Welsh Poetry

The Welsh Origins of King Arthur – Part 3

Here is the final segment of my three part series on the Welsh Origins of King Arthur. Part One can be found here.  Recurring Themes Although it is difficult to ascertain the degree to which early Welsh poetry directly influenced the writing of Culhwch ac Olwen, or to determine whether the similarities of theme and content of these works are a result of their respective authors drawing upon a collective body of lore concerning Arthur, an examination of some of these recurring motifs underscores the existence of an established, albeit continuously growing, catalog of Arthurian legend. Further, the formal repertoire of […]

The Welsh Origins of King Arthur – Part 2

Here is Part Two of my three part series on the Welsh Origins of King Arthur. Part One can be found here. The Body of Tradition Although it may be impossible to plot a direct evolutionary line in the development of the Arthurian legend from his earliest appearance as a semi-historical solider figure, to the imperial presence found in the later romances, there are certainly stages of tradition which can be identified. One of the watershed works that defines the tradition of Arthur during the folkloric stage is Culhwch ac Olwen. There is a sort of loose consistency in several […]

The Welsh Origins of King Arthur – Part 1

With the recent opening of yet another movie adaptation of The Matter of Britain, this time in the form of Guy Richie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword , I thought it was a good time to share an overview of the earliest extant sources for the legend of Arthur. It is my hope that this multi-part series may shed some light on the origins of this enigmatic king and his surrounding lore. Part 2 to follow.   The Earliest Sources and Their Characterization of Arthur The earliest prose sources which mention Arthur, the Historia Brittonum dating to 829 -30  and the Annales Cambriae, the earliest […]