Welsh mythology consists of both folk traditions developed in Wales, traditions developed by the Celtic Britons elsewhere before the end of the first millennium. Like most predominately oral societies found in the prehistoric Britain, Welsh mythology and history was recorded orally by specialists such as druids; this oral record has been altered as result of outside contact and invasion over the years. Much of this altered mythology and history are preserved in medieval Welsh manuscripts which include the Red Book of Hergest, the White Book of Rhydderch, the Book of Aneirin and the Book of Taliesin. Other works connected to Welsh mythology include the ninth century Latin historical compilation Historia Brittonum and Geoffrey of Monmouth's twelfth-century Latin chronicle, Historia Regum Britanniae as well as folklore such as the 1908 The Welsh Fairy Book by William Jenkyn Thomas. Most mythological stories contained in the Mabinogion collection are collectively titled The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, which concentrate on the exploits of various British deities who have been Christianised into kings and heroes.
The only character to appear in every branch is Pryderi fab Pwyll, the king of Dyfed, born in the first Branch, is killed in the fourth, is a reflex of the Celtic god Maponos. The only other recurring characters are Pryderi's mother Rhiannon, associated with the peaceful British prince Manawydan, who becomes her second husband. Manawyadan and his siblings Brân the Blessed and Efnysien are the key players of the second branch, while the fourth branch concerns itself with the exploits of the family of Dôn, which includes the wizard Gwydion, his nephew Lleu Llaw Gyffes, his sister, Arianrhod; the first branch tells of how Pwyll, the prince of Dyfed, exchanges places for a year with Arawn, the ruler of Annwn, defeats Arawn's enemy Hafgan, on his return encounters Rhiannon, a beautiful maiden whose horse cannot be caught up with. He manages to win her hand at the expense of Gwawl, to whom she is betrothed, she bears him a son, but the child disappears soon after his birth. Rhiannon is forced to carry guests on her back as punishment.
The child has been taken by a monster, is rescued by Teyrnon and his wife, who bring him up as their own, calling him Gwri of the Golden hair, until his resemblance to Pwyll becomes apparent. They return him to his real parents, Rhiannon is released from her punishment, the boy is renamed Pryderi. In the second branch, sister of Brân the Blessed, king of Britain, is given in marriage to Matholwch, king of Ireland. Branwen's half-brother Efnysien insults Matholwch by mutilating his horses, but Brân gives him new horses and treasure, including a magical cauldron which can restore the dead to life, in compensation. Matholwch and Branwen have a son, but Matholwch proceeds to mistreat Branwen, beating her and making her a drudge. Branwen trains a starling to take a message to Bran, his army crosses the Irish Sea in ships. The Irish offer to make peace, build a house big enough to entertain Bran, but inside they hang a hundred bags, telling Efnysien they contain flour, when in fact they conceal armed warriors.
Efnysien kills the warriors by squeezing the bags. At the feast, Efnysien throws Gwern on the fire and fighting breaks out. Seeing that the Irish are using the cauldron to revive their dead, Efnysien hides among the corpses and destroys the cauldron, although the effort costs him his life. Only seven men, all Britons, survive the battle, including Pryderi and Bran, mortally wounded by a poisoned spear. Brân asks his companions to take it back to Britain. Branwen dies of grief on returning home. Five pregnant women survive to repopulate Ireland. Pryderi and Manawydan return to Dyfed, where Pryderi marries Manawydan marries Rhiannon. However, a mist descends on the land, leaving it desolate; the four support themselves by hunting at first move to England where they make a living making saddles and shoes of such quality that the local craftsmen cannot compete, drive them from town to town. They return to Dyfed and become hunters again. While hunting, a white boar leads them to a mysterious castle. Pryderi, against Manawydan's advice, does not return.
Rhiannon finds him clinging to a bowl, unable to speak. The same fate befalls her, the castle disappears. Manawydan and Cigfa return to England as shoemakers, but once again the locals drive them out and they return to Dyfed, they sow three fields of wheat. The next night the second field is destroyed. Manawydan keeps watch over the third field, when he sees it destroyed by mice he catches their leader and decides to hang it. A scholar, a priest and a bishop in turn offer him gifts if he will spare the mouse; when asked what he wants in return for the mouse's life, he demands the release of Pryderi and Rhiannon and the lifting of the enchantment over Dyfed. The bishop agrees, he has been waging magical war against Dyfed because he is a friend of Gwawl, whom Pwyll, Pryderi's father humiliated. While Pryderi rules Dyfed in the south of Wales, Gwynedd in the north of Wales is ruled by Math, son of Mathonwy, his feet must be held by a virgin. Math's nephew Gilfaethwy is in love with Goewin, his current footholder, Gilfaethwy's brother Gwydion tricks Math into going to war against Pry
A cauldron is a large cast iron pot for cooking or boiling over an open fire, with a large pot and with an arc-shaped hanger. The word cauldron is first recorded in Middle English as caudroun, it was borrowed from Norman caudron. It represents the phonetical evolution of Vulgar Latin *caldario for Classical Latin caldārium "hot bath", that derives from caldus "hot"; the Norman-French word replaces the Middle English chetel. The word "kettle" is a borrowing of the Old Norse variant ketill "cauldron". Cauldrons have fallen out of use in the developed world as cooking vessels. While still used for practical purposes, a more common association in Western culture is the cauldron's use in witchcraft—a cliché popularized by various works of fiction, such as Shakespeare's play Macbeth. In fiction, witches prepare their potions in a cauldron. In Irish folklore, a cauldron is purported to be where leprechauns keep their gold and treasure. In some forms of Wicca, incorporating aspects of Celtic mythology, the cauldron is associated with the goddess Cerridwen.
Welsh legend tells of cauldrons that were useful to warring armies. In the second branch of the Mabinogi in the tale of Branwen, Daughter of Llŷr, the Pair Dadeni is a magical cauldron in which dead warriors could be placed and be returned to life, save that they lacked the power of speech, it was suspected. These warriors could go back into battle. In Wicca and some other forms of neopagan or pagan belief systems the cauldron is still used in magical practices. Most a cauldron is made of cast iron and is used to burn loose incense on a charcoal disc, to make black salt, for mixing herbs, or to burn petitions. Cauldrons symbolize not only the Goddess but represent the womb and on an altar it represents earth because it is a working tool. Cauldrons are sold in New Age or "metaphysical" stores and may have various symbols of power inscribed on them; the holy grail of Arthurian legend is sometimes referred to as a "cauldron", although traditionally the grail is thought of as a hand-held cup rather than the large pot that the word "cauldron" is used to mean.
This may have resulted from the combination of the grail legend with earlier Celtic myths of magical cauldrons. The common translation for ding is referred to as a cauldron. In Chinese history and culture, possession of one or more ancient dings is associated with power and dominion over the land. Therefore, the ding is used as an implicit symbolism for power; the term "inquiring of the ding" is used interchangeably with the quest for power. Archeologically intact actual cauldrons with apparent cultural symbolism include: the Gundestrup cauldron, made in the 2nd or 1st century BC, found at Gundestrup, Denmark a Bronze Age cauldron found at Hassle, Sweden the cauldron where the Olympic Flame burns for the duration of the Olympic GamesCauldrons known only through myth and literature include: Dagda's Cauldron The Cauldron of Dyrnwch the Giant Pair Dadeni Cauldron of Hymir Alfet Fire pot Gulyásleves Hassle Kama List of cooking vessels Olympic flame Potjiekos Sacrificial tripod
Peredur son of Efrawg
Peredur son of Efrawg is one of the Three Welsh Romances associated with the Mabinogion. It tells a story analogous to Chrétien de Troyes' unfinished romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail, but it contains many striking differences from that work, most notably the absence of the French poem's central object, the grail; the central character of the tale is son of Efrawg. As in Chrétien's Percival, the hero's father dies when he is young, his mother takes him into the woods and raises him in isolation, he meets a group of knights and determines to become like them, so he travels to the court of King Arthur. There he is ridiculed by Cei and sets out on further adventures, promising to avenge Cei's insults to himself and those who defended him. While travelling, he meets two of his uncles; the first warns him not to ask the significance of what he sees. The second reveals a salver containing a man's severed head; the young knight does not ask about this and proceeds to further adventure, including a stay with the Nine Witches of Gloucester and the encounter with the woman, to be his true love, Angharad Golden-Hand.
Peredur returns to Arthur's court, but soon embarks on another series of adventures that do not correspond to material in Percival. In the end, the hero learns the severed head at his uncle's court belonged to his cousin, killed by the Nine Witches. Peredur avenges his family by helping Arthur and others destroy the Witches, is celebrated as a hero. Versions of the text survive in four manuscripts from the 14th century: the mid-14th century White Book of Rhydderch or Aberystwyth, NLW, MS Peniarth 4; the texts found in the White Book of Rhydderch and Red Book of Hergest represent the longest version. They are in close agreement and most of their differences are concentrated in the first part of the text, before the love-story of Angharad. MS Peniarth 7, the earliest manuscript, concludes with Peredur's the hero's 14-year stay in Constantinople, reigning with the Empress; this has been taken to indicate that the adventures in the Fortress of Marvels, which follow this episode in the longest version, represent a addition to the text.
Like the other Welsh Romances, scholars debate as to the work's exact relationship to Chrétien's poem. It is possible; the sequence of some events are altered in Peredur, many original episodes appear, including the reign in Constantinople, which contains remnants of a sovereignty tale. The grail is replaced with a severed head on a platter, reflecting stories of Bran the Blessed from the Mabinogion. Despite these seemingly-traditional elements, influence from the French romance cannot be discounted; as John Carey notes, there are significant phrase-for-phrase parallels between Chretien's poem and Peredur in the conversation between Gawain/Gwalchmai and Perceval/Peredur that occurs after Gawain/Gwalchmai covers the blood on the snow which reminds Perceval/Peredur of his love. Moreover, the black-haired hag describes the bleeding spear Peredur saw earlier in the tale as a small spear carried by one youth with a single drop running down, but this is different from how the relevant earlier passage in Peredur depicts it, as a gigantic spear carried by two youths and bleeding three drops.
The hero of the poem has a father, whose name has been etymologically associated with York. Thus, it can be speculated that Peredur may have been based on a Brythonic prince who ruled in what is now Northern England. There is no clear evidence for a Welsh dynasty in the York area, legendary sources should always be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt. Carey himself connects the Peredur of this romance, Perceval by proxy, with the otherworldly Mabinogion character Pryderi, as other scholars have done. Of course, it is hardly necessary to find a source for every detail of the narrative: the narrator whose text we have may have indulged in original creativity. A parallel case with traditional stories in Ireland is found in the examples given in J. E. Caerwyn-Williams, Y Storïwr Gwyddeleg a'i Chwedlau, where Caerwyn-Williams admits that the form of the story given by the storyteller depends on the audience to which it is delivered, it is not necessary therefore always to find literary sources for such tales in their Middle Welsh form: in any case, most written sources will have perished, there is no way that we can tell if the surviving sources are in any way representative of the whole of what might have been extant.
Gantz, The Mabinogion, Penguin, 1987. ISBN 0-14-044322-3 Lovecy, Ian. "Historia Peredur ab Efrawg." In The Arthur of the Welsh: the Arthurian legend in medieval Welsh literature, edited by Rachel Bromwich, A. O. H. Jarman and B. F. Roberts. Cardiff, 1991. 171-82. Vitt, Anthony M. Peredur vab Efrawc: Edited Texts and Translations of the MSS Peniarth 7 and 14 Versions, https://core.ac.uk/reader/1920379. MPhil thesis, Aberystwyth University, 2011. 203-204. Peredur son of Efrawg, ed. Glenys W. Goetinck, Historia Peredur vab Efrawc. University of Wales, 1976. Aronstein, Susan L. "
Annwn, Annwfn, or Annwfyn is the Otherworld in Welsh mythology. Ruled by Arawn, it was a world of delights and eternal youth where disease was absent and food was ever-abundant, it became identified with the Christian afterlife in paradise. Middle Welsh sources suggest; the appearance of a form antumnos on an ancient Gaulish curse tablet which means an tumnos, suggests that the original term may have been *ande-dubnos, a common Gallo-Brittonic word that meant "underworld". The pronunciation of Modern Welsh Annwn is. In both Welsh and Irish mythologies, the Otherworld was believed to be located either on an island or underneath the earth. In the First Branch of the Mabinogi, it is implied that Annwn is a land within Dyfed, while the context of the Arthurian poem Preiddeu Annwfn suggests an island location. Two other otherworldly feasts that occur in the Second Branch of the Mabinogi are located in Harlech in northwest Wales and on Ynys Gwales in southwest Pembrokeshire. Annwn plays a reasonably prominent role in the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, a set of four interlinked mythological tales dating from the early medieval period.
In the First Branch of the Mabinogi, entitled Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, the eponymous prince offends Arawn, ruler of Annwn, by baiting his hunting hounds on a stag that Arawn's dogs had brought down. In recompense he exchanges places with Arawn for a year and defeats Arawn's enemy Hafgan, while Arawn rules in his stead in Dyfed. During this year, Pwyll abstains from sleeping with Arawn's wife, earning himself gratitude and eternal friendship from Arawn. On his return, Pwyll becomes known by the title Penn Annwn, "Head of Annwn." In the Fourth Branch, Arawn does not appear. The mythological epic poem Cad Goddeu describes a battle between Gwynedd and the forces of Annwn, led again by Arawn, it is revealed that Amaethon, nephew to Math, king of Gwynedd, stole a bitch, a lapwing and a roebuck from the Otherworld, leading to a war between the two peoples. The denizens of Annwn are depicted as hellish creatures. Gwydion, the Venedotian hero and magician defeats Arawn's army, first by enchanting the trees to rise up and fight and by guessing the name of the enemy hero Bran, thus winning the battle.
Preiddeu Annwfn, an early medieval poem found in the Book of Taliesin, describes a voyage led by King Arthur to the numerous otherworldy kingdoms within Annwn, either to rescue the prisoner Gweir or to retrieve the cauldron of the Head of Annwn. The narrator of the poem is intended to be Taliesin himself. One line can be interpreted as implying that he received his gift of poetry or speech from a magic cauldron, as Taliesin does in other texts, Taliesin's name is connected to a similar story in another work; the speaker relates how he journeyed with Arthur and three boatloads of men into Annwfn, but only seven returned. Annwfn is referred to by several names, including "Mound Fortress," "Four-Peaked Fortress," and "Glass Fortress", though it is possible the poet intended these to be distinct places. Within the Mound Fort's walls Gweir, one of the "Three Exalted Prisoners of Britain" known from the Welsh Triads, is imprisoned in chains; the narrator describes the cauldron of the Chief of Annwn: it is finished with pearl and will not boil a coward's food.
Whatever tragedy killed all but seven of them is not explained. The poem continues with an excoriation of "little men" and monks, who lack various forms of knowledge possessed by the poet. Over time, the role of king of Annwn was transferred to Gwyn ap Nudd, a hunter and psychopomp, who may have been the Welsh personification of winter; the Christian Vita Collen tells of Saint Collen vanquishing Gwyn and his otherworldly court from Glastonbury Tor with the use of holy water. In Culhwch and Olwen, an early Welsh Arthurian tale, it is said that God gave Gwyn ap Nudd control over the demons lest "this world be destroyed." Tradition revolves around Gwyn leading his spectral hunts, the Cŵn Annwn, on his hunt for mortal souls. The Dark, a 2005 film directed by John Fawcett and based on the novel Sheep by Simon Maginn, involves the legend, though set in contemporary times. Annwn is the name of a German pagan folk duo from North Rhine-Westphalia; the name was previously used by an unrelated Celtic Rock trio in Berkeley, from 1991 until the death of lead singer Leigh Ann Hussey on 16 May 2006.
British author Niel Bushnell's novels Sorrowline and Timesmith feature an island called Annwn in the realm of Otherworld. The Anglo-Welsh author, poet and playwright, David Jones Annwn adopted the name Annwn in 1975 in the same spirit that his great-uncle, the Welsh bard Henry Lloyd, had adopted the name Ap Hefin; the Gaulish term Antumnos and the otherworld features in Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie's 2014 release Origins, Specifically their song "King". Using the variant spelling Annwyn, it is an otherworldly location in the MMORPG Vindictus. Vindictus is loosely based on Celtic mythology, known as Mabinogi: Heroes in Asia. Annwyn, Beneath the Wa
Culhwch and Olwen
Culhwch and Olwen is a Welsh tale that survives in only two manuscripts about a hero connected with Arthur and his warriors: a complete version in the Red Book of Hergest, ca. 1400, a fragmented version in the White Book of Rhydderch, ca. 1325. It is the longest of the surviving Welsh prose tales; the prevailing view among scholars was that the present version of the text was composed by the 11th century, making it the earliest Arthurian tale and one of Wales' earliest extant prose texts, but a 2005 reassessment by linguist Simon Rodway dates it to the latter half of the 12th century. The title is a invention and does not occur in early manuscripts. Lady Charlotte Guest included this tale among those. Besides the quality of its storytelling it contains several remarkable passages: the description of Culhwch riding on his horse is mentioned for its vividness, the fight against the terrible boar Twrch Trwyth has antecedents in Celtic tradition, the list of King Arthur's retainers recited by the hero is a rhetorical flourish that preserves snippets of Welsh tradition that otherwise would be lost.
Culhwch's father, King Cilydd son of Celyddon, loses his wife Goleuddydd after a difficult childbirth. When he remarries, the young Culhwch rejects his stepmother's attempt to pair him with his new stepsister. Offended, the new queen puts a curse on him so that he can marry no one besides the beautiful Olwen, daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden Pencawr. Though he has never seen her, Culhwch becomes infatuated with her, but his father warns him that he will never find her without the aid of his famous cousin Arthur; the young man sets off to seek his kinsman. He finds him at his court in Celliwig in Cornwall. Arthur agrees to help, sends six of his finest warriors to join Culhwch in his search for Olwen; the group meets some relatives of Culhwch's that agree to arrange a meeting. Olwen is receptive to Culhwch's attraction, but she cannot marry him unless her father agrees, he, unable to survive past his daughter's wedding, will not consent until Culhwch completes a series of about forty impossible-sounding tasks.
The completion of only a few of these tasks is recorded and the giant is killed, leaving Olwen free to marry her lover. The story is on one level a typical folktale, in which a young hero sets out to wed a giant's daughter, many of the accompanying motifs reinforce this. However, for most of the narrative the title characters go unmentioned, their story serving as a frame for other events. Culhwch and Olwen is much more than a simple folktale. In fact, the majority of the writing is taken up by two long lists and the adventures of King Arthur and his men; the first of these occurs when Arthur welcomes his young kinsman to his court and offers to give him whatever he wishes. Culhwch, of course, asks that Arthur help him get Olwen, invokes some two hundred of the greatest men, dogs and swords in Arthur's kingdom to underscore his request. Included in the list are names taken from Irish legend and sometimes actual history; the second list includes the tasks Culhwch must complete before Ysbaddaden will allow him to marry Olwen.
Only a fraction are recounted. A version of the longest episode, the hunt for the boar Twrch Trwyth, is referenced in Historia Brittonum and it may be related to the boar hunt in the Irish stories of Diarmuid Ua Duibhne; the rescue of Mabon ap Modron from his watery prison has numerous parallels in Celtic legend, the quest for the cauldron of Diwrnach the Irishman may well be related to the tales of Bran the Blessed in the second branch of the Mabinogion and the poem The Spoils of Annwn in the Book of Taliesin linking it to the Grail Quest. Writers and Tolkien scholars, Tom Shippey and David Day have pointed out the similarities between The Tale of Beren and Lúthien, one of the main cycles of J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Culhwch and Olwen; the British painter/poet David Jones wrote a poem called "The Hunt" based on the tale of Culwhch ac Olwen. A fragment of a larger work, "The Hunt" takes place during the pursuit of the boar Twrch Trwyth by Arthur and the various war-bands of Celtic Britain and France.
In 1988 Gwyn Thomas released a retelling of the story, Culhwch ac Olwen, illustrated by Margaret Jones. Culhwch ac Olwen won the annual Tir na n-Og Award for Welsh language nonfiction in 1989. A shadow play adaptation of Culhwch and Olwen toured schools in Ceredigion during 2003; the show was supported by Theatr Felinfach. The tale of Culhwch and Olwen was adapted by Derek Webb in Welsh and English as a dramatic recreation for the reopening of Narberth Castle in Pembrokeshire in 2005; the Ballad of Sir Dinadan, the fifth book of Gerold Morris's The Squire's Tales series, features an adaptation of Culhwch's quest. Bromwich. Rachel and Evans, D. Simon Culhwch and Olwen: An Edition and Study of the Oldest Arthurian Tale University of Wales Press, 1992. ISBN 0-7083-1127-X. Patrick K. Ford and Olwen, from The
Three Welsh Romances
The Three Welsh Romances are three Middle Welsh tales associated with the Mabinogion. They are versions of Arthurian tales that appear in the work of Chrétien de Troyes. Critics have debated whether the Welsh Romances are based on Chrétien's poems or if they derive from a shared original; the Romances survive in the White Book of Rhydderch and the Red Book of Hergest, both from the 14th century, though the material is at least as old as Chrétien. The Three Welsh Romances are: the Lady of the Fountain. Peredur, son of Efrawg, which corresponds to Chrétien's Perceval, the Story of the Grail Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain is analogous to Chrétien de Troyes' Old French poem Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, it survives both from the 14th century. The tale's hero, Yvain, is based on the historical figure Owain mab Urien; the romance consists of a hero marrying his love, the Lady of the Fountain, but losing her when he neglects her for knightly exploits. With the aid of a lion he saves from a serpent, he finds a balance between his marital and social duties and rejoins his wife.
It was once thought Owain and Yvain were derived from a common lost source, but it now seems more that Owain was directly or indirectly based on Chrétien's poem, with local literary touches added to appeal to a Welsh audience. It is still possible that Chrétien in turn had a Welsh source, evidence of which can be found in certain episodes in the Life of St. Mungo, where the saint's father Owain tries to woo his mother, Lot of Lothian's daughter, which exhibit parallels to the narrative of Yvain. Geraint and Enid known by the title Geraint, son of Erbin, is analogous to Chrétien de Troyes' 12th-century poem Erec and Enide, it survives both from the 14th century. The romance concerns the love of Geraint, one of King Arthur's men, the beautiful Enid. Geraint, son of King Erbin of Dumnonia, courts Enid; the couple marry and settle down together. Upset about this, Enid cries to herself that she is not a true wife for keeping her husband from his chivalric duties, but Geraint misunderstands her comment to mean she has been unfaithful to him.
He commands her not to speak to him. Enid disregards this command several times to warn her husband of danger. Several adventures follow that prove Geraint's fighting ability; the couple is reconciled in the end, Geraint inherits his father's kingdom. Enid does not appear in Welsh sources outside of this romance, but Geraint was a popular figure; some scholars hold that the Erec from Chrétien's poem is based on Geraint, but others think the Welsh author replaced an unfamiliar French name with one his audience would recognize and associate with heroism. Alfred, Lord Tennyson based two of his Idylls of the King on Geraint and Enid, they were published as a single poem called "Enid" in 1859. Peredur son of Efrawg is associated with Chrétien de Troyes' unfinished romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail, but it contains many striking differences from that work, most notably the absence of the French poem's central object, the grail. Versions of the text survive in four manuscripts from the 14th century.
The tale's protagonist Peredur travels to King Arthur's court to become a knight. The young Peredur embarks on a series of adventures, culminating in his battle against the nine sorceresses. Aronstein, Susan. "When Arthur Held Court in Caer Llion: Love and the Politics of Centralization in Gereint and Owein". Viator. 25: 215–28. Fulton, Helen. "Individual and Society in Owein/Yvain and Gereint/Erec". In Joseph Falaky Nagy. CSANA Yearbook 1: The Individual in Celtic Literatures. Dublin: Four Courts Press. Pp. 15–50. Thomson, R. L.. "Owain: Chwedl Iarlles y Ffynnon". In Rachel Bromwich, A. O. H. Jarman and Brynley F. Roberts; the Arthur of the Welsh: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Welsh Literature. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Pp. 159–69
Anglesey is an island off the north coast of Wales with an area of 276 square miles. Anglesey is by the seventh largest in the British Isles. Anglesey is the largest island in the Irish Sea by area, the second most populous island; the ferry port of Holyhead handles more than 2 million passengers each year. The Menai Suspension Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford in 1826, the Britannia Bridge span the Menai Strait to connect Anglesey with the mainland. Anglesey, one of the historic counties of Wales, was administered as part of Gwynedd, but along with Holy Island and other smaller islands, it is now governed by the Isle of Anglesey County Council. Much of this article covers the whole of this administrative area; the majority of Anglesey's inhabitants are Welsh speakers and Ynys Môn, the Welsh name for the island, is used for the UK Parliament and National Assembly constituencies. The population at the 2011 census was 69,751; the island falls within the LL postcode area, covering LL58 to LL78. The name of the island may be derived from the Old Norse.
No record of such an Ǫngli survives, but the place name was used in the Viking raiders as early as the 10th century and was adopted by the Normans during their invasions of Gwynedd. The traditional folk etymology reading the name as the "Island of the Angles" may account for its Norman use but has no merit, although the Angles' name itself is a cognate reference to the shape of the Angeln peninsula. All of these derive from the proposed Proto-Indo-European root *ank-. Through the 18th and 19th centuries and into the 20th, it was spelt Anglesea in documents. Ynys Môn, the island's Welsh name, was first recorded as Latin Mona by various Roman sources, it was known to the Saxons as Monez. The Brittonic original was in the past taken to have meant "Island of the Cow"; this view is untenable, according to modern scientific philology, the etymology remains a mystery. Poetic names for Anglesey include the Old Welsh Ynys Dywyll for its former groves and Ynys y Cedairn for its royal courts. There are numerous megalithic monuments and menhirs on Anglesey, testifying to the presence of humans in prehistory.
Plas Newydd is near one of 28 cromlechs. The Welsh Triads claim. Anglesey has long been associated with the druids. In AD 60 the Roman general Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, determined to break the power of the druids, attacked the island using his amphibious Batavian contingent as a surprise vanguard assault and destroying the shrine and the nemeta. News of Boudica's revolt reached him just after his victory, causing him to withdraw his army before consolidating his conquest; the island was brought into the Roman Empire by Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor of Britain, in AD 78. During the Roman occupation, the area was notable for the mining of copper; the foundations of Caer Gybi, a fort in Holyhead, are Roman, the present road from Holyhead to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll was a Roman road. The island was grouped by Ptolemy with Ireland rather than with Britain. British Iron Age and Roman sites have been excavated and coins and ornaments discovered by the 19th century antiquarian William Owen Stanley.
After the Roman departure from Britain in the early 5th century, pirates from Ireland colonised Anglesey and the nearby Llŷn Peninsula. In response to this, Cunedda ap Edern, a Gododdin warlord from Scotland, came to the area and began to drive the Irish out; this was continued by grandson Cadwallon Lawhir ap Einion. As an island, Anglesey was in a good defensive position, so Aberffraw became the site of the court, or Llys, of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. Apart from a devastating Danish raid in 853 it remained the capital until the 13th century, when improvements to the English navy made the location indefensible. Anglesey was briefly the most southerly possession of the Norwegian Empire. After the Irish, the island was invaded by Vikings — some of these raids were noted in famous sagas — and by Saxons, Normans, before falling to Edward I of England in the 13th century. Anglesey is one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales. In medieval times, before the conquest of Wales in 1283, Môn had periods of temporary independence, as it was bequeathed to the heirs of kings as a sub-kingdom of Gwynedd.
The last times this occurred were a few years after 1171, following the death of Owain Gwynedd, when the island was inherited by Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd, between 1246 and c. 1255, when it was granted to Owain Goch as his share of the kingdom. Following the conquest of Wales by Edward I, Anglesey was created a county under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284. Prior to this it had been divided into the cantrefi of Aberffraw and Cemaes. During the First World War, the Presbyterian minister and celebrity preacher John Williams toured the island as part of an effort to recruit young men to volunteer for a “just war”. German POWs were kept on the island. By the end of the war, some 1,000 of the island's men had died while on active service. In 1936 the NSPCC opened its first branch on Anglesey. During the Second World War, Anglesey received Italian POWs; the isla