Lice are parasites which feed on the skin cells or blood of a host's body.
Cornelius a Lapide (1567-1637) was a Flemish Jesuit who wrote commentaries on the Bible.
Story-telling is an Irish tradition which dates back thousands of years. A seanchaí (Irish, meaning 'old lore') is a traditional Irish storyteller. In ancient Celtic culture, the history and laws of the people were not written down but were memorized in long lyric poems which were recited by bards.
For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.
Jesus called the Jews whited sepulchres, meaning hypocrites. A sepulchre is a type of tomb; whited implies that it is painted, made beautiful, therefore disguising its association with death. A whited sepulchre is therefore something that appears beautiful on the outside, but is deceptive, as it has no inner beauty.
In other words, Stephen's disbelief in God is not complete. It could not be, after he has been through so many years of religious upbringing. He cannot deny the authority gathered over a vast amount of time by Christianity. He has lost faith, but not to the point of no return.
Pembroke Township was an area just outside of Dublin. The township took its name from the fact that most of the area was part of the estate of the Earl of Pembroke. It is now a suburb of the city.
A linguistic term for a word with stress on the second-last syllable. The word can also be applied to a line of medieval Latin poetry where the second-last syllable is stressed.
Juan Mariana de Talavera (1536-1624) was a Spanish Jesuit priest and historian, whose work, which included a thirty-volume history of Spain, brought him into conflict with the rulers of Spain. For more information, see also here.
This is the verbal formula with which the Inquisition turned convicted heretics over to the state for execution. In many cases the Inquisition imposed lighter sentences (pilgrimages, the wearing of a yellow cross, imprisonment) which it could enforce under its own authority, but the death penalty could only be enforced by the state.
A possible source for Stephen's words can be found in the book Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes by Honore de Balzac, in which the main character, Lucien de Rubempre, says: "I have put into practice an axiom which assures me a life of tranquility: Fuge, late, tace" (Flight, subterfuge, silence).
The parents of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. In Luke's Gospel the parents are described as "well stricken in years" and Elizabeth is described as "barren".
A pidgin language is a simplified language that develops as a hybrid of two or more other languages as a simplified means of communication between groups of people who do not share a language.
A rice dish in the style of Bergamo, an Italian town 30 miles east of Milan. Not a famous recipe.
The Hill of Tara, near the River Boyne, is an archaeological complex that contains a number of ancient monuments, and, according to tradition, was the seat of the High King of Ireland.
Dante Alighieri is the well-known Italian Renaissance writer, the author of the Divine Comedy. His mention only here, towards the end of the book, should not prevent us from realising that he is an important influence on A Portrait... and on Joyce. Dante served Joyce as a model of the artist who, wishing to speak openly about his own time, must be always at war with its society. Those who seek their lives may lose them, and the artist seeking to preserve his identity risks its loss. Joyce's image of Dante hints at the dangers as well as the virtues of exile, especially a self-imposed one.