One of the Four Ancient Books of Wales and therefore one of the earliest surviving manuscripts written solely in the Welsh language.
Llyfr Ddu Caerfyrddin or The Black Book of Carmarthen, so called because of the colour of its binding and its connection with the Priory of Carmarthen, is thought to be the work of a single scribe writing before and about the year 1250.
The manuscript consists of a volume of 54 folios comprising 108 pages; it is however not complete as a number of folios are missing.
There is a lack of uniformity in the manuscript, both in the way the anonymous scribe has ruled each page and in the handwriting itself, which has left many to conclude that this was the work of an amateur enthusiast working at different periods of his life.
It contains anonymous fragments of writing from the 9th to the 12th centuries. These include a small group of triads relating to the horses of legendary Welsh heroes, but otherwise it is essentially a poetry manuscript with a diverse range of ancient Welsh poetry, including a series of cryptic poems containing the prophecies of Myrddin (in the English Merlin) as well as poems dealing with religious subjects, as well as traditional praise poetry and a few nature poems which are rare in early Welsh literature.
Its contents include;
And the prophecies of Merlin
Sourced mostly from the National Library of Wales website at www.llgc.org.uk