`The Evil Eye’ in early Irish literature and law

`The Evil Eye’ in early Irish literature and law

By Jacqueline Borsje and Fergus Kelly

Celtica, Vol. 24 (2003)

Introduction: The belief that harm is caused by looking in a certain way at somebody or something is generally known as the belief in ‘the evil eye’. This connection between eyes and a supernatural1 way of causing harm is well-known in Irish texts. Alexander Haggerty Krappe devoted an essay to the evil eye in Irish folklore; the present article deals with medieval representations. Part I gives a survey of the diverse terminology and wide-ranging descriptions which reflect the evil eye in early Irish texts; Part II contains an edition, translation and discussion of a section of legal commentary on the evil eye attached to a quotation from an Old Irish law-text.

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