Cite this: eDIL s.v. gelḟine or
Last Revised: 2013


Forms: geilfíne, g., g.

n , f. g s. na geilfíne , Laws iv 40.24 Comm. lit. bright i.e. obvious `fine' or kindred. In poetry: di gablaib gelḟine Galeon, Ält. Ir. Dicht. ii 14 § 2 . buaidh gelfine Gailoin, RC xxii 395.2 ( LL 385c18 ). is gnoe grianna gelfini (of Cú Chulainn), LU 8905 ( FB 68 ). In the Laws used as a technical term for the narrowest circle of the kin, viz. the agnatic descendants of a common grandfather. See Binchy, PBA (Rhys lecture, 1943), p. 30 , who regards the g.¤ as an innovation introduced by the jurists to replace, for most legal purposes, the derbḟine (descendants of a common great-grandfather), which was the older unit. But cf. Ériu li 12 . See also Mac Neill, Celtic Ireland, p. 161 seq. and p. 171 seq. , where the question is fully discussed. According to him the gelḟine included three generations, i.e. an individual, his sons and grandsons; from the standpoint of the youngest generation it would comprise five classes; the representative of that generation, father, uncles, their sons and grandfather; from the standpoint of a member of the middle generation it would comprise himself, father, sons, brothers and nephews. gelfine co cuicer. Isi-aide gaibes dibad cach cind comacuis di neoch diba uaid 'the gelḟine extends to five men. It is the latter that claims the inheritance of each individual relative from any that perish out of it without heirs' CIH ii 429.27 , Ériu li 1 . Cf., however: i ngilfine iar mbelaib amuil atá athair ocus mac ocus ua ocus iarmua ocus innua co cuicer; ocus geilfini iar culaib .i. brathair th'athar ocus mac co cuicer beos, Laws ii 160.z Comm. See also H 3.18, 224b ( O'Curry 407 ). The gelfine group shared prime responsibility for the wrongdoing committed by a member of the fine ( Laws i 260.2 ). flaith gelfine do gabail ratha o ri tuaithe, ii 280.24 Comm. For the privileges of the head of the g.¤ see ib. 26 . fri dliged tuisi .i. frisintí dligeas dul a tuisigecht an flathusa gelfine, O'Curry 2181 ( Eg. 88, f. 6 (7)c ). da geilfine gráidh tuaithi ... da geilfine gráidh ecalsa, O'D. 755 ( H 3.17, c. 544 ). ? diam iar ndibad fer fo dosloinnter gelfine (g.¤ f., MS), O'Dav. 826.

For further exx. and references see Laws Gl., Mann. and Cust., Mac Neill, op. cit.