About the Book
Introduction and footnotes by Owen Edwards. The complete collection of eleven prose stories collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts. Drawing on pre-Christian Celtic mythology—with some of the themes having been dated back to the early Iron Age—this marvelous compendium of tales contains some of the oldest European folklore in existence. The source material—the Red Book of Hergest, or Llyfr Goch Hergest, first appeared around 1382 as a complete document, although older manuscript fragments have been found. The first volume of the Mabinogion focuses on three Welsh versions of the Arthurian Tales, called the Three Romances (Y Tair Rhamant). It contains much material not found in any other version of the Arthurian legend, and scholars hold that this was the original legend upon which all others were based. The second volume contains a number of stories from Welsh legend, dating from well before medieval times, and includes the tales of Kilhwch and Olwen—from which other Arthurian traditions were drawn. Also included is the Dream of Maxen Wledig—which tells of the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus who, as a commander in Roman-occupied Britain, assembled a Celtic army and assumed the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The third volume focuses on the character of Pryderi fab Pwyll, king of Dyfed, and contains the Four Branches of the Mabinogi—which tell of his parents, birth, marriage, conflict, adventures, and ultimate tragedy. This volume contains the oldest works of Welsh mythology. This new edition has been completely reset, but contains all the wonderful original artwork which appeared in the famous 1902 edition assembled by Welsh scholar Owen Edwards.