The lion is one of the most prominent symbols in the Mabinogion tale of Owain. But what is its meaning and how old is it?
The story of Owain ab Urien travelled far in medieval Europe, mainly through Chretian de Troyes Old French classic Yvain (12th century), which although popular seems to have been stripped of its older more mythic elements. Yet on the story’s return to Wales in the 13th century, the Welsh storytellers appear to have reinvested the text with myth, renovating and remaking the story as they claimed it back.
In the 13th century story of Owain we find one of the most ancient mythic figures to be found in European literature, the many-faced Lord of Animals.
Celtic myths are symbolic, so we need to interpret them to draw out their wisdom. As a result, it’s probably worth asking if interpretation was ever a part of the Celtic storytelling tradition?
The Book of Taliesin is one of the great treasures of Welsh culture, but who wrote it? In truth, it’s an impossible question to answer, but there are some very interesting theories about who composed some of the most famous poems in the manuscript . . .
Most Celtic scholars would rightly point out that the correct answer to this question is an emphatic no. Yet there is a more nuanced story that can be told:
What do riddles have to do with The Four Branches of the Mabinogi?
The Book of Taliesin is one of the primary medieval sources for the Taliesin myth. But what does it actually contain?
Hope you’re well during these difficult times. If you’re self-isolating, perhaps this video can pass the time a little for you. We can at least imagine the land, even if we can’t necessarily walk on it.
The different versions of Taliesin’s folk tale give us clues as to where the animal-transformation chase scene may have taken place. Following some interesting clues in the Welsh landscape, here’s one possible location . . .
The Welsh Bardic Triads (‘Trioedd Ynys Prydein‘) provide an index to the oral storytelling tradition of medieval Wales. They were used by bards across the centuries not only to help them remember the vast network of traditional myth and lore, but also to present a distinct vision of the ancient past.