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PHYSICIANS OF MYDDVAI;
OR THE MEDICAL PRACTICE OF THE CELEBRATED RHIWALLON AND HIS SONS,
FROM ANCIENT fasz. IN THE LIBRARIES OF
JESUS COLLEGE, OXFORD, LLANOVER, AND TONN;
THE LEGEND OF THE
LADY OF LLYN Y
JOHN PUGHE, ESQ. F.R.C.S. OF PENHELYG, ABERDOVEY,
AND EDITED BY
THE REV. JOHN WILLIAMS AB ITHEL, M.A.
RECTOR OF LLANYMOWDDWY.
The Welsh MSS. Society.
PUBLISHED BY D. J. RODERIC; LONDON, LONGMAN & CO.
MEDDYGINIAETH, or medicine, numbers as one of "the nine rural arts, known and practised by the ancient Cymry before they became possessed of cities and a sovereignty;" that is, before the time of Prydain ab Aedd Mawr, which is generally dated about a thousand years anterior to the Christian era. In that remote period the priests and teachers of the people were the GWYDDONIAID, or men of knowledge, obviously so called from their being looked upon as the chief sources and channels of wisdom,in the land. It is to these men that the art of healing is attributed, which they seem to have practised mainly, if not wholly, by means of herbs. Indeed Botanology, or a knowledge of the nature and properties of plants, is enumerated as one of the three sciences, which primarily engaged their attention the other two being Theology and Astronomy, as appears from the following Triad :
"The three pillars of knowledge, with which the Gwyddoniaid were acquainted, and which they bore in memory from the beginning: the first, a knowledge of Divine things, and of such matters as appertain to the worship of God, and the homage due to goodness; the second, a knowledge of the course of the stars, their names and kinds, and the order of times; the third, a knowledge of the names and use of the herbs of the field, and of their application in practice, in medicine, and in religious worship. These were preserved in the memorials of vocal song, and in the memorials of times, before there were Bards of degree and chair."+