Glossary of early Welsh literature terms

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A glossary of some of the trickier terms used in the explanation of early Welsh literature.

Last updated: 20 October 2009

Beirdd yr Uchelwy

The poets of the nobility, otherwise known as the Poets of the Noblemen or Poets of the Gentry. This set of poets produced work after the end of Welsh independence following the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1282. Their work spans the late 13th to 16th centuries.

Beirdd yr Tywysogion

This group of Welsh poets worked from the 12th to the second half of the 14th centuries and are also known as Y Gogynfeirdd, the Poets of the Welsh Princes or the Fairly Early Poets.

Celebration poetry

See Praise poetry.

Y Cynfeirdd

Also known as The Early Poets, including the poets Taliesin, Aneirin and the poetry associated with Llywarch Hen and Heledd. This poetry dates from as early as the sixth century.

Cywydd

One of the major metrical forms of poetry of the period with a complex structure of seven syllable lines in rhyming couplets.

Cywyddau

Poets whose work uses the cywydd form of poetry.

Early Poets

Known as Y Cynfeirdd, including the poets Taliesin, Aneirin and the poetry associated with Llywarch Hen and Heledd. This poetry dates from as early as the sixth century.

Englyn/Englynion

Englynion (singular: englyn) are the oldest recorded Welsh metrical form, short form poems that consist of three or four lines, dating from as early as the ninth century. Each englyn has a complex structure, for example involving half rhymes, rhymes, a certain number of syllables per line and other variants.

Fairly Early Poets

Also known as Y Gogynfeirdd, the Poets of the Princes or Beirdd y Tywysogion, this group of Welsh poets flourished from the 12th to the second half of the 14th century.

Flourish

Also floruit (abbreviation: fl. or flor.), a term used to describe a period in which a poet was most active or produced the most works, especially when birth and or death dates are unclear or unknown.

Y Gogynfeirdd

Also known as the Poets of the Princes, Beirdd y Tywysogion or the Fairly Early Poets (in comparison to Y Cynfeirdd - the Early Poets). This group of Welsh poets flourished from the 12th to the second half of the 14th century.

Panegyric verse

A speech or piece of writing in praise of something or someone, especially an elaborate one such as a eulogy.

Patron

Someone who gives financial support and encouragement to, for example, an artist such as a poet (or a charity, movement, the arts).

Poets of the Princes

Also known as Beirdd y Tywysogion, Y Gogynfeirdd or the Fairly Early Poets (in comparison to Y Cynfeirdd - the Early Poets). This is a group of Welsh poets who flourished from the 12th to the second half of the 14th century.

Poets of the Nobility

This set of poets produced work after the end of Welsh independence following the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1282. Their work spans the late 13th to 16th centuries and they are otherwise known as the Poets of the Noblemen, Poets of the Gentry or Beirdd yr Uchelwy.

Praise poetry

Panegyric poetry which heralded from the writing of Cynfeirdd poets, which set a tradition in Welsh poetry from the late sixth century until the late 16th century. Poetry praised or celebrated patrons, often courtly kings and princes and in later poetry men of nobility, for their bravery in battle, in death, and celebrated patrons' lineage, family, houses and hospitality among other themes.

Saga poetry

Saga poems are long narratives on an heroic adventure or event(s) - typically battles in early Welsh poetry - which often feature generations of the same family. (The term originates from Old Norse or Icelandic prose tales depicting Norwegian and Icelandic history, battles and legends.)


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