Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EDERN DAFOD AUR (‘ Edern of the Golden Tongue ’), the person who, according to some manuscripts of the 16th cent., made a small dosbarth (arrangement or grammar) of the orthography of the Welsh language and of the form of words .

Many copies of this are extant. The copyists claimed, sometimes, that he was Edern , son of Padarn Beisrudd , that is, that he was the father of Cunedda Wledig . On the other hand, John Davies of Mallwyd said that he flourished c. 1280 . EDWARD WILLIAMS ( Iolo Morganwg ) was the first to state categorically that Edern 's work was the grammar which is associated with the names of Einion Offeiriad (q.v.) and Dafydd Ddu o Hiraddug (q.v.) , and as Iolo Morganwg 's copy was the source which was used by John Williams ( Ab Ithel , 1811 - 1862 , q.v.) when he edited that grammar for publication he, the editor , gave the published work the title of Dosparth Edeyrn Davod Aur , 1856 . Sir John Morris-Jones tried to prove that the grammar attributed to Edern Dafod Aur in the manuscripts was a pseudo-antique work belonging to the 16th cent. , and that the forger (whoever he may have been) called the author ‘ Edern ’ because that name was similar to ‘ Herodian ,’ the name of a grammarian of the second century A.D. Nor is ‘ Dafod Aur ’ anything but a translation of the Greek surname ‘ Chrysostom .’ In spite of this it may be held that the grammar is older than is suggested by Sir John Morris-Jones , because there is a reference to ‘Dull Edern Dafod Aur’ in the elegy written upon the death of Tudur Aled (q.v.) by Siôn ap Hywel ap Llywelyn Fychan (q.v.) . It is obvious that the work had become recognized as one of the ancient authorities by 1525 ; it is more than probable, therefore, that it belongs to the preceding century. But more research is necessary before the problem can be solved.

Sources:

  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1923-4 , 1-8.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Griffith John Williams, M.A., (1892-1963), Gwaelod-y-garth, Cardiff

Published date: 1959