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Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Triads of the…

Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Triads of the Island of Britain

by Rachel Bromwich

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This is the long-awaited 3rd and final edition, published by the University of Wales Press in February 2006. At 768 pages and $145, this is neither light nor inexpensive reading, but for those interested in Welsh history and literature - and especially the bardic arts of poetry and storytelling - it is a treasure-trove, not only for the material in the triads themselves but for the extensive footnotes and commentary that goes with them.

The contents: Introduction (Manuscripts and Versions; Origin and Development of Trioedd Ynys Prydein) (99 pages); the Appendices (16 pages); Trioedd Ynys Prydein (Text and four appendices (The Names of the Island of Britain; The Descent of the Men of the North; The Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain; The Twenty-Four Knights of Arthur's Court)) (270 pages); Notes to Personal Names (46 pages); Abbreviations, Select Bibliography, and Index.

Triads were groupings of three similar things to serve as a memory aid, and the Welsh triads may have originally been a sort of file-card index for the bards and storytellers in the days of primarily oral transmission of their material. A couple of examples:

"2. Three Generous (Noble/Victorious) Men of the Island of Britain: Nudd the Generous, son of Senyllt; Mordaf the Generous, son of Serwan; Rhydderch the Generous, son of Tudwal Tudglyd. (And Arthur himself was more generous than the three.)"

"21. Three Diademed Battle-leaders of the Island of Britain: Drystan son of Tallwch, and Hueil son of Caw, and Cai son of Cynyr of the Fine Beard. And one was diademed above the three of them: that was Bedwyr son of Bedrawc."

Trioedd-Ynys-Prydein is a book for browsing, not for reading straight through. For those interested in Welsh sources, it will provide many happy hours. ( )
2 vote gwernin | Mar 7, 2008 |
Essential for anyone who studies Welsh literature, history, or culture ( )
  Gwendydd | Mar 26, 2007 |
Intriguing snippets from the welsh bardic tradition. Most interesting is triad 56, which speaks of the three wives of Arthur, all of whom are named Gvenhvyuar. And for those of you who thought Arthur a goody-goody--57 gives the names of his three mistresses. ( )
  sriddle | Nov 6, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0708313868, Hardcover)

Rachel Bromwich’s magisterial edition of Trioedd Ynys Prydein has long won its place as a classic of Celtic studies. This substantially revised edition shows the author’s continued mastery of the subject, and will be essential reading for Celticists and for those interested in early British history and literature and in Arthurian studies.

Early Welsh literature shows a predilection for classifying names, facts and precepts into triple groups, or triads. ‘The Triads of the Isle of Britain’ form a series of texts which commemorate the names of traditional heroes and heroines and which would have served as a catalogue of the names of these heroic figures. The names are grouped under various imprecise but complimentary epithets, which are often paralleled in the esoteric language of the medieval bards, who would have used the triads as an index of past history and legend.

This edition is based upon a full collation of the most important manuscripts, the earliest of which go back to the thirteenth century. The Welsh text is accompanied by English translations of each triad and extensive notes, and the volume includes four appendices which are also an important source of personal names. The Introduction discusses the significance of Trioedd Ynys Prydein in the history of Welsh literature and examines the traditional basis of the triads.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:58 -0400)

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