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Black Book of Carmarthen

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Black Book of Carmarthen

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The Black Book of Carmarthen (Welsh: Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin) is one of the earliest surviving manuscripts written entirely in Welsh. Written in ca. 1250 it is so called because of its association with the Priory of St. John the Evangelist and Teulyddog at Carmarthen and because the colour of its binding. It is now part of the collection of the National Library of Wales, where it is also known as NLW Peniarth MS 1.

The book contains a collection of poetry falling into various categories. There are poems with religious subjects and odes of praise and mourning. But most remarkable are the poems which draw on traditions relating to the Welsh heroes of Dark Age Britain, and especially those connected with the legend of Arthur and Myrddin, also known as Merlin. One of the poems refers to the Battle of Llongborth, the location of which can no longer be pinpointed, and mentions Arthur's involvement in the battle.

There has been recent call from the editor of the Carmarthen Journal newspaper to house the Black Book in its native Carmarthen so that it might be seen by local Carmarthiens and tourists coming into the town.


     

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