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Mabinogion Geneologies etc.

 
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Tami Whitehead
poet


Joined: 28 Sep 2002
Posts: 41
Location: Southeast Texas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 6:54 pm    Post subject: Mabinogion Geneologies etc. Reply with quote

Hi all,
I have been re-reading the mab, and in How Cuhlwch won Olwen, there is a large portion of text where the protagonist swears on the names of members of 'Arthur's Court' and the 'ladies of the Island' etc. I wondered if anyone out there has examined these names, or if there was a book or link etc...my dog-eared Penguin copy has very little in the way of translations for the names, or background info.

Also, we talked a bit about toads with thousand claws in some posts a while back...I thought it may be an alchemical ref, but have yet to find anything to substantiate that. Anyhow, in the names list in How Cuhlwch won Olwen, among the names are Kilydd Hundred Holds, Canhastyr Hundred Hands, and Cors Hundred Claws (my Penguin gives Canhastyr as = Hundred Holds, so it is Hundred Holds Hundred Hands for the second name). Any ideas??

Tami
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Mark Carter
poet


Joined: 01 Jun 2002
Posts: 28
Location: Bloomington, IL, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2003 5:16 pm    Post subject: The Mab. and the toad.... Reply with quote

Hello Tami (and everyone else),

If you want to look into the names mentioned in the Mab. I'm sure there are a million sources. For starters, find a copy of the Guest Mab. with the full footnotes. The footnotes to the Guest Mab. are nearly a book in themselves. Once you get into Arthurian lit. you find people who dedicate their lives to discovering the identity of the second cousin twice removed of Arthur's cupbearer. There's not a name in Arthurian lit. that someone hasn't researched. You might also try The New Arthurian Encyclopedia by Norris. I have a copy and if I find time I may do some looking for you. But don't hold your breath...I'm swamped with stuff right now. Wink

Regarding the serpent-toad monster of Cad Goddeu. It has crossed my mind that there were probably several sources for such a monster. I'm not sure I could rank them in order of importance but they would be;

1: Native Celtic legends of the monster called addanc. This is the monster found in Peredur Son Of Evrawc. Peredur mentions several serpents and dragonlike monsters which are all probably variations on the same addanc. It's also found in other Celtic tales. I suspect it's the same monster that steals the colt in Pwyll.

2: Various dragons and serpents mentioned in Revelations. Christian impact on these Welsh stories is obvious and the authors would not have failed to notice the images of the red dragon found in Rev. There is also mention of bloody swords and swords in the mouths of the serpent, if I remember correctly. (The Bible is not my strong point in lit.) Very Happy

3: Various monsters in Geoffrey's History of the Kings Of Britain. Dragons with poisonous claws are found here too. However, I suspect Geoffrey himself was under the influence of earlier Celtic legends and the Bible anyway so maybe this is just the result of the combination of the above two sources.

4: The beliefs regarding the "toad stone" which we have mentioned before. This was the magic stone which was supposed to be found in the head of toads and have magic powers. This belief was popular in medieval France and French impact on the Mab. can't be denied. Notice that in Peredur the serpent protects a ring and the ring was a common setting for the toadstone. Also, Peredur is given a magic stone to use against the creature and (if I remember correctly) another magic ring with a stone in it which renders him invisible. Lastly, the addanc in Peredur is also poisonous and protection from poison was supposedly one of the traits of the toadstone. It makes (occult) sense that the stone from the head of the creature would protect you against the creature's poison.

Now, take all of that and make what you can out of it. In an earlier post I suggested the importance of the toadstone, but I no longer think it's the biggest factor. If anything, this may have impacted Peredur but not much of the rest of the Mab. I think that Peredur is one of the later stories of the Mab., most open to French corruption. I'm only guessing though. I'm no expert on the Mab.

However, we should also consider that the monster in Cad Goddeu might have been built up over time. It's likely that the original poem was not as descriptive and later scribes added more traits to the monster with time. Thus, the ref. to the magic stone might be a late addition made after legends of the toadstone reached Wales. Originally, the monster of Cad Goddeu might have been your run of the mill addanc.

Later...... Very Happy
Mark
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