Snowdon vom Llyn Llydaw

The Snowdon Massif from Glyder Fawr. Taken by Chris Dixon on 7 September 2004. Copied from the English Wikipedia at en:Image:Snowdon massif.jpg.

Als Walisische Triaden (Walisisch: Trioedd Ynys Prydein [‚trioið ‚ənis ‚brədein]) bezeichnet man Sammlungen mittelalterlicher Dreizeiler, in denen ein Großteil der walisischen Folklore und walisischen Literatur erhalten blieb. Die Walisischen Triaden enthalten Verweise auf König Artus, Rhydderch Hael, aber auch historische Persönlichkeiten wie den bretonischen Herzog Alain IV., genannt Alan Ffyrgan.

Die Triaden stammen von den walisischen Barden oder Dichtern, die sie als mnemonische Hilfen bei der Abfassung ihrer Gedichte und Geschichten einsetzten, und die später zu einem rhetorischen Stilmittel der walisischen Literatur wurden. Die mittelalterliche walisische Erzählung „Culhwch und Olwen“ (siehe „Mabinogion“) ist wegen der darin enthaltenen Triaden bekannt.

Die älteste erhalten gebliebene Sammlung walisischer Triaden findet man in dem Manuskript „Peniarth 16“, das sich jetzt in der walisischen Nationalbibliothek (National Library of Wales) befindet, und das auf das dritte Viertel des 13. Jahrhunderts datiert wird. Es enthält 46 der 86 Triaden, die von Rachel Bromwich herausgegeben wurden. Andere wichtige Manuskripte sind im „Peniarth 45“ (aus der Zeit um 1275) sowie in dem Paar „Weißes Buch von Rhydderch“ (Walisisch: „Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch“) und „Rotes Buch von Hergest“ (Walisisch: „Llyfr Coch Hergest“), die eine kommentierte Version gemeinsam haben, die sich deutlich von den Peniarth-Sammlungen unterscheidet.

Dolwyddelan Castle – built by Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in the early 13th century to watch over one of the valley routes into Gwynedd. This image was taken from the Geograph project collection. See this photograph’s page on the Geograph website for the photographer’s contact details. The copyright on this image is owned by Nigel Homer and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

English: Caernarfon Castle, western view at low tide
Deutsch: Caernarfon Castle, Ansicht von Westen bei Ebbe / Autor: Herbert Ortner

Madoc or Madog ab Owain Gwynedd was, according to folklore, a Welsh prince who sailed to America in 1170, over three hundred years before Christopher Columbus’s voyage in 1492. According to the story, he was a son of Owain Gwynedd who took to the sea to flee internecine violence at home. The legend evidently evolved out of a medieval tradition about a Welsh hero’s sea voyage, only allusions to which survive. However, it attained its greatest prominence during the Elizabethan era, when English and Welsh writers made the claim that Madoc had come to the Americas as a ploy to assert prior discovery, and hence legal possession, of North America by the Kingdom of England.[1] The story remained popular in later centuries, and a later development asserted that Madoc’s voyagers had intermarried with local Native Americans, and that their Welsh-speaking descendants still lived somewhere on the American frontier. These „Welsh Indians“ were accredited with the construction of a number of natural and man-made landmarks throughout the American Midwest, and a number of white travelers were inspired to go look for them.

The Madoc story has been the subject of much speculation in the context of possible pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. However, no historical or archaeological proof of such a man or his voyages has been found in the New or Old World. Still, it has provided fertile inspiration for generations of poets and novelists, and cultural historians.


Welsh Indians

George Catlin thought the Mandan bull boat to be similar to the Welsh coracle

A later development combined the story of Madoc’s voyage with a colonial legend that an Indian tribe speaking a European language existed somewhere on the American frontier. In the early tales, the white Indians‘ specific language ranged from Irish to Portuguese, and the tribe’s name varied from teller to teller (often, the name was unattested elsewhere). However, later versions settled on Welsh, and connected the tribe to the descendants of Madoc’s settlers.

On November 26, 1608, Peter Wynne, a member of Captain Christopher Newport’s exploration party to the villages of the Eastern Siouan Monacan above the falls of the James River in Virginia, wrote a letter to John Egerton, informing him that some members of Newport’s party believed the pronunciation of the Monacans‘ language resembled „Welch“, which Wynne spoke, and asked Wynne to act as interpreter.[2] The Monacan were among those non-Algonquian tribes collectively referred to by the Algonquians as „Mandoag“. Another early settler to claim an encounter with a Welsh-speaking Indian was the Reverend Morgan Jones, who told Thomas Lloyd, William Penn’s deputy, that he had been captured in 1669 by a tribe of Tuscarora called the Doeg. According to Jones, the chief spared his life when he heard Jones speak Welsh, a tongue he understood. Jones‘ report says that he then lived with the Doeg for several months preaching the Gospel in Welsh and then returned to the British Colonies where he recorded his adventure in 1686. Historian Gwyn Williams comments „This is a complete farrago and may have been intended as a hoax“.[3]

Madoc’s proponents believe earthen fort mounds at Devil’s Backbone along the Ohio River to be the work of Welsh colonists[4]

Several later travelers claimed to have found the Welsh Indians, and one even claimed the tribe he visited venerated a copy of the Gospel written in Welsh. Stories of Welsh Indians became popular enough that even Lewis and Clark were ordered to look out for them. Folk tradition has long claimed that a site now called „Devil’s Backbone“ about fourteen miles upstream from Louisville, Kentucky, was once home to a colony of Welsh-speaking Indians. Eighteenth-century Missouri River explorer John Evans of Waunfawr in Wales took up his journey in part to find the Welsh-descended „Padoucas“ or „Madogwys“ tribes.

There have been suggestions that the wall of Fort Mountain in Georgia owes its construction to a race of what the Cherokee termed „moon-eyed people“ because they could see better at night than by day. (A competing tradition claims that the wall was built by Hernando de Soto to defend against the Creek Indians around 1540.[5]) Archaeologists believe the stones were placed there by Native Americans.[6] These „moon-eyed people,“ who were said to have fair skin, blonde hair and opalescent eyes, have often been associated with Prince Madoc and his Welsh band.[7] Benjamin Smith Barton proposed that these „moon-eyed people“ who „could not see in the day-time“ may have been an albino race.[8] John Haywood also mentioned the legend in his The Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee although the latter work was an effort to prove that the native tribes of Tennessee were descendants of ancient Hebrews.[9]

There is also a theory that the „Welsh Caves“ in Desoto State Park, northeastern Alabama, were built by Madoc’s party, since local native tribes were not known to have ever practiced such stonework or excavation as was found on the site.[10]

In 1810, John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee, wrote to his friend Major Amos Stoddard about a conversation he had had in 1782 with the old Cherokee chief Oconostota concerning ancient fortifications built along the Alabama River. The chief allegedly told him that the forts had been built by a white people called „Welsh“, as protection against the ancestors of the Cherokee, who eventually drove them from the region.[11] Sevier had also written in 1799 of the alleged discovery of six skeletons in brass armor bearing the Welsh coat-of-arms.

In all, at least thirteen real tribes, five unidentified tribes, and three unnamed tribes have been identified as Welsh Indians.[12] Eventually, the legend settled on identifying the Welsh Indians with the Mandan people, who were said to differ from their neighbors in culture, language, and appearance. The painter George Catlin suggested the Mandans were descendants of Madoc and his fellow voyagers in North American Indians (1841); he found the round Mandan Bull Boat similar to the Welsh coracle, and he thought the advanced architecture of Mandan villages must have been learned from Europeans (advanced North American societies such as the Mississippian and Hopewell cultures were not well known in Catlin’s time). Supporters of this claim have drawn links between Madoc and the Mandan mythological figure Lone Man, who, according to one tale, protected some villagers from a flooding river with a wooden corral.[13][14]

Morgan: Brauner mit silver dapple.

Norwegischer Waldkater, schwarz mit weißen Handschuhen, im charakteristisch dicken Winterfell