Index of Names in Irish Annals: Descriptive Bynames: an Bhogáin

by Mari Elspeth nic Bryan (Kathleen M. O'Brien)

© 2000-2007 by Kathleen M. O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Version 2.1, updated 08 April 2007

Descriptive Bynames: an Bhogáin


"[of] the Shell-less Egg" (meaning "[of] the Premature Birth")


What we know as a set of Irish Annals are manuscripts that were each compiled during a particular time period, usually using older material as sources. For example, when the Annals of the Four Masters were written from 1632 to 1636, they covered events that occurred centuries and millenia before (including legendary history). So, when an entry in this set of annals refers to a person who lived in the year 738, the spelling used for that person's name is very likely not using the spelling that would have been used in 738.

Standard forms of this name (based on spelling systems of different periods) would be:

Frequency & Dates:

Number of men found in the annals with this name: 1
Found in Years: 1485

Research Notes:

[Answering a question about the meaning of this byname:]

DIL lists two different Old Irish words "bocán" -- one from a root meaning "soft" and the other from a borrowing of O.Eng. "bucca" (he- goat, buck). As it happens, DIL lists your "Art an bogain" under the first entry explaining it as a specialized meaning of bogán as "soft egg", with the assertion that the byname refers to his premature birth. I'd be interested to see the chain of reasoning to get to that conclusion because it's a bit of a leap. [email from Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn - 26 Mar 2007]

The DIL entry refers the reader to Dinneen s.v. bogán, and the gloss there actually does more or less explain the usage: bogán is inter alia 'an egg before the shell is formed; an egg laid without the shell'. Thus, 'little soft thing' > 'soft egg' > 'egg without a shell' > 'premature birth'. Dinneen also gives 'a delicate or effeminate person', which would seem to be another metaphoric extension in somewhat the same vein.

Both EIr bocán and EMIr bogán are also 'soft ground, soft, boggy place'.


[N]either bocán nor later bogán is 'softness'. In the absence of the editorial note, the obvious interpretation would be topographical, 'of the soft ground'; however, 'of the shell-less egg' = 'of the premature birth' is a perfectly reasonable interpretation that makes excellent sense as a byname. I don't see any reason to doubt the editorial comment in this case. [email from Talan Gwynek - 06 Apr 2007]


Further information about the byname an Bhogáin, may be found in:

The Sources page lists the Annals referenced below. Information about secondary sources is included on that page as well.

Raw Data

In the table below, I have separated individuals with a blank line. That is, when there are multiple entries in the annals that refer to a single person, those entries are grouped together.

Within the list of entries refering to a single person, I have sorted the entries primarily by orthography when it is obvious that what I am seeing is the same entry showing up in multiple annals. The entries that tend to use older spellings are listed first.

NOTE: The Annals referenced below under the code letters A, B, C, E, & F tend to use later spellings than the other Annals. In some cases, the spellings listed in these Annals may not be appropriate for the year referenced in the Annal entry.

In some Gaelic scripts, there is a character that looks approximately like a lowercase f, but without the crossbar. This character (represented by an underscored , e, in the entries below) sometimes represents e and sometimes ea depending upon the context of the text.

[Standardized form of this man's name]
AnnalsEntryContextCitation (formatting preserved)
[] (d. 1485)
U3U1485.21Mac h-Ui Concobuir Fhailghi, .i. Art, mac Cuinn, mic an Calbaigh, nech do n-goirthi Art an Bogain, do marbadh lena derbrathair fein d'en urchur do gha, .i. leis h-Ua Concobuir, .i. le Cathair, mac Cuinn mic an Chalbaigh, gairid a n-diaigh Samna. ["The son of Ua Concobuir Faly, namely, Art, son of Conn, son of the Calbach-one that was called Art an bogain was slain by his own brother, namely, by Ua Concobuir, that is, by Cathair, son of Conn, son of the Calbach, with one cast of a javelin, shortly after November Day."]
Co1485.10Art an Bhogáin h. Concobair
LC2LC1485.9Art an Bogain O Conchobair
DM1485.18Art an Bhoccáin mac Uí Chonchobhair Fhailghe (.i. Conn) do mharbhadh lá a dherbrathair Cathaoir mac Cuinn mic an Chalbhaigh d'aen erchor gae. ["Art-an-Bhogain, the son of O'Conor Faly (i.e. Con), was killed with one cast of a javelin by his brother Cahir, son of Con, son of Calvagh."]

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