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 The Bard

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MessaggioOggetto: The Bard   Lun 13 Dic 2010 - 7:14

From wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bard

n medieval Gaelic and British culture (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Brittany and Cornwall) a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities.Originally a specific class of poet, contrasting with another class known as fili in Ireland and Highland Scotland, the term "bard", with the decline of living bardic tradition in the modern period, acquired generic meanings of an epic author/singer/narrator, comparable with the terms in other cultures: minstrel, skald/scop, rhapsode, udgatar, griot, ashik) or any poets, especially famous ones. For example, William Shakespeare is known as The Bard.[1]
Etymology and origin

The word is a loanword from Scottish Gaelic, deriving from Proto-Celtic *bardos, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gwrh2-dh1-ó-, from the root *gwerh2 "to raise the voice; praise". The first recorded example in English is in 1449, Lowland Scots, denoting an itinerant musician, usually with a contemptuous connotation. The word subsequently entered the English language via Scottish English.Secondly, in medieval Gaelic and Welsh society, a bard (Scottish and Irish Gaelic) or bardd (Welsh) was a professional poet, employed to compose eulogies for his lord (see planxty). If the employer failed to pay the proper amount, the bard would then compose a satire. (c. f. fili, fáith). In other Indo-European societies, the same function was fulfilled by skalds, rhapsodes, minstrels and scops, among others, offices that may sometimes also be subsumed under the term "bard" by extension. A hereditary caste of professional poets in Proto-Indo-European society has been reconstructed by comparison of the position of poets in medieval Ireland and in ancient India in particular.[2]Bards (who are not the same as the Irish 'Filidh' or 'Fili') were those who sang the songs recalling the tribal warriors' deeds of bravery as well as the genealogies and family histories of the ruling strata among Celtic societies. The pre-Christian Celtic peoples recorded no written histories; however, Celtic peoples did maintain an intricate oral history committed to memory and transmitted by bards and filid. Bards facilitated the memorization of such materials by the use of poetic meter and rhyme of time.During the era of Romanticism, when knowledge of Celtic culture was overlaid by legends and fictions, the word was reintroduced into the West Germanic languages, this time directly into the English language, in the sense of 'lyric poet', idealised by writers such as the Scottish romantic novelist Sir Walter Scott. The word was taken from Latin bardus, Greek bardos, in turn loanwords from the Gaulish language, describing a class of Celtic priest (see druid, vates). From this romantic use came the epitheton The Bard applied to William Shakespeare and, in Scotland, Robert Burns.Irish bards

See also: Bardic poetry
In medieval Ireland, bards were one of two distinct groups of poets, the other being the fili. According to the Early Irish law text on status, Uraicecht Becc, bards were a lesser class of poets, not eligible for higher poetic roles as described above. However, it has also been argued that the distinction between filid (pl. of fili) and bards was a creation of Christian Ireland, and that the filid were more associated with the church.[3]Irish bards formed a professional hereditary caste of highly trained, learned poets. The bards were steeped in the history and traditions of clan and country, as well as in the technical requirements of a verse technique that was syllabic and used assonance, half rhyme and alliteration, among other conventions. As officials of the court of king or chieftain, they performed a number of official roles. They were chroniclers and satirists whose job it was to praise their employers and damn those who crossed them. It was believed that a well-aimed bardic satire, glam dicenn, could raise boils on the face of its target. Bards used their knowledge of poetry to achieve common tasks, such as changing the background music.The bardic schools were extinct by the mid 17th century in Ireland and by the early 18th century in Scotland.Welsh bards

Further information: Dryw and Book of Taliesin
A number of legendary bards figure in Welsh mythology as has come down preserved in medieval Welsh literature, such as the Red Book of Hergest, the White Book of Rhydderch, the Book of Aneirin and the Book of Taliesin. The bards Aneirin and Taliesin may be legendary reflections of historical bards active in the 6th to 7th centuries. Very little historical information about Dark Age Welsh court tradition survives, but the Middle Welsh material came to be the nucleus of the Matter of Britain and Arthurian legend as they developed from the 13th century.Welsh bardic tradition appears to end in the same 13th century, the Welsh campaigns of Edward I supposedly culminating in the legendary suicide of The Last Bard (c. 1283), as commemorated in the poem The Bards of Wales by the Hungarian poet János Arany in 1857 as a way of encoded resistance to the suppressive politics of his own time. There seems to be some continuity of Early Medieval Welsh tradition into the Late Middle Ages, with 14th century poets such as Dafydd ap Gwilym and Iolo Goch, and even to the present day with the Gorsedd of Bards.Revival

Further information: Aois-dàna
Works discussing "bards" 18th and 19th century Celtic revivalism include The Bard by Thomas Gray, Cuma, The warrior-bard of Erin by John Richard Best, The Bard by John Walker Ord, The Mountain Bard by James Hogg, The Bard of Mary Redcliffe by Ernest Lacy, among others. The role of bards in Neo-Druidism (such as the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids), in Welsh nationalism and in popular notions on pre-Roman Britain originate in this context.[4] In modern Wales the Gorsedd of Bards (Welsh: Gorsedd y Beirdd) is a society whose honorary membership is extended to those who have done great things for Wales.From its frequent use in Romanticism, 'The Bard' became attached as a title to various poets,

  • 'The Bard of Avon' (or in England, simply 'The Bard') is William Shakespeare
  • 'The Bard of Ayrshire' (or in Scotland, simply 'The Bard') is Robert Burns
  • 'The Bard of Olney' is William Cowper
  • 'The Bard of Rydal Mount' is William Wordsworth
  • 'The Bard of Twickenham' is Alexander Pope
  • 'The Bard of Armagh' is Patrick Donnelly
In the 20th century, the word lost much of its original connotation of Celtic revivalism or Romanticism, and could refer to any professional poet or singer, sometimes in a mildly ironic tone. In the Soviet Union, singers who were outside the establishment were called bards from the 1960s.From its Romanticist usage, the notion of the bard as a minstrel with qualities of a priest, magician or seer also entered the fantasy genre in the 1960s to 1980s, for example as the "Bard" class in Dungeons & Dragons, Bard by Keith Taylor (1981), Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish by Morgan Llywelyn (1984), and in video games in fantasy settings such as The Bard's Tale (1985).See also


  • Contention of the bards
  • Aois-dàna
  • Druid
  • Vates
  • Fili
  • Gorsedd
  • Gorseth Kernow (Cornwall)
  • Griot
  • Skald
  • The Bards of Wales
  • Bard (Dungeons & Dragons)
  • Bard (Soviet Union)
References


  1. ^ "Bard", Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. Accessed 11 Jan. 2008.
  2. ^ Martin Litchfield West, Indo-European poetry and myth, Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-928075-9, p. 30.
  3. ^ Breatnach, Liam. Uraicecht na Ríar, ca. p. 98
  4. ^ "The figure of the bard flows through mid-eighteenth century thought in which the fantasy construct began to act as a cypher for a number of nationalist ideological arguments. He is often associated with certain geographical regions (Wales, or the far north of Scotland) and with fantasies about ancient English societies most commonly aroused through the invocation of the Druids" Andrew Ashfield, , Peter De Bolla, The sublime: a reader in British eighteenth-century aesthetic theory, Cambridge University Press (1996) ISBN 978-0-521-39582-3, p. 160.
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: The Bard   Lun 13 Dic 2010 - 7:15

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aois-d%C3%A0na

The Aois-dàna (Scottish Gaelic), or Áes Dána (Old Irish) (Irish: Aos Dána), literally meaning "people of the arts"; often translated as bards served as advisers to nobles and chiefs of clans throughout the Scottish Gàidhealtachd until the late 17th century. Many of them specialised in preserving the genealogy of families and recited family trees at the succession of chieftains.The Aois-dàna were held in high esteem throughout the Scottish Highlands. As late as the end of the 17th century, they sat in the sreath or circle among the nobles and chiefs of families. They took the preference of the ollamh or doctor in medicine. After the extinction of the druids, they were brought in to preserve the genealogy of families, and to repeat genealogical traditions at the succession of every chieftain. They had great influence over all the powerful men of the time. Their persons, their houses, their villages, were sacred. Whatever they asked was given them; not always, however, out of respect, but from fear of their satire, which frequently followed a denial of their requests. They lost by degrees, through their own insolence and importunity, all the respect their order had so long enjoyed, and consequently all their wonted profits and privileges. The Lord Lyon of Scotland may well have his roots in something parallel.Martin Martin says of them:"They shut their doors and windows for a day’s time, and lay in the dark with a stone upon their belly, and their plaids about their heads and eyes, and thus they pumped their brains for rhetorical encomiums."Among the ancient Brythons there were, according to Jones an order of bard called the Arwyddwardd, i.e. the ensign bard or herald at arms, who employed himself in genealogy, and in blazoning the arms of princes and nobles, as well as altering them according to their dignity or deserts.The related term, Aosdána is used in Ireland currently for an exclusive group of artists and writers.

See also

  • Bard
  • Seanchaí
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: The Bard   Lun 13 Dic 2010 - 7:19

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seancha%C3%AD

A seanchaí ([ˈʃan̪ˠəxiː] or [ʃan̪ˠəˈxiː] - plural: seanchaithe [ˈʃan̪ˠəxɪhɪ]) is a traditional Irish storyteller. A commonly encountered English spelling of the Irish word is shanachie.The word seanchaí, which was spelled seanchaidhe (plural seanchaidhthe) before the Irish-language spelling reform of 1948, means a bearer of "old lore" (seanchas). In the ancient Celtic culture, the history and laws of the people were not written down but memorized in long lyric poems which were recited by bards (filí), in a tradition echoed by the seanchaithe.

The traditional art

Seanchaithe used to be servants to chiefs of their tribe and kept track of important information for their clan.They were very well respected in their Clan. The seanchaithe made use of a range of storytelling conventions, styles of speech and gestures that were peculiar to the Irish folk tradition and characterized them as practitioners of their art. Although tales from literary sources found their way into the repertoires of the seanchaithe, a traditional characteristic of their art was the way in which a large corpus of tales was passed from one practitioner to another without ever being written down.Because of their role as custodians of an indigenous non-literary tradition, the seanchaithe are widely acknowledged to have inherited – although informally – the function of the filí of pre-Christian Ireland.Some seanchaithe however were not part of a clan , some were itinerants, traveling from one community to another offering their skills in exchange for food and temporary shelter. Others, however, were members of a settled community and might be termed "village storytellers" who told their marvelous stories and tales at ceremonies and community events, simialar to the servant Seanchaithe. The distinctive role and craft of the seanchaí is particularly associated with the Gaeltacht (the Irish-speaking areas of Ireland), although storytellers recognizable as seanchaithe were also to be found in rural areas throughout English-speaking Ireland. In their storytelling, some displayed archaic Hiberno-English idiom and vocabulary distinct from the style of ordinary conversation.Modern times

Members of the Celtic Revival such as Padraic Colum took a great interest in the art of the seanchaí, and through them the stories that they told were written down, published, and distributed to a global audience.At events such as mummers' festival in New Inn, County Galway, and the All-Ireland Fleadh Ceoil storytellers who preserve the stories and oratory style of the seanchaithe continue to display their art and compete for awards. Eddie Lenihan is one notable modern-day seanchaí, based in County Clare, Ireland.Podcast

Since 1 January 2005, Patrick E. McLean has written and produced a podcast under the title The Seanachaí.Other uses of the term

The term is also found within Scottish Gaelic where it is spelt seanchaidh Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈʃɛnaxɪ]. All uses ultimately have their roots in the traditional poets attached to the households of ancient Gaelic nobility. In Scotland, it is commonly anglicised as shen(n)achie[1].Notes


  1. ^ Robinson, M (1985) The Concise Scots Dictionary Chambers, Oxford ISBN 0-08-028491-4

References


  • Padraig Colum, editor, A Treasury of Irish Folklore.
  • Frank DeLaney, Ireland.
  • Patricia A. Lynch, Joachim Fischer, and Brian Coates, Back to the Present: Forward to the Past—Irish Writing and History since 1798.
  • The Seanachai Homepage
  • Video of a Seanchai: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzP4FM3WqwY&feature=related
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: The Bard   Lun 13 Dic 2010 - 7:21

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contention_of_the_bards

The Contention of the Bards (in Irish, Iomarbhágh na bhFileadh) was a literary controversy of early 17th century Gaelic Ireland, lasting from 1616 to 1624 (probably peaking in 1617), in which the principal bardic poets of the country wrote polemical verses against each other and in support of their respective patrons.There were thirty contributions to the Contention, which took the form of a bitter debate over the relative merits of the two halves of Ireland — the north dominated by the Eremonian descendants of the Milesians, and the south dominated by the Eberian descendants.The verses were first published in print in two volumes produced by the Irish Texts Society in 1918 and 1920, edited by Lambert McKenna.
Context

The Contention took place in the context of the settlement of the country following on the Tudor conquest of Ireland, when full domination by Stuart royal authority had led to the Flight of the Earls (1607) and the Plantation of Ulster (1610).The occasion for the Contention was a dispute over the allegiance of the Earl of Thomond, a Gaelic nobleman of the ancient O'Brien clan (or sept) — unusually for the time, the earl was a Protestant and loyal to the new dispensation. The spark came in 1616, after the final annexation of the modern County Clare (containing part of the ancient kingdom of Thomond) to the Eberian province of Munster (whereupon the Earl of Thomond was appointed president of the province) and the death in exile of the last great Eremonian, Hugh O'Neill.For centuries before 1616 the bards had been sponsored by the Irish Gaelic dynasties and confirmed their paternal lineages, and therefore had a political as well as a cultural impact.

Substance

In 1616 the Earl of Thomond's bard, Tadhg Mac Dáire Mac Bruaideadha, wrote verses attacking the semi-legendary bard Torna Éigeas, on account of historical inaccuracies in his work and his partiality to the northern half of Ireland and the Eremonian branches of the Gael. In effect, Tadhg's verses celebrated the greatness of the Eberian septs of the southern half of Ireland and their ascendancy over the North; he even included his patron's Norman lineage as worthy of the race of Ébhear.This provoked verses in response from other court bards — notably, Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh — in which abstruse points of poetic etiquette and the respective merits of the two halves of Ireland were vehemently argued. In extolling his own side, Lughaidh emphasized the historical defence of Tara, rather than the internecine struggle for the high-kingship of Ireland; Tadhg's response referred to the achievements of his patron's ancestor, Brian Boru, and pooh-poohed the former martial feats of the Eremonians as consisting merely of battles amongst themselves; the northern poets (whose allegiance lay with the exiled Ulster princes) countered with the accusation that Tadhg was betraying the bardic profession in his failure to comprehend the truth of the noble history of the Gael.Some of the participants in the Contention mocked the principal debate between Tadhg and Lughaidh; for example, Ó Heffernan used the fable of a cat and a fox (Eremonians and Eberians), which were bickering over a fat piece of meat (Ireland) when a wolf came along and snatched it all.In June 1617, Tadhg had suggested in a letter to Lúghaidh and the northern poets that a decisive face-to-face poetic disputation be convened in order to resolve the Contention. It is not known if the suggestion was acted upon, but it appears to have marked the moment of greatest controversy. The Contention came to a head in a whirl of extreme sarcasm from the poet Mac Artúir, who defended the bards' tradition in an ironically novel, run-on free-form, which contrasted with the traditional form in which Tadhg wrote.
Perspective

The poems of the Contention share a sense of national culture, but their political allegiance is clan-centred. This was a period of decline for the court bards, and the fact that they were addressing each other suggests a realisation that their audience was losing its influence, and that few within the new dispensation were paying heed to them.In the course of the exchange, the theme of North-South rivalry was developed to include a debate about the struggle between tradition and iconoclasm. This allowed the poets to vent their bitterness at the late conquest and colonisation of the country and at the collapse of the political order upon which they depended.Throughout the Contention, each side had eagerly and jealously claimed James I of Ireland as a descendant in its Milesian lineage (he being descended from Marjorie Bruce whose ancestors included the Gaelic kings of Scotland such as Kenneth McAlpine). Ironically, his crown authority was precisely the instrument by which the traditional Gaelic order was being destroyed in Ireland. The Ireland that the poems traced in their lore was past, and it seems the bards were incapable of adapting their ways. The Contention proved to be the last flourish of Dán Díreach: within decades the great school metres had been abandoned in favour of the looser Amhrán or Aisling, and the esteem in which the bards had been held in Gaelic Ireland was never regained.
References


  • Richard Bagwell, Ireland under the Stuarts 3 vols. (London, 1895).
  • John O'Donovan (ed.) Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters (1851).
  • Lambert McKenna (ed.) The Contention of the Bards 2 vols. (Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1918-20).
  • Joep Leerssen, The Contention of the Bards’ and its place in Irish political and literary history (London 1994).
  • The contemporary thoughts of Flaithrí Ó Maolchonaire on the Contention: [1]
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