The Red Book of Hergest

Written on vellum, 13 3/8" x 8 1/4", 362 folios. Bicolumnar, numbered 1--1442. Mostly written between 1375-1425, it is the work of on Hywel Fychan fab Hywel Goch of Fuellt, for his employer, Hopcyn ap Tomas ap Einion of Ynys Tawe. So called for the red leather binding, rebound in moroccan leather added in 1851, and for the house of Hergest, Herfordshire, where it was compiled. Presented in 1701 to Jesus College, Oxford, by a Rev. T. Wilkins, of Llanbleithain, Glamorgan in Wales. It is best known as the source of the Mabinogion, as well as having much of its poetry reproduced in The Four Ancient Books of Wales.

  • Folios iii-iv: beginning of Dares Phrygia in a later hand.
  • Folios v: blank
  • Folio vi: a brief index in a late hand
  • Folios vii-ix: blank.

The contents of the book are thus:

COLUMNS:

  • 1-30 1.12: Dares Phrygius--On the Fall of Troy
  • 31-230 1.11: Ystorya Brenhined y Brytanyeit--the History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • 230 1.20—367 1.8: Brut y Tywyssogion--the Brut of the Princes, a continuation of Geoffrey's History.
  • 367 1.10—377 1.18: “Gyldas hen broffwyt y brytanyeit a dyweit yn hen hstoryaeu y brytanyeit…" About St. Gildas
  • 377 1.19—380: Dechreu Cantreuoed Gwyned Ae Chymydeu
  • 381-497: De Carolo Magno
  • 502 1.19—516 1.26: “Y llyuyrhwnn aelwir ymago mundi.”
  • 516 128—518 1.14: “A brief Chronicle” Blwydyn cysseu o deucant a phum mil auu or amser y gwnaethpwyt adaf yny doeth crisi.
  • 520—527 1.39: “The Advice of the wise man to his son…”
  • 527 1.10—556 1.9: “The Seven wise men of Rome.”
  • 555 1.10—571 1.23: Breudwyt Ronabwy
  • 571 1.1—577 1.6: Proffwydolyaeth Sibli doeth: "Prophesies of the Sybil"
  • 577 1.7—583 1.38: “Kyuoessi myrdin agwendyd ychwaer”: "Dialogue Between Myrddin and His sister Gwenddydd"
  • 584: Gwasgargerd vyrdin yny bed: "Lament of Myrddin in his Grave"
  • 585 1.24: Hynn adywawt seint awstin am dewder y dayar
  • 585 1.32: Hynn adywawt yr eneit
  • 585 1.39: Llyma Broffwydolyaeth yr eryr ygkaer septon
  • 588 1.27: tri dynyon a gawssant gampeu {pryt, a deothineb} adaf
  • 588 1.41: Pann aeth llu y lychlyn: The Host of Iceland
  • 590 1.34: dechreu y trioedd y rei hynn: triad of the three prisoners
  • 592: Trioedd yw y rei hynn: Tair pryf riein arthur--Triad on Arthur's three wives
  • 596: Trioedd y meirch: Triad of the horses
  • 598: Trioed heuyt yw yn yrei hyn: Triad that either is this or that?
  • 600: Enweu ynys prydein ae rach ynyssed ae anryuedodeu--Names of the Isle of Britain
  • 605: The Expedition of Charlemange to Jerusalem and Constantiople, or his adventures with Hu Gadarn
  • 627: Owain and Lunet
  • 655: Peredur
  • 697: Breuddwyd Macsen
  • 705: Lludd ac Llefelys
  • 710: Pwyll Pendeuc Dyfed
  • 726: Branwen uerch Llyr
  • 739: Manawyddan fab Llyr
  • 751: Math fab Mathonwy
  • 769: Gereint
  • 810: Culhwch ac Olwen
  • 845: Romance of Bown of Hampton (Bevis)
  • 928: The Physicians of Myddfai
  • 964: Welsh Proverbs
  • 975: Imago Mundi
  • 998: A chyt traetho athrawon gerd or sygneu yssyd yn Zodiacus
  • 999: Llyma weithyon dechreu brut y saesson ac mal y gwledychassant--Saxon Chronicals
  • 1020: O oes gwrtheyrn gwrtheneu hyt weith badwn yd ymladawd Arthur ae hyneif ar saesson…
  • 1022 1.9—1025: blank

Poems translated in The Four Ancient Books of Wales

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