Latin Navigatio,  an English synopsis based on MS. Alençon: Notes

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(1)  It is uncertain whether the phrase 'Over there'refers to 'the Land of Promise' or 'Insula Deliciosa' where Saint Mernocatus and his followers.

(2)  A mountain located in the peninsula of Dingle (Kerry) - Selmer, Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis, p.84.

(3)  The original word of 'frenum' might be used as the meaning of 'necklace' according to Selmer(op.cit., p. 85, note 27).

(4)  This young man is identified as the 'steward'later, who comes to their help, every year, on the eve of Easter, and who will drive them to the Promised Land of the Saints.

(5)  The text(Vigilias vero et missas cras in illa insula quam vos videtis proposuit Deus celebrare suae resurrectionis) clearly separates "vigils and Masses" at the beginning of the sentence of "Resurrection" at the end(crescendo final).

(6)  In the Bestiaries of the Middle Ages, the offspring of Physiologus Latinus(III° s ap.JC) this kind of animal is often described; Philippe of Beauvais (1200) wrote on the monster - Lacovie -: 'its skin is covered with sand... it makes emerge its back so that the mariners believe that must be an island covered with sand. They make a large fire and cook their food. When the animal feels and due to the heat of fire, it plunges to deep into the sea...'(Coll Stock + n° 35 1980 pp. 48-49).

(7)  The belief in minds is followed by a realization of Mind (under the form of the 'body') which is the higher form of Divine Love. A doctrine with to the Treaty of the Resurrection of deaths from Tertullian.

(8)  The Latin text says 'it is hard' although the author seems to mean 'it is forbidden'(which correspond to the 'Geis' Irish kind of religious taboo or forbidden magic). See 'L'Ile des Hommes Forts' - Ch.24, n.20.

(9)  This description of the water source may be connected with an Indo-Europian tradition about the power of water: H. Wagner(Celtic Studies 29 p. 764) writes: 'water sources would be involved in science and revealed truth, as shown by the Irish legends', and he adds that the word 'trioth' in Old Irish means both 'king' and 'sea'.

(10)  The text remains some unknown factors about whether Saint Brendan's words refer to this source or another one. Later on, the steward came bringing the same water for them.

(11)  The prophecy of the bird carries over 8 months of navigation, Saint Brendan sails three months and forty days to reach the island of Albe. In fact the text, with little concern of contradiction, is to make us blur with those points of call along the course of the timeline.

(12)  Chp.4 of the Selmer edition(pp.10-1) indicates the boat the monks used for their voyage has only one sail; on the contrary, the latter also relates here, 'At fratres ceperunt extendere uela et nauigare in oceanum, ...'(p.28).

(13)  the original runs 'in parte', but the same place in other mss. shows 'a portu', 'far from the harbour'. A scribal error might have caused the obscurity of the passage.

(14)  According to Selmer(p. 87 note 43), this processional hymn might be used to greet guests at Irish monasteries, and cannot be found in the Scriptures. As the entire episode is reminiscent of the Rule of Saint Benedict(silence, work done within the day, reception of the guests), we could hope to find the origin in this context of it.

(15)  Jn. 13:64.

(16)  Saint Patrick lived around 385-461; Saint Albe died circa 527. Similar episode found in The Journey of the Hui Corra, Revue Celtique No. 14 p, 56-69. The Albe's Island was identified to the Faroes or Iceland.

(17)  Cf. Ezechiel 48:16; Apoc. 4:4.

(18)  Ps.38:23, a prayer in distress.

(19)  The belief in "spirits" is mentioned several times in Navigatio, as in Ch.12.

(20)  Exod. 3:2; Acts. 7:30, reference to the burning bush.

(21)  There are some traces of versification in the first half of the chapter.

(22)  Ps. 68:36, the Glorious Epic of Israel.

(23)  Daniel3.

(24)  Mat. 24:81.

(25)  Apoc. 7:10, The Triumph of Elected Representatives of Heaven.

(26)  Ps. 118:27.

(27)  The Bestiary of Guillaume Le Clerc(1210)described the "feeding ground" in the sea where sea monsters lived. They had wings and swooped down and attacked large sailing vessels passing near their teritory.

(28)  The tones of latin sentence are particularly expressive 'Jactabat of naribus spumas and scultabat undas velocissimo cursu...'

(29)  From repeated words from Jesus.

(30)  The famous Oratio Sancti Brendani(Ed, C.Moran - Acta Sancti Brendani, Dublin 1872)seems to come from this passage of Navigatio. This request or "Lorica"(armours against material and spiritual danger)follows a structure analysed by D. Gougaud.

(31)  This sentence is omitted in our Ms.; borrowed from Ms. Ghent.

(32)  The Ms says Saint Brendan remained three months on this island, giving three prophetic "signs" to his companions; but they seemed to check the disappearance of the monster the day after their arrival, and two days later, they discovered the stranded fish; they set out again three days afterwards. Thus their stay was five days and not three months. The text, in fact, has little care for these internal inconsistencies, or it seems that the author would like to change our perception of time.

(33)  'Scalta' seems an invented word; the word does not exist in Latin and does the 'Scalta' here refer to the flora of a marvellous island?

(34)  Ps. 84:8, song of pilgrimage.

(35)  Ps. 67:2.

(36)  Ps. 70:2, cry in distress.

(37)  Ps. 116:1, thanksgiving.

(38)  Ps. 130:1.

(39)  Ps. 133:1, living in brotherly affection.

(40)  Ps. 147:12, hymn for the Almighty.

(41)  Ps. 65:2.

(42)  Ps. 104:1.

(43)  Ps. 113:1, praise for God's glory and mercy.

(44)  Ps. 148:1, calling on the cosmic creation for the praise for God.

(45)  Ps. 149:1, Triumphal Singing.

(46)  Ps. 150:1, finale of Doxology.

(47)  Ps. 51:3.

(48)  Ps. 70:2, cry in distress.

(49)  Ps. 90:1.

(50)  Ps. 47:2.

(51)  Ps. 54:3, calling for the Judge.

(52)  Ps. 116:1, thanksgiving.

(53)  Antiphon "Ad Communionem" whose original text is rhymed. (Ed Warren Rival and The Liturgy of the Celtic Church p.178).

(54)  The expression remains enigmatic.

(55)  The text is forgetful of the precise number of the companions of Brendan: 14 + 1(two of them have already left the ship). Symbolism of numbers?

(56)  Is this 'fruit'referred to some of pomegranate?

(57)  June 29th.

(58)  The passage is difficult to translate. There are two possibilities: 'the heads touching their posteriors in a circle', or 'lying with their heads putting on the others' posteriors like a circle.'

(59)  This topic can be counted among a lot of such folklores(the column is the Axle of the World) and literatures (Greek, Arab, European medieval etc..)

(60)  This description recalls the Testament, Ezekiel 40.41; Apoc.21 the heavenly Jerusalem.

(61)  The meaning of this passage is unclear; it may be 'a mouthful of our prey'.

(62)  Ps. 132:1, the joy of fraternal life.

(63)  Paul the Hermit had remained for ninety years on the small island since the death of Saint Patrick, The Apostle of Ireland(387? - 461).So the voyage of Saint Brendan would have taken place around AD 551, then his age would have been 65 years old.

(64)  There are two posibilities of translation: 'there was nothing to drink', or 'no need to drink'.

(65)  Ps. 65:6.

(66)  'Apples'or 'Fruit'? The translator chose the first in the light of Celtic literature in which the theme of "the island of apples" is common.

(67)  this passage is difficult to translate: "the river bends through the middle of the island" the text says.

(68)  Ps. 86:5.

(69)  Is it about a written writing of its trip? Latin verb 'notare'can have this meaning. And some scholars speculate this very last episode might have benn omitted in the examplar of MS. Alençon

--- to be continued---

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