Mar 24, 2008

There's History and There's Lies: Once More on the Madoc Plaque

( Sign the petition HERE )

Studying the roll of honor on the Alabama Welsh Associations petition site one notices the names of concerned individuals and representatives of Welsh Communities and ex-pat Societies from all around the world. One also notes a distinct lack of support from the Welsh academic community and in particular Welsh historians.

Yes I know that Gwyn Williams debunked the theory that Gutyn Owen referenced the Madoc saga before John Dee. I share the general view that the whole tale is so fantastical as to be at the very least highly improbable. But then I dont believe in Pryderi's pigs either!

The very same Gwyn Williams who may have given the Madoc legend the kiss of death was fond of referring to the 'Mabinoggion' as a 'foundation text'. In that sense he likened it to the Old Testament. I dont think any sane person would deny the historical significance of either work.

The 'Mabinoggion' is a book of fairy tales but none the less significant for that. If the Madoc legend is also a fairy tale, as it very well maybe, why is it singled out for special treatment? Why is it not considered significant? It has motivated writers, explorers and statesmen. Its role as a subsidiary factor in the motivations of many of those who explored the American West is a matter of established fact! It inspired Robert Southey and many other authors.

The history of Wales is littered with fantastical episodes and fanciful figures. Arthur, Merlin and Iolo Morgannwg spring readily to mind. Is it the business of historians to despise them or study them?

Please humour those of us who are not professional academic historians. It would be greatly appreciated.

Previous post (HERE)

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