Funera Sunt pro Cultu Gallorum Magnifica et Sumptuosa

The Dying Gaul, Capitoline Museum, Rome.

Viri, quantas pecunias ab uxoribus dotis nomine acceperunt, tantas ex suis bonis aestimatione facta cum dotibus communicant. Huius omnis pecuniae coniunctim ratio habetur fructusque servantur: uter eorum vita superarit, ad eum pars utriusque cum fructibus superiorum temporum pervenit. Viri in uxores, sicuti in liberos, vitae necisque habent potestatem; et cum paterfamiliae illustriore loco natus decessit, eius propinqui conveniunt et, de morte si res in suspicionem venit, de uxoribus in servilem modum quaestionem habent et, si compertum est, igni atque omnibus tormentis excruciatas interficiunt. Funera sunt pro cultu Gallorum magnifica et sumptuosa; omniaque quae vivis cordi fuisse arbitrantur in ignem inferunt, etiam animalia, ac paulo supra hanc memoriam servi et clientes, quos ab eis dilectos esse constabat, iustis funeribus confectis una cremabantur.

– Gaius Julius Cæsar, De Bello Gallico, Book 6, Chapter 19.

Take the Veil Then My Daughter

Shortly afterwards a man came to Dubthach’s house to woo Brigit. His name was Dubthach moccu Lugair. That pleased her father and her brothers. ‘It is difficult for me’, said Brigit, ‘I have offered up my virginity to God. I will give you advice. There is a wood behind your house, and there is a beautiful maiden [therein]. She will be betrothed to you, and this is how you will recognize it: You will find an enclosure wide open and the maiden will be washing her father’s head and they will give you a greater welcome, and I will bless your face and your speech so that whatever you say will please them.’ It was done as Brigit said.

Her brothers were grieved at her depriving them of the bride-price. There were poor people living close to Dubthach’s house. She went one day carrying a small load for them. Her brothers, her father’s sons, who had come from Mag Lifi, met her. Some of them were laughing at her; others were not pleased with her, namely Bacéne, who said: ‘The beautiful eye which is in your head will be betrothed to a man though you like it or not.’ Thereupon she immediately thrusts her finger into her eye. ‘Here is that beautiful eye for you’, said Brigit. ‘I deem it unlikely’, said she, ‘that anyone will ask you for a blind girl.’ Her brothers rush about her at once save that there was no water near them to wash the wound. ‘Put’, said she, ‘my staff about this sod in front of you.’ That was done. A stream gushed forth from the earth. And she cursed Bacéne and his descendants, and said: ‘Soon your two eyes will burst in your head.’ And it happened thus.

Dubthach said to her: ‘Take the veil then, my daughter, for this is what you desire. Distribute this holding to God and man.’ ‘Thanks be to God’, said Brigit.

– Anonymous Life of St. Brigid, Bethu Brigte, Chapters XIV-XVI.