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Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature$
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Patrick Sims-Williams

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588657

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588657.001.0001

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Llasar and the Lake of the Cauldron

Llasar and the Lake of the Cauldron

(p.230) 9 Llasar and the Lake of the Cauldron
Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature

Patrick Sims‐Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers an explanation of the story in Branwen about the giant Llasar bringing the cauldron of rebirth from a lake. Comparison is made with the folklore of Llyn Cwm‐llwch and Llyn y Fan Fach, and in particular with that of Devenish on Lough Erne, as in Tochmarc Emire, Tochmarc Ferbae and Cóir Anmann. Llasar's story is compared with stereotyped hostile migration‐legends, e.g. the Flemish in Pembrokeshire or Ingimund near Chester. Llasar's name derived from llasar ‘azure’ but got equated with Irish lasair ‘flame’ and Latin Lazarus, giving rise to the story that he was shunned, was burned in the Iron House and survived with the cauldron of resurrection. Welsh knowledge of the Lives Irish saints called Lasair, Mo Laise, or similar is likely; connections between Wales and the cult of St Maedóc at Ferns, Co. Wexford, and Drumlane, Co. Cavan provide a link.

Keywords:   Branwen, giant, Llasar, cauldron of rebirth, Llyn Cwm‐llwch, Llyn y Fan Fach, Devenish, Tochmarc Emire, Tochmarc Ferbae, Cóir Anmann, migration‐legends, cauldron of resurrection, Lasair, Mo Laise, St Maedóc, Ferns Co. Wexford, Drumlane Co. Cavan

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