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Brian Boru (d. 1014) high-king of Ireland


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[Ir., tribute, cattle-tribute; prey; cattle-counting].

A tribute exacted by powerful chiefs or tribes from weaker ones. The best-known such tribute was the Leinster bórama paid by the Lagin, because of their non-Goidelic origin, to the kingship at Tara. The first king to demand the tribute was Tuathal Techtmar. Imaginative narrative put the cost of this tribute at 5, 000 cows, sheep, hogs, cloaks, bronze vessels, and ounces of silver; the cause of the tribute was explained as payment for the seduction of one of Tuathal Techtmar's daughter by Eochaid (8), king of Leinster, who was already married to another daughter. Although often referred to over the centuries, the tribute was not paid after the 8th century.

The narrative titled Bórama deals among other things with the death of Eochaid's son; fifty captives were buried alive around the son's grave. The text is published and translated in S. H. O'Grady, Silva Gadelica (London, 1892). The sobriquet of Brian Bórama or Boru (d. 1014) appears to be taken from the earthen ring-fort Béal Bórama [Pass of the Tributes] today called Béal Boru Fort, about a mile N of Killaloe, Co. Clare. It is not clear whether Brian ever demanded tributes at the pass or was associated with the place for some other reason.

Subjects: Religion.

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