Tales of the Mabinogion
Course Number: L0301
Date: 13 March to 15 March 2020
Course Leader/s: Twm Elias
They are action-packed stories of Celtic gods and heroes with many of the named locations in some of these tales occurring in and around central and northern Gwynedd. During the weekend, we will explore the background to the tales and visit the sites.
Without doubt, the Tales of the Mabinogion stand among the finest flowerings of Welsh literature and are a masterpiece among European medieval mythologies. The stories are action-packed adventures of Celtic gods and heroes.
Our aim is to gain a general overview of the collection of tales known as the four branches of the Mabinogion plus a number of independent native and some later Arthurian tales. The main focus though will be on the story of Math fab Mathonwy and the heroic/ roguish exploits of Lleu, Gwydion and Blodeuwedd. Most of the story occurred in Gwynedd in named sites which we shall visit.
But we shall not ignore other local tales which, in style and content are full of the spirit and other-worldly originality of the Mabinogion themselves.
An important aspect of the course will be interpreting and understanding the tales and placing them in their proper context – a mirror to the complex culture, imagery and social makeup of our ancestors. Who were the characters and what lies behind the motifs? Finding answers to these questions will open several doors for our appreciation of the importance of the Mabinogion for us and on the international stage.
Much of the course will be outdoors, so bring appropriate clothing and footwear.
Friday evening, 13th March
16.30 Arrive and Register
17.45 A word of welcome
19.45 Y Mabinogi – the historical and cultural background
Saturday, 14th March
09.30 Field trip (with packed lunch) to Dyffryn Nantlle (= the valley of Lleu) on the trail of Lleu, Gwydion and Blodeuwedd, visiting many of the sites where the action took place.
19.30 The wealth of the tales and their international significance.
Sunday, 15th March
09.30 Visit Maen Twrog, Y Felen-rhyd, Tomen y Mur, Cwm Cynfal and Llech Gronw for conclusive evidence of the tale’s veracity
14.30 Tea and biscuits. End of course
The above programme is provisional and may be changed in accordance with the weather and wishes of the group.
Course taught through the medium of English