Battle of Cúl Dreimhne

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Battle of Cúl Dreimhne
Part of the expansion of the Uí Néill dynasty
Date 561 CE
Location near Drumcliff, County Sligo
Result Decisive Uí Néill victory
Belligerents
Laighin Uí Néill, Connachta
Commanders and leaders
Diarmait mac Cerbaill Fearghus and Domhnall sons of Muircheartach Mac Erc
Strength
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
3,000 1
An early battle, so figures unreliable.

The battle of Cúl Dreimhne (also known as the Battle of the Book) took place in the 6th century in the tuath of Cairbre Drom Cliabh (now Co. Sligo) in northwest Ireland. The exact date for the battle varies from 555 AD to 561 AD. The battle is notable for being one of the earliest conflicts over copyright in the world.[1][2]

According to tradition, sometime around 560, the Irish abbot and missionary Saint Columba became involved in a quarrel with Saint Finnian of Movilla Abbey over a psalter. Columba copied the manuscript at the scriptorium under Saint Finnian, intending to keep the copy. Saint Finnian disputed his right to keep the copy. Thus, this dispute was about the ownership of the copy (whether it belonged to Saint Columba because he copied it or whether it belonged to Saint Finnian because he owned the original). King Diarmait mac Cerbaill gave the judgement, "To every cow belongs her calf, therefore to every book belongs its copy."[3]

Columba disagreed with to King Diarmait's ruling against him and reportedly instigated a successful rebellion of the Uí Néill clan against the King. The battle was claimed to caused around 3,000 casualties.

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