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THE DATE OF THE FOUR BRANCHES OF THE MABINOGP by T. M. CHARLES-EDWARDS, M.A., D.Phil. Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford THE generally accepted view on the date when the Four Branches were given the form in which we have them is that of Sir Ifor Williams, who said in the introduction to his edition: the theory which corresponds to the facts known to me, then, is that a man from Dyfed joined together old stories of Gwent, Dyfed and Gwynedd around 1060 when the three king- doms had been united'. Professors Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones, in the introduction to their translation of the Mabinogion,3 agree saying, 'the likeliest date for the Four Branches would appear to be early in the second half of the eleventh century'. Since Sir Ifor Williams published his edition there have been two important dissenting voices. Professor Morgan Watkins in La Civilisation francaise dans les Mabinogion has argued for a date in the first half or middle of the thirteenth century, and Mr. Saunders Lewis has recently published some articles in support of a date between 1170 and 1190.4 The disagreement between them and Sir Ifor Williams is an important one, for what they are arguing about is whether the man who wrote the Four Branches was indebted to French and Anglo-Norman literature and ways of thought and life, or on the contrary, belonged to the period of Welsh literature which preceded the Norman conquest of much of Wales. 1 An earlier draft of this paper was read to the Oxford and Cambridge Celtic Society. 'Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi ed. Ifor Williams (Cardiff, 2nd ed. 1951) p. xli. This, the standard edition of the Four Branches, will be referred to as PKM. In the Everyman series: G. Jones and T. Jones, The Mabinogion (London, 1949), p. ix. 4 On Pwyll in Lien Cymru IX, pp. 230-233, and on Manawydan and Math in the July and October numbers of Y Traethodydd, 1969. An article on Branwen is to appear in Ysgrifau Beirniadol, V, ed. J. Caerwyn Williams (see the appendix on Branwen).