The project Ireland and Carolingian Brittany: Texts and Transmission (IrCaBriTT) is funded by the Laureate Awards Scheme of the Irish Research Council and led by Dr Jacopo Bisagni (Classics, NUI Galway).
The IrCaBriTT project explores the intellectual exchanges between Ireland, Brittany and Francia during the Carolingian age (c. AD 750–1000). More specifically, one of the project's main aims is to assess the impact of the literary and scholarly heritage of early Christian Ireland on the shaping of textual and cultural identity among the intellectual élite of medieval Brittany, a country situated on the frontier between the Insular world and the European mainland.
Our research focusses on a newly discovered group of highly distinctive early medieval texts on computus (the science of time-reckoning) and biblical exegesis, all showing clear links with Brittany. Besides providing substantial new evidence for hitherto neglected areas of Breton education and scholarship in the Carolingian age, these works demonstrate the formative contribution of medieval Irish learning to the development of Breton ‘scientific’ and religious ideas between the late eighth and the early tenth centuries.
Philological analysis of the newly discovered texts, and the manuscripts that contain them, is being carried out with a view to shedding light on the sources available to the medieval Breton ecclesiastical literati, the linguistic character of Breton Latinity, and the relationship between Breton, Insular and Carolingian learning in the domains of computus and exegesis.
It is our hope that the integration of this new evidence into a comprehensive assessment of the Breton transmission of Hiberno-Latin texts will allow us to reconstruct and understand the intellectual networks that linked the Insular, Breton and Frankish scriptoria where these fascinating works were produced, copied and studied.