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There is a classic hero quest, "Culhwch and Olwen"; historic legend in "Lludd and Llefelys" glimpses a far off age; and other tales portray a very different King Arthur from the later popular versions.The highly sophisticated complexity of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi defies categorisation.

The question of the dates of the tales in the Mabinogion is important, because if they can be shown to have been written before Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae and the romances of Chrétien de Troyes, then some of the tales, especially those dealing with Arthur, would provide important evidence for the development of Arthurian legend.Debate has focused on the dating of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi.Sir Ifor Williams offered a date prior to 1100, based on linguistic and historical arguments, while later Saunders Lewis set forth a number of arguments for a date between 11; Thomas Charles-Edwards, in a paper published in 1970, discussed the strengths and weaknesses of both viewpoints, and while critical of the arguments of both scholars, noted that the language of the stories best fits the 11th century, although much more work is needed.It is now generally agreed that this one instance was a mediaeval scribal error which assumed 'mabinogion' was the plural of 'mabinogi.' But 'mabinogi' is already a Welsh plural, which occurs correctly at the end of the remaining three branches.The word mabinogi itself is something of a puzzle, although clearly derived from the Welsh mab, which means "son, boy, young person". Hamp of the earlier school traditions in mythology, found a suggestive connection with Maponos "the Divine Son", a Gaulish deity.The stories are so diverse that a leading scholar has challenged them as a true collection.

an understanding of the integrity of the tales has developed, with investigation of their plot structures, characterisation, and language styles.

) are the earliest prose stories of the literature of Britain. These stories offer drama, philosophy, romance, tragedy, fantasy and humour, and were created by various narrators over time.

The stories were compiled in Middle Welsh in the 12th–13th centuries from earlier oral traditions. The title covers a collection of eleven prose stories of widely different types.

It was inherited as the title by the first publisher of the complete collection, Lady Charlotte Guest.

The form mabynnogyon occurs once at the end of the first of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi in one manuscript.

The subject matter and the characters described events that happened long before medieval times.