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Preiddeu Annwfn

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Valerie
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« 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]

« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 01:21:33 pm by Valerie » Report Spam   Logged


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