Who was Taliesin?

Who was Taliesin?

Taliesin was a Welsh poet and strategic advisor of kings across the British Isles. Famed for his beauty along with his powers of poetry and prophecy, Taliesin served in the courts of several Briton kings, including the legendary King Arthur. Taliesin was a name of Welsh origin meaning “radiant brow.” Such a name thus reinforced the bard’s legendary beauty and mental acuity. Taliesin was also known as Taliesin Ben Beirdd, or “Taliesin, Chief of the Bards,” highlighting his importance among pre-Saxon bards and poets.

While largely a product of myth-making, a real Taliesin lived during the sixth century.

What are the best books about Taliesin?

History and reference

The Book of Taliesin – Gwyneth Lewis and Rowan Williams

Poems of Warfare and Praise in an Enchanted Britain

The great work of Welsh literature, translated in full for the first time in more than 100 years by two of its country’s foremost poets.

A Penguin Classic.

Taliesin’s Map: The Comparative Guide to Celtic Mythology – J Dolan

Celtic mythology is vast and rich, but presents difficulties to interpretation. The present work provides an extensive guide through Celtic mythology in terms of comparisons with other European and Indo-Iranic mythologies. As it proceeds, a map of a deep and ancient mythological and theological structure begins to reveal itself.


The Pendragon Cycle – Stephen R. Lawhead

  1. Taliesin
  2. Merlin
  3. Arthur
  4. Pendragon
  5. Grail
  6. Avalon


A series of historical fantasy books based on Arthurian legend.

Lawhead bases his stories on the Mabinogion, the History of the Kings of Britain and other works of Geoffrey of Monmouth, the writings of Taliesin, Gildas, and Nennius, and several other legends that he manages to interweave into the Arthurian legend.

The books, with the exception of Taliesin and Avalon, are narrated in the first-person, and, except for Pendragon, Grail, and Avalon, are each split into three sections (Pendragon has four, Grail one, and Avalon five). Merlin and Pendragon are narrated by Myrddin (Merlin). The first third of Arthur is narrated by Pelleas, the second by Bedwyr (Bedivere), and the third by Aneirin/Gildas. Grail is mostly narrated by Gwalchavad (Galahad), with a short narration by Morgian (Morgan le Fay) at the beginning of most chapters. Taliesin follows Taliesin and Charis (the Lady of the Lake), alternating in each chapter; Avalon mostly follows James Stuart (the reborn Arthur), Merlin, and the fictional Prime Minister Thomas Waring.

The Keltiad – Tales of Arthur by Patricia Kennealy-Morrison

  1. The Hawk’s Gray Feather
  2. The Oak Above the Kings
  3. Hedge of Mist

King Arthur in space. It was a time out of legend, an early age in the history of the worlds of Keltia, when a youth named Arthur dared to regain the throne for the royal House of Don from the usurper Ederyn. The greatest of druids and sworn enemy to all who defied his will, Ederyn swore when he seized power that he would crush the House of Don — by cutting the people off from their greatest strength, the ancient arts of druids, warriors, and bards. Still, some had managed to keep the secret knowledge alive…preparing for a time of destiny when their skills — and the penetrating genius of one called Arthur — would be called upon to strike out against their oppressor…

Told through the eyes of Taliesin Qlyndour, chief poet of the distant star-realm of Keltia and King Arthur’s foster brother, these stories follow Arthur as he learns the ways of battle and life under the tutelage of Merlynn. The beautiful cover art for this series is by Thomas Canty.


The Tale of Taliesin – Gwyn Thomas, Kevin Crossley-Holland and Margaret Jones

Ceridwen the witch is concerned about her ugly, unpleasant son, Morfran, so she works a spell which should turn him into the world’s wisest wizard. Unfortunately, things do not go according to plan.