The Mabinogion

Detail of a page of a 1913 edition of The Mabinogion, translated by Lady Charlotte Guest

Last updated: 20 October 2009

The most famous and well-known example of Medieval Welsh narrative prose are the 11 tales and romances that comprise The Mabinogion.

Preserved in the Red Book of Hergest and the White Book of Rhydderch (except for The Dream of Rhonabwy), the Mabinogi consists of four branches; Pwyll Prince of Dyfed, Branwen Daughter of Llŷr, Manawydan Son of Llŷr, and Math son of Mathonwy.

These four branches are thought to have been written between around 1120 and 1136.

The Mabinogion also consists of four additional, individual tales. These were written by an unknown author and it is believed that they vary in date from the 11th century to the early 13th century:

Three Arthurian romances complete the Mabinogion;

A 12th story, Taliesin, based on the bard and translated from a later manuscript, is included in some collections.

Browse the BBC Wales History website for details on each of the branches, tales and romances of the Mabinogion.

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