The Four Ancient Books of Wales

William F. Skene

The Four Ancient Books of Wales, by William F. Skene - click to see full size image

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The Four Ancient Books of Wales is William Skene's anthology of dark-age Welsh Bardic poetry, first published in 1868. Containing every remaining piece of Bardic poetry known, the poems are translated from four manuscripts: the Black Book of Caermarthen (thought to be the earliest surviving manuscript written solely in Welsh), the Red Book of Hergest (one of the most important medieval manuscripts written in the Welsh language that preserves a collection of Welsh prose and poetry, including the tales of the Mabinogion and Gogynfeirdd poetry), the Book of Taliessin (contains some of the oldest poems in Welsh, dating back to the sixth century and to a real poet called Taliesin) and the Book of Aneurin (a late 13th century Welsh manuscript containing Old and Middle Welsh poetry attributed to the late 6th century Northern Brythonic poet, Aneirin). One of the treasures of world literature, this is also the only true source material for the study of Bardic lore, which reputedly preserved the esoteric and long-lost beliefs of the Druids.

This book has 130,438 words, 320 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1868.

Production notes: This ebook of The Four Ancient Books of Wales was published by Global Grey on the 9th May 2018, and updated on the 19th July 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'Tintern Abbey' by Carl Gustav Carus.

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