Tim Boucher

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Harp (Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911)

The earliest records that we possess of the Celtic race, whether Gaelic or Cymric, give the harp a prominent place and harpists peculiar veneration and distinction. The names for the harp are, however, quite different from the Teutonic. The Irish “clairseach,” the Highland Scottish “clarsach,” the Welsh, Cornish, Breton “telyn,” “telein,” “télen,” show no etymological kinship to the other European names. The first syllable in clairseach or clarsach is derived from the Gaelic “clar,” a board or table (soundboard), while the first syllable of telyn is distinctly Old Welsh, and has a tensile meaning; thus resonance supplies the one idea, tension the other. […]

The Welsh like the Irish harp was often an hereditary instrument to be preserved with great care and veneration, and used by the bards of the family, who were alike the poet-musicians and historians. A slave was not allowed to touch a harp, and it was exempted by the Welsh laws from seizure for debt.

Source: 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Harp – Wikisource, the free online library

Cyfraith Hywel (Welsh law & history)

Cyfraith Hywel (Welsh: [ˈkəvraiθ ˈhəwɛl]; Laws of Hywel), also known as Welsh law (Latin: Leges Walliæ[1]), was the system of law practised in medieval Wales before its final conquest by England. Subsequently, the Welsh law’s criminal codes were superseded by the Statute of Rhuddlan in AD 1284 and its civil codes by Henry VIII’s series of Laws in Wales Acts between 1535 and 1542. Welsh law was a form of Celtic law with many similarities to the Brehon law of Ireland and particularly the customs and terminol

Source: Cyfraith Hywel – Wikipedia

Blegabres & the Lay of Sir Orfeo (American Journal of Philology, Vol. 7; 1886)

SOURCE (Google Books, About)

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KEYWORDS:

Celts, Bretons, Irish, Welsh, British, minstrels, harp, Orfeo, Orpheus

Gogmagog (English myth & history, giant)

Gogmagog (also Goemagot, Goemagog, Goëmagot and Gogmagoc) was a legendary giant in Welsh and later English folklore. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (“The History of The Kings of Britain”, 12th century), he was a giant inhabitant of Albion, thrown off a cliff during a wrestling match with Corineus (a companion of Brutus of Troy). Gogmagog was the last of the Giants found by Brutus and his men inhabiting the land of Albion.

The effigies of Gogmagog and Corineus, used in English pageantry and later instituted as guardian statues at Guildhall in London eventually earned the familiar names “Gog and Magog”.

Source: Gogmagog (giant) – Wikipedia

Historia Brittonum (English history, medieval literature)

The Historia Brittonum describes the supposed settlement of Britain by Trojan expatriates and states that Britain took its name after Brutus, a descendant of Aeneas. The work was the “single most important source used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in creating his Historia Regum Britanniae”[1] and via the enormous popularity of the latter work, this version of the earlier history of Britain, including the Trojan origin tradition, would be incorporated into subsequent chronicles for the long-running history of the land, for example the Middle English Brut of England, also known as The Chronicles of England.

The work was the first source to portray King Arthur, who is described as a dux bellorum (‘military leader’) or miles (‘warrior, soldier’) and not as a king. It names the twelve battles that Arthur fought, but unlike the Annales Cambriae, none are assigned actual dates.

Source: Historia Brittonum – Wikipedia

Brut Chronicle (English history, medieval)

The Brut Chronicle, also known as the Prose Brut, is the collective name of a number of medieval chronicles of the history of England. The original Prose Brut was written in Anglo-Norman; it was subsequently translated into Latin and English. The chronicle begins England’s history with the mythological founding of Britain by Brutus of Troy, named “Brut” in French and English; Brutus is the legendary great-grandson of Aeneas and his founding of Britain thus links that country to the grand history of Troy. […]

Originally a legendary chronicle written in Anglo-Norman in the thirteenth century (identified by the fact that some existing copies finish in 1272), the Brut described the settling of England by Brutus of Troy, son of Aeneas, and the reign of the Welsh Cadwalader.[7] In this, it was itself based on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s text from the previous century.[8] It also covered the reigns of many kings later the subject of legend, including King Cole, King Leir (the subject of Shakespeare’s play, King Lear), and King Arthur, and exists in both abridged and long versions.[7] Early versions describe the country as being divided, both culturally and politically, by the River Humber, with the southern half described as “this side of the Humber” and “the better part”.[9] Having been written at a time of division between crown and nobility, it was “baronial in its sympathies”.[10]

Source: Brut Chronicle – Wikipedia

Scota (Scottish myth & legend)

Scota, in Scottish mythology, and pseudohistory, is the name given to the mythological daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh to whom the Gaels and Scots traced their ancestry. Scota first appeared in literature from the 11th or 12th century and most modern scholars interpret the legends surrounding her to have emerged to rival Geoffrey of Monmouth’s claims that the descendants of Brutus (through Albanactus) founded Scotland.[5][6] However some early Irish sources also refer to the Scota legends and not all scholars regard the legends as fabrications or as political constructions.[7] In the Scottish origin myths, Albanactus had little place and Scottish chroniclers (e.g., John of Fordun and Walter Bower) claimed that Scota was the eponymous founder of Scotland and the Scots long before Albanactus, during the time of Moses.

Source: List of legendary kings of Britain – Wikipedia

Petrosomatoglyph (Mythology, geology)

A petrosomatoglyph is a supposed image of parts of a human or animal body in rock. They occur all over the world, often functioning as an important form of symbolism, used in religious and secular ceremonies, such as the crowning of kings. Some are regarded as artefacts linked to saints or culture heroes.

Source: Petrosomatoglyph – Wikipedia

Prydain (Welsh language, Britain)

Prydain is the medieval Welsh term for the island of Britain (the name Albion was not used by the Welsh). More specifically, Prydain may refer to the Brittonic parts of the island; that is, the parts south of Caledonia. This distinction appears to derive from Roman times, when the island was divided into Roman Britain to the south and the land of the Caledonians to the North. The peoples north of the Roman borders eventually came to be known as the Picts (Welsh: Brithwyr); the Welsh term for Pictland was Prydyn, which caused some confusion in the texts with Prydain.

Source: Prydain – Wikipedia

Afanc (Welsh mythology, monster)

Sometimes described as taking the form of a crocodile, giant beaver or dwarf, it is also said to be a demonic creature. The afanc was said to attack and devour anyone who entered its waters.

Various versions of the tale are known to have existed. Iolo Morganwg, who revived Welsh bardic traditions during the 18th and 19th centuries, popularised a version of the myth that had Hu Gadarn’s two long-horned oxen drag the afanc from the lake, enabling it to be killed. An earlier variation on this had the oxen cast the afanc into Llyn Ffynnon Las (lake of the blue fountain), where it was unable to breach its rocky banks to escape.

In one telling the wild thrashings of the afanc caused flooding which drowned all the people of Britain, save two, Dwyfan and Dwyfach. Another has a maiden who tamed the afanc by letting it sleep in her lap, which allowed her fellow villagers to capture it. When the afanc awoke its struggles crushed the maiden.

Later legends had King Arthur or Peredur slaying the monster. Near Llyn Barfog is a rock with a hoof print carved into it, along with the words Carn March Arthur (stone of Arthur’s horse), supposedly made when his steed, Llamrai, dragged the afanc from the deep.

The afanc has been variously known as the addanc, adanc, addane, avanc, abhac and abac. Several sites lay claim to its domain, among them Llyn Llion, Llyn Barfog ad Llyn-yr-Afanc (the Afanc Pool), a lake in Betws-y-Coed.

Source: Dwyfan and Dwyfach – Wikipedia

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