Magical birds as a link between the Mabinogion and other Celtic literature : facts and fancies

Eichner, Elaine (2018) Magical birds as a link between the Mabinogion and other Celtic literature : facts and fancies. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

The birds of Rhiannon are named in two different tales in the Mabinogion, although not in the two branches of the Mabinogi in which Rhiannon herself is a central character, and there is a reference to similar, but unnamed, birds in another. There are also claims that they are mentioned by name in two other medieval works of Welsh literature that are entirely independent of the Mabinogion. This dissertation examines these assertions and analyses the problematic nature of claims made concerning them. It then attempts to find an explanation for these claims, based on close examination of contemporary written sources and early translations and commentaries. These birds are also often used as supporting evidence for regarding Rhiannon as equivalent to either Epona or Macha or both, or for considering them all to be reflexes of the same Celtic goddess Rigantona. This work examines the evidence for this, and tries to trace associations between various goddesses and magical birds back to their primary sources, to weigh up whether they are sufficient to aid in such an identification. It then goes on to consider some of the magical birds from the eachtraí and immrama and other early Irish literature, and discusses to what extent these can be seen as part of the same tradition as the birds of Rhiannon. It concludes by suggesting possible further lines of enquiry, including the examination of the birds of Cliodhna and indeed other factors in the tales concerning Rhiannon and Cliodhna, such as their courtships with Pwyll and Ciabhán respectively, to attempt to discern any relationship between or common origin for these two otherworldly women.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mabinogion, Rhiannon, Birds Mythology
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Sandra Stedman
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2021 12:20
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2021 12:21
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1701

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