Delw y byd

Index for text items. About this overview

The overview below and the data queried under other tab headers represent a selection of items that have been singled out for particular purposes, possibly in the context of subprojects and the compilation of dossiers on given topics. The current breadth and depth of coverage may well expand in the future.

The associated data are generally listed and arranged in an identical way. Click "View items" to see a generated overview of all items relevant to a particular subject within the present text (opens in a new window tab). To view fuller contexts for these items, click the links in the final column.

Preliminary notes
The text of Delw y byd (Book 1 (Space) of the Imago mundi by Honorius Augustodunensis) is structured according to the four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. The chapter divisions correspond to those in Natalia Petrovskaia’s edition of Delw y byd. The index below focusses on the following:
  • The Latin chapter title for each chapter. Note that the Welsh manuscripts do not contain these chapter titles: they only occur in the glosses of a number of the manuscripts with the Latin text (Imago mundi). They have been added below in order to help the user navigate between the Welsh and Latin text, and in order to give a brief overview of the content of the chapters.
  • In what medieval manuscripts a chapter can be found.
  • Where in which editions of Delw y byd a chapter is given.
  • Where in which articles a chapter is discussed.


Introductory letters

The Latin text of Imago mundi is preceded by two introductory letters. This is also the case in the A version of Delw y byd in the Red Book of Hergest. These two letters are represented as a dialogue between teacher and student.

Section 1: Earth

Section 1 runs from chapters 1[1] – 37[37]. It discusses the structure and geography (according to the tripartite structure) of the world.
Discusses the structure of the world in general. 

Note: the Welsh text omits chapter 4[4].

Discusses the different countries, provinces, cities, mountains and waters, animals, and peoples that can be found in the part of the world that is called Asia.

Discusses the different countries, provinces, cities, mountains, and waters that can be found in the part of the world that is called Europe.
Discusses the different countries, provinces, and towns, peoples, and mountains that can be found in the part of the world that is called Africa.
Discusses the various islands of the world. The focus is on the Mediterranean.
Discusses hell and its various names.

Section 2: Water

Chapters 38[38] – 57[52]. Discusses the oceans, seas, and other water phenomena of the world.
Discusses the element of water and various features of the ocean.
Discusses the cause and consequences of earthquakes.
Discusses the island of Sicily and its volcanoes, Mount Etna, and Scylla.

Discusses different types of waters (47[44]-49[45], 52[47]-54[49]) and different seas (50[46]-51[46], 55[50]).

Discusses the creatures that live in the water and weather-phenomena.

Section 3: Air

Chapters 58[53] – 71[66]. Discusses the winds and aerial phenomena of the world.
Discusses the element of air, the winds, and the cardinal winds.
Discusses various weather types and phenomena, such as rain, clouds,
Discusses falling stars and how a plague is begotten.

Section 4: Fire

Chapter 72[67] – 147[140]. Discusses the heavenly spheres, astronomy and zodiac signs.

Discusses the element of air and various planets with their characteristics celestial music, and man.
Note: the Welsh text omits chapter 78[73].

Discusses heaven and its characteristics, the firmament, and the axis of the world.
Discusses the stars and constellations in general.
Discusses the various constellations.
Note: the Welsh text omits chapters 120[114]-125[119], 132[126], and 138[132].
Discusses the star of Egypt, the hemisphere, the milky way, and comets.


The following have not yet been included in the ‘table of contexts’ on the left.

None created.

Agents which have been identified and recorded in the database so far.

You can ignore this if you are not a developer.

Admin info
Textual contexts: 22
Textual items for Delw y byd 140
@existing contexts (22): Source:56494/1-7:Source:56494/8-20:Source:56494/21-29:Source:56494/30-32:Source:56494/33-35:Source:56494/36-37:Source:56494/38-41:Source:56494/42-43:Source:56494/44-46:Source:56494/47-55:Source:56494/56-57:Source:56494/58-60:Source:56494/61-69:Source:56494/70-71:Source:56494/72-88:Source:56494/89-94:Source:56494/95-96:Source:56494/97-109:Source:56494/110-140:Source:56494/141-144:Source:56494/145-147:Source:56494/0
@existing contexts in toc (22): Source:56494/1-7;Source:56494/8-20;Source:56494/21-29;Source:56494/30-32;Source:56494/33-35;Source:56494/36-37;Source:56494/38-41;Source:56494/42-43;Source:56494/44-46;Source:56494/47-55;Source:56494/56-57;Source:56494/58-60;Source:56494/61-69;Source:56494/70-71;Source:56494/72-88;Source:56494/89-94;Source:56494/95-96;Source:56494/97-109;Source:56494/110-140;Source:56494/141-144;Source:56494/145-147;Source:56494/0
@existing contexts not in toc (0):

No messages
Primary sources (Delw y byd)
[ed.] Petrovskaia, Natalia I., Delw y byd: a medieval Welsh encyclopedia, MHRA Library of Medieval Welsh Literature, London: Modern Humanities Research Association, 2020.  

This edition presents extracts from the medieval Welsh encyclopedia Delw y Byd. A medieval Welsh translation of the first book of the Latin encyclopedia known as Imago Mundi, written by Honorius Augustodunensis in the first quarter of the twelfth century, this text is a fine example of the ties between the intellectual world of Europe and Wales in the late-twelfth/early-thirteenth centuries, when the text was translated, ties that brought across the scientific knowledge based on Roman and late antique sources. Structured according to the four elements: earth, water, air and fire, the text presents geographical, anthropological, and astronomical information, often with historical and mythological contexts. The present edition follows that organizational principle, providing a glimpse into the medieval understanding of the overarching structure of the universe.

The text is presented in its historical and literary context, with an updated account of its transmission. A commentary on the scientific context of the most interesting passages is provided, as well as a linguistic one. The edition also provides an overview of the variants by printing parallel texts based on all surviving medieval manuscript witnesses for a number of selected chapters. This includes sections of two previously unpublished medieval witnesses of the text. The accompanying glossary includes vocabulary from all extracts included in the edition.

This edition reproduces a selection of chapters (67 out of a total of 136) and two introductory letters. The chapters have been chosen based on structure, use, and representativeness. The edition is mostly based on version A. Variant chapters from version B are provided where the variation is of particular interest.

The introduction provides the following:

  • Background information on and the different versions of Imago mundi
  • Information on previous editions of Imago mundi and Delw y byd
  • A description of the content of the text
  • Information on the different manuscripts which contain Delw y byd and their manuscript contexts
  • Information on the different versions of Delw y byd
  • Information on the relationships between the Imago mundi and Delw y byd manuscripts
  • Notes on the editorial method and commentary.
[dipl. ed.] Thomas, Peter Wynn [ed.], D. Mark Smith, and Diana Luft [transcribers and encoders], Welsh prose (Rhyddiaith Gymraeg) 1300–1425, Online: Cardiff University, 2007–present. URL: <>.
Transcriptions of all the medieval manuscript witnesses of Delw y byd (here called "Delw'r Byd") can be found here, except for that of Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Peniarth 17. direct link
[ed.] Lewis, Henry, and Pol Diverres, Delw y byd: Imago mundi, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1928.  
Latin text of the Imago mundi in parallel with versions of the Middle Welsh translation Delw y byd, principally from Peniarth MS 17, the Red Book of Hergest and the White Book of Rhydderch.
This edition is structured as follows:
  • Text A: provides the whole text from Peniarth 17 and uses the fuller copy in the Red Book of Hergest (cols. 977-994) to fill in the missing chapters. The Latin text is printed opposite to the Welsh text.
  • Text B: combines the White Book of Rhydderch and the shorter copy of the Red Book of Hergest (cols. 502-516).
  • Text C: provides the remainder of the fuller copy of the Red Book of Hergest (cols. 994-998) which was not used for text A.
  • Appendix: provides other minor pieces from the Red book of Hergest and Cardiff 6 (now known as Cardiff MS 2.83) manuscripts.

The introduction provides information on:

  • The content of Imago mundi
  • The different manuscripts which contain Delw y byd and their relation to one another and the Latin text
  • Editorial methods and the ordering of the different texts in the edition
  • The author of the Imago mundi, Honorius Augustodunensis
Darina Knoops, Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
February 2022, last updated: March 2022