Our oldest surviving poetry dates from the sixth century – predating all European literature except Greek and Latin. Welsh poetry developed as an oral art. This led to cynghanedd (harmony), a very complicated system of alliteration and internal rhyme, still rewarded today at the National Eisteddfod.
In mediaeval times Welsh bards or poets played a social role; their job was to praise their lords and masters, often the Welsh princes. This tradition lasted from the 6th to the 16th century. Dafydd ap Gwilym - a 14th Century poet – was a bit different from the rest. He wrote on everyday themes and in common language. He is considered a true revolutionary and still holds his own among the great European poets.