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Taliesin

Taliesin

Taliesin was a Welsh poet of the a.d. 500s who inspired a well-known legend of Celtic* mythology. It happened that a witch named Caridwen had a very ugly son. To make up for his looks, she decided to prepare a magic potion that would give him all the world's knowledge. However, the pot containing the potion had to boil for a year, so she asked Taliesinthen a poor farm boy named Gwionto watch the pot for her.

One day the pot bubbled over, and a drop of the liquid splashed on Gwion's finger. When he licked his finger, he received one-third of the world's knowledge and the ability to change his form. He also realized that Caridwen was going to kill him when the potion was ready, so he ran away He assumed the shape of many animals but could not get away from Caridwen. Finally, he turned himself into a grain of wheat, and Caridwenin the form of a henate him.

prophet one who claims to have received divine messages or insights

Nine months later, Caridwen gave birth to Gwion. She sewed him into a leather bag and tossed it into a river. A Welsh prince found the bag, and when he opened it he saw the boy's shining face. He named the child Taliesin (meaning shining brow) and raised him in the royal court, where he became one of the greatest Celtic prophets and poets.

See also Witches and Wizards.

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Taliesin

Taliesin (6th cent.). Bard. Taliesin and Aneurin were two of the five great bards referred to by Nennius in his Historia Brittonum (c.796). Taliesin's surviving work records the deeds of Urien, king of the Britons, in Rheged and his struggle against the Anglo-Saxons, just as Aneurin does for Gododdin: ‘And when I'm grown old, with death hard upon me, I'll not be happy save to praise Urien.’ But establishing the corpus of Taliesin's work has proved difficult and only a few poems in the Book of Taliesin are accepted by most scholars. He may have come from Powys and settled in Rheged as a resident bard, but his very existence has been strenuously denied by some.

J. A. Cannon

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Taliesin

Taliesin or Taliessin (both: tălēĕs´Ĭn), 6th cent.?, Welsh bard, whose Book of Taliesin is one of the great Welsh poetic works. The book exists only in a 13th-century form, but tradition places Taliesin in the 6th cent., as a contemporary of the battles his poems celebrate. One theory about Taliesin is that he was an ancient Celtic mythical character, about whose name have collected a series of traditional poems.

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Taliesin

Taliesin a British bard of the 6th century, perhaps a mythic personage, first mentioned in the Saxon Genealogies appended to the Historia Britonum (c.690).

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