Welsh philologist and folklorist John Rhys (1840-1915) was the first professor to hold the Celtic chair at Oxford, in 1877. His knowledge of Wales, its people and history enabled him to collect its traditions and interpret them, comparing them with ancient literature, in which their roots could be found. His research in this field enabled him to publish Celtic Folk-lore in 1901. His work in philology, archaeology and history also contributed to his reputation. He supported the Welsh people in their social and political struggles.
“In Search of the Celtic Past: A Biography of John Rhys”
Spalding Lewis, 2016
Sir John Rhys is best known to modern scholarship as the first philologist to occupy the Chair of Celtic at Oxford – the position famously proposed by Matthew Arnold in his 1867 On the Study of Celtic Literature. Rhys’ work on the history of Celtic languages constitutes one of the bases upon which modern historical linguistic research into Celtic has proceeded; he not only coined the terms Goidelic and Brythonic to identify the two major (...)