Taliesin's Birthday?

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MPutnam
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Taliesin's Birthday?

Postby MPutnam » 04 Apr 2011, 21:10

I was just reading W.F. Skene's translation of Ystoria Taliesin on http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/taliesin.html and it states: "So she [Cerridwn] wrapped him in a leathern bag, and cast him into the sea to the mercy of God, on the twenty-ninth day of April." Is this just an embellishment by the translator or is this in every version of this story?
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Re: Taliesin's Birthday?

Postby katie bridgewater » 05 Apr 2011, 14:08

If Taliesin's birth was an actual historic event, (which is debateable in the first place) then we can be certain that whatever calendar system was in use at the time will not have been the same as ours. As all calendar systems have a degree of 'slippage' (there is in fact no 100% fixed means of measuring time and all systems require compensation to keep in step with the physical reality of the universe), then I very much doubt it would be possible to pinpoint such an event to a fixed day in our calendar so precisely.

Personally I would take any date this precise with a pinch of salt, since the story of Ceridwen is certainly many hundreds of years older than our calendar. The 29th of April at the time the story was scribed won't be the same day as our 29th of April anyway, so you might as well pick any arbitrary date and it would be just as accurate.

And anyway, who is to say that Taliesin was a historical figure born on a specific day? He may just as well be a mythological character, grown from generations of stories and shared memories. I doubt we could learn any more (or less) from this story by knowing the date of his birthday, if indeed, he ever had one...

It may be that this choice of date in the written story is intended for it's symbolism, not it's historical accuracy. It's the night before Mayday, and therefore has associations with Beltane and the coming of summer.

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Re: Taliesin's Birthday?

Postby treegod » 05 Apr 2011, 17:08

And it said that that was the day that she threw him into the sea not the day he was born, unless there was a bit before of after saying that "he was born on the same day."

When was he found by Elffin? First of May?

As a historical date, it has no great significance (refer to Katy's post :wink:) but we might call it mythologically significant. The reenactment (symbolic of course) could be meaningful to anyone that does it, especially if included with the May Day/Beltane celebrations a couple of days later.

Hmm, perhaps I'll indulge in something. "Throwing away" something valuable "to the mercy of God" for it to "arrive" somewhere else in two days. Sounds like a nice little ceremony... :thinking:

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Re: Taliesin's Birthday?

Postby MPutnam » 06 Apr 2011, 02:05

I definitely agree with you, Katie, the date does not matter and would be impossible to pull into today's Gregorian Calendar system. :shrug:
My primary question was to whether this date is listed in all versions of Ystoria Taliesin or if it's only in the WF Skene version. :where:

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Re: Taliesin's Birthday?

Postby mwyalchen » 10 Apr 2011, 22:23

The Charlotte Guest version has 29th April; but I'd be interested to know where that came from, as her main source, Elis Gruffydd's Chronicle of the World, does not give a date; indeed, in Gruffydd, Taliesin is cast into the sea in he time of Arthur, and is washed up, many years later, during the reign of Maelgwn Gwynedd.

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Re: Taliesin's Birthday?

Postby Welsh Mythology » 03 Mar 2013, 02:36

Taliesin, the mythological character, was born on May 1st, the first day of a new season, an obvious day for new birth. It signifies that he, like Ceridwen, was a living expression of a natural cosmic cycle, as I believe most Druids attempt to emulate? He is a human that lives in accord with the natural harmonies of creation.

The biography of Taliesin the historic figure is unknown to us.
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