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The Four Ancient Books of Wales by William Forbes Skene

As a stand alone text it can be very dull in parts and, as I already said, quite disjointed. Pick it up if you have some interest in the subject matter or don't mind sifting through the silt to find quite a few gems of poetry. Aug 04, Dominique Lamssies rated it liked it. This book is a must for an Celtic enthusiast.

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The only reason I'm not rating it any higher is that I'm not much of a Celtic enthusiast. But the book covers the history and some linguistic stuff that gives the pieces context. The only real problem, which is a small quible, is the formatting.

Four Ancient Books of Wales

I believe this company is print on demand, so you basically get words on a page and not a lot more. Still a good book.


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Dec 25, Will Justus rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a great resource for those interested in the poetry of the ancient Britons. The four books are the book of Taliesin, the black book of Carmarthen, the book of Aneurin, and the red book of Hergest. Skene's translations of these books, as well as his views in the introduction, are now rather looked down upon by scholars.

However, this remains the single best source by which a casual academic may read these old poems.


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Oct 08, Nikki rated it really liked it Shelves: The translations seem pretty clear, though I can't comment on their accuracy, and the introduction is pretty good. Like all books from these publishers, it can be obtained online from forgottenbooks.

The Four Ancient Books of Wales

View all 3 comments. Mar 26, Joan rated it liked it. Translation too dated for me. You're on your own here. Bonnie Green rated it really liked it May 30, Amanda Veazey rated it it was amazing Jun 21, Gethin Talfan rated it really liked it Aug 26, Joelle rated it it was amazing Sep 14, Justin K rated it it was amazing Jan 25, Grey Johnson rated it it was amazing Jul 15, Keri Jervis rated it liked it Jul 11, Kaite Erwin rated it it was amazing Aug 11, GI Chico rated it it was amazing Dec 14, Hywel Gruffydd rated it really liked it Sep 04, Neil rated it really liked it Jan 20, Margaret Grant Author rated it it was ok Jan 28, Noblett rated it liked it May 16, Sarah rated it liked it Jun 09, Matthew Lopez rated it it was amazing Apr 03, Elizabeth Lasswell rated it really liked it May 28, Lindsay Frahn rated it did not like it Aug 26, George Owen rated it liked it Jul 15, Gordon Semple rated it liked it Sep 26, Jd Benefield rated it really liked it May 09, Suzanne livingstone rated it it was amazing Jan 19, Elizabeth rated it really liked it Jul 12, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

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About William Forbes Skene. William Forbes Skene was a Scottish historian and antiquary. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy in Edinburgh and at the University of St Andrews, taking an especial interest in the study of Celtic philology and literature. In , he became a Writer to the Signet WS , and shortly afterwards obtained an official appointment in the bill department of the Court of Session, which he held until Skene's early interest in the history and antiquities of the Scottish Highlands bore its first fruit in , when he published The Highlanders of Scotland, their Origin, History and Antiquities.

The Four Ancient Books of Wales is a term coined by William Forbes Skene to describe four important medieval manuscripts written in Middle Welsh and dating from the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries.

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They contain primarily texts of poetry and prose , some of which are contemporary and others which may have originated from traditions dating back to as early as the sixth and seventh centuries. These also contain some of the earliest native Welsh references to King Arthur.


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The principal texts of the Four Ancient Books of Wales were edited and translated in a two volume compilation by William Forbes Skene in By the standards of modern scholarship the edition is seriously flawed with numerous transcription errors and consequently inaccurate translating. Skene was assisted by Daniel Silvan Evans who was probably responsible for most of the translations. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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