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Word Count: 5,474
Early medieval Irish literature thoroughly discusses the ideology of kingship the tales about kingship both acted as exemplum literature for early Irish kings and for modern scholars elaborate on early Irish societys values Although there is no specific evidence which indicates that the tales were used as exemplum it seems fairly clear Certainly there was literature designed to educate kings about their responsibilities Audacht Morainn a letter from an advisor to a prince was clearly designed for just that purpose The extent of the concern which early medieval literature has for kingship and specifically the values of kingship indicates that this literature was intended for the education of kings as well as for entertainment Having good kings was certainly very important to the medieval Irish a good king secured peace and prosperity for his land The reasons for the likely existence of exemplum literature for kings does not however indicate that the ki ngship literature must include that exemplum literature What does indicate that kingship literature is or at least includes exemplum literature is that the major themes in kingship literature deal with either how to be a good king or how not to be a bad king As justice is perhaps the single most important quality of a king it is unsurprising that much of the kingship literature pertains to good and bad judgments Kingships are gained and lost through the justice or lack thereof of a kings judgments These tales investigate what distinguishes a good judgment from a bad and why bad judgments are made Significantly in the kingship tales bad judgments almost always occur when a king attempts to judge his own kin The tales serve as a warning to kings to either avoid judging their kin or to be particularly careful to be just while doing so They advise a king that success in battle is necessary to keep the throne They reveal what situations trickery is accept able
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