp by the celebrated firm of Plantin in 1584  and  John Derricke  fl.1580   whose illustrated Image of Irlande was published in 1581  itself drawing on  Stanihurst s earlier  Description of Ireland  contributed to Holinshed s Chronicles. This account of  Stanihurst is amplified by Colm Lennon s fine account of his later career on the continent  at one  point as an alchemist working at the Escorial in the laboratories of Philip II of Spain  but chiefly  as the correspondent of the distinguished Netherlandic humanist Justus Lipsius  whose own  reconciliation to Catholicism and appointment as professor at Louvain took place in 1592. This  correspondence is not only of lasting interest as the record of two profoundly educated men  trying to make sense of the political and religious conflicts of their times  but also as a testimony  to the high place which Stanihurst was accorded by one of the leaders of the northern  renaissance.  The fourth chapter is Keith Sidwell and David Edwards s account of Dermot O Meara s  Ormonius  an epic poem celebrating the career of  Black  Thomas Butler  10th earl of Ormonde.  This was published in London in 1615  facing outwards to an Ireland in process of further rapid  change  partly speaking to the  New English  but also clearly addressing a learned class among  the Catholics both  Old English  and Irish. Thus it works within one of the most interesting and  problematic linguistic territories of Latin. In Ireland Latin is the potential language of  communication between those who do not share a vernacular  therefore an area of some danger  to the  New English  in their attempts to represent the Irish Catholic community as uncivilised  and inarticulate. It is also pragmatically a useful medium of communication in a country filling up  with diverse settlers. The authors emphasise the adroit way in which the Ormonius remains almost  entirely a battlefield epic  thus avoiding some of the political and religious questions which were  growing ever more problematic through the lifetime of the epic s subject  to the degree that the  English government  and  later  Rinnunccini the Papal Nuncio  doubted from different  viewpoints whether it was possible to be a loyal Catholic in Ireland at all.  The book then opens out to consider the Irish community in Spain  and  in Hiram Morgan s  contribution  specifically Philip O Sullivan Beare  c.1590 1636 . His Historiae Catholicae Hiberniae  Compendium  published at Lisbon in 1621  emphasised the illegality of English actions in Ireland   and was itself considered by the generation of Spanish academic jurists who  in some degree   championed the rights of indigenous peoples in the Spanish colonies. O Sullivan is also the  subject of David Caulfield s elegant chapter on his controversial work Tenebriomastix directed  against Scottish  in the modern sense  claims to the ancient designation  Scotus  and thence to  Irish properties  such as the successful Scottish annexation of the Irish monasteries in Franconia.  The target of O Sullivan s very adroit  and very funny  invective is David Chambers  Camerarius   and the large claims advanced in his 1631 publication De Scotorum Fortitudine. O Sullivan has little  mercy on the  porridge maker  lablalyarius  of  Calvindonia   indeed on the whole Scottish  historical tradition from Hector Boece onwards who are tenebriones Picti to a man. Chalmers  comes under particular attack for dedicating his book to the heretical King Charles I  an  indication of the way in which attitudes were hardening yet further. On this count  not that I am  defending Chalmers  or the Scots  or anything  O Sullivan is wrong: some copies are dedicated  with a rather double edged epistle to Charles  some bear a completely different epistle to the  Cardinal Protector of the Scottish nation.  The seventh chapter is Jason Harris  excellent analysis of the stylistic and rhetorical devices of  Stephen White s two Apologiae for Ireland  against the writings of Giraldus Cambrensis and  Stanihurst s De Rebus of 1584. White  1574 late 1640s  was the first student of the Irish College  in Salamanca to become a Jesuit  and his work  even if it lacks a final authorial polish  has much  of the baroque elegance which characterises Jesuit writing.  Controversy and invective are also the subject of Gr inne MacLaughlin s witty and able analysis  of Fr Robert O Connel s  virulent  use of his Latin learning  the verses peppered throughout the  famous Commentarius Rinuccinianus written at Florence in 1661 6. The opening of this chapter  makes an excellent point about English words quoted in contemporary Irish language verse   almost all of them curses and profanities  thereby proposing that  civilised people speak Latin  and Irish.  The same technique is also used by the Scottish Gaelic poet  Iain Lom.  The last chapter is Elizabethanne Boran s comprehensive account of the manuscript collecting  activities of the Protestant archbishop  James Ussher  emphasising at once that there were some  scholarly networks operating internationally which transcended confessional divisions  but also  that there were specifically Protestant international circles of collectors and scholars  as for  example those touching on the new University of Leiden. This study of  the economy of  exchange  is particularly interesting in its emphasis on the importance of transcriptions to early   modern scholars  and on the frequent purpose of early modern manuscript research being  the  preparation for publication of national histories .  This collection is  without exaggeration  of international importance. It also sets an urgent  agenda for the revision of the cultural history of early modern Scotland. Early modern Scots  used Latin for all the purposes for which it was used by their Irish contemporaries  but there was  also a distinctive cult and culture of Latin  so much so that two of the most admired Latin  authors of early modern Europe were  without question  George Buchanan and John Barclay.  There are serious recent studies of these two writers  but much more is needed. It would be  possible to assert that Latin is the primary means of Scottish literary expression between 1603  and 1715  as well as the language in which all serious debate about identity and history is  conducted  especially in the northern half of the country. This splendid volume shows that  Ireland has done what Scotland still needs to do.

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5 of 5 This important book uncovers an Ireland of confide March 24, 2011
Reviewer: Jane Stevenson TLS from Republic of Ireland  
This important book uncovers an Ireland of confident aristocrats and intellectuals  effective combatants in one or another war of words  not starving and disposed peasants. For that reason alone  it would be a valuable contribution to the history of Ireland in the context of its immediate neighbours  but also sheds a flood of light on Ireland s interrelations with other European countries.

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5 of 5 This fine and motley collection of nine essays wi January 10, 2011
Reviewer: W Ann Trindade Australian Journal of Irish Studie from Republic of Ireland  
This fine and motley collection of nine essays  with Introduction by the  editors  heralds an important occasion for early modern Irish and  European studies: the arrival of the Centre for Neo Latin Studies in  University College Cork as a formidable force on the published  academic scene. One edition reared in this industrious stable  Philip  O Sullivan Beare s patriotic natural history  Zoilomastix  reviewed in  these pages  has already been trotted out and others  such as Dermot  O Meara s epic laud of the 10th Earl of Ormond  Ormonius  are  chomping at the bit.  As the editors note  sustained attention to the world of Irish neo   Latin letters is long overdue:  From the advent of humanism and printed texts in Ireland  in the sixteenth century until the beginnings of the decline  of Latin literacy in the eighteenth  more than one thousand  books were published in Latin by Irish authors.  p. 5   It is  moreover   a fact that up to [the year] 1680 most books exhibited at  the Frankfurt Book Fair were in Latin; that of those  published in Oxford from 1690 to 1710 more than half  were in Latin; that 31 per cent of all the entries in  Bibliotheque raisonnee des ouvrages des savants de  l Europe  1728 40  were in Latin; and that in many  European states academic dissertations were written in  Latin as a matter of course until the early nineteenth  century  p. 3 .  Neglect of the Irish Latin scene in particular is not extraordinary   however  given the academy s general disinterest in neo Latin studies.  The modern academy has been far too interested in its vernacular  traditions including authors Shakespeare  Petrarch  Ronsard and  Cervantes  et al. to properly taste much less digest the mountains of  scholarly butter slowly melting before it. But as nationalist fires fade  and scholarship on early modern Ireland becomes part of a new   internationalising trend  we can see here how the Irish are saving  civilitas as well as the traces of so many civilizations left on their  doorstep.  One of the book s central messages is a political one: Latin  the  lingua franca of Europe s scholars  diplomats  and many artists   politicans and lawyers   continued to unify even as it provided the  language of division  in an Ireland sharply divided along sectarian and  ethnic lines  p. 13 . On the one hand  appeals to a Latinised civility   including renovated notions of imperium  puffed up the self worth of a  colonial ruling elite  mostly English Protestants  and justified their  conquest against a supposedly  barbaric  Irish speaking native foe in  the later sixteenth century; but appeals to a classical notion of patria  lent ammunition and linguistic unity to their well educated and  increasingly internationally minded opponents. These were supported  by Spanish imperial ambition and fuelled on the heady vapours of the  Counter Reformation   a Tridentine religious agenda in a humanist  linguistic register   p. 11 . Simultaneously  Latin brought native and  newcomer together in a range of common interests  from humanistic  appreciation of classical genres and authors to antiquarian pursuits such  as book collecting and biblical scholarship.  With neo Latinity comes  the Renaissance   whose scope or mere  existence in Ireland a much debated topic is explored in the first  chapter   Some reflexes of Latin learning and of the Renaissance in  Ireland c.1450 c.1600   by Diarmaid   Cathain.   Cathain s richly  informed discussion of local patronage of learning by the native  nobility  including abortive university schemes  claims of geneaological  links to Italy and large private libraries  is invaluable  and it is hoped  that his call for further studies of these great patrons  such as the Old  English 8th Earl of Desmond and the earls of Kildare  will be heeded.  In the spirit of spying cross cultural trends  the second chapter    Derricke and Stanihurst: a dialogue   by John Barry  demonstrates in  somewhat tenuous fashion the influence of John Derricke s highly  derogatory Protestant polemic  the Image of Irelande  on the works of  historian  poet and translator Richard Stanihurst. The work of both  authors  furthermore  attests to the highly varied patronage of Lord  Deputy Sir Henry Sidney  pp. 46 7   a man of Caesarian ambitions and  limited resources.  Stanihurst s later correspondence and fraternization with the  intellectual giant of the Netherlands and Germany  Justus Lipsius  is  explored in the third essay   The Richard Stanihurst Justus Lipsius  friendship: scholarship and religion under Spanish Hapsburg patronage  in the late sixteenth century . Colm Lennon here explores the  parameters of both men s faith as they tended gradually and daringly  towards Catholicism in an international context of learned exile and  political intrigue. The essay makes a nice companion to that of Hiram  Morgan    Making Ireland Spanish : the political writings of Philip  O Sullivan Beare.  This essay  the fifth in the collection  documents the  travails and ambitions of another scholar and plotter in Spain  the exiled  noble O Sullivan Beare  who blames internal division and not only  English oppression and  strategems  for Ireland s many woes  p. 102 .  Likewise  as described in detail by David Caulfield in the collection s  sixth essay   The Scotic debate: Philip O Sullivan Beare and his  Tenebriomastix   O Sullivan Beare proved a true Irish patriot by writing  vociferously and at length  but not in print  in Latin to refute the saintstealing  efforts of Scotsmen Thomas Dempster and David Chambers.  Defenders of Barack Obama s birthright to the U.S. Presidency could  learn useful rhetorical strategies from O Sullivan Beare s angry  polemic.  The book s fourth essay    The Tipperary Hero : Dermot  O Meara s Ormonius  1615    by Keith Sidwell and David Edwards   offer a substantive preview of their upcoming edition of this muchneglected   stunted Virgilian epic with Irish poetic  caithrem and aisling   devices  written in Latin and hastily finished and published in London  soon after the death of its celebrated subject  the tenth earl of Ormond.  Ormond s family apparently intended the work to appeal to the British  monarch  James I  so as to demonstrate their family s loyalty and past  service  p. 67 ; but was the book also intended to intimidate Irish rivals  at court  like the earls of Thomond and/or Clanrickard? Ormond spends  much of his time not only defending English interests but capitalising  on Irish  especially Ulster  weaknesses. Religion plays little part in the  book  p. 85 .  The collection shifts technique towards denser literary analysis in  Jason Harris  chapter 7   A case study in rhetorical composition:  Stephen White s two Apologiae for Ireland . White  educated as a Jesuit  in Spain  wrote in sophisticated  baroque  style Latin  p. 146  full of   venom and bombast   p. 153  and Tridentine spirit  so as to refute  insults to the nation promoted by the histories of both Stanihurst and  Giraldus Cambrensis. Grainne McLaughlin s Chapter 8   Latin  invective verse in the Commentarius Rinuccinianus    follows suit with  an equally eloquent and erudite analysis of classical and Irish literary  influence found in this anti Cromwellian  anti Ormond  pro papal  version of events of the tumultuous 1640s. The article makes new  connections between the Commentarius and contemporary tracts and its  second appendix translates a satiric funeral epitaph for the  devil   p.  165  Cromwell  the great dictator who  fostered ferment and stabbed  Religion through the heart  and  in a memorable Irish ism   chanced his  arm often but filled his arms even more often .  p. 174  The collection  concludes on a more general note with Elizabethanne Boran s wideranging  and well researched study   Ussher and the collection of  manuscripts in early modern Europe   on the collecting habits of the  great  and greatly polemical  Protestant Archbishop of Armagh.  Ussher  was known not only as a collector but as a facilitator of the collection  and publication of manuscripts  and generously shared his knowledge of  biblical and other subjects.  This disparate collection of essays therefore fittingly concludes with  an essay on assembling disparate collections. We are the wiser for it. If  there is an agenda here  it is a timely one  serving to highlight the  learned patronage of local magnates and to promote the neglected voice  of the  native  Irish writer  whatever his origins and destinations may  have been   as he sings above the accompanying orchestration of the  international Counter Reformation. Only a few Protestant singers are let  into the cathedral  colonial planters with Latin erudition  like Sir  William Herbert  for example  get short shrift in the analysis . The  editors are nonetheless sympathetic to an entire generation of writers  raised in  brutal  circumstances  p. 6  who adhered to classical notions  of civility  and conquest .

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5 of 5 this collection of essays is an important contribu October 1, 2010
Reviewer: The Classical Review from Republic of Ireland  
this collection of essays is an important contribution to Neo Latin studies  and has a full scholarly apparatus of  notes and references   some 40 pages

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5 of 5 Roughly 1000 printed works in Latin were written b September 21, 2010
Reviewer: Irish Studies Review Naomi McAreavey from Republic of Ireland  
Roughly 1000 printed works in Latin were written by over 300 Irish authors between 1500 and 1750  on top of a substantial number of manuscript texts  and this collection of groundbreaking essays gives us something of the rich flavour of this remarkable corpus of Irish neo Latin works. As well as presenting new studies of better known writers such as Richard Stanihurst and Philip O Sullivan Beare  who are the subjects of two chapters apiece   the value of this collection lies in its attention to previously unstudied writings  especially those in manuscript. Accessible to non Latin readers  with an introduction that thoroughly contextualises Irish Neo Latin writing  the collection showcases the unique Irish contribution to the republic of letters  and demonstrates the vibrancy of Irish neo Latin culture through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.    The chapters are organised chronologically. In the first  Dairmaid  Cathin reflects on the extent to which Gaelic Ireland was influenced by Renaissance ideas  and identifies figures such as Maghnas  Domhnaill  Finghn  Mathna  and Thomas  8th Earl of Desmond  as exemplary. Emphasising the deep connections between Gaelic Ireland and Europe  especially Italy  in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries  he illuminates the rich intellectual culture that surrounded these men. In the following chapter  John Barry turns to two of the most influential writers of sixteenth century Ireland  Richard Stanihurst and John Derricke. Arguing that Derricke s Image of Irelande  1581  was inspired by Stanihurst s  Description of Ireland   1577   and that Stanihurst s De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis  1584  responded in turn to Derricke s poem and accompanying woodcuts  he asserts a Latin English  intertextuality which can deepen our perception of them all   37 . Continuing with Stanihurst  Colm Lennon contributes a fascinating discussion of the epistolary exchange between Stanihurst and Justus Lipsius  one of the leading humanists of late sixteenth century Europe  in the spring of 1592. Likening their friendship to that of Thomas More and Erasmus  Lennon illustrates Stanihurst s influence on Lipsius and his participation in the debates of Christian humanism. Situating Stanihurst in  an international humanist network that transcended the Irish community from which he came   57   Lennon s paper sheds important new light on the intellectual milieu of Stanihurst and his fellow exiles.    Moving into the seventeenth century  Keith Sidwell and David Edwards introduce Dermot O Meara s neglected poem Ormonius  1615   a military epic celebrating the achievements of the great Irish nobleman  Black  Thomas Butler  10th Earl of Ormond. Advertising their forthcoming edition of the poem  they argue that as well as offering insight on the struggle of Old English Catholics during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods  the poem is significant for its adaptation of classical Latin models to a specifically Gaelic literary form. The interaction between Latin and Gaelic literary culture is thus excitingly illustrated. Turning from an unfamiliar writer to a familiar name  Philip O Sullivan Beare is the subject of the next two chapters. The first  by Hiram Morgan  focuses on O Sullivan s political writings  attending in particular to his influential Compendium of the Catholic History  1621 . With the book describing Ireland s  golden age of Christianity being eclipsed as a result of savage and tyrannical persecution by English heretics   87   Morgan shows that O Sullivan highlights the injustices of English Protestant rule in Ireland  emphasises Irish reliance upon Spain  and argues for unified military action against England by Irish Catholics. Like Morgan  David Caulfield also showcases O Sullivan s vivid polemical prose. Tenebriomastix  1636  was an impassioned response to David Chambers  On the Courage  Piety  and Learning of the Scots  1631   a book that attempted to claim Scotia  the ancient name for Ireland along with Hibernia    and thus its rich cultural heritage   for the Scots. Discussing O Sullivan s unique intervention in this  paper war  between Scottish and Irish Catholic exiles  Caulfield underlines his  unflagging devotion to his native land  and unstinting effort in the defence of Gaelic Ireland and its cultural and religious traditions   125 .    Latin writing in manuscript is the subject of the last three essays in the collection. In the first of these  Jason Harris writes on the two manuscript Apologiae  Apologia pro Ibernia written around 1615  and Apologia pro innocentibus Ibernis written in the late 1630s  composed by the Irish Jesuit Stephen White in response to Giraldus s and Stanihurst s controversial writings on Ireland. Through meticulous examination and comparison of the texts  Harris presents an incisive analysis of the rhetorical dimensions of White s writing  proving that it is  deeply revealing of the Latinity and intellectual fibre of early and mid seventeenth century Europe   153 . Staying in the mid seventeenth century  Grinne McLaughlin looks at the Commentarius Rinuccinianus   one of the most important Counter Reformation historical sources for Ireland in the seventeenth century  a source which is particularly important because it is Irish  Catholic  virulently anti Ormond and anti Cromwell   155 . Focusing on the wonderful Latin invective verse that illuminate the pages of the collection  her essay discusses the way in which the poems aggressively oppose the natives  learned Latin and Irish to the invaders  vulgar English. Alongside a schedule of poetry in the Commentarius  an anti elegy on Cromwell is provided in full in an appendix. This remarkable poem is a significant addition to our growing collection of verse from early modern Ireland  and indicates the jewels that can be found in the Commentarius. Finally bringing the collection to a close  Elizabethanne Boran s fascinating essay on Archbishop James Ussher focuses on his role as collector of manuscripts. Situating him as part of a dynamic community of scholars working across Europe  she identifies him as  facilitator   178  of manuscript collection through Ireland  Britain and Europe. Using Ussher s voluminous Latin correspondence  her excellent account of the intellectual world of the scholar who was eulogized as a  breathing library   194  showcases his significant contribution to learning in Ireland and beyond.    This collection of genuinely pioneering essays transforms our understanding of early modern Irish writing  especially Catholic writing. Demonstrating Irish participation in the republic of letters through manuscript circulation and print publication  it situates Irish Latinity within its European context  proving the distinctiveness and sophistication of Irish neo Latin writing. My only criticism   but it is an important one   is that Making Ireland Roman entirely overlooks Irish women s engagement with Latin. The  pirate queen  Grinne N Mhille  who famously conversed with Elizabeth I in Latin  and Eleanora Burnell  who composed a prefatory poem in Latin for the publication of her father Henry Burnell s play Landgartha  1641   are just two of the women who used Latin in early modern Ireland.1 Work on these and other women will add an important new dimension to Irish neo Latin studies as it develops. Still  this book is an excellent advertisement for the groundbreaking research activities of the Centre for Neo Latin Studies at Cork  as well as in other Irish universities  Trinity College Dublin and the University of Ulster in particular . It is an important and exciting book  which shows the significant potential of further work in this field.

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