Monday, 6 August 2007

Takeover Bid

I’m still powering my way through Will Parker’s ‘Four Branches of the Mabinogi’ at the moment. I have just gotten to the chapter concerning the fourth branch which surrounds the Children of Don and have come across something which I found very interesting and also useful as it confirms some of my own thoughts.

It centres on the successive takeover of the children of Llyr by the children of Don. Parker uses prehistoric evidence tied in with the myths to begin to put the mabinogi into context within a changing society in Wales. Essentially, he says that the Children of Llyr and the Rhiannon family are the indigenous family and originate back in the Neolithic Age; this was largely a pig based agrarian culture which was succeeded by the incoming beaker Bronze Age culture. The fourth branch, coupled with the Kat Goddeu tells of the time when the incoming deities of the Beaker people ‘took over’ from the indigenous megalithic peoples. The fourth branch has an episode where the pigs from the south are stolen by Gwydion, this along with the Kat Goddeu which again seems to be an account of Gwydion and Amaethon stealing some sort of agricultural knowledge or skills from Bran and Arawn (one and the same maybe?). so what we have is the mythology reflecting societal change over 3000 years ago.

Next come the Son of Beli Mawr. Parker believes that these are the later Belgic peoples, the ‘Celts’ so to speak and as such were also slightly more warlike. Rather than totally succeed the children of Don there seems to be much more of a co-existence, now as there is no evidence of genocide as these Belgic peoples move into Britain, we can infer that it was more of a cultural and possibly aristocratic takeover. so, exactly how these two dominating families interplay with one another and how this is borne out in the mythos is something I need to work out in my head and something that needs pondering.

It would seem that Beli Mawr ISNT Belenus at all but an historical figure, though whether he may have become ‘elevated’ as the mighty dead into an avatar like role remains to be seen. More pondering on this point I think.

It is certainly nice to have some of my own thoughts and ponderings confirmed in this way.

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