Hanes Taliesin

  • Welsh
  • prose

Manuscripts, together with the sigla used by Patrick Ford (p. 55) if listed :

A =
Version consisting of the first story and an abbreviated version of the second.
P =
pp. 1–12
Made use of A.
Ford postulates that Lewis Morris created a transcript from B, which was used for MSS D and H.
D =
Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 2022C

Olim Panton 55. Copy by Evan Evans.

E =
Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Llanstephan MS 193
According to Ford, copied from H.
K =
Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 13100B pp. 33-37
pp. pp. 33–37

Olim Llanover C 13. According to Ford, copied from H.

N =
ff. 353r–354r.10
rubric: ‘Yma ynn ol j dilin ysdroia [sic] Gwion Bach yr hon ysydd sathredig y nghymrv’

First story of the version incorporated by Elis Gruffydd into his chronicle. The portion corresponding to ll. 31-85 of Ford's edition (Ystoria Taliesin) is wanting here.

N =
ff. 364r–376r
rubric: ‘Yr ystori o gyffeiliad Taliesin’

The second story.


Lost version copied by John Jones, not to be confused with Pen. 111 below.

N1 =
pp. 150(144)–161(155)
N2 =
Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 2005B
pp. 26–48

Olim Panton 37. Copy by Evan Evans.

M =
Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 13131A
pp. 75–86

Copied by Iolo Morganwg. Olim Llanover C 44.

ff. 1–4
Transcript of Taliesin’s birth story.
Version recorded by Llywelyn Siôn
ff. 52r–54v
rubric: ‘Llyma val i kavad Taliesin’
Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Cwrtmawr MS 20
  • Welsh
prose (primary)
verse (secondary)
Associated items
Prifuardd cyffredinPrifuardd cyffredin

Welsh prophetic poem found in the second story of Hanes Taliesin and sometimes known itself as Hanes Taliesin.



Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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(fl. 6th century)
renowned British poet, known both as a historical poet at the court of Urien and other rulers and as a more fictionalised persona of supreme status. Poems attributed to him survive in the 14th-century manuscript now known as the Book of Taliesin (NLW Peniarth 2).

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Maelgwn GwyneddMaelgwn Gwynedd
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Heinin FarddHeinin Fardd
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] Ford, Patrick K., Ystoria Taliesin, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1992.
65–68 (story 1); 69–86 (story 2); 87–132 (notes); 133–144 (appendix); 145–175 (glossary)

Edition based on NLW MS 5276iiD, with the missing portion supplied from David Parry's copy in NLW MS 6209E. The version from Pen. 111 is found in the appendix.

[ed.] [tr.] Ford, Patrick K., “A fragment on the Hanes Taliesin by Llywelyn Siôn”, Études Celtiques 14:2 (1974–1975): 451–460.
Persée – fasc. 1: <link> Persée – fasc. 2: <link>

Edition of the version in Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 13075B (by Llywelyn Siôn), with variants from the Cwrtmawr 20 copy.

[ed.] Williams, Ifor, Chwedl Taliesin, Cardiff: University of Wales, Board of Celtic Studies, 1957. 24 pp.
[ed.] [tr.] Guest, Charlotte, The Mabinogion, from the Llyfr Coch o Hergest, and other ancient Welsh manuscripts, vol. 3, Llandovery, London: Longman, Green, Brown and Longmans, W. Rees, 1849.  

Parts 5 (2nd part, continued from vol. 2): Pwyll -- 6. Branwen ... Manawydan ... Math, with title page dated 1845 -- 7. The dream of Maxen Wledig ... Lludd and Llevelys ... History of Taliesin, with title page dated 1849.

Internet Archive: <link>
321–355 (text); 356–389 (translation); 390–400 (notes)

According to Ford, Guest used MS H (BL Add. 14873) for the first part of the text and MS M (NLW 13131A, by Iolo Morganwg) for the second part.

[ed.] [tr.] Pughe, William Owen, “The Mabinogi of Taliesin”, The Cambrian Quarterly Magazine and Celtic Repository 5:18–19 (April-July, 1833): 198–214, 366–382.
Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales: <link> Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales: <link>
[ed.] Jones, Owen, Edward Williams, and William Owen Pughe, The Myvyrian archaiology of Wales: collected out of ancient manuscripts, 3 vols, vol. 1: Poetry, London: S. Rousseau, 1801.
 : <link> Library.wales: <link> Library.wales: View in Mirador BSB: <link>
[tr.] Ford, Patrick K., and Jerry Hunter [introd.], Tales of Merlin, Arthur, and the magic arts: from the Welsh Chronicle of the Six Ages of the World, World Literature in Translation, Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2023.  

The stories in Tales of Merlin, Arthur, and the Magic Arts deal with well-known figures from medieval Britain who will be familiar to many readers—though not from the versions presented here. These freshly translated tales emerge from the remarkable and enormous sixteenth-century Chronicle of the Six Ages of the World by the Welshman Elis Gruffydd.

Tales of Merlin, Arthur, and the Magic Arts revives the original legends of these Welsh heroes alongside stories of the continued survival of the magical arts, from antiquity to the Renaissance, and the broader cultural world of the Welsh. These stories provide a vivid and faithful rendering of Merlin, Arthur, and the many original folktales left out of the widespread accounts of their exploits.

[tr.] Ford, Patrick K. [tr.], The Celtic poets: songs and tales from early Ireland and Wales, Belmont, Massachusetts: Ford & Bailie, 1999.
[tr.] Ford, Patrick K., The Mabinogi and other medieval Welsh tales, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.
159–181 [‘The tale of Gwion Bach and the tale of Taliesin’]

Secondary sources (select)

Ford, Patrick K., “The blind, the dumb, and the ugly: aspects of poets and their craft in early Ireland and Wales”, Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 19 (Summer, 1990): 27–40.
Wood, Juliette, “The folklore background of the Gwion Bach section of Hanes Taliesin”, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 29 (1982): 621–634.
Wood, Juliette, “The Elphin section of Hanes Taliesin”, Études Celtiques 18 (1981): 229–244.
Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 18, 1981: <link>
Hughes, John, Horae Britannicae: or, studies in ancient British history, 2 vols, London: J. and T. Clarke, 1818–1819.
HathiTrust: <link>
Vol. 1, 356–360 Summary and interpretation.
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
November 2023, last updated: July 2024