>Well, it's an interesting topic!
So it is!
>Depends where Armes Prydain came from - Wales, or somewhere like
Most definitely came from Wales, especially given St. David's prominence.
BTW, there's a nice little translation done by Rachael Bromwich based
off Sir Ifor Williams' notes.
I don't think Arthur was necessarily thought of a THE
>Hero until much later- just one of many, and probably only big in
>the places he came from, which I think is the traditional realm of
Right, but the issue is that if he was a big enough hero to the Welsh at
that time, he would have been included in the poem. You may be right
about the more southerly connection--a point which would bring us into
questioning where exactly did Geoffrey get his material.
If Amres Prydain was a northern thing
>(quite likely, as the Welsh weren't actually at Brunanburh)
Right, they weren't there, but the poet was lamenting the peace which had
been made and saw the nasty old Saxons getting the upper hand (he was a
cleric, BTW). So, he was calling upon the Welsh and the other Celtic
peoples to get off their duffs and do some fighting like their ancestors
and heroes did.
>> As for mentions in the poetry, ther's a brief stanza in "Y Gododdin"
>> which has just Arthur, but it is generally thought to be a later
>> addition, post-Geoffrey (though John Koch at Boston College has
>> the matter); Arthur shows up again in the 9th C poem, "Gereint", but
>> again, we're not sure if the passage was not an addition.
>Who thought they were additions and why?
Well, here you start to get into the philological end of things. Here's
the problem: when working through the poetry, there's certain linguistic
things (like nasalizations, spellings, usage, vestiges of older forms
etc) that one expects when going over the MS. Now, toss in that our
scribes who compiled the texts which we now have these poems were not
afraid to add, change, or generally fool around with the original, if not
try to mimic the tone/forms themselves. This is why we have a whole lot
of Taliesin poems, but only a few which we think are from the correct
time period. Another example is the mabinogion itself--essentially, the
compilers of the Red Book of Hergest and the White Book of Rhydderch were
attempting to update the language of the stories to match the Welsh of
their times--about a 200 year difference. However, they left enough
vestiges of the older forms for scholars to date them (the primary
scholars working these over have been Sir Ifor Williams, Rachael
Bromwich, RL Thomson, AOH Jarman, Brynley Roberts, and D. Simon Evans).
Getting down to business, Jarman thinks that the Arthurian reference in Y
Gododdin was an addition. One of the others (I forget who) did the same
for Gereint. These sorts of proofs, however, are always open to question
given that they are based on an interpretation of the grammar on a
manuscript--which is very tricky business!
>I must say it's easy being a skeptic in Arthurian matters, as the
>evidence is so thin, but hell, SOMEBODY stopped the Saxons at
Damned shame that Gildas didn't mention who it was!
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