Texts

Preiddeu Annwn‘The spoils of Annwn’
verse beg. Golychaf wledic / pendeuic gwlat ri

  • Early Welsh
  • verse
Initial words (verse)
  • Golychaf wledic / pendeuic gwlat ri
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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Manuscripts
Language
  • Early Welsh
Form
verse (primary)
Number of lines
61

Classification

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.
433–451 [id. 18. ‘Preideu Annwfyn’] Introduction, text and English translation, and textual notes.
[ed.] [tr.] Higley, Sarah Lynn, “Preiddeu Annwn: The spoils of Annwn”, The Camelot Project, Online: Rochester University. URL: <https://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/preiddeu-annwn>.
Text, translation and notes, with audio recording of an oral performance of the poem.
[ed.] [tr.] Pilch, Herbert, “The earliest Arthurian tradition: the Preiddiau Annwfn of the Book of Taliesin”, in: Pilch, Herbert (ed.), Orality and literacy in early Middle English literature, Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 1996. 147–166.
Edition and translation based on Evans’s diplomatic edition.
[ed.] [tr.] Pilch, Herbert, “Keltisch-britische Jenseitsdichtung: marw-ysgafn - Preiddiau Annwfn - Yannig Skolan”, in: Stemmler, Theo (ed.), An die Gottheit: Bittgedichte aus zwei Jahrtausenden. 7. Kolloquium der Forschungsstelle für europäische Lyrik, Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 1993. 83–94.
87–90
[ed.] [tr.] Haycock, Marged, “‘Preiddeu Annwn’ and the figure of Taliesin”, Studia Celtica 18–19 (1983–1984): 82–78.
60–77 Text, translation and textual notes.
[tr.] Loomis, Roger Sherman, “The spoils of Annwn: an early Arthurian poem”, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 56:4 (December, 1941): 887–936.
889–891 Tentative English translation of part of the text.
[dipl. ed.] Evans, J. Gwenogvryn [ed.], Facsimile & text of the Book of Taliesin, 2 vols, Series of Old Welsh Texts 9, Llanbedrog, 1910.
Internet Archive – vol. 1: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – vol. 2: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – vol. 3: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 4: <link>
Vol. 2, 54–56
[ed.] Skene, William F., The four ancient books of Wales, containing the Cymric poems attributed to the bards of the sixth century, vol. 2, Edinburgh, 1868.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>, <link>, <link>
181–182 (text); 410–411 (notes) [id. 30.]
[tr.] Skene, William F., The four ancient books of Wales, containing the Cymric poems attributed to the bards of the sixth century, vol. 1, Edinburgh, 1868.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>, <link>, <link>
264–266

Secondary sources (select)

Loon, Marcella van, “De forten van Preiddeu Annwn in relatie tot Annwn”, Ollodagos: actes de la Société Belge d'Études Celtiques 25:2 (2010): 167–210.
Green, Thomas, “An alternative interpretation of Preideu Annwfyn, lines 23–28”, Studia Celtica 43 (2009): 207–213.
Green, Thomas, Concepts of Arthur, Stroud: Tempus, 2007. 282 pp.  
1. The Arthur of history: the evidence and its critics -- 2. The earliest stratum of the Arthurian legend -- 3. The nature of Arthur: ‘a mighty defender’ -- 4. The nature of Arthur’s war-band and family -- 5. The origins of ‘Arthur’ -- 6. The historicization of Arthur -- 7. ‘The Arthur of the British’: a maximum view -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index.
54–67; 159–160
Adderley, Mark, “Singing to the silent sentinel: ‘Preiddeu Annwn’ and the oral tradition”, Review of English Studies 60:244 (April, 2009): 175–193.
Higley, Sarah Lynn, “The spoils of Annwn: Taliesin and material poetry”, in: Klar, Kathryn A., Eve E. Sweetser, and Claire Thomas (eds.), A Celtic florilegium: studies in memory of Brendan O Hehir, Celtic Studies Publications 2, Lawrence, Massachusetts: Celtic Studies Publications, 1996. 43–53.
Budgey, Andrea, “Preiddeu Annwn and the Welsh tradition of Arthur”, in: Byrne, Cyril J., Margaret Harry, and Pádraig Ó Siadhail (eds.), Celtic languages and Celtic peoples: proceedings of the Second North American Congress of Celtic studies, held in Halifax, August 16-19, 1989, Halifax, Nova Scotia: D’Arcy McGee Chair of Irish Studies, Saint Mary’s University, 1992. 391–404.
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.
Haycock, Marged, “‘Preiddeu Annwn’ and the figure of Taliesin”, Studia Celtica 18–19 (1983–1984): 82–78.
Jones, Thomas, “The early evolution of the legend of Arthur”, Nottingham Medieval Studies 8 (1964): 3–21.
13–15
Loomis, Roger Sherman, “The spoils of Annwn: an early Arthurian poem”, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 56:4 (December, 1941): 887–936.

External links