oh dude. this is peak content
Early Irish law is very important.
You gotta love that the Brehons were even thinking of the crazy cat ladies.
question, and feel free to answer with real info or total bullshit (i like both): why was this an issue of concern for lawmakers? like, were there disputes over cat names? what problem was this seeking to solve?
I’m going off memory and this is going to sound like BS, but it’s not, I went to school for this, lol.
Cat’s were an important part of keeping a house in the medieval era. Rats, mice and roaches were known to be disease carriers and keeping a good hunting cat was believed to be a good ward against those animals and their diseases. (Of course, with the exception of plague, this is true.)
But not all cats are created equal, same as now, some were content to just sit around and mooch off the milk. (Don’t feed your cat cows milk, we know better now.)
Medieval Irish cat law, or “ Catshlechta “
Was a means of solving the lazy cat problem.
How do you determine what a cat is worth? By it’s merit of course.
How do you know what it’s merits are? By it’s name.
So a good hunting cat would be given a name that reflected what its positive traits were regarding it’s job. (Everything was work back then, even for cats.)
“Meone” meant “Mighty roar” and it was considered to be able to scare beasts away (both pests and supernatural creatures.) It was worth 2 cows.
“Cruipne” or “Mighty paw” was a thrice proven mouser, and worth three ounces of coinage. usually assigned to protect areas of wealth like grain stores or cattle housings.
“Breone” or “Fireside cat” was good at both hunting and purring (I.E affection.) and was worth 3 whole cows.
“Baircne” a female cat (Owned by a woman usually) said to be good at protecting ships and women. It was worth whatever you could get a woman’s husband would pay for it.
Cats were usually kept in the same housing as the cows and were looked after by whomever fed said cows, hence the relation to cow costs.
Also, gender mattered. Male cats were noted to be far more lazy, and were worth about half of whatever a female cat was.
(Don’t ask me how they sexed the cats, they didn’t leave us that detail.)
There’s also a set of laws for dogs called “Conshlechta”
Okay how are those names pronounced though
And what would a lazy, dumb cat be called because I might need to change my cat’s nickname
With the usual caveat that we don’t actually know how medieval languages were pronounced, and that this is a reconstructed pronunciation based on historical linguistics:
Meone: /’meo:ne/ meh-OH-neh, with stress on the meh.
Cruipne /’crubne/ CRUB-neh.
Breone /’breo:ne/ breh-OH-neh, stress on breh.
Baircne /’bar’gne/ BAR-ug-neh, with the ‘ug’ syllable much shorter than the other two syllables.
@obaewankenope @deadcatwithaflamethrower for language reasons
More linguistics gold.