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Aneirin was a late 6th or early 7th century Brythonic poet from the Hen Ogledd, the Cumbric-speaking regions of northern Britain. His poem Y Gododdin, an elegy for those British warriors who fell in the disastrous battle of Cattraeth, survives only in a late, corrupt and heavily interpolated version.


Y Gododdin[edit]

Quotations are cited from Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson The Gododdin: The Oldest Scottish Poem (Edinburgh: EUP, [1969] 1978).

  • Three hundred men hastened forth, wearing gold torques, defending the land – and there was slaughter. Though they were slain they slew, and they shall be honoured to the end of the world; and of all us kinsmen who went, alas, but for one man none escaped.
    • Stanza B8, p. 101.
  • From the retinue of Mynyddog they hastened forth; in a shining array they fed together round the wine-vessel. My heart has become full of grief for the feast of Mynyddog, I have lost too many of my true kinsmen.
    • Stanza B20, p. 106.
  • He glutted black ravens on the rampart of the stronghold, though he was no Arthur.
    • Stanza B38, p. 112.
    • Possibly the earliest reference to King Arthur.
  • The men went to Catraeth, swift was their host, the pale mead was their feast and it was their poison.
    • Stanza A8, pp. 118.
    • "This famous quotation does not mean that the Gododdin army was too drunk to fight properly, but that they lost their lives in 'earning their mead'" (Jackson The Gododdin p. 35).

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