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 Arthur’s court Arthur’s role Arthur’s world Arthurian legend battle of Camlan Bedwyr Bromwich Cadog Cai and Bedwyr Cai’s Carannog Cardiff CELTIC STUDIES character Chrétien’s context Cornwall court poetry CULHWCH Culhwch ac Olwen Cynddelw dialogue Dillus Eagle earlier earliest early Welsh englyn episode Esyllt figure of Arthur Fionn folklore Geoffrey of Monmouth Geoffrey’s HISTORY GERAINT giant Glewlwyd GODODDIN grave Gruffudd Gwalchmai Gwenhwyfar heroes HISTORIA BRITTONUM hunting Hywel Island of Britain killed King Arthur knights known legendary literary Llachau Mabinogion Matter of Britain medieval Welsh literature Medrawd Melwas mentioned Monmouth’s HISTORY ninth-century notably Ogrfan Olwen Owain PEREDUR perhaps poem poets portrayal of Arthur portrayed Preiddiau Annwn prose Prydein references to Arthur RHONABWY saints SEINT GREAL similar St Cadog St Gildas tale Taliesin texts theme Triads Trystan twelfth century Twrch Trwyth University of Wales Wales Press Welsh Romances Welsh tradition ŵr yw’r porthor wryw’r Ysbaddaden