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1  Ancient Mysteries / Ancient Mysteries / Re: Ancient Mysteries on: February 14, 2011, 01:28:09 pm
Season 1
1.   "Bigfoot" (narrated by Michael Kramer, a Leonard Nimoy-narrated episode of Bigfoot was later produced in 1997) original air date 7 January 1994[1]
2.   "Origin of the Vampire" original air date 14 January 1994[2]
3.   "The Lost Ark of the Covenant" original air date 21 January 1994[3]
4.   "The Lost Pharaoh" original air date 17 June 1994[4]
5.   "The Marble Hunter" original air date 8 July 1994[5]
6.   "Northern Lights" (narrated by Michael Kramer) original air date 29 July 1994[6]
Season 2
1.   "Enigma of the Dead Sea Scrolls" original air date 7 October 1994[7]
2.   "Rapa Nui" original air date 14 October 1994[8]
3.   "The Odyssey of Troy" original air date 10 February 1995[9]
4.   "The Shroud of Turin" original air date 21 April 1995[10]
5.   "Shreds of Evidence" original air date 21 April 1995[11]
6.   "Shadow of the Templars" original air date 12 May 1995[12]
7.   "Robot Journey Into the Past" original air date 26 May 1995[13]
8.   "Myth of the Spanish Inquisition" original air date 9 June 1995[14]
9.   "The Loch Ness Monster" original air date 21 July 1995[15]
10.   "Easter Island: The Secrets" original air date 4 August 1995[16]
Season 3
1.   "The Hidden City of Petra" original air date 8 September 1995[17]
2.   "Palenque: The Maya" original air date 15 September 1995[18]
3.   "Camelot" original air date 22 September 1995[19]
4.   "Vikings in North America" original air date 6 October 1995[20]
5.   "Machu Picchu: City in the Sky" original air date 8 October 1995[21]
6.   "Quest for the Fountain of Youth" original air date 13 October 1995[22]
7.   "The Timber Castles of England" original air date 20 October 1995[23]
8.   "Secret Mounds of Prehistoric America" original air date 29 October 1995[24]
9.   "The Search for Shangri-La" original air date 3 November 1995[25]
10.   "Who Built Stonehenge?" original air date 10 November 1995[26]
11.   "Atlantis: The Lost Civilization" original air date 17 November 1995[27]
12.   "The Search for Alexander the Great" original air date 19 November 1995[28]
13.   "The Riddle of the Maya" original air date 24 November 1995[29]
14.   "The Lost Canyon of the Pueblos" original air date 26 November 1995[30]
15.   "Naked Warriors of Europe" original air date 3 December 1995[31]
16.   "Life and Death in Britian's Ancient Theaters" original air date 10 December 1995[32]
17.   "Quest for the Holy Lance" original air date 24 December 1995[33]
18.   "Blood and Honor at the First Olympics" original air date 11 January 1996[34]
19.   "The Sunken City" original air date 14 January 1996[35]
20.   "The Miraculous Canals of Venice" original air date 21 January 1996[36]
21.   "Blood and Treasure in Peru" original air date 1 February 1996[37]
22.   "Pompeii: Buried Alive" original air date 2 February 1996[38]
23.   "Hadrian's Wall" original air date 4 February 1996[39]
24.   "Secrets of the Pueblo" original air date 22 February 1996[40]
25.   "The Puzzling Pyramids of Mexico" original air date 29 February 1996[41]
26.   "The Rosetta Stone" original air date 21 March 1996[42]
27.   "China's Wall of Doom" original air date 21 March 1996[43]
28.   "Astrology: Secrets in the Stars" original air date 28 March 1996[44]
29.   "The Queen Pharaoh" original air date 11 April 1996[45]
30.   "Secrets of Sex: The Kama Sutra" original air date 18 April 1996[46]
31.   "The Forbidden City: The Dynasty and Destiny" original air date 25 April 1996[47]
32.   "The Incredible Monuments of Ancient Rome" original air date 5 May 1996[48]
33.   "Lost Spirits of Cambodia" original air date 9 May 1996[49]
34.   "Lost Legions of Rome" original air date 12 May 1996[50]
35.   "Voodoo!" original air date 16 May 1996[51]
36.   "The Lost Cities of Rome" original air date 19 May 1996[52]
37.   "Rites of Death" original air date 6 June 1996[53]
38.   "Lost Castles of England" original air date 9 June 1996[54]
39.   "Secrets of Delphi" original air date 20 June 1996[55]
40.   "The Secret Life of King Ramses II" original air date 11 July 1996[56]
41.   "The Powerful Gods of Mt. Olympus" original air date 11 July 1996[57]
Season 4
1.   "Ancient Altered States" original air date 5 September 1996[58]
2.   "Ancient Prophecy" original air date 19 September 1996[59]
3.   "Before Their Time: Ancient Technology" original air date 7 October 1996[60]
4.   "Hidden Cities of the Etruscans" original air date 10 October 1996[61]
5.   "Witches" original air date 24 October 1996[62]
6.   "Mystical Monuments of Ancient Greece" original air date 21 November 1996[63]
7.   "Sacred Rites and Rituals" original air date 19 December 1996[64]
8.   "UFOs: The First Encounters" original air date 2 January 1997[65]
9.   "Tombs of the Gods: The Great Pyramids of Giza" original air date 16 January 1997[66]
10.   "Secrets of the Aztec Empire" original air date 13 February 1997[67]
11.   "The Curse of the Hope Diamond" original air date 6 March 1997[68]
12.   "Secrets of the Romanovs" original air date 10 April 1997[69]
13.   "Legends of the Arabian Nights" original air date 20 April 1997[70]
14.   "The Fate of the Neandertals" original air date 27 April 1997[71]
15.   "Human Sacrifice" original air date 1 May 1997[72]
16.   "Lost City of Pirates" original air date 8 May 1997[73]
17.   "Bigfoot" (Leonard Nimoy-narrated version) original air date 15 May 1997[74]
18.   "Samuari" original air date 22 May 1997[75]
19.   "Curse of the Goddess Pele" original air date 5 June 1997[76]
20.   "Guardian of the Ages: The Great Sphinx" original air date 12 June 1997[77]
21.   "Sacred Places" original air date 19 June 1997[78]
22.   "Dragons: Myths and Legends" original air date 26 June 1997[79]
23.   "Headhunters of the Amazon" original air date 3 July 1997[80]
24.   "The Black Death" original air date 10 July 1997[81]
25.   "The Curse of the Borgias" original air date 31 July 1997[82]
Season 5
1.   "Tattooing" original air date 7 August 1997[83]
2.   "The Sacred Waters of Lourdes" original air date 14 August 1997[84]
3.   "The Magic of Alchemy" original air date 17 August 1997[85]
4.   "The Search for the Abominable Snowman" original air date 21 August 1997[86]
5.   "Quest for the Holy Grail" original air date 28 August 1997[87]
6.   "Knights Templar" original air date 7 September 1997[88]
7.   "Reincarnation" original air date 2 November 1997[89]
8.   "Lost Mummies of the Inca" original air date 4 January 1998[90]
9.   "Dreamtime of the Aborigines" original air date 3 May 1998[91]
References
1.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/bigfoot/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/101077
2.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/origin-of-the-vampire/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/8368
3.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/ark-of-the-covenant/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933313
4.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-lost-pharaoh/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933324
5.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-marble-hunter/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933328
6.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/northern-lights/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933327
7.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/enigma-of-the-dead-sea-scrolls/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933332
8.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/rapa-nui/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933333
9.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I3QXAK
10.   ^ http://www.tv.com/ancient-mysteries/shroud-of-turin/episode/501003/summary.html?tag=ep_guide;summary
11.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/shreds-of-evidence/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933339
12.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/shadow-of-the-templars/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933340
13.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/robot-journey-into-the-past/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933341
14.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/myth-of-the-spanish-inquisition/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933342
15.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-loch-ness-monster/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/211992
16.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/easter-island-the-secrets/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933343
17.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-hidden-city-of-petra/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/146815
18.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/palenque-the-maya/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933349
19.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/camelot/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/753983
20.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/vikings-in-north-america/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/181129
21.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/machu-picchu-city-in-the-sky/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/500251
22.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/quest-for-the-fountain-of-youth/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/671748
23.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-timber-castles-of-england/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933346
24.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/secret-mounds-of-prehistoric-america/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/8354
25.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-search-for-shangri-la/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559828
26.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/who-built-stonehenge/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933351
27.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/atlantis-the-lost-civilization/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/153101
28.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-search-for-alexander-the-great/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933350
29.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-riddle-of-the-maya/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/560048
30.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-lost-canyon-of-the-pueblos/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933352
31.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/naked-warriors-of-europe/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/204887
32.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/life-and-death-in-britains-ancient-theatres/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/432161
33.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/quest-for-the-holy-lance/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933355
34.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/blood-and-honor-at-the-first-olympics/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/108822
35.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-sunken-city/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/224386
36.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-miraculous-canals-of-venice/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/196253
37.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/blood-and-treasure-in-peru/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/124326
38.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LG6NTU
39.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/hadrians-wall/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/222105
40.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/secrets-of-the-pueblo/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559754
41.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-puzzling-pyramids-of-mexico/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/108686
42.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-rosetta-stone/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/217979
43.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/chinas-wall-of-doom/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/130775
44.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/astrology-secrets-in-the-stars/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/149705
45.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-queen-pharaoh/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/206993
46.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/secrets-of-sex-kamasutra/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/1167113
47.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-forbidden-city-the-dynasty-and-destiny/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/127616
48.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-incredible-monuments-of-ancient-rome/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/389998
49.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/lost-spirits-of-cambodia/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/8182
50.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/lost-legions-of-rome/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559910
51.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/voodoo/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/184568
52.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-lost-cities-of-rome/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/10933361
53.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/rites-of-death/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559829
54.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LGBIMW
55.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/secrets-at-delphi/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/8270
56.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-secret-life-of-king-ramses-ii/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/560081
57.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-powerful-gods-of-mt-olympus/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/8145
58.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/ancient-altered-states/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/673300
59.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/ancient-prophecy/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/149438
60.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/before-their-time-ancient-technology/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/113976
61.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/hidden-cities-of-the-etruscans/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559675
62.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/witches/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559755
63.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/mystical-monuments-of-ancient-greece/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/557261
64.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/sacred-rites-and-rituals/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/560037
65.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/ufos-the-first-encounters/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/169461
66.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-tombs-of-the-gods-the-great-pyramids-of-giza/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559756
67.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GPCN0Y
68.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-curse-of-the-hope-diamond/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/166235
69.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/secrets-of-the-romanovs/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/8362
70.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/legends-of-the-arabian-nights/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559932
71.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-fate-of-the-neanderthals/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/442062
72.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/human-sacrifice/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/199208
73.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/lost-city-of-pirates/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/1082447
74.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GIYKUW
75.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/samurai/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559757
76.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GK255W
77.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/guardian-of-the-ages-the-great-sphinx/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559676
78.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/sacred-places/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/738457
79.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/dragons-myths-and-legends/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559799
80.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GPH8NQ
81.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GK45BO
82.   ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GK4LQ8
83.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/tattooing/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/288557
84.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-sacred-waters-of-lourdes/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/741300
85.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/the-magic-of-alchemy/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/286920
86.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/search-for-the-abominable-snowman/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/559850
87.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/quest-for-the-holy-grail/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/590116
88.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/knights-templar/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/411159
89.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/reincarnation/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/209074
90.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/lost-mummies-of-the-inca/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/479817
91.   ^ http://television.aol.com/episode/dreamtime-of-the-aborigines/ancient-mysteries-with-leonard-nimoy/8490

2  Ancient Mysteries / Ancient Mysteries / Ancient Mysteries on: February 14, 2011, 01:25:07 pm
Ancient Mysteries



Also known as Ancient Mysteries: New Investigations of the Unsolved
Genre Documentary
Written by Tom Jennings
Gregory Orr
Directed by Tim Evans
Marshall Flaum
Narrated by Leonard Nimoy
Michael Kramer (early episodes)
Country of origin USA
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 91
Broadcast
Original channel A&E
Original run 7 January 1994 – 3 May 1998
Status Ended


Ancient Mysteries is a documentary television series that was produced by FilmRoos and originally broadcast on A&E from January 7, 1994 until May 3, 1998 with reruns airing until 2000. Reruns were also re-broadcast on The Biography Channel during the 2000s. The series deals with historical mysteries and is mostly hosted by Leonard Nimoy (unless otherwise noted), which recalls the late-1970s TV Series In Search Of.

3  Heroic Sagas of Myth & Culture / Quest for King Arthur / Re: Preiddeu Annwfn on: February 14, 2011, 01:21:11 pm
A Grail connection?

Early translators suggested a link between Preiddeu Annwfn (taken together with the Bran story) and the later Grail narratives, with varying degrees of success. Similarities are sometimes peripheral, such as that both Bran the Blessed and the Grail keeper the Fisher King receive wounds in their legs and both dwell in a castle of delights where no time seems to pass. The graal portrayed in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail is taken to be reminiscent of Bran's cauldron, and, as in Preiddeu, the Grail romances always result in initial tragedy and frequently in huge loss of life.

Earlier scholars were quicker to read Celtic origins in the Holy Grail stories than their modern counterparts. Whereas early 20th-century Celtic enthusiast Jessie Weston unequivocally declared that an earlier form of the Grail narrative could be found in Preiddeu Annwfn, modern researcher Richard Barber denies Celtic myth had much influence on the legend's development at all.[7] R. S. Loomis, however, argued that it was more logical to search for recurrent themes and imagery found in both the Grail stories and Celtic material rather than exact ancestors; many or most modern scholars share this opinion.

4  Heroic Sagas of Myth & Culture / Quest for King Arthur / Re: Preiddeu Annwfn on: February 14, 2011, 01:20:39 pm
Analogues in other works

Two works in particular feature narrative elements that are frequently cited as probable literary relatives. These are the Second Branch of the Mabinogi and Culhwch and Olwen. The former is the mythological tale of the giant Bran the Blessed and his sister Branwen, the latter is an Arthurian romance also associated with the Mabinogion. In the Second Branch, Bran gives his magic life-restoring cauldron to his new brother-in-law Matholwch of Ireland after he and Branwen marry. Matholwch mistreats his new wife, however, and Bran and his forces must cross the Irish Sea to rescue her. Part of this attack involves the destruction of the cauldron, which Matholwch had used to resuscitate his soldiers; in the end only seven of Bran's men are left alive, including Taliesin.

In Culhwch and Olwen Arthur's retinue sail to Ireland (aboard his ship Prydwen, the ship used in Preiddeu) to obtain the cauldron of a certain Diwrnach, who treats them to a feast but refuses to give up his prize. Arthur's warrior Llenlleawc the Irishman grabs Caladvwch (Excalibur) and swings it around, killing Diwrnach's entire retinue. Further parallels between this episode and Preiddeu Annwfn may be found in a difficult passage from the latter, which is usually understood to say that a "flashing sword", described either as "bright" or else "of Lleawch", was raised to the cauldron, leaving it in the hands of "Lleminawc". Some scholars have opted to identify either or both Lleawch and Lleminawc with Culhwch's Llenlleawc, citing a confusion or evolution of names in the manuscript tradition, but evidence for this point is not conclusive.

Roger Sherman Loomis also pointed out the similarities between Preiddeu's description of the "Glass Fortress" and a story from Irish mythology recorded in both the Book of Invasions and the 9th-century Historia Britonum. In Preiddeu, the Glass Fortress is defended by 6,000 men, and Arthur's crew finds it difficult to speak with their sentinel. In the Irish tale, the Milesians, the ancestors to the Irish people, encounter a glass tower in the middle of the ocean whose inhabitants do not speak with them. The Milesians attack, and like Arthur's expedition, lose most of their force. The one surviving ship sails on to Ireland and further adventure. Loomis further suggests that this story is connected to the Abduction of Guinevere episode common in later literature. Sarah Higley suggests a common story that influenced these various Welsh and Irish accounts.[5]

5  Heroic Sagas of Myth & Culture / Quest for King Arthur / Re: Preiddeu Annwfn on: February 14, 2011, 01:20:21 pm
Text

Preiddeu Annwfn has been translated into English several times but its obscurity at some points requires individual interpretation on the part of its translators. The narrator is possibly intended to be Taliesin himself. One line can be interpreted as implying that he received his gift of poetry or speech from a magic cauldron, as Taliesin does in other texts, and Taliesin's name is connected to a similar story in another work.[5] The speaker relates how he journeyed with Arthur and three boatloads of men into Annwfn, but only seven returned. Annwfn is apparently referred to by several names, including "Mound Fortress," "Four-Peaked Fortress," and "Glass Fortress", though it is possible the poet intended these to be distinct places. Within the Mound Fort's walls Gweir, one of the "Three Exalted Prisoners of Britain" known from the Welsh Triads,[6] is imprisoned in chains. The narrator then describes the cauldron of the Chief of Annwn; it is finished with pearl and will not boil a coward's food. Whatever tragedy ultimately killed all but seven of them is not clearly explained. The poem continues with an excoriation of "little men" and monks, who lack in various forms of knowledge possessed by the poet.

6  Heroic Sagas of Myth & Culture / Quest for King Arthur / Re: Preiddeu Annwfn on: February 14, 2011, 01:19:49 pm
Manuscript and dateThe poem is uniquely preserved in the Book of Taliesin (Aberystwyth, NLW, MS Peniarth 2), which has been dated to the first quarter of the 14th century.[1] The text of the poem itself has proved immensely difficult to date. Estimates range from the time of the bard Taliesin in the late 6th century to the completion of the manuscript. On the basis of linguistic criteria, Norris J. Lacy suggests that the poem took its present form around AD 900.[2] Marged Haycock notes that the poem shares a formal peculiarity with a number of pre-Gogynfeirdd poems found in the Book of Taliesin, that is, the caesura usually divides the lines into a longer and shorter section.[3] She contends, however, that there is no firm linguistic evidence that the poem predates the time of the Gogynfeirdd.[4]

7  Heroic Sagas of Myth & Culture / Quest for King Arthur / Preiddeu Annwfn on: February 14, 2011, 01:19:18 pm
Preiddeu Annwfn

Preiddeu Annwfn or Preiddeu Annwn (English: The Spoils of Annwfn) is a cryptic early medieval Welsh poem of sixty lines found in the Book of Taliesin. The text recounts an expedition with King Arthur to Annwfn or Annwn, a Welsh otherworld. A number of scholars have pointed out analogues in other medieval Welsh literature, and the text has attracted interest from those who suggest that it represents a tradition that evolved into the Holy Grail theme of later Arthurian literature.

8  Heroic Sagas of Myth & Culture / Arthurian Myth / Re: Culhwch and Olwen on: February 11, 2011, 01:30:15 pm


Culhwch at Ysbadadden's court. Image by E. Wallcousins in "Celtic Myth & Legend", Charles Squire, 1920
9  Heroic Sagas of Myth & Culture / Arthurian Myth / Re: Culhwch and Olwen on: February 11, 2011, 01:29:07 pm
Synopsis

Culhwch's father, King Cilydd son of Celyddon, loses his wife Goleuddydd after a difficult childbirth. When he remarries, the young Culhwch rejects his stepmother's attempt to pair him with his new stepsister. Offended, the new queen puts a curse on him so that he can marry no one besides the beautiful Olwen, daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden Pencawr. Though he has never seen her, Culhwch becomes infatuated with her, but his father warns him that he will never find her without the aid of his famous cousin Arthur. The young man immediately sets off to seek his kinsman. He finds him at his court in Celliwig in Cornwall; this is one of the earliest instances in literature or oral tradition of Arthur's court being assigned a specific location and a valuable source of comparison with the court as depicted in later Welsh, English and continental Arthurian legends.[1]

Arthur agrees to help, and sends six of his finest warriors (Cai, Bedwyr, Gwalchmei, Gwrhyr Gwalstawd Ieithoedd, Menw son of Tairgwaedd and Cynddylig Gyfarwydd) to join Culhwch in his search for Olwen. The group meets some relatives of Culhwch's that know Olwen and agree to arrange a meeting. Olwen is receptive to Culhwch's attraction, but she cannot marry him unless her father agrees, and he, unable to survive past his daughter's wedding, will not consent until Culhwch completes a series of about forty impossible-sounding tasks. Fortunately for Culhwch (and the reader), the completion of only a few of these tasks is recorded and the giant is killed, leaving Olwen free to marry her lover.

The story is on one level a typical folktale, in which a young hero sets out to wed a giant's daughter, and many of the accompanying motifs reinforce this (the strange birth, the jealous stepmother, the hero falling in love with a stranger after hearing only her name, etc.). However, for most of the narrative the title characters go unmentioned, their story serving as a frame for other events. Culhwch and Olwen is as a whole more than simply a folktale.

In fact, the majority of the writing is taken up by two long lists and the adventures of King Arthur and his men. The first of these occurs when Arthur welcomes his young kinsman to his court and offers to give him whatever he wishes. Culhwch, of course, asks that Arthur help him get Olwen, and invokes some two hundred of the greatest men, women, dogs, horses and swords in Arthur's kingdom to underscore his request. Included in the list are names taken from Irish legend, hagiography, and sometimes actual history.

The second list includes the tasks Culhwch must complete before Ysbaddaden will allow him to marry Olwen. Only a fraction are recounted, but several that are of great significance. A version of the longest episode, the hunt for the boar Twrch Trwyth, is referenced in Historia Brittonum and it may also be related to the boar hunt in the Irish stories of Diarmuid Ua Duibhne. The rescue of Mabon ap Modron from his watery prison has numerous parallels in Celtic legend, and the quest for the cauldron of Diwrnach the Irishman may well be related to the tales of Bran the Blessed in the second branch of the Mabinogion and the poem The Spoils of Annwn in the Book of Taliesin, possibly linking it to the Grail Quest.[citation needed]

[edit] Cultural influenceWriters Tom Shippey and David Day have pointed out the similarities between "The Tale of Beren and Lúthien", one of the main storylines of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Silmarillion, and Culhwch and Olwen.[2][3]

10  Heroic Sagas of Myth & Culture / Arthurian Myth / Culhwch and Olwen on: February 11, 2011, 01:24:14 pm
Culhwch and Olwen

Culhwch and Olwen (Welsh: Culhwch ac Olwen) is a Welsh tale about a hero connected with Arthur and his warriors that survives in only two manuscripts: a complete version in the Red Book of Hergest, ca. 1400, and a fragmented version in the White Book of Rhydderch, ca. 1325. It is the longest of the surviving Welsh prose tales. Certain linguistic evidence indicates it took its present form by the 11th century,[citation needed] making it perhaps the earliest Arthurian tale and one of Wales' earliest extant prose texts.[citation needed] The title is a later invention and does not occur in early manuscripts.[citation needed]

Lady Charlotte Guest included this tale among those she collected under the title The Mabinogion. Besides the quality of its storytelling it contains several remarkable passages: the description of Culhwch riding on his horse is frequently mentioned for its vividness (a passage reused to similar effect in the 16th century prose "parody" Araith Wgon, as well as in 17th century poetic adaptations of that work), the fight against the terrible boar Twrch Trwyth certainly has antecedents in Celtic tradition, and the list of King Arthur's retainers recited by the hero is a rhetorical flourish that preserves snippets of Welsh tradition that otherwise would be lost.

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