The Brehon Laws
- 7 hours on-demand video
- 8 articles
- 24 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- A comprehensive introduction to the Brehon Laws of Early Ireland
- Anyone can take this course. While it's recommended that you take the 'Ancient Ireland Culture and Society' and 'Irish Mythology' courses first to gain a solid foundation, it is not essential.
Take a journey into the ancient past and learn all about the ancient Brehons of Ireland and their famous laws.
For thousands of years the people of Ireland lived by a native set of laws known today as ‘Brehon Law’.
This ancient and just system held the fabric of Irish society together.
In this course, you will meet the brehon lawyers and explore the fragments of ancient manuscripts they have left behind for us, gems of wisdom from the ancient past.
Were kings brehons? Were brehons druids and poets, too?
We will learn about the key legal or 'brehon' families and some famous law schools, and learn all about the principles of justice and logic which characterize the brehon laws.
We will take a stroll through wider Irish society and learn how the laws had an impact on other aspects of daily life.
This course is the third in a trilogy of courses designed to give participants a deep and vivid understanding of early Irish society, mythology, and law.
While it is recommended to take the other courses first to give you a solid foundation (See my profile for: 'Ancient Irish Culture and Society' and 'Irish Mythology'), it is not essential before taking this course.
I founded the Brehon Law Academy in 2013 to rekindle and awareness and appreciation for the old laws of ancient Ireland.
Since then I have worked with 100s of students from around the world and you are invited to join us on this journey.
- Everyone who has an interest in ancient civilizations, Irish culture and history, and particularly anyone who is curious to learn more about this fascinating chapter of human history.
Who were this mysterious class of 'eminent jurists', the keepers of the laws? Let's find out in the first video of this section.
Through the course of time, the profession of brehons became increasingly hereditary as certain families came to be heavily associated to the law. Eventually, certain families founded law schools which produced many of the legal manuscripts we discussed previously.
A third example of restitution from Irish mythology. Here, an account from the alleged 'first people in Ireland', showing the antiquity of the concept of restitution in Irish society. What's more interesting about this story is the subject matter and the judgment. It's an example of the high-regard generally held for women in early Irish society.
Fasting has historically been used in Ireland, and elsewhere, as a tool to compel a stronger party to justice.
Here, we'll learn about troscud; an ancient custom of fasting which eventually became a necessary step in legal procedure whenever a weaker party wanted to compel a stronger party to justice.
Listen to a radio interview where I discuss the ecological aspects of the brehon laws in relation to bee keeping and trees.
Here we take a cursory look at the role of women in early Ireland by taking account of their presence in mythology, law, and history.
The earliest 'copyright' case in the world took place in early Ireland. Listen to the story and learn about the profound judgement that was issued.
If these laws were so great, so just, then why were the eventually replaced with the English Common Law?
In this lecture we will explore the historical factors that led to the ultimate demise of the Brehon Laws of Ireland. We'll learn how, against the force of two empires - the British and the Roman - the Gaelic laws, customs, and way of life was no match.
In 1367, a statute was enacted by a parliament stationed in Kilkenny, Ireland, in the name of the English king Edward III.
It targeted settlers of Anglo-Norman descent and addressed a growing concern among the English elite and loyal landed gentry that too many settlers were turning away from their own Anglo-Norman customs and way of life in favour of the Gaelic order.
In this lecture, we'll learn all about these Statutes of Kilkenny which give a rare glimpse into society at the time.
It also demonstrates how the landed Anglo-Norman settlers became 'Ní Gaelaí ná na Gael féin' or 'More Irish than the Irish themselves'.