Christian Chiarcos wrote:
> in my copy of the Mabinogion and in the already mentioned Lexikon der
> keltischen Mythologie, too, there's a comment that Branwen is from
> Bronwen, meaning "white breast". Only because of her connection to
> Brān her name got changed.
Yes, Bromwich says the same in _Trioedd Ynys Prydain_.
Here's what I think. Branwyn (blessed raven) was originaly a title of
Bra+n, whose sister may have been called Bronwen (white breast), and so
the kenning for her brother may have been confused with her name (if
indeed she wasn't just invented from the kenning itself).
Notice, Bra+n's other kenning, Bendigeidvran or Bran Vendigeit (blessed
Raven), is exactly the same in meaning as Branwyn/wen (Blessed Raven).
The former is based on a borrowed Latin word, the latter is based on the
original Celtic idiom.
All conjecture granted. :-)
Well, except about the meaning (if we accept that Branwen is made up of
the words bra+n 'raven' and gwyn 'white, blessed').
Still, the kenning Bendigeidvran does show my point that ravens/crows
were well thought of (of course it doesn't rule out the possibility that
it was merely a euphemism to ward of ill-luck. Sort of like calling the
Faerys Gentry to avoid arousing their wrath ;-)
> This translation is really senseful, because white has always been one
> of the colours of Annwn (by the way, is this connected to dwfn "depth"
> ?). (In the Mabinogion there are several overnatural animals and
> persons that are described as white or as white and a bit red, too.)
Yes, as I pointed out white and blessed, i.e. Otherworldly, are
expressed with one word: gwyn. So, Bronwen could just as easily be
translated 'Blessed Breast' or even 'Blessed Hill.' Which sort of gives
an native English speaker a whole different slant on the subject ;-)
And yes, Annwfn is connected with dwfn (deep, world), at least according
to GPC (Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru) ;-) Cf. Gaulish Dubnorix/Dumnorix
'King of the world.'
Candon Clannach, [log in to unmask]
Bum corwc ymyr.
-Taliesin "Kat Godeu"
And my favorite:
Bum davwed yn llat (I have been a bubble in beer) ;-)