Monday, March 21, 2011

In The Ancient Days

Before it was written down, the earliest Welsh stories were already very old. Having a pre-Christian origin, they originate from their Celtic roots, through Irish roots, to the Welsh language. As discussed in a previous post, Aneirin and Taliesin are thought to have flourished in north Britain, bring eulogy and glory to the independent Princes of Wales. [See last post "First Welsh Writers, The Bards".]

Copies of these tales where recorded in two manuscripts. The first was called "White Book of Rhydderch"[ Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch], which is believed to have been written ca. 1300-1325. The second is called "Red Book of Hergest"[ Llyfr Goch Herhest], written ca. 1375-1425. They record 12 medieval Welsh tales, which underwent translation by Charlotte Guest, publishing three volumes, during the years 1838-1849. It is her work that tags these stories as "The Mabinogion". A text called "The Fate of the Princes of Dyfed" by Cenydd Morus gives the following account in his translation, chapter I, "The Council of The Immortals" which is called "...the Immortal Kindred...":

"They were a peerless tribe, a family to be praised and lauded and honored; flaming bodied, even the least of them; august and beautiful. It was they who preserved the beauty of Britain, and the valor, and modesty, and truthfulness, and wisdom of the Race and Kindred of the Cymry, in the ancient days." So were the words of the ancients.

1 comment:

  1. You have a great blog here - very interesting to those of us with Welsh heritage.

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