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Encyclopedia > Mabinogion

The Mabinogion is a collection of prose stories from medieval Welsh manuscripts. They are partly based on early medieval historical events, but may hark back to older iron age traditions. Prose blah blah blahProse generally lacks the formal structure of meter or rhyme that is often found in poetry. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Welsh redirects here, and this article describes the Welsh language. ... A manuscript (Latin manu scriptus, written by hand), strictly speaking, is any written document that is put down by hand, in contrast to being printed or reproduced some other way. ... Iron Age Axe found on Gotland This article is about the archaeological period known as the Iron Age, for the mythological Iron Age see Iron Age (mythology). ...

Contents


Name

Its name comes from a misunderstanding made by the Mabinogion's first English translator, Lady Charlotte Guest: she found in one story the Welsh word mabynogyon and assumed it was the plural form of the Welsh mabinogi. The word mabinogi itself is something of a puzzle, although it appears to be related to the Welsh mab or "son, boy". Professor Eric P. Hamp, however, suggests that mabinogi derives from the name of the Celtic deity Maponos, and originally referred to materials pertaining to that god. "Mabinogi" originally applied only to the Four Branches (see below), which are speculated to have derived from older tradition. Each of these four tales ends with a colophon meaning "thus ends this branch of the mabinogi" (or in one case "mabynogyon" as explained above), hence the name. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Lady Charlotte Guest, nee Bertie (May 19, 1812 - January 15, 1895), is an important figure in the history of the Welsh language. ... Welsh redirects here, and this article describes the Welsh language. ... Eric Hamp is an American linguist. ... In Celtic mythology, Maponos or Maponus (divine son) was a god of youth known mainly in northern Britain but also in Gaul. ...


Date

The stories of the Mabinogion appear in two Medieval Welsh manuscripts, the White book of Rhydderch (Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch) written ca.1350, and the Red Book of Hergest (Llyfr Coch Hergest) written about 1382-1410, although fragments of these tales have been preserved in earlier thirteenth century manuscripts. Scholars agree that the tales are older than the existing manuscripts, but disagree over just how much older. Sir Ifor Williams offered a date prior to 1100, based on linguistic and historical arguments, while later Saunders Lewis set forth a number of arguments for a date between 1170 and 1190; T.M. Charles-Edwards, in a paper delivered to the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, discussed the strengths and weaknesses of both viewpoints, and while critical of the arguments of both scholars, notes that the language of the stories best fits the period between 1000 and 1100, although much more work is needed. The White book of Rhydderch (Welsh: Llyfr gwyn Rhydderch) is one of the most notable and celebrated manuscripts in Welsh. ... Events 29 August - An English fleet personally commanded by King Edward III defeats a Spanish fleet in the battle of Les Espagnols sur Mer. ... The Red book of Hergest (Welsh: Llyfr coch Hergest) is one of the most important medieval Welsh manuscripts. ... Events End of the reign of Emperor Go-Enyu of Japan, fifth and last of the Northern Ashikaga Pretenders Emperor Go-Komatsu ascends to the throne of Japan John Wyclifs teachings are condemned by the Synod of London. ... Events July 15 – Battle of Grunwald (a. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... Sir Ifor Williams (April 16, 1881 - November 4, 1965) was a Welsh scholar who laid the foundations for the academic study of Old Welsh, particularly early Welsh poetry. ...


The question of the date of the Mabinogion is important because if it can be shown to have been written before Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britaniae, then the value of these stories as evidence for the early folklore and culture of Wales is that much stronger. Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. ...


The stories

The Four Branches of the Mabinogi

The Four Branches of the Mabinogi are the most mythological stories contained in the Mabinogion collection. Pryderi appears in all four, though not always as the central character. The Four Branches of the Mabinogi are the best known tales from the medieval Welsh Mabinogion. ... In Welsh mythology, King Pryderi of Dyfed was the son of Pwyll and Rhiannon. ...

  • Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed tells of Pryderi's parents and his birth, loss and recovery.
  • Branwen, Daughter of Llyr is mostly about Branwen's marriage to the King of Ireland. Pryderi appears but does not play a major part.
  • Manawyddan, son of Llyr has Pryderi return home with Manawyddan, brother of Branwen. The misfortunes that follow them there.
  • Math, son of Mathonwy is mostly about Math and Gwydion, who come into conflict with Pryderi.

This article is about the Welsh hero; for the impact crater on Europa, see Pwyll (crater). ... In Welsh mythology, Branwen was a daughter of Llyr and Penarddun and has been interpreted as a goddess of love and beauty. ... In Irish mythology, Manannan mac Lir was a sea and weather god. ... In Welsh mythology, Math ap Mathonwy was a king who needed to rest his feet in the lap of a virgin unless he was at war, or wanted to be. ... In Welsh mythology, Gwydion is a magician appearing prominently in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion and the ancient poem Cad Goddeu. ...

The native tales

Also included in Lady Guest's compilation are five stories from Welsh tradition and legend:

The tales Culhwch and Olwen and The Dream of Rhonabwy have interested scholars because they preserve older traditions of King Arthur. The tale The Dream of Macsen Wledig is a romanticized story about the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus. The story of Taliesin is a later piece, not included in the Red or White Books, which more recent translations omit. Magnus Maximus. ... Culhwch and Olwen is a Welsh story that survives in only two manuscripts: a complete version in the Red Book of Hergest, ca. ... For the studio established by Frank Lloyd Wright, see Taliesin (studio) Taliesin or Taliessin (c. ... King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Great Britain, where he appears as the ideal of kingship in both war and peace. ... Magnus Maximus. ... For the studio established by Frank Lloyd Wright, see Taliesin (studio) Taliesin or Taliessin (c. ...


The romances

Three tales are the Welsh Romances, Welsh versions of Arthurian tales that also appear in the work of Chrétien de Troyes. Critics have debated whether the Welsh Romances are based on Chrétien's poems or if they derive from a shared original. Though it seems probable the surviving Romances derive, directly or indirectly, from Chrétien, it is probable he in turn based his tales on older, Celtic sources. The Three Welsh Romances are three tales associated with the Mabinogion. ... Chrétien de Troyes wrote in Champagne, France, during the last half of the twelfth century. ... This article is about the European people. ...

Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain is one of the Three Welsh Romances associated with the Mabinogion. ... Geraint and Enid, also known by the title Geraint, son of Erbin, is a one of the Three Welsh Romances typically associated with the Mabinogion. ...

See also

Medieval Welsh literature is the medieval literature written in the Welsh language from before 1100 to the 16th century. ...

Bibliography

Translations

  • Ford, Patrick K. The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977. ISBN 0520034147 (Includes "Taliesin" but omits "The Dream of Rhonabwy", "The Dream of Macsen Wledig" and the three Arthurian romances)
  • Gantz, Jeffrey. Trans. The Mabinogion. London and New York: Penguin Books, 1976. ISBN 0140443223. (Omits "Taliesin")
  • Guest, Lady Charlotte. The Mabinogion. Dover Publications, 1997. ISBN 0486295419 (Guest omits passages which only a Victorian would find at all risqué. This particular edition omits all Guest's notes.)
  • Jones, Gwyn and Jones, Thomas. The Mabinogion. Everyman's Library, 1949; revised in 1989, 1991. (Omits "Taliesin")
    • Jones, George (Ed), 1993 edition, Everyman S, ISBN 0460872974;
    • 2001 Edition, (Preface by John Updike), ISBN 0375411755;

Welsh text and editions

  • Branwen Uerch Lyr. Ed. Derick S. Thomson. Medieval and Modern Welsh Series Vol. II. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1976. ISBN 1855000598
  • Culhwch and Olwen: An Edition and Study of the Oldest Arthurian Tale. Rachel, Bromwich and D. Simon Evans. Eds. and trans. Aberystwyth: University of Wales, 1988; Second edition, 1992.
  • Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys. Ed. Brynley F. Roberts. Medieval and Modern Welsh Series Vol. VII. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1975.
  • Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch. Ed. J. Gwenogvryn Evans. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1973.
  • Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi. Ed. Ifor Williams. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1951. ISBN 0708314074
  • Pwyll Pendeuic Dyuet. Ed. R. L. Thomson. Medieval and Modern Welsh Series Vol. I. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1986. ISBN 1855000512

Secondary sources

  • Charles-Edwards, T.M. "The Date of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi" Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1970): 263-298.
  • Ford, Patrick K. "Prolegomena to a Reading of the Mabinogi: 'Pwyll' and 'Manawydan.'" Studia Celtica, 16/17 (1981-82): 110-25.
  • Ford, Patrick K. "Branwen: A Study of the Celtic Affinities," Studia Celtica 22/23 (1987/1988): 29-35.
  • Hamp, Eric P. "Mabinogi." Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1974-1975): 243-249.
  • Sullivan, C. W. III (editor). The Mabinogi, A Books of Essays. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996. ISBN 0815314825

Adaptations

  • Evangeline Walton has done a complete re-telling, with some additions. Also published as The Mabinogion Tetralogy
  • Y Mabinogi is a film version, produced in 2003. It starts with live-action among Welsh people in the modern world. They then 'fall into' the legend, which is shown through animated characters. Elements are mixed and some parts of the plot left out.
  • Mabinogi, a network game based on the Mabinogion
  • Lloyd Alexander, Newberry Award-winning author of The Chronicles of Prydain, has acknowledged The Mabinogion as the source material for portions of that fantasy series, especially with respect to the character of Arawn, Lord of Annuvin.

Evangeline Walton (1909-1996) was an American author of fantasy fiction, best-known for her adaptation of the Welsh Mabinogion. ... Y Mabinogi (English title Otherworld: not a literal translation) is a 2003 Welsh film. ... Mabinogi is a network game released by Nexon. ... Players interacting in Ultima Online. ... Book cover of The High King Lloyd (Chudley) Alexander (born January 30, 1924 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is the author of a number of fantasy books for children and adolescents, as well as several adult novels. ... The Chronicles of Prydain is a five-volume series of childrens fantasy novels by Lloyd Alexander. ...

External links

There is a new, extensively annotated translation of the four branches of the Mabinogi proper by Will Parker at

The Guest translation can be found with all original notes and illustrations at:

  • Sacred Texts: The Mabinogion

Versions without the notes, presumably mostly from the Project Gutenberg edition, can be found on numerous sites, including: Project Gutenberg (often abbreviated as PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works. ...

  • Project Gutenberg Edition of The Mabinogion
  • The Mabinogion (Translation by Lady Charlotte Guest) from Mystic Realms
  • The Arthurian Pages: The Mabinogion
  • The Mabinogion
  • Branwaedd: Mabinogion
  • Timeless Myths: Mabinogion

  Results from FactBites:
 
Mabinogion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (844 words)
The Mabinogion is a collection of prose stories from medieval Welsh manuscripts.
Its name comes from a misunderstanding made by the Mabinogion's first English translator, Lady Charlotte Guest: she found in one story the Welsh word mabynogyon and assumed it was the plural form of the Welsh mabinogi.
The question of the date of the Mabinogion is important because if it can be shown to have been written before Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britaniae, then the value of these stories as evidence for the early folklore and culture of Wales is that much stronger.
The Mabinogion (671 words)
The tales of the Mabinogion are not the product of any single hand; evolving over the centuries, passed from storyteller to storyteller, until some master bard put them together around the twelfth century.
Another interpretation is that the word mabinog refers to "a student in the bardic class" and mabinogi (plural: mabinogion) therefore being "a tale belonging to the mabinog's repertoire".
Ifor Williams proposed 1060CE as a likely date and gives a number of arguments: the occurrence of outdated word forms in the text, the scarcity of French words, references to extinct customs, and the peaceful period 1055-63 which was a time of bards from north and south to exchange and tell their tales.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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