Texts

Kadeir Teÿrnon
verse beg. Araith awdyl eglur

  • Middle Welsh
  • verse

A Welsh poem in the Book of Taliesin, where it is headed Kadeir Teÿrnon. The text has been notoriously resilient to an easy interpretation. One line of interpretation suggests that the poem begins by eulogising an unnamed hero, descendant of a certain Aladur, that his identity gradually emerges through a series of narrative allusions and that towards the end of the poem, the subject is finally revealed to be Arthur.

Title
Kadeir Teÿrnon
In the Book of Taliesin, the poem is headed Kadeir Teyrnon. The first element, which it shares with two other poems in the manuscript, can mean ‘song’ or ‘metre’ as well as ‘chair’. It is uncertain whether the second element, which recurs in the body of the poem, refers to the personal name Teyrnon or the common noun teyrnon ‘prince’.
Initial words (verse)
  • Araith awdyl eglur
Author
Ascribed to: TaliesinTaliesin
(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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Language
  • Middle Welsh
Form
verse (primary)
Number of lines
79

Classification

Subjects

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

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Sources

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.] [tr.] Jones, Nerys Ann [ed.], Arthur in Welsh poetry, MHRA Library of Medieval Welsh Literature 4, Cambridge: Modern Humanities Research Association, 2019.  
abstract:
For over a thousand years, Arthur has had widespread appeal and influence like no other literary character or historical figure. Yet, despite the efforts of modern scholars, the earliest references to Arthurian characters are still shrouded in uncertainty. They are mostly found in poetic texts scattered throughout the four great compilations of early and medieval Welsh literature produced between 1250 and 1350. Whilst some are thought to predate their manuscript sources by several centuries, many of these poems are notoriously difficult to date. None of them are narrative in nature and very few focus solely on Arthurian material but they are characterised by an allusiveness which would have been appreciated by their intended audiences in the courts of princes and noblemen the length and breadth of Wales. They portray Arthur in a variety of roles: as a great leader of armies, a warrior with extraordinary powers, slayer of magical creatures, rescuer of prisoners from the Otherworld, a poet and the subject of prophecy. They also testify to the possibility of lost tales about him, his father, Uthr, his son, Llachau, his wife, Gwenhwyfar, and one of his companions, Cai, and associate him with a wide array of both legendary and historical figures. Arthur in Early Welsh Poetry, the fourth volume in the MHRA Library of Medieval Welsh Literature series, provides discussion of each of the references to Arthurian characters in early Welsh poetic sources together with an image from the earliest manuscript, a transliteration, a comprehensive edition, a translation (where possible) and a word-list. The nine most significant texts are interpreted in more detail with commentary on metrical, linguistic and stylistic features.
[ed.] [tr.] Haycock, Marged [ed. and tr.], Legendary poems from the Book of Taliesin, Aberystwyth: CMCS Publications, 2007.
293–294 (introduction), 295–298 (text and translation), 299–311 (notes) [id. 9.]

Secondary sources (select)

Green, Thomas, “A note on Aladur, Alator and Arthur”, Studia Celtica 41 (2007): 237–241.
Sims-Williams, Patrick, “The early Welsh Arthurian poems”, in: Bromwich, Rachel, A. O. H. Jarman, and Brynley F. Roberts (eds.), The Arthur of the Welsh. The Arthurian legend in medieval Welsh literature, Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages 1, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1991. 33–71.
52
Evans, D. Ellis, “Nomina Celtica, II. Duratius, Tincorix, ?Celt. *baido-, W. Aladur”, Études Celtiques 12:2 (1968–1970): 501–511.
Journal volume:  Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 12, fascicule 1, 1968: <link> Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 12, fascicule 2, 1970: <link>
509–511 Suggests that Aladur is “the Welsh reflex of an earlier form such as the divine name (Marti) Alatori (dat.) attested in a Latin inscription on a votive plaque of Barkway (Herts.)”.