2) Welsh Literature: Y Gododdin

Y Gododdin [‘The Gododdin’], the early sixth-century AD Welsh poem describing the Battle of Cattraeth, also illustrates the early Celtic tradition which consisted of liberally providing intoxicating drinks to the warriors before they go into battle - the text mentions mead, beer, bragget, ale, malt and wine. Some parts of the text describe the drinking of the ‘ensnaring’ intoxicant, which, when heated up and brought the warriors, means that the latter no longer care for their lives, and are ready to commit bloody deeds and carnage in battle:

‘Gwyr a aeth gatraeth gan wawr / Dygymyrrws eu hoet eu hanyanawr / Med evynt melyn melys maglawr […].
The heroes marched to Cattraeth with the dawn / Feelingly did their relatives regret their absence / Mead they drank, yellow, sweet, ensnaring […].2428
Gwyr a aeth gatraeth buant enwawc / Gwin a med o eur vu eu gwirawt / Blwydyn en erbyn urdyn deuawt / Trywyr a thri ugeiut a thrychant eurdorchawc / Or sawl yt gryssyassant uch gormant wirawt / Ny diengis namyn tri o wrhydri fossawt / Deu gatki aeron a chenon dayrawt / A minheu om gwaetfreu gwerth vy gwennwawt.
The heroes who marched to Cattraeth were renowned / Wine and mead out of golden goblets was their beverage / That year was to them one of exalted solemnity / Three hundred and sixty-three chieftains, wearing the golden torques / Of those who hurried forth after the excess of revelling / But three escaped by valour from the funeral fosse / The two war-dogs of Aeron, and Cynon the dauntless / And myself, from the spilling of blood, the reward of my candid song. 2429
Gwyr a gryssyasant buant gytneit / Hoedyl vyrryon medwon uch med hidleit / Gosgord mynydawc enwawc en reit / Gwerth eu gwled e ved vu eu heneit / Caradawc a madawc pyll ac yeuan / Gwgawn a gwiawn gwynn a chynvan / Peredur arveu dur gwawr-dur ac aedan / Achubyat eng gawr ysgwydawr angkyman / A chet lledessynt wy lladassan / Neb y eu tymhyr nyt atcorsan.
The warriors marched with speed, together they bounded onward / Short lived were they,—they had become drunk over the distilled mead / The retinue of Mynyddawg, renowned in the hour of need / Their life was the price of their banquet of mead / Caradawg, and Madawg, Pyll, and Ieuan, / Gwgawn, and Gwiawn, Gwynn and Cynvan, / Peredur with steel arms, Gwawrddur, and Aeddan / A defence were they in the tumult, though with shattered shields / When they were slain, they also slaughtered / Not one to his native home returned.2430
Nyt ef borthi gwarth gorsed / Senyllt ae lestri llawn med / Godolei gledyf e gared / Godolei lemein e ryuel / Dyfforthsei lynwyssawr oe vreych / Rac bedin ododin a brennych […].
He would not bear the reproach of a congress / Senyllt, with his vessels full of mead / His sword rang for deeds of violence / He shouted and bounded with aid for the war /And with his arm proved a comprehensive support / Against the armies of Gododin and Bryneich […].2431

Knoch, 1997, p. 62.


Knoch, 1997, p. 76.


Knoch, 1997, p. 86.


Knoch, 1997, p. 99.