filidh

Encyclopedia

filidh

professional poet in ancient Ireland whose official duties were to know and preserve the tales and genealogies and to compose poems recalling the past and present glory of the ruling class. The filid constituted a large aristocratic class, expensive to support, and were severely censured for their extravagant demands on patrons as early as the assembly of Druim Cetta (575); they were defended at the assembly by St. Columba. Their power was not checked, however, since they could enforce their demands by the feared lampoon (aer), or poet's curse, which not only could take away a man's reputation but, according to a widely held ancient belief, could cause physical damage or even death. Although by law a fili could be penalized for abuse of the aer, belief in its powers was strong and continued to modern times.

Learn more about filidh with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: filid
Next Definition: filiety
Words Near: filidh
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for filidh
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing filidh
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;