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THE WELSH VERSIONS OF GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH'S HISTORIA* ALTHOUGH Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae is without doubt one of the most significant works of the entire Middle Ages, neither the work nor its place in the history of Western culture has as yet been fully understood. Containing the earliest account of the life and conquests of King Arthur, as well as other significant legendary and historical material, the chronicle, written c. 1136, was important even in its own day. The extant Latin manu- scripts containing versions of the Historia number about 200; few medieval histories after 1150 fail to show extensive traces of Geoffrey's influence, and several translations and adaptations were made of the work in French, English, Norse, and especially Welsh.1 Arthur had appeared in Welsh literature before the time of Geoffrey's Historia-in the romances of Culhwch and Olwen and the Dream of Rhonabwy (printed as part of the Mabinogion), as well as in the Welsh Triads-but this Arthur was quite different from the 'historical' figure, the conqueror of the Western world, presented by Geoffrey. After the Historia was written, or more precisely after the Historia was translated and adapted into Welsh, Arthurian material gained popularity in Wales with a mounting impetus.2 Also, the other material in Geoffrey's narrative became fused with native Celtic tradition, but this fusion likewise occurred only after the work was made available to the Welsh in the Welsh language.3 The research for this study was done with the aid of a grant-in-aid from the Johnson fund of the American Philosophical Society. 1 On the immediate success and later influence of the Historia, see. for example, John J. Parry and Robert Caldwell, 'Geoffrey of Monmouth' in Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, ed. R. S. Loomis (Oxford, 1959), esp. pp. 87-89; Herbert Pilch, 'Galfrids Historia, Studie zu ihrer Stellung in der Literaturgeschichte', Germanisch-Romanische Monatschrift, n.f. VII (1957), 254-73; and Hans Matter, Englische Griindungssagen von Geoffrey of Monmouth bis zur Renaissance, Anglistische Forschungen, 58 (Heidelberg, 1922), esp. pp. 37-45. 2 Trioedd Ynys Prydein, The Welsh Triads, ed. Rachel Bromwich (Cardiff, 1961), p. lxix. 3 Ibid., p. lxxx. although Thomas Parry (A History of Welsh Literature, trans, H. I. Bell [Oxford, 1955], p. 86) maintains that 'There is no proof that Geoffrey's Historia had much influence on the Welsh narrative literature of the Middle Ages'. Important studies of the Historia itself not otherwise referred to in this paper may be found in Edmond Faral, La legende arthurienne, études et documents (3 vols., Paris, 1929). esp. vol. 2; J. S. P. Tatlock, The Legendary History of Britain (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1950); and Heinrich Pahler, Strukturuntersuchungen zur Historia Regum Britanniae des Geoffrey of Monmouth (Bonn, 1958).