Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature
Although the legends of Arthur have been popular throughout Europe from the Middle Ages onwards, the earliest references to Arthur are to be found in Welsh literature, starting with the Welsh-Latin Historia Brittonum dating from the ninth century. By the twelfth century, Arthur was a renowned figure wherever Welsh and her sister languages were spoken. O. J. Padel now provides an overall survey of medieval Welsh literary references to Arthur and emphasizes the importance of understanding the character and purpose of the texts in which allusions to Arthur occur. Texts from different genres are considered together, and shed new light on the use that different authors make of the multifaceted figure of Arthur – from the folk legend associated with magic and animals to the literary hero, soldier and defender of country and faith. Other figures associated with Arthur, such as Cai, Bedwyr and Gwenhwyfar, are also discussed here.
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abduction adventures allusions Annwn appears Arthur’s court Arthur’s role Arthur’s seat Arthurian legend battle of Camlan Bedwyr Benlli Cadog Cai and Bedwyr Cai’s Carannog character Chrétien’s context Cornwall court poetry CULHWCH Cynddelw dialogue Dillus eagle earlier earliest early Welsh englyn episode Esyllt figure of Arthur Fionn folklore fourteenth century Geoffrey of Monmouth Geoffrey’s HISTORY GERAINT giant Glastonbury Glewlwyd GODODDIN grave Gruffudd Gwalchmai Gwenhwyfar heroes HISTORIA BRITTONUM hunting Hywel Island of Britain Kelli wic killed King Arthur knights known later romance legendary literary Llachau Llywelyn Mabinogion Matter of Britain medieval Welsh medieval Welsh literature Medrawd Melwas mentioned ninth-century notably Ogrfan Owain PEREDUR perhaps poem poets portrayal of Arthur portrayed Preiddiau Annwn presumably prose references to Arthur RHONABWY saint seems similar St Cadog St Gildas tale theme thirteenth century Triads Trystan twelfth century Twrch Trwyth Wales warriors Welsh literature Welsh Romances Welsh tradition ŵryw’r porthor Ysbaddaden