Dafydd Llwyd

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astrocelt
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Postby astrocelt » 29 Oct 2006, 13:15

Hi Gwilym,

I was wondering whether you have come across Dafydd Nanmor cywydd dealing with duw and saturn in your travels. If you have, do you know whether the canu brud has been dated, or whether any connections have been undertaken with the actual astronomical conjunction, or even whether it was viewed and experienced by Dafydd?

and
Hi Beith,

An interesting comment you have made there, linking the filid with the early church, and monastic schools. I’m aware of several people who tend to have come to a similar conclusion in other areas, including myself specifically in relation to the early saints and later hermits within Wales. However you may also find later connections in the 7th century at the synod of Birr in Co. Offalay AD 697. Adomnán negotiated the Law of Innocence concerning non combatants and the use of women within warfare. This was ratified by fifty one sovereign rulers at the time. The influence from Rome is not in sight, as far as, one is aware!

In the meantime; another short essay on Dafydd Llwyd from a different perspective: -

Dafydd Llwyd was a prolific writer, and a gentleman poet who worked in the cywyddau tradition specifically in relation to the canu brud - prophetic poetry. He was a staunch supporter within the national interest of Wales, having experienced the after affects of the Owain Glyn Dwr rebellion. Later being affected by the politics governing the War of the Roses of which both Yorkist and Lancastrians received varying support from welsh regional areas. The idea of a national deliver for Wales was firmly built into the consciousness of the society, form Geoffrey of Monmouth view of the History of Britain, together with the prophecies of Merlin and Arthur. Such a deliver was associated through the genealogical line of Ednyfed whom had served Llwyweln ap Gruffyd up until the events of 1282. Nonetheless Henry Tudor originated from the same bloodline and became a prime candidate who might fulfil the role.

Indeed Dafydd Llwyd, was an influential bard and a prolific poet whom assisted to shape the national mind and consciousness while assisting to pave the way using prophetic poetry techniques. For instance, when Henry as a young child in the care of William Herbert at Reglan. Dafydd Llwyd addressed Herbert about the importance of his foster charge. References linked Henry to the "young swallow", being the rightful successor to the "Eagle of Ynys Mon" was in his care. The presence of Henry Tudor at Raglan in turn attributed to it, becoming a central point of bardic patronage during the middle of the 14th century.

Exchanges within the bardic tradition between Dafydd and Gruffudd ap Llywelen Fychan in its poetic form, progressed the "young swallow" to become the "mab daragon," which sets the prophetic animal into mythical symbolism. The scene and images projected, in accordance to oral tradition could be very similar to the use within gnomic poetry, yet it sets, and probably assists to steer the child's destiny. The events surrounding the upsurge of Richard, the Earl of Gloucester to Richard III, the safety of Henry Tudor became paramount. Subsequently Henry, the "young swallow" or the proclaimed "Eagle of Ynys Mon" was brisked away to Europe for safety.

Moreover Dafydd Llwyd renounced his loyalties to the "Boar" of England (Richard III), and became a stanched supporter to the "Eagle of Ynys Mon". Indeed the poetic outpouring eventually proclaimed the return of the "mab daragon," while awaiting the return of Henry Tudor from France, which cumulated in the battle at Bosworth, and the crowning of Henry VII as sovereign ruler of England. Although the legend became fulfilled with a Brythonic King seated in London, Wales became redefined and incorporated with England during his reign and later cemented in place through his second son Henry VIII. Indeed after the events of Bosworth, a very contentious point, for Dafydd Llwyd is released through his poetical voice where bardic poetic predictions, canu brud, took there time to materialise and manifest themselves, or even perhaps, not at all.

In hindsight one could come to an assumption which might indicate that Dafydd Llwyd was a casualty of the bardic oral tradition, caught up with the notion of having a Brythonic King seated on the thrown of England. Although legend claimed Cadwaladr, previously was the last to achieve this, and indeed many others had also claimed likewise. Historically, claims to this position can be traced back to 43AD, to Caratactus who rallied support from the Silues. After the Battle of Medway, with the subsequent loss of the Cullevianllaui and associated expansive territory in the SE of England came under Roman hegemony; however London has its later foundations as a trading centre within the Roman period. Irrespectively what becomes clear is the importance of the position held by the Bardic tradition in relationship to the society in which they served. Although their poetry acted similar, as if one read a newspaper today, the bards disseminated the news concerning current events to the people. More of all, the canu brud disseminated hope, up lifting the society for the future, from such memories of the famine and the plague of the late 14th century, and the subsequent internal war mongering for political positions and power. Overall the canu brud which was full of hope cemented the people together, with a sense of pride.

Blessings
Ac
Last edited by astrocelt on 30 Oct 2006, 12:47, edited 3 times in total.

Megli
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Postby Megli » 29 Oct 2006, 17:05

Hi astrocelt - i know this is addressed to Gwilym, but i' just about to write a chapter on Dafydd N's very cywydd to god and saturn, also looking at an instance in englyion y misoedd (the B text) that seems to show portentous value attached to a particular conjunction. Wd you like a copy when i've fineshed it?
Mebs you've seen this, but Morfydd Owen has written on DN's astrological poems in an article 'Manion ?Meddygol' in Dwned 7, but as the title suggests ('?medical minutiae') she's mainly looking at medical astrology.
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Postby Gwilym Goch » 29 Oct 2006, 19:57

Hello,
Sorry. Forgot to translate that quote. You're spot on with most of it Megli.

line 4: 'Gweryl' is 'Cweryl' mutated, it being the object. It's a borrowing from English 'quarrel', so: 'The quarrel of the oxen'

This is probably a misscopied line, it being 8 syllables long. Leslie Richards has it as 'Gweryl ych, a gw^r i'r lan,': 'The quarrel of oxen, and the man [going] to the church/enclosure' which is then correct according to Cerdd Dafod.

line 5: 'Cawn' is really a conveniently compressed 'Cafwn' as in modern Welsh, the verb 'we will have', or simply 'we will'. so: 'We will see singing [coming about] a second time'. That is, the concept central to traditional prophecy: what has happened in the past will happen again in the future - it will return, 'singing' standing for the tradition of prophecy.
Or, alternatively, 'We will see it being sung about a second time', Dafydd prophecying it will be prophecied again.

line 6: 'cyfog': it does mean 'to vomit' but 'to throw' or 'fight' in this context. 'caith' singular of 'caeth' so 'captive' or 'slave'. 'A cockerel throwing/fighting the captive'.

Your translation ammended:

I saw a multitude oppressing,
a heavy journey, in yonder Anglesey.
I am seeing upon New Year's day
The quarrel of oxen, and the man [going] to the church/enclosure
We will see the singing [coming about] a second time
A cockerel throwing/fighting the captive
And a vision of ravens feasting upon innards,
And men cast down as far as London.


Got to dash. More later.

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Postby astrocelt » 30 Oct 2006, 12:43

Hi Megli
Wd you like a copy when i've fineshed it?
Yes, that is very generous of you, diolch yn fawr

I’m particularly interested in the other planet which formed the conjunction with Saturn being referred too, together with an associated rough timing. This will then enable the night sky to be set up and a subsequent associated chart to be formed.

Unaware of Morfydd Owen work, however I’ve noted that NWL MS 3026C (A text), also deals with aspects of Medical astrology, in the hand of Gutun Owain. Afraid this form of astrology is not my cup of tea, so to speak, but thanks all the same.

Blessings
Ac

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Postby Gwilym Goch » 30 Oct 2006, 18:33

Helo Astrocelt,
Haven't looked at anything outisde of Dafydd Nanmor's praise poems as yet. Still at the dept. doing research. Too much to do! Hope all is well.

Helo Megli,
'Dw i yn yr adran Gymraeg ym Mangor, yn ymchwilio hunaniaeth yng ngwaith cywyddwyr y 15g. Roeddwn i yn y steddfod fy hun eleni, yn chwarae ac yn cymryd rhan. Trueni fod y safle wedi bod mor wael. Mae angen ychydig o fwd weithiau!

Mae gen i ffrindiau sy'n dysgu drwy wrando ar y radio hefyd. Mae ambell un yn gweld fod hyn o gymorth, ond rwy'n siwr fod hi'n anodd heb unrhyw un i sgwrsio hefo'n uniongyrchol. Dalier ati!

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Postby Megli » 30 Oct 2006, 19:14

thanks for correcting my translation, Gwilym! I really should have got cweryl (via norman french 'querelle', I wonder?) and caith/caeth also was a bit of a no-brainer. Damn.

I taught some of the cywyddau from the DIAS little red book last term, which was crucifixion for a non native-speaker. I was wondering about posting one of them, perhaps one of the less ghastly ones, and having a free for all on it? 'Y cusan' by dafydd ap edmwnd, or a Dafydd ap Gwilym cywydd? Be dach chi'n meddwl?
Though that said 'Y cusan' is pretty horrible. And mebs Beith and I cd swap an Irish one for purposes of comparison?
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Postby Gwilym Goch » 31 Oct 2006, 16:32

Go on then! I'll do anything to distract myself from actually doing some college work. I'll go get a copy of it now. Although it's not that fair you know. I'm pretty sure i can get my hands on a modern Welsh crib. But i promise not to use it, not unless it's really sticky.

Megli
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Postby Megli » 07 Nov 2006, 10:11

I was wondering whether you have come across Dafydd Nanmor cywydd dealing with duw and saturn in your travels. If you have, do you know whether the canu brud has been dated, or whether any connections have been undertaken with the actual astronomical conjunction, or even whether it was viewed and experienced by Dafydd?
Hi AC - I've done some picking around and what looks most likely to me for a date is early sept 1478. Sun, Mercury and Saturn were conjunct in Virgo, with squares to Mars and Jupiter. (so as you know Mercury wd have been thought to be 'combust' - weakened by its closeness to the Sun - and the greater and lesser malefics would have been in close aspect to the sun, with a negative aspect from Jupiter too.) AC, I'm no great expert on medieval astrology, but having looked at possible dates for the poem (the only suitable plague year is 1478) this seems to me most likely. I'd appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

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Postby astrocelt » 08 Nov 2006, 22:50

Hi Megli,

Many thanks, prior to answering the previous post there is a little more information required.

Could you expand on the plague of 1478? Also, during the year of 1478 Saturn came into conjunction with a few wandering planets. So I was wondering which planets are indicated in the poem to have accompanied Saturn in the conjunction?

Ac
Ps what orbs are you using?

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Postby Megli » 09 Nov 2006, 10:32

Hi!
DN doesn't say, he only mentions saturn. People (including the editors of the poem in 'The Poetical Works of Dafydd Nanmor' and D Myrddin lloyd in his article on the poet in 'A Guide to Welsh Literature 1282 - c.1550' have assured us that Saturn was doing something important astrologically in order to prompt the poem, which looks certain given the poem's tone ('send for some wise man!! Is it truly Saturn causing all this plague?!). There was plague localised to Oxford in 1471; this is unlikely as a candidate for the year of composition as the plague was small-scale. Then there was a widespread plague in 1478, the first since 1369, which is way too early. So - 1478 seems most likely. So I checked through the year looking for what saturn was doing - Jupiter is too far away and didn't conjunct saturn that year. Mars neither. The most likely candidate is the sun, which obviously occurs once a year, so would need to be helped by something else - mercury is close to both, especially if one allows a very big orb (up to 17 apparently not unusual for conjunctions to the sun in the middle ages, I'm told). If you look on the 16th of Sept 1478, saturn and mercury are conjunct (3 degrees) with the sun within 10-13 degrees, which is loose by our standards. Saturn and Mercury are squaring Mars and Jupiter. Saturn square Mars was certainly thought to be baleful - with saturn conjunct the sun and mercury as well, and squaring jupiter, no wonder people were worried.

I hope I haven't gone to far astray - looking at the period from 3-16 september, that's when it seems to me that the most interesting things are happening involving saturn that year. Now of course, what would be great would be a conjunction of saturn and mars. Another possibility is the beginning of november 1477, when mars and saturn were conjunct, squaring the moon and venus. But we don't have any record of plague for that year.

thanks AC - any light you could shed on this wd be much appreciated.
M

astrocelt
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Postby astrocelt » 09 Nov 2006, 12:27

Hi

Many thanks I have several charts set up but were using a smaller orb which is why I queried these, so I’ll check and if applicable will work with that rather large orb, just need to get tuned into an astrological medieval mind frame. I have Myrddin Lloyd paper, hence the other query on the plague, who has related it to the earlier period.

OK in 1478 there were a total of 13 conjunctions between Saturn and the Moon only four which would have been visible in the night sky. However I think that these may not have been held in the same light after looking at them.

Allowing for adjustment between Georgian to Julian dates which changed in 1752 when England conformed. Taking the assumption that DN was in Twyn, the two conjunctions of interest would not have been visible taking place below the horizon. This would suggest that DN had constructed an astrology chart, thus enabling him to include it within his poem. Alternative he had a working knowledge relating to planetary movements. So we are left with:-

Saturn/Sun Conj
Georgian date 24th Aug 1478 = Julian date 5th Sept 1478  

Sun/Saturn/Moon conj Virgo
Sun/Saturn/Moon Squ Jupiter
Sun/Saturn/Moon Squ Mars

Saturn/Mercury Conj
Georgian date 5th Sept 1478 = Julian date 16th Sept 1478  

Saturn/Mercury/Sun Conj if using a 17 degree orb
Saturn/Mercury Squ Mars
Saturn/Mercury Squ Jupiter
Saturn/Mercury Opp Mc
Fixed Cross, if using the larger orbs, but need to check whether this is a medieval concept and was in use!

Agree?

Ac

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Postby Megli » 09 Nov 2006, 15:39

That's absolutely excellent. Thanks! I think we can discount just Moon-Saturn conjunctions alone, yes. Hardly unusual enough to prompt a poem. I reckon either date would do, and their close enough together that people would feel something big was going to happen. I'll check the Lloyd paper again. I was hoping that something juicy astrologically might help 'fix' the date. The degrees were often somewhat out in medieval horoscopes too.

Did DN have a chart? this is a big question and i'm trying to make up my mind. I don't see any evidence that he did from the poem. Further, this period is the one when the very first astrological pamphlets etc are being published in London (in english or Latin? havent looked yet) and it's possible - possible - that this kind of information was circulating in SW amongst the educated classes with London connections, where it was entirely possible, even likely, that people would have known English. He's constantly saying in the poem that we need an 'athro' [learned man, but also 'confessor' in the ecclesiatical sense], or a dewin [wizard, here 'astrologer'?] to do something about this portentout celestial phenomenon. I certainly think it's the case that the configuration could only be identified by an astrologer, not using the naked eye.
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Postby astrocelt » 10 Nov 2006, 10:46

Just a quick note for the moderator, would it possible to split this thread and remove the posts which start to deal with the bard Dafydd Nanmor's, into a new thread, of that name. As I fear we are likely to go WAY OFF subject from Dafyd Llwyd?

Hi Megli,

Just to give a quick update, specifically after fluttering thoughts yesterday after more fluttering once having posted. First of all I need to rectify the last post concerning the Sun/Saturn/Moon conj in Virgo on the Julian date of 5th September 1478. This occurs late afternoon and is above the horizon, although it would not have been visible to the naked eye. So basically both conj are still invisible, this one above due to the light, but the other remains below the horizon. However if DN had forward knowledge and watch the helical rising at dawn, then he might have been forewarned of its occurrence; academically this point, could a difficult to argue to convince others.

Nonetheless, at this moment, perhaps it’s too early to completely dismiss the Saturn/moon conjunctions. Those four mentioned above were visible in the night sky assuming that the clouds did not spoil the view. (There is a climate down turn after the 1400’s, probably killed of the bugs from the earlier plague!) Even if there were cloud cover, it’s likely that one or more might have been viewed with the naked eye.

[quote]I was hoping that something juicy astrologically might help 'fix' the date.[/quote]

Just getting started on this little side project, so let it run its course in Druid time. But, first of all, I’m working completely blind of the contents of the poem, the only pieces I have to go on at present is the writings of Lloyd who mentions it on p. 180, plus the snippets you have let fly, in your post.

[quote]Did DN have a chart?[/quote]

If one survived, I’m sure it would be tucked away in the archives somewhere. However at the moment I know of none. Looking at the astronomy and astrology data how else would DN know about the Saturn Conjunctions? There is the possibility a chart was produced of some nature, either by himself or an associated bard of the period; or even from within the native clas, or the church establishment which ran alongside then, kind of.

Sorry can’t presently agree with the printing of ‘astrological pamphlets’ at present I understand these to be much later. There were only 100 towns across Europe which had a printing press by 1480, using the new moveable type. The first press is England is at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and the accepted date has left ones memory at present. The other method of caving blocks of wood used in printing was available prior to this, but a very expensive way to produce such items. If such items existed in print form then these would be limited to the ecclesiastical education establishments ir early universities of the period.

There is also the prevailing attitude between England and Wales after the Owain Glyn Dwr affair, to think about. This went on for much longer than what the history book tells us, together with the repercussions lasting right into the 1450’s and a little beyond.  Even Gruffud ap Nicholas had to get crown consent to hold the eisteddfod at Carmarthen in 1450. The people having contact with London were very limited, restricted to the rising urchylwr/gentry and those involved in the court circuits from the Marches and Principality. But no clubs or societies which I’m presently I’m aware off, apart from the bards.

[quote]I certainly think it's the case that the configuration could only be identified by an astrologer, not using the naked eye.[/quote]

Don’t forget the ecclesiastical establishment or native Clas, and the bards, where there is evidence of this knowledge. I would not dismiss the natural Moon/Saturn observation either at this stage, some more discussion on this later, probably next week.

Still a little unhappy with the +/- 17 degree orb, that’s over 2/3rds of a zodiac sign! Is there any hard evidence available to back this up?

Ac

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Postby Megli » 10 Nov 2006, 11:27

Hi! i know that orb is large - not happy with it either.
As for astrological material, it's not in fact pamphlets but general prognostications of the year ahead; the first such to have survived is the 'Judgement of the Year 1405' by Blasius de Parma, and apparently the first astrological consultancy started in London in 1442, and the first almanacks start circulating in 1473. (see K Thomas, 'Religion and the Decline of Magic', p. 357, and 'A History of Mundane Astrology in Europe' by N Campion in Campion and Baigent, (eds.) 'Mundane Astrology', pp. 60-3.
About to check the info out - Campion can overstate things but Keith Thomas, as you know, is [was?] a very major and respected historian.

Tell me more about astrological knowldge among the clas - sounds very interesting.

Trouble with the poem is, that as far as I can read, it shows some knowledge of cycles but not much else. DN definitely knew a fair bit of the 'common knowledge' of medical astrology [aries = head, Taurus = throat] but he seems to have been interested in all sorts of bits of odd lore, especially medical, and it may well be unwise to generalise about astrological knowledge in wales in the late 15th C from a man with a very ingenious and magpie mind. That said, Gutun Owain, his contemporary, clearly also knew a fair bit of medical astrology at least: Mostyn 88 is almost entirely in his hand, as you know. But in the cywydd, DN doesn't mention any of the signs by name, or any of the other planets.  This means he may just have known that something involving saturn was going to take place, and that was the kind of thing he was interested in - there's no need for him to have seen a chart, or be able to draw one up. All he needs is to have heard from some englishman/london welshman that astrologers there had announced that some ghastly conjunction of saturn would take place, or that it was taking place and that's why there was this plague thing going on. I think it's really important not to overestimate the degree of astrological knowhow in med. Wales, unless you have some evidence I don't know about, which is entirely possible. I think that medical astrology of a fairly basic type was probably widespread amongst the educated Welshmen of the day, but that ephemerides and the drawing up of nativities would have been absolutely exceptional.

Of course - I'm going to argue that astrology (or bits of that kind of jargon) crept into the kind of imagery used by the writers of canu brud because of the effect of the translations into welsh of the Propetiae Merlini, which has, as you know, the most marvellous astrological apocalypse at the end. Astrology thus becomes part of the obscure jargon of welsh political prophecy (akin to the ubiquitous animal symbolism, also a Geoffrey of Monmouth-inspired thing.) That's my idea so far.


M /|\
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Postby Megli » 10 Nov 2006, 11:53

http://digidol.llgc.org.uk/METS/Gut0000 ... =reference

Have a look at this, AC - what on earth is it? It's from MS Mostyn 88 which is about 10 years after the DN poem, as you know. down the side we have the signs, across the top the numbers 1-19 (the next page is blnk so it may have been intended to run on to 30 - the degrees? not sure). But what are the symbols? letters? numbers?...
M/|\

aah worked it out - it's the metonic cycle, when the solar year and lunar year synchronise again - so years acrose the top, days of the lunar month down the side. Oops.

And, and, [excited] there's this bit in the poem to God and Saturn wher DN clearly thinks that saturn has a 100 year cycle, not a 28 year one. The same idea crops up in the Llyfr Ffortun Bangor, from the mid 17th century. to my mind, that says that DN was no astrologer, just a clever and interested man, and a collector of funny scraps of lore, such as lists of healing herbs, the name sof God in various languages, the signs expected to occur before Doomsday etc...

Is there a Saturn + another planet conjunction cycle which occurs roughly every 100 years?

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Postby astrocelt » 14 Nov 2006, 14:31

Hi Megli

Interesting remarks on the almanacs wasn’t aware of there printed production, many thanks. Appreciate what is being said about DN, but with the large orb the helical rising of the Saturn followed by the chasing Sun would have been visible (Weather permitting) applying to the conjunction for at least 17 days before hand, likewise with the previous conjunction. Even if he may not have constructed a chart, with a basic knowledge of planet identification combined with using observational horizon astronomy (we are looking at it being visible for a least +/- three weeks on the dawn horizon in the case of both conjunctions applying themselves), any related associated lore and associations would surely do the rest.

However there is a possibility communication of the Saturn conj. via oral transmission could have started this interest off as far as DN is concerned. Although GO is a contemporary there are three issues here. First one would have to demonstrate the knowledge did come via England for DN to react in poetic verse. Contrasted with secondly, the question concerning the state of astrological knowledge among the bards of the period needs to be accessed and answered. Thirdly, who was DN pencredd, was he versed in astrological lore, and was this passed on to DN, his pupil?

Medical astrology is likely to have been at the forefront during this period so it comes as no surprise there is a widespread interest within this area. I wonder whether the consensus of opinion at the time was still in the mental framework of expecting the second biblical coming and the associated armageddon, This could also have a bearing on the poem contents?

Saturn within the medieval period interpretation was generally a dark figure which was outside the realms of the remaining planetary influence, due to its orbit size, which is attested at being a 100 year cycle during the period. It was considered to have immense powers plus being a dark figure. The Hellenistic Kronos mythology attachment combined with the latter Roman connections to a type of agricultural deity, ultimately shaped two interpretations manifested from the planet. There too is an alternative thought process occurring with the introduction of Arabic associations occurring near the boarders, which may have additionally tainted any of the interpretations given by DN.

The orbit of Saturn is 29 years and 167 days to complete a circuit, (A Saturn return no less, in astrological jargon!) The only other planet that has a circuit near to 100 years is Uranus, but this as you are aware, did not exist at the time within the imagery of either astrological or astronomical thought.

Blessings
Ac


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