[From Contributions .., 1909]


In the Mabinogion Rhiannon describes herself to Pwyll as the daughter of Heveydd Hên, who is not mentioned in connection with Annwn. When Nanawvddan accepts the advice of Pryderi (Care, Anxiety), son of Pwyll (Prudence), to marry Rhiannon, he goes to Dyved, where she rules as the widow of Pwyll. According to the tale of Pwyll in its present form, Pwyll, though called Chief of Annwn, was Prince of Dyved. Seeing that so many of the characters of the Mabirnogion proper, i. e. the tales of Pwyll, Branwen, Manawyddan, and Math, are thinly disguised Irish gods, and that the tales themselves were probably introduced into Wales during the Irish occupation of parts of Wales in the early centuries of our era when the old religion was a living one, it has been inferred that during subsequent centuries, the real origin of the tales being forgotten, rind the old religion extinct, the scenes of the tales, with a few exceptions, came to be laid in Wales. A perusal of the Mabinogion shews this pretty clearly. Such statements as that Pryderi held certain Cantraves in Dyved, like the mention of Cordovan leather, etc. cannot belong to the original tales, and Dyved must also be a late introduction. The explanation given of Pwyll being both Prince of Dyved, and Chief of Annwn, or Annwvyn, is worth quoting, as it betrays the hand of the Welsh bard at a loss to reconcile fact with fiction, theiknown with the unknown. " And by reason of his having dwelt that year in Annwvyn, and having ruled there so prosperously, and united the two kingdoms in one day by his valour and prowess, he lost the name of Pwyll, Prince of Dyved, and was called Chief of Annwvyn from that time forward." (Lady Charlotte Guests' " Mabinogion ").

Here we have the name of a part of ancient Wales given as the older title to a prehistoric, mythical character, and a name, whose origin is undoubtedly prehistoric, given as the later title. The bard did not realize that he was dealing with such an ancient tale, or was patriotically desirous of preserving Pwyll as a Welsh character. Clearly of the two, Chief of Annwn, or Annwvyn, was Pwyll's original title. And so throughout these pre-historic tales of the Mabinogion, while the names of the personages are often prehistoric Irish, the place names are frequently historical Welsh.

Dyved is called by the bard Davydd ap Gwilym, the Land of Enchantment, probably on account of the enchantments described in the tale of \lanawyddan ap Llyr, as having been caused in Dyved, by Llwyd, son of Kilcoed. The enchantment episodes evidently belong to the original tale, though we must look elsewhere, than in Wales, for the scene of them, for the reasons already stated. If Pwyll is the Welshified Irish Piall, then as Piall is said in Irish legend to have been king of Man, it would seem to follow that not Dyved in Wales, but the Isle of Man, was the original Land of Enchantment.

If " Chief of Amiwn " is the proper title of Pwyll, and if Pwyll is Piall, king of !flan, then the Isle of Man may have been Annwn,-Annan, the prehistoric Irish name.

Hence Manannan would be " Man Annan " like Pwyll's title " Pen Annwn," and would simply mean " Lord of Annan."

On the same grounds Rhiannon would have been the wife of two mythical kings of Man, Piall and Nlanannan, and the relation of her name to the " annan " in Manannan, and of both " Rhiannon " and " Manannan " to Annwn would be explained.

As Pwyll was connected with Annwn, so also would Piall be connected with Tir Tairngire, for if Annwn corresponds to Tir Tairngire, and if Annwn is the Isle of Man, then Tir Tairngire would be the Isle of Man.

If Pwyll is Piall, the Mabinogion tales, in so far as they refer to the doings of prehistoric characters in Dyved in Wales, may have originally referred to the doings of Piall, Manannan, etc. in the Isle of Man.

If this is possible then three tales of the Mabinogion proper may be Irish prehistoric legends principally concerning the Isle of Man.

But besides Pwyll, Chief of Annwn, there were two kings of Annwn, Arawn and Havgan. It is impossible of course to place any reliance on these tales as regards con temporariness of characters, as most of them are, probably, mere personifications of things, or of qualities.

From the tale of Pwyll we gather that Annwn was divided into two parts by " the Ford," Arawn ruling over one, Havgan over the other, and at "the Ford" Havgan was killed by Pwyll, when on the point of invading Arawn's territory. Perhaps geologists may be able to tell us if there are any indications to shew that at such a recent period as to correspond to what we call prehistoric times the Isle of Alan was divided into two parts by lying lower in the sea ; some old raised beaches and sea-caves appear to shew that it has risen, and Port-e-Shee might suggest that the sea came up farther in th;Lt direction than now.

The tale of Math seems to contain a reference to the first introduction of domestic swine, as opposed to wild hogs, into Dyved,-if I am correct in my surmises, into the Isle of Man.

The Welsh may have got the tales direct from the Manx, during their domination in the 6th century.


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