sexta-feira, 1 de abril de 2011


Welsh literature has extended in an unbroken tradition from about the middle of the 6th century to the present day, but, except for two or three short pieces, all pre-Norman poetry has survived only in 12th to 13th century manuscripts. Welsh had developed from the older Brythonic by the middle of the 6th century. In the Historia Brittonum (c. 800) references are made to Welsh poets who, if the synchronism is correct, sang in the 6th century. Works by two of them, Taliesin and Aneirin, have survived. Taleisin wrote odes, or awadlau, in praise of the warlike deeds of his lord, Urien of Rheged, a kingdom in present day south west Scotland and north west England. 

To Aneirin is attributed a long poem, Y Gododdin, commemorating in elegies an ill-starred expedition sent from Gododdin, the region where Edinburgh stands today, to take Catraeth (Catterick, North Yorkshire) from the invading Saxons. The background, inspiration, and social conventions of the poems of Taleisin and Aneirin are typically heroic, the language is direct and simple, and the expression terse and vigorous. These poems, and others that have not been preserved, set standards for later ages. The alliterative verse and internal rhyme found here were developed by the 13th century into the intricate system of consonant and vowel correspondence and internal rhyme, called cynghanedd. 

At the very end of Aneirin's Y Gododdin is the first refering to King Arthur by name. Apart from that, there is a reference to a 'boar', Artos (the Roman version of Arthur) means 'boar', in various tales he is refered to in the same manner. 
Apart from that, there's mentioning of 'Peredur' who also shows up in The Mabinogion and who is now generally accepted as Perceval. The song of Peredur is also known as being one of the "Arthurian Mabonigi". 
However, let's not forget that Taliesin and Aneirin lived in the same time and it is acceptable to presume that they knew each other.


The poet is well attested in the early period, being mentioned in the section of the Historia Brittonum which embodies northern traditions and the names of the four kings Urien, Rhydderch, Gwallog and Morgant.

In the stanza entitled 'The Reciter's Prologue', Aneirin is described as the 'son of Dwywai'. This allusion to Dwywai links Aneirin with the royal houses of the North, for according the genealogies a Dwywai was the daughter of Lleynnog and therefore the sister of Gwallog. She was also said to be the wife of Dunod Fwr and the mother of Deinioel, the patron saint of Bangor (Wales), who according to the Annales Cambriae died in 584. If Aneirin was the younger brother of Deinioel his dates could fit very well with those of a poet composing in the late 6th or early 7th century.

However, Aneirin is an obscure figure. It is probable that all we can be reasonably certain of knowing concerning him is that he existed, that he functioned as a poet in the kingdom of the Gododdin, and that an early date in the authorship of an elegiac poem on the warriors who fell at the battle of Catraeth was attributed to him.


Man's mettle, youth's years, courage for combat:
Swift thick-maned stallions beneath a fine stripling's thighs,
Broad lightweight buckler on a slim steed's crupper,
Glittering blue blades, gold-bordered garments.
Never will there be bitterness between us:
Rather I make of you song that will praise you.
The blood-soaked field before the marriage-feast,
Foodstuff for crows before the burial.
A dear comrade, Owain; vile, his cover of crows.
Ghastly to me that ground, slain, Marro's only son.

Diademed, to the fore at all times, breathless before a maid, he earned mead.
Rent the front of his shield, when he heard the war-cry, he spared none he pursued.
He'd not turn from a battle till blood flowed, like rushes hewed men who'd not flee.
At court the Gododdin say there came before Madawg's tent on his return
But a single man in a hundred.

Diademed, border guard, setter of snares, a sea-eagle's his rush when aroused,
His bargain was kept to the letter.
He performed as planned, was not routed, before Gododdin's forces was shunned,
Pressing hard for the land of Manawyd.
He would spare neither mail-shirt nor shield; none could, on mead he was nourished,
Ward off the stroke of Cadfannan.

 by Amanda Soares Aleluia

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