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OGHAM INSCRIBED STONES OF WALES,
14 inches from the bottom and thicker end, occupying the entire angle to within three or four inches of the top. The characters are boldly and regularly defined, the vowels being marked by rounded dots as in the majority of Irish examples. They are very legible in the cut given herewith.
The custom of supposing that our inscribed stones exhibit the names of historic personages, has led to a large amount of useless criticism and investigation. This will appear manifest if we consider that in remote ages a pillar stone was the common memorial of deceased humanity, and that such may have existed by thousands over the face of the country; that a proper name was not confined to an individual, but ran through a tribe, or family, there being perhaps hundreds of the same name, or perhaps thousands in the course of a few centuries—just as the Browns, Jones, and Smiths form a large portion of the present population of our isle. I make these remarks in reference to the present inscription, as it has been stated that the name “ Cunotami” is the Latin equivalent of Cunedda, a Welsh king who flourished in the fourth century. Now the fact of Cunotami being the Latinized equivalent of Cuneddaff, or Cunedda, is open to dispute, names ending in 1, or NI, are common to the Gaedhal, as I could easily shew; the prefix“ Cu” is common to many names found connected with early Irish and British history; so that if we remove this prefix “ Cu” or “ Cun,” what remains of both names have no similarity whatever, “otami,” edda,” or "eddaf.”
Professor Rees gives the names of the sons of Cunedda who got patrimonies in Wales, but among them there is no “Sagrani,” or “ Sagramni.”
The Ogham inscription is in good order and in pure Gaedhelic, and reads, SAGRAM NI MAQI CUNATAMI, i.e., “ Sagram, a warrior the son of Cu-natami.”
We have here after the proper name “ Sagram,” the word “Ni,” or “Nia,” which according to O'Reilly and O'Brien’s dictionaries signifies a champion, a hero, a
mighty man; we have also the formula, “maqi,” the genitive case of “ Mac,” a son, so commonly found on Irish Ogham monuments.
Cunatami is a type of a class of names found in Gaedhelic inscriptions, and also in Irish history. Thus in the Glounagloch stone we have Cunagus, while such names as Cudulig, Cuchullin, Cucongelt, Cusinna, Cubretan, Cucenmathair, will be found plentifully scattered through our early annals. This prefix “Cu” which signifies a hound was a very common one to early Gaedhelic names.
Now it is quite evident that, if these inscriptions were executed at the same time, and by the same hand, as a bilingual one, they would be identical, letter for letter; whereas the “Sagramni” of the Celtic is “ Sagrani” in the Roman, and “ Cunatami” of the one is “Cunotami” of the other,
Again, both inscriptions would follow the same direction; whereas, the Celtic reads from bottom to top, the Roman from top to bottom.
We are thus reduced to the dilemma as to which was the original inscription.
An inspection of the stone itself gives us no assistance on that point; both are of such a great age, that differences in the engraving could not be depended on as of any value in the argument. The probabilities are in my opinion in favour of the superior antiquity of the Ogham. The story of the stone looks like this; that it was erected as a memorial over some well-known chief of the invading Gaedhal, who for a long period occupied South Wales, and that at some period after, when the language of the Gaedhal, and the use of the Ogham were dying out, some patriotic descendant of the hero, to perpetuate the memorial, re-cut the inscription in the Roman characters then in use; the monument is of great antiquity, the Roman inscription alone on the authority of Mr. Westwood being referable to a date “not long after the departure of the Romans.”
OGHAM INSCRIBED STONES OF WALES.
This is a kindred monument to the last described, being one of the very few existing in dressed stones. According to Sir Samuel Meyrick, who describes it in his“ Cardiganshire,” it is 9 feet 3 inches in height above ground, and I foot 8 inches in breadth, it bears a bilingual inscription in Ogham and Roman characters, in a remarkable state of preservation, owing no doubt to the fact stated by Sir Samuel that it was found in the eastern wall of the ruins of a building (Capel Whyl) a few feet below the surface of the earth. The chapel was a building of great antiquity; and the stone being looked upon no doubt as a pagan monument, it was used up
in its foundation. The author of “ Cardiganshire,” though minutely describing this stone, takes no notice of the Ogham ; indeed, I am not aware of their having been noticed by any antiquary until the appearance of Mr. Longueville Jones's engraving and paper in the Archeologia Cambrensis, third series, vol. vii, p. 42.
The Roman inscription is as follows:
TRENACATUS IC JACET FILIUS MAGLAGNI,
Of the Roman inscription Mr. Longueville Jones writes :
“ The letters indicate a very early period; the same, in fact, whatever that period may really be, as that of the Sagramnus stone so well known to our members. The absence of the h in the second line ; the uncertainty or the mistake, in the cutting of the T and the f; the peculiar forms of the g-are all points of interest, and may help to the determining of its palæographical date. It will be observed, too, that the letters do not touch each other, nor inosculate, as is so often the case in inscriptions of the kind. The letters were correctly read by Sir Samuel Meyrick; and there is no obscurity about them. The name in the third line would seem to show an Erse connexion, as in other instances in Wales; and another peculiarity of the inscription is that the terminations of the nominative cases are here preserved.
The words end in vs not in 1. On the whole, the inscription testifies to knowledge and care." (Ibid., pp. 44, 45.)
The Ogham inscription is as usual on the left angle of the stone, same face as the Roman, and occupies the upper part running across the head, it consists but of one, the first name of the Roman one with some variation.
The appearance of a single name on this stone without the usual patronymic is quite consistent with the custom of the Gaedhal, as many such examples exist in Ireland.
Thus on a monument at Ardovenagh in Kerry we have a simple name “ Coftet,” on one at Been, county Cork, “ Monges," on one in the collection of Mr. Windele, “ Acati,” on the great stone at Bealamhire, county Cork, “ Artagni,” on one at Ardmore “ Amadv.” For the superior antiquity of the Ogham in this instance the same arguments will apply as in the former case, particularly as regards the principal name, which is strangely altered in the Roman one. Here again it is evident, that some descendant or admirers of the Gaedhelic chief or warrior, not satisfied with the simple name inscribed in Ogham, cut the more lengthened, and elaborate inscription in the Roman letters and language.
Mr. Longueville Jones seems to think that the double c indicates the accent on the penultimate, “therefore testifying to the Cymric origin of the name itself.” The Gaedhelic Oghamists delighted in double letters, thus on a stone, Barachaurin, county Cork, we have the name “ Carrttacc,” one over from Kilboultragh, in the possession of Col. A. L. Fox,“ Muddossa,” on one at Kilbonane, Kerry, “ Gonnggu.”
TRALLONG, BRECKNOCKSHIRE. This interesting monument was found on the taking down of the ancient church of Trallong near Brecon; it formed one of the internal jamb-stones of a window;
3RD SER., VOL. XV.
fortunately the inscription was turned inside towards the body of the wall, which accounts for the fine state of preservation in which we now find it. I would here remark, that it is owing to the use of these monuments as building materials, in the construction of Rath caves and ancient churches, that we owe the preservation of so great number of these inscriptions in Ireland.
To Mr. Longueville Jones we are again indebted for our knowledge of this monument, which he has beautifully illustrated in Archæologia Cambrensis (vol. viii, third series p. 52) he describes it as being six feet long, 1 foot 6 inches wide at the upper end, tapering down to a point at the lower, uniformly about six inches in thickness, &c. Mr. L. Jones here errs in making the broad end of the stone the top, whereas it was manifestly the bottom when used as an Ogham monument; but was certainly made the head when it was turned into a Christian monument by the engraving of the cross on it. The stone tells its own tale as plainly as possible, and it is this; the stone was selected, and inscribed with a Gaedhelic inscription, as usual on an angle, and leaving a space at one end to secure it in the ground; this space was left at the broad end, and there the inscription commenced at about 16 inches from the extremity, continuing nearly to the top; subsequently as in the former instance, a Roman inscription embodying a portion of the Gaedhelic one, was inscribed on the stone as it stood, from the top, downwards, as we find the custom in all such examples.
Subsequently to this we have the Christianizers, who take up the stone all together, carve the cross upon the broad end that was in the earth, the only space
where one could be carved, and disregarding the inscription bury the whilome top in the ground, in order that the end bearing the cross should of course be uppermost.
The builders of the primitive church of Trallong do not appear to have had any reverence for this semipagan monument; for they built it into the wall of their new edifice. In this case we have repeated what has