Welsh Triads: An Overview

Welsh Triads: An Overview

By Morfydd E. Owen

Celtica, Vol. 25 (2007)

Introduction: In 1957 I went as an aliated student with a degree in Welsh from the then University College of Wales Aberystwyth to Girton College Cambridge to read Section B of the Anthropology and Archaeology Tripos. It was decided that instead of completing the Welsh paper of that tripos I should write an extended essay on some Welsh triads which Dr Rachel Bromwich, who was currently completing her work on the volume Trioedd Ynys Prydein, had come across in her research. The resulting essay was an edition of two texts of triads—a text of gnomic or aphoristic triads and a text called Y Trioedd Arbennig. 1 With the hubris of youth I struggled through the Welsh manuscripts written between 1250 and 1750 in which triads were catalogued and in the process laid the foundations for a somewhat dilettante interest in triads and a somewhat less dilettante interest in manuscripts. In this paper I shall return to the essay I completed in 1959 and try to give an overall picture of the di erent types of triad found inWelsh concentrating on the medieval collections. I shall begin by categorising the types of Triads, and refer to the earliest manuscript copies of each genre.

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