« Adamites (Adamiani) Adamnan Adams George Moulton »


ADAMNAN (“Little Adam”): Ninth abbot of Iona (679-704); b. probably at Drumhome in the southwest part of County Donegal, Ireland (50 m. s.w. of Londonderry), c. 625; d. on the island of Iona Sept. 23, 704. He was a relative of Columba and the greatest of the abbots of Iona after its illustrious founder, famed alike for learning (he had some knowledge of even Greek and Hebrew), piety, and practical wisdom. He was a friend (and perhaps the teacher) of Aldfrid, king of Northumbria (685-705), visited his court in 686 and again in 688, and was converted there to the Roman tonsure and Easter computation by Ceolfrid of Jarrow. He was unable, however, to win over his monks of Iona, but had more success in Ireland, where he spent considerable time, attended several synods, and warmly advocated the Roman usages. Many churches and wells are dedicated to him in Ireland and Scotland, and his name appears corrupted into various forms, as “Ownan,” “Eunan” (the patron of Raphoe), “Dewnan,” “Thewnan,” and the like.

The extant writings of Adamnan are: (1) Arculfi relatio de locis sanctis, written down from information furnished personally by Arculf, a Gallic bishop who was driven to England by stress of weather when returning from a visit to Palestine, Syria, Alexandria, and Constantinople. Adamnan added notes from other sources known to him, and presented the book to King Aldfrid. Bede made it the basis of his De locis sanctis and gives extracts from it in the Hist. eccl., v. 16, 17. (2) Vita S. Columbæ, written between 692 and 697, not so much a life as a presentation without order of the saint’s prophecies, miracles, and visions, but important for the information it gives of the customs, the land, the Irish and Scotch tongues, and the history of the time. (3) The “Vision of Adamnan,” in old Irish, describing Adamnan’s journey through heaven and hell, is probably later than his time, but may present his real spiritual experiences and his teaching. Other works are ascribed to him without good reason.

H. Hahn.

Bibliography: For works consult MPL, lxxxviii.; Arculfi relatio, in Itinera Hierosolymitana bellis sacris anteriora, i., pp. xxx-xxxiii., 139-210, 238-240, 392-418 (Publications of the Société de l’Orient latin, Série géographique, i., Geneva, 1879), and in Itinera Hierosolymitana sæculi iiii.-viii., ed. P. Geyer, pp. 219-297 (CSEL, xxxix., 1898); Eng. transl. by J. R. Macpherson (Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society, 1889); Vita S. Columbæ, ed. W. Reeves, Dublin, 1857 (new ed., with Eng. transl. and an unfortunate rearrangement of the notes, by W. F. Skene, Edinburgh, 1874); also by J. T. Fowler, Oxford, 1894 (Eng. transl., 1895); the text of the Vision, with Eng. transl., has been published by Whitley Stokes, Fis Adamnain, Simla, 1870; E. Windisch, Irische Texte, pp. 165-196, Leipsic, 1880 (contains the text). For Adamnan’s life: Lanigan, Eccl. Hist., passim; Reeves, in his ed. of the Vita Columbæ, pp. xl.-lxviii., Dublin, 1857; A. P. Forbes, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, Edinburgh, 1872; DCB, i. 41-43; W. F. Skene, Celtic Scotland, ii. 170-175, Edinburgh, 1877; DNB, i. 92-93; J. Healy, Insula Sanctorum, pp. 334-347, Dublin, 1890; P. Geyer, Adamnan, Augsburg, 1895; T. Olden, Church of Ireland, pp. 59, 77, 104, 119, London, 1895; Cain Adamnan, an old Irish Treatise on the Law of Adamnain, ed. Kuno Meyer, in Anecdota Oxoniensa, Oxford, 1905.

« Adamites (Adamiani) Adamnan Adams George Moulton »
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