Adam"): Ninth abbot of lona (679-704); b. probably at Druinhome in
the southwest part of county Donegal, Ireland (50 m. s.w. of Londonderry),
C. 625; d. on the island of lona Sept.23, 704. He was a relative of Columba
and the greatest of the abbots of lona 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 lona,
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 sandis,
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. ecci., v.16, 17. (2) Vita S. Columbae, 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.
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
Societe de l'Orient , latin , Serie geographique, i.. Geneva, 1879),
and in Itinera Hierosolymitana saeculi iiii.-viii.. ed. P. Geyser,
pp. 219-297 (CSEL, xxxix., 1898); Eng. transl.. by J. R. Macpherson
(Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, 1889); Vita S. Columbae , 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, Fie 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 Columbae, pp. xi-.
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.