read Welsh. They are at once a tribute to two of Sir Ifor's major contri- butions to the study of early Welsh poetry. They also reflect a growing interest in the study of the history of the Dark Ages and a fresh realization of the importance of early Welsh (also of early Irish) texts. This book is an expansion of a lecture given to a seminar on 'Epic' in London University in 1965. The work is divided into two parts. The first discusses various aspects of the text and its background, together with eight short and critical appendices handling in the main a number of important local and ethnic names. The second part presents a partial translation and summary of the text with brief notes on each verse. There is both a concordance of Sir Ifor's Canu Aneirin with this rendering into English and an excellent index. Professor Jackson modestly claims that Welsh readers 'will not find here much that is new to them'. This claim is in several respects unwar- ranted. The Introduction is full of interesting points. In the section on the historical background we have an outline of the information that has been gleaned concerning the expansion of the English, the rise of Northumbria and the collapse of the kingdom of the Gododdin. Dr. David Kirby's important reassessment of the evidence on these matters is given due prominence, but with a salutary warning about the continuing uncertainty concerning the detailed interpretation of a number of points (e.g. the date and activity of Aethelric). Dr. Kirby's continued researches on the North British and Pictish kings and the complex and strained relationships between various kingdoms could assist us further in the attempt to appreciate the background of texts such as the Gododdin. Jackson now leaves the precise dating of the Catraeth episode unresolved 'because the politics of the Britons, the Bernicians and the Dierans are too obscure at this period', but he tentatively suggests that Mynyddog's expedition may fit an early date around 588-90. He indicates that the army of three hundred would have been accompanied by contingents of supporting retainers mostly on foot. Incidentally, the variant expression trychwn a thrychant may perhaps be a stylised elaboration denoting the number three hundred and thirty. There is discussion of the evidence pointing to the fact that the army of the Gododdin was a disciplined force, and the point is justifiably made that we need a detailed study of the expressions used in early Welsh texts for armament and clothing. Professor Jackson favours the interpretation of caeawc as 'wearing a brooch', and does not rule out the possibility that torques may have survived to this period. The celebratory character of early Celtic heroic verse is attributed to the peculiar propagandist and panegyric function of the professional poets. Reference is also made to the striking prominence given to birds and beasts in the mixture of elegy and panegyric. It is assumed again that a 'longish' period of oral tradition preceded the written text and that interpolation and corruption occurred in that period. But some inter-