Chapter

Llasar and the Lake of the Cauldron

Patrick Sims‐Williams

in Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199588657
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588657.003.0009
Llasar and the Lake of the Cauldron

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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

Chapter.  19027 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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