Y Gododdin  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Y Gododdin is a medieval Welsh poem consisting of a series of elegies to the men of the Brittonic kingdom of Gododdin and its allies who, according to the conventional interpretation, died fighting the Angles of Deira and Bernicia at a place named Catraeth in about AD 600. It is traditionally ascribed to the bard Aneirin and survives only in one manuscript, the Book of Aneirin.

The Book of Aneirin manuscript is from the later 13th century, but Y Gododdin has been dated to between the 7th and the early 11th centuries. The text is partly written in Middle Welsh orthography and partly in Old Welsh. The early date would place its oral composition soon after the battle, presumably in the Hen Ogledd ("Old North"); as such it would have originated in the Cumbric dialect of Common Brittonic. Others consider it the work of a poet from Wales in the 9th, 10th, or 11th century. Even a 9th-century date would make it one of the oldest surviving Welsh works of poetry.

The Gododdin, known in Roman times as the Votadini, held territories in what is now southeast Scotland and Northumberland, part of the Hen Ogledd. The poem tells how a force of 300 (or 363) picked warriors were assembled, some from as far afield as Pictland and Gwynedd. After a year of feasting at Din Eidyn, now Edinburgh, they attacked Catraeth, which is usually identified with Catterick, North Yorkshire. After several days of fighting against overwhelming odds, nearly all the warriors are killed. The poem is similar in ethos to heroic poetry, with the emphasis on the heroes fighting primarily for glory, but is not a narrative. The manuscript contains several stanzas which have no connection with the Gododdin and are considered to be interpolations. One stanza in particular has received attention because it mentions King Arthur in passing, which, if not an interpolation, would be the earliest known reference to that character.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Y Gododdin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools