Macariae Excidium, or the Destruction of Cyprus

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 500
  • Alternative Id.
      GB 133 Irish MS 66
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      Latin  and English
  • Physical Description
      236 x 183 mm. 1 volume (255 folios); Binding: half-bound in green-stained vellum, cloth-covered boards.

Scope and Content

Manuscript entitled Macariae excidium, or, The Destructionof Cyprus containing the last war & conquest of that kingdom written originallyin Syriak by Philotas Phyloxypres, translated into Latin by Gratianus RagallusP.R. and now made into English by C:ô K: anno domini: 1692. A transcript from the Latin manuscript, side by side with a translation into English by D.H. Kelly. Together with the manuscript are nine letters and notes, largely concerning the Latin manuscript and Kelly's translation (1843-1857):

  • one letter from the Rev. James Scott to James Henthorn Todd,DD, Trinity College, Dublin;
  • seven letters from James Henthorn Todd to D.H. Kelly;
  • one letter from Thomas Keightley to John O'Donovan.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles O'Kelly (1621-1695), the author of Macariae Excidium, was a royalist army officer and historian. O'Kellysucceeded his father as lord of Screen in 1674. On the outbreak of civil warin 1689 O'Kelly, at the age of sixty-eight, volunteered for service in KingJames's Irish army. In 1692 he wrote the Macariae Excidium, or, The Destruction of Cyprus containingthe last war ' conquest of that kingdom written originally in Syriak byPhilotas Phyloxypres, translated into Latin by Gratianus Ragallus P.R. andnow made into English by C:ô K: anno domini: 1692. This wasa contemporary account of the 1689-1691 Jacobite rebellion in Ireland disguisedas a classical history of Cyprus. Events and battles followed along similarpaths and characters such as Amasis (James II), Theodore (William III), Lysander(Sarsfield), Pyrrhus (St Ruth), Ororis (General Ginkel), and Attillas (Cromwell)had their real world counterparts, while the two contending parties in thehistory, the Delphics and Martanensians, corresponded to the Catholics andProtestants respectively.

The manuscript was first printed in 1841 by the Camden Society in Narratives illustrative of the Contests in Ireland in 1641 and 1690under the editorship of Thomas Crofton Croker who had obtained a manuscriptcopy of the work. It was afterwards 'edited, fromfour English copies, and a Latin manuscript in the Royal Irish Academy'by John Cornelius O'Callaghan, and printed for the Irish ArchaeologicalSociety (Dublin, 1850). The Latin manuscript preserved many passages not foundin the English version. It was thought to have been translated by the Rev. John O'Reily [Gratianus Ragallus], but was later found to be in the autograph of Charles O'Kelly. D.H. Kelly was a descendant of Captain John Kelly, the brother of Charles O'Kelly. He probably translated the manuscript from a copy held by the Irish Archaeological Society.

James Henthorn Todd (1805-1869) was regius professor of Hebrew atthe University of Dublin and from 1852 librarian at Trinity College. Todd'smost substantial contribution to scholarship was in Irish studies, his workon which was centred mainly at the Royal Irish Academy. He was the academy'shonorary secretary from 1847 to 1855, and president for five years from 1856.In 1840 he was a founder member of the Irish Archaeological Society, and contributed a numberof publications to its proceedings. In the early 1840s, Todd acquired for the Irish Archaeological Society the Latin manuscript of Macariae Excidium. He purchased it from Rev. James Scott of Clowes who had in turn acquired it from Daniel O'Reily.

Sources: Piers Wauchope, 'O'Kelly, Charles (1621-1695)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - E.M. Todd, 'Todd, James Henthorn (1805-1869)', rev. Sinéad Agnew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Location of Originals

A Latin copy of the Macariae excidium, from which this transcript was made, was discovered c 1842 in the possession of Rev. James Scott. It was purchased by Professor MacCulloch to be deposited in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy after publication. J.C. O'Callaghan edited the work, which was published under the title Macariae excidium (Dublin: Irish Archaeological Society, 1850). According to the preface of this work: 'The Latin MS., under an impression, at the time, of its being the original of Colonel O'Kelly's work, was transmitted to Denis Henry Kelly, Esq, of Castle Kelly... for the purpose of being translated by him into English. In 1843, the whole was translated, and transcribed for the press, by that gentleman.' Kelly learned thatanother copy was in the possession of his kinsman, Count O'Kelly Farrellin France. The manuscripts were compared and it was agreed that the LatinMS was not necessarily the original.


The Macariae excidium was published in Camden Society Publications volume 14 (1841) and later in an edition by J.C. O'Callaghan (Dublin: Irish Archaeological Society, 1850).