Battle of the Books Mural
This 3-part mural depicts the Battle of the Books, seen as possibly the first argument over copyright. Supposably, the battle took place after an argument between the Saints Finnian and Columcille. Columcille allegedly copied a manuscript written at Finnian’s monastery and kept it, causing a dispute over who the copy should belong to.
A judgment was made by King Diarmait mac Cerbaill, stating that “To every cow belongs her calf, therefore to every book belongs it’s copy”. However, Columcille disagreed with the judgment and led a successful rebellion against the kings, causing casualties of around 3,000. Monks are prohibited from taking up arms, therefore Columcille faced punishment for his actions. It led to him leaving his home for Scotland, where he would set up the monastery at Iona. This in an attempt to “win as many souls to Christianity as had been lost in the battle”. The picture on the left shows St Columcille copying the manuscript, the middle picture shows King Diarmait mac Cerbaill, and the picture on the right is of the rebellion.