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A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology.

Manawydan fab Llyr: Third Branch of the Mabinogi

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Manawydan fab Llŷr

Sign in with your library card. Search within work. More on this Topic View overview page for this topic. Interesting stuff. However, I have been led by Will Parker into considering the notion that after Pwyll becomes Pen Annwn after the identity exchange with Arawn their identities remain mixed and that both Pwyll and Arawn are the father of Pryderi.

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Like Like. As far as the tale goes, of course not. But my intuition is that this is the case. Evidence from the Gododdin poem suggests that Lugus was their patron god, but if Manawydan was the god of their territory this does raise other possibilities. Like Liked by 1 person. It certainly seems possible he was one of their patrons and a pan-Brythonic god prior to their Romanisation and Christianisation.

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You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. This is the only story where England is depicted as a significantly different place. No tranformed mice, red-eared dogs, or magic mounds here, just competitive guild thugs.

Morgan: I'm thrilled that you commented--and I agree, this is the one tale in the Mabinogion in which Lloegyr is marked as a definitive other. Of course, in much of the rest of the Mabinogion Britain is a unitary whole; it seems that this is the only Mabinogion tale that recognizes political, ethnic, and social difference in medieval Britain.

And, as you say, that marks Manwydan as a very topical high medieval tale. Anonymous: since you mentioned Oswestry the other day I've read up on it--fascinating hybrid space. I look forward to seeing what Helen Fulton has to say about it. Oh, and I'm the user who deleted his comment--but by accident. Post a Comment.

A Tale of Manawydan – A Review of Kris Hughes’ new Chapbook

Tuesday, June 20, Manawydan. Earlier today I was reading over the third branch of the Mabinogi, Manawydan , and I was struck by its comic representation of England and its economy. This branch of the Mabinogi finds Manawydan and his friend Pryderi feasting away for some years in Wales. This eventually gets old, and Manawydan decides that they should go and make some money. Manawydan's preferred destination for this isn't Wales, land of enchantment, year-long feats, and magic mice, but England, land of a thriving market economy.

When Manawydan and Pryderi make their way to the bustling city of Hereford they take up what seems to be a rather mundane vocation: saddle-making. They're pretty good at making saddles, so much so that the other saddlers in Hereford become envious and decide to eliminate their competition. Manawydan then thinks it prudent for them to move on rather than start a fight in Hereford, so they find another town and make shields.

Unfortunately for them, their shields are of such quality and number that the local shield-makers decide, like the saddlers in Hereford, that these interloping Welshmen need to be killed. Manawydan and Pryderi move on.


In their third incarnation as functioning members of the English manufacturing class Manawydan and Pryderi become shoemakers. Manawydan figures that shoemakers aren't violent enough to cause them any trouble, and they set about making leather shoes. Here the text of Manawydan becomes intriguingly specific in its language of shoemaking. Manawydan buys ready-made leather rather than bothering to tan the stuff himself, and he's conscientious enough to buy the best cordwain for his shoes--except for the soles, which can be made of the cheap stuff.

Naturally, the local shoemakers decide to do away with Manawydan and Pryderi, for whom the third time is the charm: they return to Wales. What fascinates me so about Manawydan 's depiction of what goes on over there, across the border in Lloegyr England , is the palpable, comic sense that just next door to enchanted Wales, a place in which one might very well come across the king of the underworld while hunting or find one's countrymen magically transformed into mice, is England, a land in which a sophisticated enough market economy exists that consumers care about what kind of leather goes on the bottoms of their shoes.

The message here seems to be that the Welsh certainly have the ability to compete with their English neighbors but lack the innate viciousness that's necessary to sustain oneself in the seemingly cutthroat racket that is shoemaking.

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I read Manawydan as slyly poking fun at the rapidly developing English market economy while refusing to rule out eventual Welsh participation in such an economy. I'm curious, as always, to hear what readers might have to say.