The material contained in the "Early Christian Inscriptions of Munster" comprises carved stone monuments of various types from simple grave-markers to ambitious, ornately decorated public monuments. They are an important source of evidence for the history and culture of early Christian Munster, particularly in view of the scarcity of material for most of the region during this period. Their texts also provide examples of early Irish and Hiberno-Latin, which are demonstrably contemporary and not modernized by later scribal copying. They are also the only examples of non-ogham script of the period.
The need for a new Corpus, which lists the stones with an accurate account of the present location, as well as a record of the reading before further deterioration can take place is clear. A text which considers the stones as a group is essential, both to facilitate the comparison of individual stones and to evaluate each stone in an overall context. Much of the previous work in this area is now outdated, lacks adequate or reliable illustrations and pays little attention to the physical aspects of the monuments or their locations. Stones have been lost, others found or moved to different locations, atmospheric conditions have caused texts to deteriorate.
"The Early Christian Inscriptions of Munster" will be invaluable to those working in the fields of this history, language and culture of Early Christian Ireland. In addition the book will be of great interest to people living in or visiting Munster who wish to extend their knowledge of the earlier culture of the area.
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