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Book of Taliesin

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Book of Taliesin

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The Book of Taliesin (Welsh: Llyfr Taliesin) is one of the most famous Welsh manuscripts. It dates from the first half of the fourteenth century though many of the poems are thought to be much older. The manuscript, known as Peniarth MS 2, is kept at the National Library of Wales and is incomplete, having lost a number of its original leaves, including the first.

The volume contains a collection of some of the oldest poems in Welsh, many of them attributed to the poet Taliesin who was active towards the end of the sixth century. Other poems reflect the kind of learning with which the poet became associated, deriving partly from Latin texts and partly from native Welsh tradition. It is this manuscript which preserves the texts of famous poems such as Armes Prydain Fawr, Preiddeu Annwfn (which refers to Arthur and his warriors sailing across the sea to win treasures such as a magical cauldron), and elegies to Cunedda and Dylan Eil Ton, as well as the earliest mention in any western vernacular of the feats of Hercules and Alexander the Great.


     

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