[1]     Trānsāctīs autem diēbus octo, vīdērunt īnsulam nōn longē, valdē rūsticam, saxōsam atque scoriōsam, sine arboribus et herbā, plēnam officīnīs fabrōrum. [2] Venerābilis pater ait frātribus suīs: “Vērē, frātrēs, angustia est mihi dē hāc īnsulā, quia nōlō in illam īre aut etiam sibi appropinquāre; sed ventus illūc subtrahit nōs rēctō cursū.”

[3]     Circumdabātur illa līmite. Ergō, illīs praetereuntibus parumper—quasi iactus lapidis—audiērunt sonitūs follium sufflantium quasi tonitruum, atque malleōrum collīsiōnēs contrā ferrum et cūdēs. [4] Hīs audītis, venerābilis pater armāvit sē Dominicō trophaeō in quattuor partēs, dīcēns: “Domine Iēsu Chrīste, līberā nōs dē hāc īnsulā!”

    The Island of the Blacksmiths.  They see an island that is barren, rocky, and coverd with slag.  Brendan is afraid and wants to avoid it, but the wind pushes them closer.  When they come closer they hear bellows working and hammers hitting anvils.  Brendan prays for deliverance.

    The episode may reflect an awareness of the volcanos of Iceland.  But it may also reflect the classical literary tradition in which Hephaestus / Vulcan and  blacksmiths in general are associated with volcanos, as well as the story of Odysseus’ encounter with Polyphemus and the other Cyclopes, as told by Vergil (Aeneid 3.613-686; see also 8.416-23).  The Christian tradition sometimes associated volcanos with Hell, or the Gates of Hell, and it may have been from the fourth-century “Vision of St. Paul” that our author learned of Hell as a place of fire, sulfur, and demons.

    [1] valdē rūsticam: "very rough, particularly wild."

    officīnīs fabrōrum: the “workshops of craftspersons” will turn out to be blacksmiths’ forges.

    [2] sibi appropinquāre: CL would be eī appropinquāre.

    ventus illūc subtrahit rēctō cursū: the wind was dragging them away (from where they were) to that island (illūc), directly (rēctō cursū).

    [3] Circumdabātur illa līmite: = illa (īnsula) circumdabitur līmite. Irish monastic settlements, like the famous one at Skellig Michael, could have defensive walls and ditches.

    Ergō: “and so.”

    illīs praetereuntibus parumper ... audiērunt: in CL the subject of an ablative absolute should not also be the subject of the main verb.

    quasi iactus lapidis: = quasi (spatium) iactus lapidis.

    [4] armāvit sē Dominicō trophaeō in quattuor partēs: Brendan “armed himself with the sign of the Lord” by crossing himself four times, in four directions.

    trānsigō trānsigere trānsēgī trānsāctum

    to carry through, complete; to spend, pass1

    octō; octāvus –a –um

    8; 8th


    powerfully; intensely, exceedingly

    rūsticus –a –um


    saxōsus –a –um


    scoriōsus -a -um

    made of slag, rough (ML)

    herba herbae f.

    grass; herb, edible plant

    officīna –ae f.


    faber fabrī m.

    craftsman, artisan

    venerābilis –e

    venerable, deserving of respect2

    angustiae –ārum f.

    narrow pass, narrowness


    because; that

    appropinquō appropinquāre appropinquavī

    to approach, draw near

    illic illaec illuc

    there; in that place (illīc); to that place illūc)

    subtrahō –ere –trāxī –trāctus

    to drag from under, drag away

    circumdō circumdare circumdedī circumdatus

    place round, build around3

    līmes –itis m.

    boundary line, frontier (OLD 2b); (ML) boundary wall

    praetereō praeterīre praeterīvī/praeteriī praeteritus

    to go past


    for a short while

    iactus –ūs m.

    the action of throwing, a throw

    sonitus –ūs m.

    sounding; noise

    follis –is m.

    bag; (in pl.) pair of bellows

    suf–flō –āre

    to blow forth from below; to blow up, puff out, inflate.=

    tonitrus –ūs m. or
    tonitruum –ī n.


    malleus –ī m.

    a hammer

    collīsiō –ōnis f.

    crash, collision, striking


    against; towards, in the direction of (OLD 14a)

    cūs cūdis f.

    anvil (ML; CL incūs, incūdis, f.)

    venerābilis –e

    venerable, deserving of respect4

    armō armāre armāvī armātus

    to equip, arm

    dominicus -a -um

    of or belonging to a lord or master

    trophaeum –ī n.

    mark or token

    Iēsūs –ū m.

    Jesus (Christ)

    Christus –ī m.


    līberō līberāre līberāvī līberātus

    to free

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