A bardic name is a
pseudonym, used in Wales, Cornwalland Brittany, by poets and other artists, especially those involved in the eisteddfodmovement.
The Welsh term bardd ("poet", from which derives the English word "
bard") originally referred to the Welsh poets of the Middle Ages, who might be itinerant or attached to a noble household. Some of these medieval poets were known by a pseudonym, for example Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr("Cynddelw the Master Poet", fl. 1155 - 1200) and Iolo Goch("Iolo the Red", c.1320 - c.1398). The practice seems to have very ancient antecedents, witness the names of the presumably 6th century poets Talhaearn Tad Awen, Blwchfarddand Culfardd, mentioned by the Welsh historian Nenniusalongside Taliesinand Aneirin, the latter referred to as Aneurin Gwenithwawd.
However, the use of so-called bardic names became something of a conceit following the re-invention of medieval tradition by
Iolo Morganwgin the eighteenth century. Its main purpose nowadays is to conceal the identity of eisteddfod competitors during judging. The usage has also extended to Breton and Cornish poetry. In Cornwall, some of the pioneers of the Cornish languagemovement are generally referred to by their bardic names, e.g. 'Mordon' for Robert Morton Nance, or 'Talek' for E.G. Retallack Hooper. [ [http://www.gorsethkernow.org.uk/english/archives/newbards/bardlist.htm List of new Cornish bards / bardic names] ]
Bardic names are also useful in differentiating between individuals of the same name (a problem which is much more common in Wales than most other countries). For example,
John Jones (Talhaiarn)took his bardic name from his place of origin, to distinguish him from contemporaries with the name John Jones. The minister Joseph Harris (Gomer)selected his bardic name from the Bible. Others, such as Hedd Wyn, used poetic inventions.
List of Welsh language poets (6th century to c.1600)
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