King Arthur. Knowing the origin of known stories

Mabinogion is a traditional term with which a collection of one-time stories written in Middle Welsh is known, that is, in Welsh that was written in Wales between 1100 and 1350. But the compilation itself is not medieval because it was written by the First translator of the English texts, Lady Charlotte Guest, in the mid-19th century. It includes texts of very diverse subjects: Pedeir Keinc and Mabinogi (Four Branches of Mabinogi), for example, are stories that combine elements from ancient mythical and legendary stories with international motifs and themes of deep significance for the Welsh society of that time, such as the friendship between men and the desirable moral code to maintain social order and prevent blood feuds. Strictly speaking, the term mabinogi corresponds to these four compositions; each story ends as follows: “A llynaual y teruyna y geinghonno’r Mabinyogi ”(And thus ends this branch of the Mabinogi). The group also includes two legendary and pseudohistorical stories, Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys (The encounter between Lludd and Llefelys), on the three plagues that struck the British Isles and the battle between two dragons, and Breudwyt Macsen (Macsen’s Dream), which recounts how Emperor Magnus Maximus, the British usurper, found the woman he had fallen in love with in dreams.

Mabinogion body is completed with the Arthurian tales, including the oldest story about King Arthur, Culhwchac Olwen, Chwedyl Iarlles y Ffynnawn (The story of the Countess of the Well), Ystoria Gereintvab Erbin (The story of Gereint son of Erbin) and Ystoria Beredur (The story of Peredur), and a presumably slightly later text, Breudwyt Ronabwy (The Dream of Rhonabwy), a satire about Arturo and his knights that can also be read as a parody of the chivalrous genre. In his dream, Rhonabwy is transported towards the age of King Arthur, who plays gwyddbwyll, a board game similar to chess, with Owein.

All these stories include style, narrative conventions that are known in Welsh as the style of cyfarwydd (“storyteller”), a series of formal devices that refer to the chronological order in the evolution of stories. and the relationship between episodes, the repetition of formulas, stereotyped structures to describe characters, armor, horses, scenes of battles or banquets, among other formalities.

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