Oes Lyfr (Age Book)

Thomas Williams, Presbyterian Minister.

First published in Welsh in 1724 and republished in 1768 and 1814.

The following extract is from the 1814 edition, translated by Rhun Emlyn.

Part II


Firstly, showing the year from the Age of the Earth, and how many years before the Birth of Christ, that each of them started to rule who ruled before the Birth of Christ; and consecutively which year of the Age of Christ that each of them started to rule, who ruled after the Birth of Christ. Secondly, their names (1) as they ruled in their course; and how many years each of them ruled. Also the names of the cities, the towns or the places where many of them were buried.

This island used to be called Samothea after Samothes (as some say) son of Japheth, son of Noah, who lived here first, about 252 years according to/after the flood. This island was also called Albion, after Albion who was a giant, son of Neptune, who came from the part of France that was called Belgica, who established himself here 335 years according to/after the flood. Others say the island was called Albion, after the white rocks that stand towards France - see "England's Monarchs".

After Albion, son of Neptune, colonized this kingdom, there were 6 kings, one of which was called Bardus.

This Bardus planted throughout Europa, the arts that were necessary at those times. Because Europa is the land of the offspring of the eldest son of Noah, who was called Japheth. The offspring of Ham, the second son of Noah (the one that was cursed by his father) ruled first, and his race ruled to finish the first two thousand of the world, without any law, and because of this the offspring of Shem son of Noah kept their geneology from the beginning, knowing it was for them to rule the second two thousand, through the law, but the offspring of Japheth son of Noah (those who owned the land of Britain) left their geneology and their guidance, because they accepted the faith of Christ. And from the Bardus who was mentioned, the bards from then on until today (amongst the Britons) get their names, say the old believable authors: to these bards in the old times were sent for just judgment, when there were quarrels between the learned men of Athens.

Anglesey was their abode, and there are today towns there still called after them. While fighting in France with the king and the French their neighbours, against Eclwff and others, were killed the majority of this country's generation, then this kingdom was weakened and was separated into lordships; and in each lordship ruled one that was larger than normal (who was called a giant). And when these giants ruled over the few people of the country, that Brutus came (2) to this island, about 1108 years before the birth of Christ. (These giants, according to some, were sons of the daughters of the king of Ethiopia, and they came in the bare ship, (3) and they became captains of the country). But Brutus conquered this island, and killed these giants, but the weaklings and the pacifists of the native people of the country fled into the mountains: it's probable that it was known to him, that these were offspring of Japheth son of Noah.

After Brutus and his nation from Troy, that is the Greeks, and the Latins, offspring of the king of Latin, and Chotineus (4) grandson of Actenor and his people, those that came with him to establish themselves in the country, they called themselves under the same name, Britons. But Brutus forced his son Camber as king over the native people of the country, as well as some of the others.

A foreign nation say, that this beginning was only magic and fruit of people's imagination; to answer this, he who doesn't believe the beginning, should not doubt the end, in case they mishear with their ears, and see incorrectly with their eyes, to send them further over the road (5) : because there is no more authority to be found, nor writing of the country's ancestors.

Notes on the translation:

1. The Welsh text includes 'yn ol ynol' at this point, and the repetition could be a mistake, or the author might have wanted to give two meanings - 'backwards' and 'according to'.

2. The meaning of the Welsh verb 'tirioedd' is uncertain, but it probably means 'came', as this makes the most sense. It could be a corruption of the old Welsh 'tiriogodd', meaning 'he colonised'. It is unlikely to be 'tiriodd' which means 'he burrowed'.

3. The Welsh 'foel' (a mutation of 'moel') means 'bare'. The term 'bare ship' may be compared with 'naked vessels' which appears in the sixth Triad, where a number of migrations to Britain are described. The relevant text is: "The third were the people of Galedin, who came in naked vessels to the Island of Wight, when their country was drowned, where they had land granted them by the tribe of Cymry.". In that case, a 'naked vessel' must be a ship that has not been fitted out properly, because the people left in a hurry. It should not be confused with the English nautical term 'bare ship' which means a ship without a crew.

4. The Welsh 'Chotineus' could be, but doesn't have to be, a mutation from 'Cotineus'. ('c' mutates to 'ch' after an 'a' but 'ch' doesn't mutate at all).

5. This is a literal translation of 'ffordd' which means 'road'. The term "send them further over the road" probably means "mislead them further", and in that case the equivalent English term is "send them further round the garden path".

See the Welsh copy, obtained from the National Library of Wales, Cardiff.

Mike Gascoigne

Bible Index

History Index

Home Page