Irish emigrants had settled in Wales from the fifth century onwards, Irish scholars worked in Wales in the ninth century, and throughout the Middle Ages there were ecclesiastical, mercantile, and military contacts across the Irish Sea. From this standpoint, it is not surprising that the names of Irish heroes such as Cu Roi, Cu Chulainn, Finn, and Deirdre became known to Welsh poets, and that Irish narratives influenced the authors of the Welsh Mabinogion. Yet the Welsh and Irish languages were not mutually comprehensible, the degree to which the two countries still shared a common Celtic inheritance is contested, and Latin provided a convenient lingua franca. Could some of the similarities between the Irish and Welsh literatures be due to independent influences or even to coincidence? Patrick Sims-Williams provides a new approach to these controversial questions, situating them in the context of the rest of medieval literature and international folklore. The result is the first comprehensive estimation of the extent to which Irish literature influenced medieval Welsh literature.
Medieval Weapons & Armour
But where does one start exploring the wonderful and colourful world of medieval writing? Here are our ten recommendations, which give a sense of the rich panoply of medieval literature. Still, readers will doubtless have their favourites.
Divorce, Medieval Welsh Style By Robin Chapman Stacey The boundary between law and literature has never been particularly hard and fast. One does not have to .
Longswords The Longsword is a type of European sword used during the late medieval period, approximately to with early and late use reaching into the 13th and 17th centuries, respectively. Longswords have long cruciform hilts with grips over 10 to 15in length providing room for two hands. Straight double-edged blades are often over 1 m to 1. The longsword is commonly held in combat with both hands, though some may be used single-handed.
Longswords are used for hewing, slicing, and stabbing. The specific offensive purpose of an individual longsword is derived from its physical shape. All parts of the sword are used for offensive purposes, including the pommel and crossguard. English Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts refer to the longsword as the two hand sword. The terms “hand-and-a-half sword”, “greatsword”, and “bastard sword” are used colloquially to refer to longswords in general.
The longsword, with its longer grip and blade, appears to have become popular during the 14th century and remained in common use, as shown through period art and tale, from to The longsword was a powerful and versatile weapon. For close personal infantry combat, however, the longsword was prized for its versatility and killing capability. Hand and a half swords were so called because they could be either a one or two handed sword.
The Date and Politics of ‘The Song of the Welsh’
Depending on the tribe, there are nine laws that governed the marital status of a couple. Many of them are not allowed these days but were acceptable in the early Celtic civilizations. A warrior with many wives served the social needs of his tribe by taking responsibility for the families of his dead soldiers. In Cymru, some monastic Celtic Church clergy continued to marry until the late 12th century.
Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature is an Important Book. While slight in appearance, its survey of medieval Welsh literary references to Arthur provides a useful compendium for those whose Welsh is a little rusty or even non-existent.
Get daily updates directly to your inbox Subscribe Thank you for subscribingWe have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again laterInvalid Email HAWAII and Honolulu – words that instantly conjure a tropical paradise of endless beaches, bronzed surfers and hula girls in grass skirts. But a professor at the US state’s main university is forging an unlikely connection between here and Hawaii – by teaching Medieval Welsh.
Professor Kathryn Klingebiel, pictured, is currently teaching the intriguing course, held on a sun-drenched campus more than 7, miles away. The language expert, who was born in San Francisco and has no family ties with Wales, started learning modern and medieval Welsh in the s while studying for her PhD at the University of California. Bizarrely, she studied Welsh at the university’s French department. Ms Klingebiel, who has since visited Aberystwyth and published works on Welsh verbs, added, “When I was hired to teach French at the University of Hawaii in , one of the graduate students asked me if I could also offer a Welsh course as a sideline.
I said yes, delighted to share one of my passions. The course has been offered nine times in 15 years and has attracted students from far beyond my own department, including doctoral students from English and History, American Studies, Library Science, Linguistics and even East Asian Languages.
Dafydd Benfras , fl. A rather different poet of this period was Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd d. Poets of the Nobility, or, Cywyddwyr c. Until , Wales consisted of a number of ‘kingdoms’, each with its own independent ruler; this ensured that there was no shortage of courts available to the travelling professional poet or ” bard “.
Medieval Welsh literature is the literature written in the Welsh language during the Middle Ages. This includes material from the fifth century, when Welsh was in the process of becoming distinct from the British language, to the works of the 16th century.
Dafydd Benfras , fl. A rather different poet of this period was Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd d. Poets of the Nobility, or, Cywyddwyr ca. The fact that, until , Wales consisted of a number of ‘kingdoms’, each with its own independent ruler, ensured that there was no shortage of courts available to the travelling professional poet or ” bard “. After the poetic tradition survived by turning to the land-owning nobility to act as patrons, and these included some Norman lords who had successfully integrated themselves with the Welsh.
Much of the poetry of this period is praise poetry praise of the patron and his family, his ancestors, his house and his generosity and the cywydd is the most popular poetic meter used. Because of the popularity of the cywydd this period is also known as the period of the Cywyddwyr poets who write using the cywydd meter. The poetry was very often sung to the accompaniment of the harp.
See Article History English literature, the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles including Ireland from the 7th century to the present day. The major literatures written in English outside the British Isles are treated separately under American literature , Australian literature , Canadian literature , and New Zealand literature.
English literature has sometimes been stigmatized as insular. Yet in the Middle Ages the Old English literature of the subjugated Saxons was leavened by the Latin and Anglo-Norman writings , eminently foreign in origin, in which the churchmen and the Norman conquerors expressed themselves. From this combination emerged a flexible and subtle linguistic instrument exploited by Geoffrey Chaucer and brought to supreme application by William Shakespeare.
During the Renaissance the renewed interest in Classical learning and values had an important effect on English literature, as on all the arts; and ideas of Augustan literary propriety in the 18th century and reverence in the 19th century for a less specific, though still selectively viewed, Classical antiquity continued to shape the literature.
Brut y Brenhinedd (“Chronicle of the Kings”) is a collection of variant Middle Welsh versions of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Latin Historia Regum Britanniae. About 60 versions survive, with the earliest dating to the midth century.
Cymru, the nation; Cymry, the people; Cymraeg, the language Orientation Identification. The Britons, a Celtic tribe, who first settled in the area that is now Wales, had already begun to identify themselves as a distinct culture by the sixth century C. The word “Cymry,” referring to the country, first appeared in a poem dating from The words “Wales” and “Welsh” are Saxon in origin and were used by the invading Germanic tribe to denote people who spoke a different language.
The Welsh sense of identity has endured despite invasions, absorption into Great Britain, mass immigration, and, more recently, the arrival of non-Welsh residents. Language has played a significant role in contributing to the sense of unity felt by the Welsh; more than the other Celtic languages, Welsh has maintained a significant number of speakers.
During the eighteenth century a literary and cultural rebirth of the language occurred which further helped to solidify national identity and create ethnic pride among the Welsh.
Voices from early medieval Wales (AD 400s -1070s)
Alcock, ‘By South Cadbury, is that Camelot Ashe, ‘The Arthurian Fact’, in G. The Quest for Arthur’s Britain London, , pp. Bromwich et al, ‘Introduction’, in R. Bromwich et al edd.
Rodway, S , Dating Medieval Welsh Literature: Evidence from the Verbal System. CMCS Publications, Aberystwyth.
This is an introductory overview of some of the stories from the collection. It only scratches the surface, but the references suggest some possibilities for further study into these preternatural tales. A version of this article first appeared on the Ancient Origins Premium website. The Mabinogion The Mabinogion is a collection of eleven stories from medieval Wales. Although only first committed to manuscript during the 13th century the oldest surviving fragmentary manuscript dates to c.
They contain a heady mix of history, pseudo-history, mythology and folklore, and provide our most direct route into the Celtic mindset and worldview of ancient Welsh culture. They were all, originally, separate stories, written by different unknown hands, and were only collated into an autonomous group in the 19th century first published as a complete set in by Lady Charlotte Guest, who translated the Welsh texts into English, using in part the earlier work of the Welsh antiquarian William Owen Pughe d.
For those telling, listening to and reading the stories, this metaphysical overlapping would have represented a legitimate way of describing a past, where mythology and folklore were as authentic realities as the historical narrative. The characters, and their environment, were in physical reality and the Otherworld at the same time with no contradiction. An Oral Tradition Although the scenes and settings in The Mabinogion would have been immediately recognisable to people in the 13th and 14th centuries, when they became codified in manuscript form, the stories are nominally located in a post-Roman Wales, sometimes known as the Dark Ages.
While it is not possible to trace the route sources of the stories, It seems certain that they developed from an oral tradition, a body of recitation lore, which has been given the Welsh name cyfarwyddyd cer-var-with-id. The Mabinogion scholar Will Parker sums up the nature of this dissemination: But many of the themes contained within the stories are replete with pre-Christian imagery and tropes, and it is conceivable that they are transmitting much older traditions, originating from the 5th and 6th centuries.
Although the stories would have evolved and mutated over such a long period of time, they do appear to represent a mythologised set of narratives, which could have been recited by storytellers at the courts of Dark Age chieftains just as well as within those of the later medieval Welsh aristocracy.