Constantine of Rahan

Introduction

‘Constantín rí Rathin’ is a name found in Mart O on March 11. After Mart O, Rahan is not mentioned until Mart G gloss, and even then there is confusion with Contantín son of Áed. Mart T seems unsure about this Constantine, saying that he is a Briton or he is meic Fergusa do Cruthnechaib – ‘son of Fergus of the Picts’. Mart O notes in RB512 suggest he is both, and in addition is rig Alban, ‘king of Scotland’. Accounts regarding Constantín's relationship with Machutu (Mart O notes in RB512 and Plummer 1922 vol 1 p 300) may have their origins in stories explaining place-names around Rahan such as Cepach Cusantín (Dumville 1999 p 235). There is another indirect link with Machutu, however. Machutu is an alternative name for St Cadoc qv because of Cadoc’s visit to Machuta and his devotion to him (Vita Cadoci ch. 7). Cadoc, while in Scotland, citra montem Bannauc ie ‘to the south of the hill Bannauc’ (Watson 1926, 195), meets a giant called Cau Pritdin (‘Cau cognomine Pritdin, seu Caur, dudum vocitabar’ ch. 22) who is engaged in the digging of monastic foundations. Woolf argues that the name Causantin could be understood as cau + ‘little saint’ and thus that Constantine Briton expresses the same as Cau Pritdin (where perhaps ‘little saint’ is an ironic ref. to the giant’s great stature) (Woolf 2007). Here then we have two stories which are in essence the same. In one Constantine, a Briton, of enormous appetite, is engaged by Machuta on a task of digging. In the other Cau Pritdin (whose enormous appetite can be inferred by his giant stature) is also engaged by Machutu (aka Cadog) also on digging. It is notable that Constantín's feast day is the day after a commemoration of Constantine the Emperor, suggesting, at least to Dumville ‘that the cult has an artificial origin’ (Dumville 1999 p 235).

Related Saints

Belongs to the group Constantine (ns)

Same as Constantine of the Britons (possible)

The Constantine who is located in Mart O notes and elsewhere, in Rahan is said to be a British king.

Related Personal Names

Name

Custantin (certain)

Feast days

Day of Year

March 11

Calendar

Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee

Source code

Mart. O

Source title

Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee

Editors

Stokes, Whitley

Year

1905

Notes

Full title is Félire Óengusso Céli Dé, The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, critically edited from Ten Manuscripts, with a Preface, Translation, Notes and Indices.

Quote from source

Constantín rí Rathin 'Contantine, king of (or in?) Rahan'

Notes

Various glosses are made to this text in RB512: Constantine is son of Fergus, successor of Mochuta of Rathen at ‘Delbna Ethra’ in Meath. He is a King of Britain (rí Bretan) who came on pilgrimage to Rathen in time of Mochutu. He marked out the church of Rathen and dug its dyke, ‘and bettered Cepach Cusantín 'Constantine's Plot' to the south of Rathen’. He is also a king of Scotland (rig Alban) and he goes back to Scotland ‘to visit his children and his kindred’

Day of Year

March 11

Calendar

The Martyrology of Donegal

Source code

Mart. Do.

Source title

The Martyrology of Donegal

Editors

Todd, J. H.

Year

1864

Notes

Other author to be specified.

Quote from source

[Constaintin, riogh manach i Rathuin ag Machutae, mac Fergusa] ['Constaintin, royal-monk at Rathain with Mochuda, son of Fergus.']

Notes

This is added in the later hand. He is not in O'Clery's index.

Day of Year

March 11

Calendar

Martyrology of Tallaght

Source code

Mart.T

Source title

Martyrology of Tallaght

Editors

Best, R. I. and Lawlor, H. J.

Year

1931

Notes

From the Book of Lesinter and MS 5100-4 in the Royal Library, Brussels.

Quote from source

Constantini Briton * meic Fergusa do Cruthnechaib.

Notes

* indicates 'or'. Not clear if there was any connection with Rahan in the mind of the author of Mart T.