And she alone stood outside both the official and unofficial knowledge of the Roman world.This image of Ireland in the early medieval period has persisted for many years, and only the relatively recent advances in archaeology, palaeography, and historiography have begun to demonstrate that the situation was in fact quite different. Although the image of Ireland as a lone bastion of Celticism on the fringes of the known world quietly advancing all that western society holds dear is romantic, it is now understood to be simply untrue. A similar situation has occurred with the premise that literacy is connected solely to reading and writing, and that the practice of such literacy is the natural evolution from oral traditions. This study therefore, seeks to explore the nascent theories about relations between Ireland and the classical world in the context of broadened understandings of literacy (Richter, 1996; Stevenson, 1989; Stevenson, 1995).The challenge of this work is therefore two-fold: the first challenge is directed towards the long-held belief that literacy unequivocally equals knowledge of reading and writing one or more grammatically defined languages. Apparently, this definition of literacy is far too simplistic for the cognitive and cultural ramifications of what it means to be literate.For the purpose of the proposed study, the use of the Multiliteracy theory would be advocated in addressing the overarching concept of literacy for both the present and perhaps more importantly, for the past as well. This theory was developed by a group of researchers seeking to address the forms of modern technology that challenge the paradigm that reading and writing alone constitutes literacy. By breaking down the cognitive process of creating, internalizing, and restructuring meaning, the Multiliteracy theory broadens the idea of literacy to include fluency in any semiotic realm that has a prescribed set of rules, referred to as a grammar. Thus, various forms of aural and visual culture, for example, can be defined as “texts,” and “literacy” can mean a type of fluency in such ‘texts’ (Kress,2000a: 155; Kress,2000b: 185).The second challenge of this paper is to the oft-repeated idea that early medieval Ireland is a land apart from the rest of Western Europe due to the fact that the island was never conquered by the Roman
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