ARTHUR AND ASSOCIATED FIGURES

MAGNUS MAXIMUS / MACSEN WLEDIG

 

383- [PCB] Flavius Magnus Maximus / Macsen Wledig defeats the Picts and Scots then organises the defence of western Britain, causing many of the dynasties there to count him as a founder.  He takes troops from Britannia to Gaul, probably including the Seguntienses / Seguntiaci, the unit from Seguntium / Caernarfon, which is later shown in the Notitia Dignitatum as a garrison in the Balkans near Aquileia. [Hodgkin] He crosses to Gaul and lands at the mouth of the Rhine with Andragathius commanding his cavalry to usurp the throne of Emperor Gratian, who is defeated at Paris. Gratian’s Comes Domesticorum, Frankish King Mallobaudes / Mellobaudes, is killed after betraying Gratian at Lyon, where he had fled.  Maximus places his wife, Elen’s, brother Conan Meriadoc / Cynan / Conanus prince of Dumnonia in charge of Armorica as first British ruler of Darioritum / Vannes.  He also settles some British in Armorica and Gallaecia / Galicia. Hispania, Africa and Italia acknowledge Magnus Maximus. 

 

Family:

Brother - Marcellinus 

388- [PCB] Magnus Maximus is defeated by Emperor Theodosius I at the Battle of the Save in Pannonia and Maximus’s brother Marcellinus is defeated in the Noric Alps. 

1st wife - Ceindrech ferch Rheiden, Descendant of Cadwallon.

Son of Ceindrech - Victor, Caesar.

384- Magnus Maximus makes his capital at Augusta Treverorum / Trier with his son Victor as Co-emperor.

388  - [PCB] After Magnus Maximus is executed at Aquileia, Magister Peditum Arbogastes kills Victor, son of Magnus Maximus, at Treveri / Trier.  

Son of Ceindrech - Eugenius / Owain Finddu / Black Lips ap Macsen Wledig.

407 - Eugenius / Owain Finddu / Black Lips, b 355/383, one of the ‘Three Chief Officers’ of Ynys Prydain, protector of ? Cernyw / later Glwyssing, perhaps founded in Venta Silurum, capital of the Silures lands, perhaps left in charge by Constantine III?  In Life of St Cadog he is father of :

Grandson Nor - father of prince Solor, father of Glywys, father of St Cadog.

Son of Ceindrech - Antonius / Annun ap Macsen Wledig.

Connected in genealogies with Isle of Man, Galloway or Demetia.  [PCB] has Annun Dimet / Dyfed [mistakenly Dunawt] son of Macsen Wledig, father of:

Grandson - Ednyfed, prince of Demetia.

2nd Wife - Saint Elen ferch Eudaf Hen ap Caradog / Elen Luyddog. 

384- With Magnus Maximus in Gaul, wife Empress Elen becomes a devotee of Saint Martin.

388- [PCB] After Maximus is executed at Aquileia, wife Elen returns to Britain with daughter Severa. 

Son of Elen - Constantine / Custennin Fawr ()

C 380- Constantine / Custennin Fawr / the Great, son of Magnus Maximus [PCB] b 360 made ‘King of North Wales’.  

? Possibly the Emperor Constantine III.

Granddaughter - Meneduc, married to King Brychan Brycheiniog.

Son of Elen - Saint Peblig.

Post 360 - [PCB] Saint Peblig settles in Arfon, saint of Llanbeblig, parish church of Caernarfon.

Daughter of Elen - Severa / Sevira.

388- With mother Elen, returns to Britain and settles in Arfon becoming a Saint. [PCB quotes the Valle Crucis pillar that Guarthigirn married Sevira, daughter of the Emperor Magnus Maximus, and had a son:

Grandson - Britu / Brydyw, ancestor of the Kings of Powys. 

Brother-in-Law or Cousin of Elen - Conan / Cynan Meriadog / Meriadoc. 

C 340-387- Conan / Cynan Meriadog / Meriadoc [Chadwick] b C 360 ruling prince of Dumnonia. There is confusion over Cynan Meriadoc’s father: it was either Eudaf Hen (making Cynan brother of Elen) or Gereint ap Einadd, Prince of Dumnonia. Conan married Ursula, daughter of Dunaut, brother of Caradog, prince of Dumnonia, who died C 305. 

383 - Magnus Maximus places Conan Meriadoc as first ruler / Consul / Count of the British in Darioritum / Vannes.

C 387 - Conan Meriadoc d succeeded by son Erbin as ruler of Darioritum / Vannes, and by half-brother Gadeon / Gradlon ruler of Dumnonia.

Brother-in-Law or Cousin of Elen - Gadeon

383 - Elen’s brother Gadeon / Gradlon accompanies Magnus Maximus to Gaul. 

 C 387- Conan Meriadoc d succeeded by half-brother Gadeon / Gradlon as ruler of Dumnonia and his son Erbin, ruler of Darioritum / Vannes.  

388 Gadeon returns home. Daughter Ystradwel, wife of Coel Hen.

? 400-? 434- Gadeon / Gradlon succeeds his nephew Erbin, ruler of Darioritum / Vannes and continues to rule Dumnonia. He becomes Gradlon Mawr / the Great. 

C 434- Gradlon Mawr / the Great ruler of Darioritum / Vannes / Vannetais and Dumnonia dies succeeded as ruler of Vannes by son Salaun / Salomon I / Selyfan / Selyf; by son Gwidol ap Gradlon as prince of Vannes; and by son Guoremor / Gwrfawr / Vorimorus as prince of Dumnonia. 

The family links of Emperor Magnus Maximus seem designed to be part of his organization of western defences.  His wife is from Arfon but of the family of the princes of Dumnonia, and her brothers / cousins Cynan and Gadeon / Gradlon both rule there and in Brittany.   His daughter Severa marries Vortigern of ? Glevum and Pagenses. Gadeon / Gradlon establishes Armorica for his third son Gwidol. Gradlon’s daughter Ystradwel marries Coel Hen, likely to be Dux Britanniarum and in any case the power in the north.  Coel Hen’s daughter Gwawl marries Cunedda of Manau Gododdin giving a link to the dynasties of Gwynedd, Ceredigion etc established by Cunedda and to Amlawd Wledig's family through his wife .

 

The line of Macsen Wledig dies out in Demetia with Clotri C 410 and in Cernyw / Glywysing with St Cadog 571.  It survives in Powys.

 

The line of the Dumnonian royal family connected through Macsen’s wife Elen continues in Brittany and in Dumnonia till C 9, and continues through Coel Hen’s lines in the Men of the North.

 

THE TITLE GULEDIG / GULEDIC / GWLEDIG / WLEDIC / WLEDIG

The title Wledig seems to have been used only during the period of the existence of the post-Roman British state.   It is usually translated as ‘Land-holder’, but seems to have been held by men of some supreme state power and does not indicate something as simple as ‘landowner’.  It might be considered more equivalent to the Dutch ‘Stadtholder’.   Wikipedia quotes Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Part 26, Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, 1974, p. 1682 to say: "The Welsh title [G]wledig, archaically Gwledic or Guletic and latinised Guleticus, is defined as follows: "lord, king, prince, ruler; term applied to a number of early British rulers and princes who were prominent in the defence of Britain about the time of the Roman withdrawal; (possibly) commander of the native militia (in a Romano-British province)".  It seems to be a British title not based upon a Roman original, so its application to Macsen Wledig must have been retrospective. The latest appearance of the title, applied to Urien Rheged, is poetic.

 

Holders of the title in chronological order:

Magnus Maximus; 383 Armoricans placed by Flavius Magnus Maximus / Maximianus / Macsen Wledig / Gwledig.

Antonius Donatus / Anthun Wledic, made protector of Demetia by his father Macsen Wledic C 392-400.

Cunedda Wledig; C 410 – 420.  Cunedda / Cunedda ap Edern / Eternus / Cunedda Wledig rules between the walls and maybe even south into Cumbria?  He marries Coel’s daughter.  Traditionally from Manau Gododdin. C 424 moves to north Wales.  His daughter Gwen marries Amlawdd Wledig.

Ambrosius Aurelianus; 434 - Ambrosius / Gwledig Emrys / Embreis Guletic, settles Desi in Wales / Dinas Emrys; Emrys Wledig b ? 400.

Amlawd Wledig; C 430 – 450 ? ruler of south Wales.  Amlawdd Gwledig / Anblaud ruler of Cernyw.

Ceretic Guletic / Ceredig Wledig; C 420-475 Coroticus / Ceretic Guletic / Ceritic Guletic / Ceredig Wledig / Land Holder / Coirtech map Cynloyp / Cynllwyb map Cinhil / Quintilus map Cluim / Clemens map Cursalem ruler of Alt Clut / Aldclud / Damnonii at Dumbarton Rock, possibly also ruler of Goutodin / Goddodin. Written to by Saint Patrick C 471.

Casnar / Casanauth Wledig; Brydw / Britu / Bridu / Bredoe ap Gwrtheyrn father of Thewer ferch Brydw / Bredoe wife of Casanauth Wledig / Kasnar Wledic b 430 (? of a Powys line) and mother of Cynan ap Casanauth Wledig b 470 / 500.  Father of Llary ap Casnar in 'Culhwch & Olwen'.

 

Celyddon Wledig; Culhwch ap Cilydd ap Celyddon Wledig by Goleuddydd ferch Anlawdd Wledig was 1st cousin to Arthur in 'Culhwch & Olwen'. Legendary.

 

Eneas Ledewig of Lydaw, married Saint Gwen Candida Teirbron ferch Emyr Lydaw (Budig II, King of Brittany), C 490.

Ronan Ledewig, Breton father of Saints Gargunan and Silan.

Pedrwn Wledic o Lydaw / Pedrwn ab Emyr Llydaw b 450, father of Saints Padarn and Garmonion b 480.

FFleudur Fflam Wledig ap Godo; 'Culhwch and Owen', 'Dream of Rhonabwy' and a triad all have him as a person / counsellor / chieftain at Arthur’s court - legendary.

Gyrthmwl Wledig; One of Arthur’s forty-two counsellors in the 'Dream of Rhonabwy', Chief Elder / Penhynaf of Pen[rhyn] Rhionydd in the North - legendary.

Cynan / Kynan Wledig / Gwledic / Aurelius Caninus. May be Cynan Garwyn of Powys r 544/570-610.  Gildas accuses him of bring swallowed up in the filthiness of murders, fornication and adulteries, and thirsting unjustly after civil wars and frequent spoils. His proud fathers and brothers had suffered untimely deaths. [PCB] b C 520.

 

Urien Rheged; Taliesin has eight poems re Urien / Uryen Eurteyrn Gogled / Gold-King of the North, Vd Prydein / Lord of Prydein, Oruchel wledic / Supreme Wledig.  550-590.

 

Euroswydd Wledig; Legendary, father of Nisien and Efnisien.

 

Dewrarth / Dorath / Deortach / Deorath Wledig; Legendary father of Rhufon Befr / the Radiant.

 

There are only 17 known to history, including 5 that are legendary.  All but the first and last of those who are historical are within the period of the post-Roman British state.  It is noteworthy that Arthur is nowhere entitled Wledig.

 

 

VORTIGERN / GWRTHEYRN GWRTHENEU / GUORTHIGIRN 

Dates relating to Vortigern are preferred as:

C 425 – Vortigern / Guorthigirn / Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu / Vortigernus / Vertigernus / Vurtigernus / Uurtigernus / Wortigernos / Uurtigerno / Wyrtgeorn / Vortigern ap Guortheneu ? of Pagenses / Powys, ruler of Builth and Gwrtheyrnion and Brycheinion in the lands of the Cornovii [Chadwick has him of Cornovii or Dobunni, his lands Gwrtheyrnion / Vortigerniana in the upper Wye Valley and links him with Breton Saint Gurthiern] comes to power as king / tyrant / Emperor / Over-King, superbus tyrranus [PCB has born 365 and supreme king; Gwrtheneu = very thin; others suggest repulsive lips / gainsayer and quotes HB as saying Vortigern came to power in 425; others have C 409-425 or from 410? MA has fl 420-450.  MA quotes Nennius’s Dobunnic genealogies: ‘Guorthegirn Guortheneu son of Guitaul son of Guitolion of Gloui; or Vortigern son of Vitalis son of Vitalinus of Glevum / Gloui / Gloucester.’ Chambers and the Computus of Nennius say 425 in Consulates of Theodosius and Valentinian but Chambers also says 446].

429 - Saint Germanus blesses Vortigern and his sons.  

C 446- Saint Germanus and Severus Bishop of Treveri visit Britain, finding Britain ruled by ‘Great Tyrant’ / Vortigern / Vawr-tighern / Overlord [JM has him as Vitalis / Vitalinus; Welsh tradition has Gwrtheyrn / Gwrthenau / Supreme Leader; CP has 447; others have 440-446; MA has 436; Chadwick has 447, with a recrudescence of Pelagianism in Britain].  Saint Germanus succeeds in expelling Pelagians and with all the British clergy attacks Vortigern.

450 - [JM] ? Vortigern cedes Sussex and Essex to Saxons. Vortigern deposed [others have 450-455, post 442, 435].   

 

C 452 - [MA] Vortigern restored as Imperator after death of Vortimer. 

 

C 453-454 – Vortigern is overthrown by Ambrosius Aurelianus of Glevum / Caer Gloul / Gloucester ‘who becomes Imperator / High King’ [other has 455; Chambers has 462; JM has 460-475; MA has 470s/477].   Vortigern burned to death in stronghold of Genoreu on the hill called Cloartius in Ercing, by the River Wye.  

 

Vortigern’s family is recorded as:

 

Father - [HB] Gwidol ap Gwidolin / Gwidolion ap Gloyw Wallt Hir / Guitaul filii Guitolin / Guitolion filii Gloiu or Gwidawl m. Gwdoloeu m. Gloyw gwalltir. [PCB] b 330; Latin Vitalis and Vitalinus / Vitalianus; Gloyw Wallt Hir b 270, father of: Gwidolin / Gwdoloew; Bonus; Paul; and Mauron. 

Wife - Severa / Sevira, daughter of Emperor Magnus Maximus and Saint Elen.

Eldest son - Guorthemir / Gwerthefyr / Gwrthefyr Fendigaid / the Blessed ap Gwrtheyrn / Vortimer [PCB has b 390].  425 Vortimer commands the army. He gives his name to Gwerthefyriwg / Gurthebirliuc near Wanastow / Worthybrook in Gwent.  429 Germanus blesses Vortigern and his sons. C 442-444/5 British counter attack; Vortimer with help of other regions three times shuts Hengest up in Thanet, but they are reinforced. Vortimer fights first at River Derguentid / Darent or Crecganford / Crayford.  [JM has 445 / 449; other has 457; ASC has 456].  He fights second C 445 at the ford called Rithergabail / Rhyd-yr-ceffyl / Episford / Aylesford [PCB quotes ASC as having this in 455], where Horsa and Categirn, Vortimer’s brother d.  450 Vortimer becomes ‘High King / Imperator’. C 452 He wins the third battle at Rutupiae Wippedesfleot [JM has C 450; Ellis has 460] but is mortally wounded.

Granddaughter - Saint Madrun / Madryn / Materiana ferch Gwerthefyr b C 440 [other has post 449], eldest of three daughters of Vortimer, who, after her father's death, ruled over Gwent with her husband Prince Ynyr Gwent [r 452-480].  PCB has Madrun ferch Gwerthefyr ‘King of this Island’  b 425 with handmaiden Annun, saints of Trawsfynydd in Ardudwy, saint of Trevena and Minster. Patron of two churches in Cornwall and one in Wales. 

Great grandson- Saint Ceidio ab Ynyr Gwent by Madrun ferch Gwrthefyr [PCB] b 570 [that is too late] saint in Anglesey.

Second son - Cateyrn / Categirn / Katigern / Cedehern / Cyndeyrn ap Gwrtheyrn [PCB has Cateyrn / Catotigirn-I / Warlord / Battle King ap Gwrtheyrn b 400; other has b 430].  C 445 fights alongside Vortimer at Eppisfiord and d (ASC has Wyrtgeorn dies 455]. 

Grandson - Cadell Ddyrnllwg / Catel Durnluc / of the Gleaming Hilt ap Categirn 445 succeeds in Pagenses [other has 455; another has Pascent succeeding; MA has Cadell successor to Categirn fl 480-510].  [PCB] Cadell b 430, ruler of north Powys, on the River Alun around fortress of Benlli in the Clwydian Range, submits Powys to Irish invader Benlli. He hosts Saint Garmon when he pursues Benlli and is blessed by the saint, recovering Powys together. By 450 Cadell of the Gleaming Hilt is again ruler of Powys. Father of Cyngen Glodryd, his successor as King of Powys and ancestor of the kings of Powys; Tegid, ancestor of Saint Beuno; and Brydw.  

 

Great grandson - Brydw / Britu / Bridu / Bredoe ap Cadell. [PCB] b 400 appears in the Valle Crucis Pillar, the Pillar of Eliseg: ‘Britu autem filius Guarthigirn quemque peperit ei Sevira filia Maximi regis / Britu, moreover, the son of Guorthigirn, whom Germanus [? The Welsh Garmon] blessed and whom Sevira bore to him, the daughter of Maximus the king’.  Father of Camuir, ancestor of a long line of Powys princes.  May be Faustus of Lerins and Bishop of Riez. [Chadwick has ? Britu, son of daughter of Emperor Maximus, blessed by Saint Germanus].

Third Son Pasgen / Pascen / Pascent ap Gwrtheyrn.  [PCB] b 400 [MA has Pascent fl 450-480].  3rdson of Guorthigirn ‘who reigned in the two provinces of Buellt and Gwrtheyrnion after the death of his father. They were bestowed on him in 455 by Ambrosius / Emrys Wledig who was the great king among the kings of Britain’ [other has 450 Pascent ap Gwrtheyrn made ruler of Builth and Gwrtheyrnion by Vortigern his father.  Father of Briacat ap Pasgen b 430, father of Mepurit / Meuprit ap Briacat b 470, father of Pawl, whose descendants ruled there till end C 8 [other has C 442 Morgan / Mawgan / Manogan / Maucann / Maucanu / Maucant ap Pasgen becomes joint ruler of Buellt and Gwerthrynion; PCB has b C 430]. 

 

Grandson - 478-Sidonius Apollinaris Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand visited by British Bishop and monk Riocatus / Riagath / Riagat / Briacat grandson of Vortigern who was travelling for Bishop Faustus of Riez.  

 

 

 

AMBROSIUS AURELIANUS

 

There is little constructive to be said, although Gildas and other sources are clear that he was the most important man in the post-Roman British state after Vortigern, and it is probable that to him should be credited the foundation of the recovery and fight back that led to the victory at Badon, which was after his day.

Dates proffered for Ambrosius are:

400 – [PCB] b and quoting Gildas says that Ambrosius’s ‘parents, undoubtedly clad in the purple, had been killed’ in the storm in which he alone of the Roman race had survived.    [JM has C 412-425 Ambrosius the Elder; MA suggests that he was a relative of Saint Ambrose of Mediolanum / Milan 339-397, whose father Ambrosius Aurelianus was Praetorian Prefect of Gaul and was, possibly related to Emperor Aurelian; WSK has Ambrosius Aurelianus fl C490].  If the date of the subsequent civil war is correct, Ambrosius could have been b C 400-405.  WSK’s date is clearly too late.  There is no way of knowing to whom Aurelius was related and the vastly common use of the name makes relationship with Emperor Aurelian unlikely. The purple of Ambrosius’s parents may refer to anything from a magistracy upwards.

434 - Ambrosius / Gwledig Emrys / Embreis Guletic settles Desi in Wales / Dinas Emrys. They had settled long before but there may be hint of some sort of involvement.

Late 430s - [Ellis] Civil war between Vortigern and Ambrosius Aurelianus [JM suggests latter was imperator of Britain 433-436].  Nennius mentions Ambrosius’s struggle against Guitolin C 437 and Battle of Guoloph / Wallop in Hampshire [Chambers has 474; Crichton has 470].  If Ambrosius was leader of a faction, it is likely to have been of the eastern, civil side of Britain as Vortigern is of the western, tribal side.  

C 440-446 – Ambrosius dies of plague. No evidence of when he died or of what. [JM - possible that there were two, the senior dying now, the son taking over later].

C 450 - Saint Illtud / Illtyd, ? related to Ambrosius, born in Armorica [other has C 475].  

 

Pre 454 - [other has 455] Pascent / Pasgen ap Gwrtheyrn made ruler of Buellt and Gwrtheyrnion by Vortigern his father [other has by Ambrosius Aurelianus]. Likely to have been the former before his overthrow so the date must be pre-454.

 

C 453-454 – Vortigern is overthrown by Ambrosius Aurelianus of Glevum / Caer Gloul / Gloucester ‘who becomes Imperator / High King’ [other has 455; Chambers has 462; JM has 460-475; MA has 470s/477]. After the Saxon revolt and the failure of the mercenary policy. Britain in chaos, fight back yet to come. This could be JM’s Ambrosius junior; if so, he would have been born no later than C 425.  There is no reference to two Ambrosius in the sources, so the suggested chronology is more likely to be wrong. 

 

C 474 - [GA] ? Ambrosius’s maiden victory against the Saxons. [JM has 460–490s British counter attack, holding Londinium / London, Noviomagus / Chichester, under Ambrosius Aurelianus / Emrys, who settles Ambrosiaci?  in Ambrosden, Amberley, Amesbury / Ambresbury etc, campaigning from Wiltshire to Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire;  GA has Ambrosius builds a fleet].  No means of dating or locating the battles but the fight must have been in the civil areas of south and east Britain not the north or western tribal areas. Towns did indeed survive the struggle. Gerren Llyngesog / the Fleet Owner ab Erbin, ruler of Dumnonia from C 480, makes the existence of a fleet possible, but none is linked to Ambrosius.

 

C 480 - [JM] Arthur succeeds Ambrosius Aurelianus [others have by C 475/480 – Artorius / Arthur, ‘commander of the kings of the British in the war’, succeeds Ambrosius Aurelianus; C 480-511Arthur ? Imperator / High King]. Fits Arthur’s probable dates but not his position or titles. If Ambrosius born C 405 he is 75 now. If this is JM’s Ambrosius junior then he could be 55 now. There is no indication of any direct generational handover Ambrosius to Arthur, so there may have been a gap and there were no doubt many other figures involved whose names have long been lost.

 

 485– [WSK] Aelle ruler of the South Saxons defeats Britons of Regnenses / Rhegin / Sussex at Mearcraedes Burnan [MA suggests this may be Glynde Bourne / River Glein, the 1st in Nennius’s list, with hill fort at Mount Caburn nearby; ? as Ambrosius Aurelianus ages & loses control].  There is no evidence for any such connection.

C 540 - Gildas says of Ambrosius: ‘His descendants in our day have become greatly inferior to their grandfather’s excellence.’

Possible antecedents - Ambrosius (from Greek for golden) was a common Roman cognomen. The Gens Aurellii was Roman gens from BCE. In 212 the grant of citizenship to the inhabitants of the entire Empire by Emperor Caracalla, Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus, meant that his nomen Aurelius was taken by many new citizens and it became the second most popular nomen in west.  7 of the 13 Emperors from Gallienus to Diocletian were named Marcus Aurelius.  Historical persons named Aurelius include:

Emperor Lucius Domitius Aurelianus Augustus (214/215 -275; Emperor from270), of peasant family from Sirmium in Pannonia. Cenabum / Orleans was named Aurelianus or Aureliana Civitas after him.

 

 Aurelius Ambrosius the first Praefectus Praetorio Galliarum 340.

Lucius Aurelius Avianius Symmachus d pre 402, educated in Gaul, Corrector of Lucania and the Brutti 365, 373 Proconsul of Africa, a supporter of Magnus Maximus, impeached by the Emperor Theodosius I in 387.  Pardoned and Consul 391.  A character in Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius’s Saturnalia (On Religious Lore) and Commentarii in somnium Scipioni.

Aurelianus (? - 416). Christian Easterner. Praefectus Urbis Constantinopolis 393-394. 399 Praetorian Prefect of the East.  Consul 400 but deposed by the Goths. Returned and 414-416 Praetorian Prefect of the East.

Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (345-402), orator.  Urban Prefect Rome 384-385, Consul 391.  A pagan who led a delegation to Emperor Gratian in 382 to protest the removal of the Altar of Victory from the Curia. Later he appealed similarly to Emperor Valentinian II. Author of 9 books of letters, a collection of Relationes (Official Despatches) and orations.

Quintus Aurelius Symmachus Consul 446.  Dedicatee of Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius’s De differentiis vel societatibus graeci latinique verba. 

Quintus Aurelius Memmius Symmachus, d 526. Supporter of Nicene orthodoxy and Pope Symmachus. Praefectus Urbis 476-491. Consul 485. Patrician 510. Caput Senatus.  Executed with son-in-law Boethius 526 by King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths. Wrote Roman history in 7 vols. A character in Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius’s Commentarii.

 

Aurelius Ambrosius (340-397), Saint Ambrose.  Consular Prefect of Liguria and Emilia 372.  Bishop of Milan 374. 

 

Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, Praetorian Prefect of Spain 399-400, Proconsul of Africa 410, Great Chamberlain 422, author of De differentiis vel societatibus graeci latinique verba; Saturnalia (On Religious Lore); and Commentarii in somnium Scipioni.

 

Ambrosius Aurelianus – Emrys Wledig. Christian. 

 

C 540  - Aurelius Caninus rules Glevum / Caer Gloul / Gloucester, Aquae Sulis / Caer Baddan / Bath and Corinium / Caer Ceri/ Cirencester d C 550.

C 540-550- Saint Paul Aurelian leaves Dumnonia for Armorica, founding Saint Pol-de-Leon and becoming Bishop of the Osismi d C 575. Son of a Welsh chieftain / comes named Perphirius / Porphyrius / Clad in Purple, from Penychen, Glywysing.

None of these assists much in identifying Ambrosius Aurelianus.  Closest is: Aurelius Ambrosius Praetorian Prefect of Gaul 340, father of Saint Ambrose.  But see below "Amlawdd Wledig".

AMLAWDD WLEDIG

 

Amlawdd Wledig is so shadowy a figure that he is sometimes regarded as legendary. However, it is clear that he held an important place in British consciousness and the indications are that he was a figure of power in south Wales in the early post-Roman period and that he was linked by marriage to many princely houses.  

[PCB] Amlawdd Wledig / Anblaud / Anlawd ap Kynwal / Cynwal ap Ffrwdwr ap Gwrvawr ap Kadien ap Eudaf b 425, legendary. Wife is Gwen ferch Cunedda Wledig.

Life of Saint Illtud has Britanniae regis, father of Rhieinwylydd, mother of Saint Illtud, so latter is his grandson. 

'Culhwch and Olwen' has Arthur’s mother as Eigr ferch Amlawdd Wledig, and Eigr’s brothers Llygatrudd / Llygadrudd Emys / Red Eyed Stallion and Gwrbothu / Gwrfoddw Hen, King of Ercyng.  So Arthur is thought of here as his grandson.  In the tale, Anlawd Wledic is father of Goleuddydd, mother of Culhwch, who is his grandson.  Another daughter is mother of Goreu ap Custennin, also his grandson.  

Bonedd y Saint has Tywanwedd ferch Amlawdd Wledig wife of Hawystl Gloff, mother of several saints, which would be his grandchildren; Tywanwedd is also the wife of Tudfwlch Gorneu.  His daughter Gwyar is wife of Geraint ap Erbin and an un-named daughter is wife of Gwair ap Gwystyl. So family and descendants are:

Father - Kynwal / Cynwal [PCB - no date] ap Ffrwdwr [PCB 375] ap Gwrvawr/ Gwrfawr ap Kadien / Gadeon ap Eudaf. [PCB Gwrfawr (350) is also father of Tudwal, ancestor of Custennin Fendigaid. Eudaf Hen ap Caradog (310) is father of Cynan / Kenan, Adeon / Gadeon (330), St Elen (340), wife of Magnus Maximus, and of Beli, ancestor of St Gurthiern (no date)].

Wife - Gwen fetch Cunedda Wledig [PCB 420; Wikipedia additional wives are named also as Dwywn, Eglise, Scotnoe and Denyw]. 

Daughter - Tywanwedd / Tywynwedd / Dwywanedd / Dywanw / Dywedd [PCB 465]  m 1. Hawystl Gloff [PCB 465] / Mennwyd / Menwyd ab Owain

Danwyn [440] prince of Rhos ab Einion Yrth [410] ap Cunedda Wledig [her cousin].  

 

Grandson - [PCB tract ‘Enwau y Milwyr’] Kradoc Vraichvras /  Caradawc Vreichvras King of Gwent (470) ap Dywedd verch Aflaw Wledic [PCB this may be confused].  

Grandson - [PCB] Saint Tyfrydog / Tyvrydog.ap Hawystl Gloff by Tywnwedd ferch Amlwadd Wledig b 490 saint of Llandyfrydog, Anglesey and saint of Llandyrnog in Dyffryn Clwyd, Gwynedd.

Grandson - Saint Tudur [PCB - 490 saint of Darowen in Cyfeiliog, Powys, Llanuwchllyn, Penllyn, and well at Llanelidan, Dyffryn Clwyd].

Grandson - Saint Tyrnog / Teyrnog [PCB - 490 saint of Llandyrnog in Dyffryn Clwyd and Rhos Dyrnog in Darowen, Cyfeiliog, Powys].

Granddaughter - [PCB] Saint Marchell ferch Hawystl Gloff, b 500, saint of Denbigh.

Grandson -Saint  Diheufyr / Dier / Deifer [PCB - 505 saint of Bodfari in Tegeingl]. 

Grandson -  Gwallawc / Gwallog [PCB not possible; 500, one of the 'Men of the North' King of Elfed / Elmet] ab Lleenawg /  Lleenog.

Grandson - ['Culhwch and Olsen'] Gwyn ab Nudd [PCB mythical].

m. 2. Tudfwlch Gorneu (460).

Grandson - [PCB] Huallu ap Tudfwlch Corneu (no date) is one of the ‘Men of the North’ in 'Bonedd Gwyr y Gogledd'; his father is a prince of Cornwall.

Daughter - Gwyar [b 440; but Gwyar is a male name] m King Geraint [r 480-508] ap Erbin or Erbin ap Custennin of Dumnonia [so if Eigr is real, Gwyar is marrying the grandson of her sister Eigr, who married Custennin].

Grandson - Saint  Cyngar [490] ap Geraint ap Erbin, saint of Llangefni in Anglesey, Trefilan in Ceredigion, Llangyngar / Hope in Powys Fadog, disciple of St Cybi, settled as an old man with him in Anglesey.

Grandson -  ['Culhwch and Olwen'] Goreu ap Custennin [PCB legendary].

Grandson - ['Culhwch and Olwen' and Black Book of Carmarthen] Gwalchmai / Gawain ]legendary].

Grandson - ['Culhwch and Olwen'] Gwalhafed [legnedary].  

Daughter - Rhieinwylydd / Rieingulid [PCB - 450 m  Bicanus, a Prince of Brittany.

Grandson - Saint Illtud, 'born in Armorica' [PCB 470].

Daughter - unnamed.

Daughter - Enfeidas [no detail].

Daughter - ['Culhwch and Olwen']  Eigr / Igerne  / Igraine [PCB 445] m Custennin Fendigaid/ Custennin Corneu / Constantine III King Of Dumnonia [PCB 415, father of Saint  Erbin; r 435-443].If Eigr is real, she is grandmother of her sister Gwyar's husband Geraint. This is highly unlikely in terms of permitted relationships and time.

Grandson - Arthur. This relationship has to be legendary due to the impossibility of his mother Eigr marrying the grandson of his aunt, Gwyar.

Daughter - ['Culhwch and Olwen'] Goleuddydd.  Fictional.

Grandson - Culhwch.  Fictional.

Daughter - ['Dream of Rhonabwy'] unnamed m Gwair ap Gwystyl [legendary].

Son - ['Culhwch and Olwen'] Llygatrudd / Llygadrudd Emys / Red Eyed Stallion [legendary].

Son - ['Culhwch and Olwen'] Gwrbothu / Gwrfoddw Hen [legendary - maybe named after Gwrfoddw King of Ercyng (C 7).  

Son - ['Mabinogion'] Gweir Paladr Hir / 'Long Staff' [legendary].

Son - [Mabinogion] Gweir Gwrhyd Ennwir / 'False Valour' [legendary].

Amlawdd Wledig’s family connections are wide. His links are with Gwynnedd [wife, son-in-law of Rhos], Gododdin [through Gwynedd], the Men of the North, Brittany and Dumnonia. It is noteworthy that there are no family connection with the line of Powys.

If Amlawdd Wledig's grandson is Caradog Freichfras, he takes control of Gwent from Honorius / Ynyr Gwent's family, succeeding Iddon. All other grandchildren are saints.

Amlawdd Wledig is supposedly a mythical figure but has real descendants.  Ambrosius Aurelianus is a real figure with no identifiable family or descendants.  Are they the same man?  Amlawdd is possibly Ambrosius as:

1. His dates 430-474 fit.

2. His wife and children marry into the highest levels of three of the princely families. Only Magnus Maximus appears in more genealogies.

3. His descendants are numerous but (save for the line of Gwent, if Caradog really is his grandson) by 540 undistinguished, though they rank high enough and are saints so that they would still be  known to Gildas.

4. He was eminent enough to be placed in fictional accounts like 'Culhwch and Olwen' and, even if he were not to be grandfather to St Illtud, the author of the saint's life felt him eminent enough to choose him to be so.

5. His line possibly replaces the Vortigern appointed or related rulers of south Wales; Vortigern's granddaughter Madrun was married to Honorius / Ynyr Gwent.

6. Welsh 'lawddd' = laudatus.

7. Life of St Illtud calls him Britanniae Regis.

 

ARTHUR

 

It is probable that a man named Arthur led Britain’s defences in the late 5th and early 6th Centuries but it is unclear in what capacity.  If Arthur did not exist, an equivalent must have done, so the arguments about his existence are pointless.  However, Nennius, the Annales Cambriae, saints lives, poems, triads and legends all separately agree in connecting Arthur with attested figures of the same time, the 480s-530s, and the number of occasions on which the name Arthur crops up in the second half of the 6th Century is evidence of the popularity of the name in the generations after that.  Whilst the evidence is all circumstantial, it seems mistaken to deny the validity of the quantity of the indications that Arthur existed. 

 

Proferred dates are:

455 – Cunedda leaves Merionydd to Meirchion ap Typaun ap Cunedag [JM has this by Arthur after 500].  Morris’s suggestion does not fit dates or process of other areas of Gwynydd and has no evidence.  Meirchion divides up the patrimony after Cunedda’s death.

 

C 480 - [JM] Arthur succeeds Ambrosius Aurelianus [others have by C 475/480 Artorius / Arthur, ‘commander of the kings of the British in the war’, succeeds Ambrosius Aurelianus; other has C 480-511Arthur ? ‘Imperator / High King’; GA has b 480, d 540; WSK has ? fl C 500; if so, Arthur would have been born C 455 – 460; PCB has b 480 Mab Uter Britannice, filius horribilis Latine, quoniam a puericia sua crudelis fuit, father Uthr Bendragon [the Irish have Iobhar / Ibar], mother Eigr, wife Gwenhwyfar, sons Ambar, Gwydre, Llacheu, Cydfan, Smerbe, daughter Archfedd. Half-brothers Madog ab Uthr, Cadwr ap Gwrlais, Gormant ap Rhica. Sisters Anna, Elen, Gwyar, Morgen. Nephews Gwalchmai, Gwalhafed, Medrod, Eliwlod ap Madog ap Uthr. Sword Caledfwlch. Courts Caerllion ar Wysg, Celliwig, Penrhyn Rhionydd. Ships Prydwen, Gwennan].

C 485-497 -  [MA] Arthur’s battles leading up to Badon.  No proof, no dates, but likely.

493 - [CP following Bede & Ellis] Battle of Badon [AC has 516– Bellum badonis in quo Arthur portauit crucem domini nostri ihu xpi tribus diebus & tribus noctibus inhumeros suos & brittones uictores fuerunt [other sources have 490, 496, 500, 517, 518; AC and IA interpolation have 516-518; Easter Annals in Nennius have 518; GA has 514-520; IA has 499 or 495; JM has 495; Chambers has 518; Collingwood has pre 503; Bede can also be said to have 490, 492; MA has 492-497; WSK has C 500]  ?Arthur defeats ?King Aelle of South Saxons / ? Oesc / Aesc of Kent [MA suggests Aelle led supported by Aesc]. 

508-  Dream of Rhonabwy makes Arthur a contemporary of Cadwy ab Gerren / Cado ap Gerren Llyngesoc King of Dumnonia r C 508– 530]. Life ofSaint Carantoc has Arthur and Cato / Catovius / Cadwy ruing jointly in Somerset.  

510 - [GA] Illtyd receives tonsure from Dubricius, who in legend also crowns Arthur.  No evidence Dubricius tonsured Illtyd.

537- [AC/IA] Battle of Camlann; Arthur and Medraut fall [IA interpolation & Easter Annals in Nennius have 539; Chambers has 539; AC has 537 Gueith cam lann inqua Arthur et medraut corruerunt et mortalitas in britannia et in hibernia fuit; JM says 515;Tigernach has 541; Anales Toledanos has 580; MA suggests 510-520 or 539].  Arthur aged about 82-85, which is too late to be fighting battles. This date is too late, or Arthur’s date of birth at 455 is too early.  If this date is right, perhaps Badon is more like 500? 

665- Bedanheafod [CP has Great Bedwyn]. Morgan / Morcant King of Morgannwg dies [AC has 665 Bellum badonis secundo. Morcant moritur. This is the Bedan-heafod / Biedan-heafod in the ASC for 675].

The earliest dates for Arthur’s active life must be about 480, the latest 530/540. 

Arthur is nowhere in a king list and is not described as anything other than dux bellorum or miles in Nennius.  He perhaps represents the last commander of a central administration in the Diocese of Britannia. 

Saints’ lives connect Arthur with men or women of the 480-530 period in:

Dumnonia: Kings Gerren 480-501/508 and Cado 501/508-530, and in Glastenning with King Cado in 508; Saint Carannog late C 5 to early C 6.

Ergyng: King Gwrfoddw C 474 to 500 plus?.

Gwent: King Caradog Freichfras C 490. 

Cernyw / Glywyssing: King Saint Gwynllyw / Gundleus of Gwynllwg 450/480-500/523 and his wife Gladwys; Saint Illtud pre 431/480-505/508; Saint Cadog 497-580.

Brycheiniog: King Brychan 480-495.

Armorica: Saint Padarn, c 490-550; King Hoel I Mawr 490-544 in Vannes / Brittany; St Efflam in Damnonia 448-512.

Ceredigion: Saint Carannog pre 453-?.

Alt Clut / Strathclyde: King Caw 495-501; Saint Gildas 516-567/570.

Preface to the Legenda Sancti Goeznovii (d 675) written 1019, gives Arthur as King after Vortigern and some detail of the history. 

Saints connected with Arthur are:

 

Saint Padarn / Paternus d C 550. Padarn's early Vita is one of five insular and two Breton saints' lives that mention Arthur independently of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, but only in a miraculous context of denying Arthur a tunic and making the ground swallow him, after which Arthur takes Saint Padarn as a patron.  Deumbalat quidam tirannus regions altrinsecus, Arthur nomine. Breton Padarn was made Bishop of Vannes / Darioritum by King Caradog Vreichfras of Gwent C 490 after 20 years in Wales and founding a monastery near Aberystwyth.

 

Saint Goeznovius d 665.  The Legenda Sancti Goeznovii includes an unusual preface detailing the history of Brittany and including some episodes from Britain's traditional history.  The preface describes the traditional story of Vortigern, who usurps the British throne and invites Saxon warriors into the country as protection. The Saxons caused great suffering among the Britons, until they were largely driven out by the new king, Arthur. Arthur proceeded to win battles in Britain and in Gaul but was eventually "summoned… from human activity," paving the way for the Saxons to return. The Saxon persecution caused many of the Britons to flee to Gaul, where they established Brittany. Saint Goeznovius was Bishop of Leon.

 

Saint Efflam 448-512.  When he met King Arthur, he was pursuing a dragon. Efflamm brought forth a source in Saint-Efflam (in Plestin les Greves in Damnonia) for the drink and prayed before the lair of the monster, who went to die rushing into the sea.

 

Saint Carannog / Carantoc [PCB] b 470. Grandson of Ceredig of Ceredigion 424-453.  The saint, having returned to Wales, crossed the Bristol Channel, looking for his portable altar. He arrived on the banks of the River Willett and came into conflict with both King Cado of Dumnonia 508-530 and King Arthur at Dunster in Somerset.  Cato et Arthur regnabant in ista patria.  Carantoc was eventually obliged to defeat a ferocious dragon in order to retrieve his altar and, in return, was given land at nearby Carhampton to found a monastery. 

 

Saint Gwynllyw C 450/480-523.  The Vita C 1120 of Saint Gwynllyw mentions his abduction of Gladwys and meeting Arthur but according to it no battle occurred and the marriage was actually accomplished peacefully.

 

Saint Cadoc / Cadog 497-580s. Vita Cadoci written shortly before 1086 by Lifris of Llancarfan mentions Arthur twice. 1st time when King Gwynllyw accompanied by 300 men abduct Gwladys the daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog, as Brychan had refused to let him marry her. A battle was only stopped by the intervention of hero strenuus King Arthur and Cai and Bedwyr who supported Gwynllyw and his warband in the battle. This is the earliest reference to Arthur in a Saint's life.  When Gwladys of Brycheiniog is being taken to marry Gwynllyw, the party meets Arthur, Cai and Bedwyr / Bedguir / Bedguur playing dice on a hill, Arthur fancying her but being dissuaded from acting on it and telling her father, King Brychan Brycheiniog C 420-495, that she was outside his jurisdiction. [JM] Arthur assists Gwynnllyw repel an invasion by Brachan. Hero fortissimus. Rex illustrissimus Britanniae who pursues Ligessauc Lauhir filius Eliman, dux Britannnorum fortissimus, who had killed three of Arthur’s men. 2nd time has Cadoc coming into conflict with Arthur: the Vita depicts Arthur as great and bold but willful. Lifris writes that Cadoc gave protection to a man who had killed three of Arthur's soldiers and Arthur was awarded a herd of cattle from Cadoc as compensation. Cadoc delivered them but when Arthur took possession of them they were transformed into bundles of ferns. 

 

[PCB] Saint Cynidr of Glasbury, brother of Saints Cadog and Eigion, son of Gwynllyw, with Dewi, Teilo, Dochau and Maeddog judged a dispute between Cadog and Arthur over Llyngesog Lawhir ab Eliman / Llyngesog Long-Hand / Brave Chief who slew three of Arthur’s soldiers and took refuge for 7 years with Cadog at Llancarfan.  When he finally heard, Arthur had a dispute with Cadog, which went to arbitration, and Arthur was paid nine heiffers that then turned into ferns. Saint of churches in Brycheiniog and Ercyng.

 

Saint Gildas ap Caw. The first Life of St. Gildas was written by an unnamed monk at the monastery which Gildas founded in Rhuys, Brittany in C 9. The second Life of St. Gildas was written by Caradoc of Llancarfan in C 12. Caradoc of Llancarfan’s Vita has Arthur rex totius maioris Britanniae, rex universalis Britanniae killing Huail / Hueil, brother of Gildas.  The 2nd Vita Gildae has 23 brothers of Gildas constantly uprising against Arthur and refusing to own him lord. Arthur pursues and kills the eldest, Hueil ap Caw [PCB b 490] on the Isle of Man while Gildas is in Ireland. In the tale of ‘Culhwch and Olwen’ Hueil is at Arthur’s court and refused to submit to any lord’s hand, stabbing his nephew Gwydre ap Llwydeu, thus creating a feud with Arthur.  Hueil may be Cuillus in the Breton Life of Gildas, his elder brother who succeeds to the throne of Alt Clut. The Llancarfan Life contains the earliest surviving appearance of the abduction of Guinevere episode, common in later Arthurian literature. Arthur’s wife Guennuvar is carried off by King Melwas and held at a stronghold near Glastonbury monastery. Gildas successfully intercedes. 

 

Saint Illtud.  The earliest mention of St. Illtud is in the Vita Sancti Sampsonis, written in Dol, Brittany, about 600.  The Norman Vita C 1130/ 1140 has him visiting Arthur’s court and Arthur his cousin: Illtutus … audiens … Arthurii regis … magnificentium, cupivit visitare tanti victoris curiam.  Illtud is shown as going to Gaul in 431and studying under Germanus, and also as studying in Paris 470, founding Llantwit Fawr in 480/508, d495/505.  Illtud becomes magister militum to Pawl / Puolentus of Penychen because he had been curialem … militem atque honoribilem. [PCB] In the Life of St.Illtud, the saint is said to have been cousin to Arthur, his mother being Rhiainwylydd ferch Amlawdd Wledig.  [There is a common strand binding five of these Lives: the monastery of Llancarfan, founded Glamorgan by St. Cadoc. Biographies from Llancarfan include those of Ss. Gildas, Cadoc, Illtud, Carannog, and Padern, all of which mention King Arthur, often in a less than flattering light].

 

Saint Edeyrn.  No vita.  C 6 saint related to Vortigern and the royal house of Powys and the brother of Saints Aerdeyrn and Elldeyrn. Edeyrn is the patron saint of Lannédern in France and Llanedeyrn in Wales, where he founded a monastery of over 300 people.  Legend holds he was a companion of King Arthur, before moving to Britanny where he became a Hermit.  Churches in Glywyssing and Brittany.

 

Saint Kea Colodoc d C 550.  Life is a C 17 French life.  C 537 – Saint Kea Colodoc returns to Britannia from Armorica at request of British prelates to mediate unsuccessfully between Arthur and Modred.  

 

Saint Tydecho ab Annun Ddu.  [PCB] Saint Tydecho / Titechon ab Annun Ddu ab Emyr Llydaw b 470 accompanied Cadfan and Padarn from Lydaw to Wales. ‘Relative of King Arthur’.  With Saints Dogfael and Tegfan at Llandudoch, Dyfed. 

 

Saint Armel / Bear-Prince.  Abbot of Plouarzel d 570.  Armel is said to have been a Breton prince, born to the wife of High King Hoel of Vannes while they were living in Glamorgan in Wales in the late C 5. It has been questioned whether or not Saint Armel could have actually been King Arthur. After the battle of Camlann, Armel would have retired to his duties as a monk.  Highly unlikely.

 

Saint Endelienta ferch Brychan, supposed goddaughter of Arthur C 490.

 

Deroc II, prince of Dumnonia 520-530, father of Saint Cenydd / Cennydd, born of incest apparently at Loughor in Glamorgan while his father was attending King Arthur.  A cripple, saint of Llangennydd / Llangennith / Llangynydd and Capel Cynnydd in Gwr Is Coed in the Gower and Languidic in Damnonia, Armorica. 

 

The texts are being specific about figures of a certain era, which is unlikely to be the case were Arthur to be simply the stuff of myth and the sources making up his contacts. In this regard, it is noteworthy that there are no historical persons identified in these texts connected with Arthur who lived outside this period.  Nor do lives of saints of other periods mention Arthur.  Information about Arthur is carefully time-specific.

The area of operation or friendship implied by the stories is southwest Britain and south-mid Wales. There is a connection with Britanny and with Damnonia / Alt Clut, but in the latter only through the killing of its prince.  There are no story links with eastern Britain, Powys, Gwynedd or the Men of the North, despite the regard in which Arthur was clearly held throughout the north. 

Connections in royal lines with the name Arthur are:


Only one man with Arthur’s name is of the right time: Arthwys ap Mar C 460-520, ruler of Dunoting / the Northern Pennines C 475.  But the connections listed above do not include the Pennines nor the area ruled by Arthwys’s son in the midlands and he is not a significant figure nor is he ever suggested in the sources as Arthur. 

The crop of Arthur names begins in second half of C 6: in Brittany 540, Dalriada 551, Ceredigion twice in 560 and pre 595, Dyfed 570, Northern Votadini / Manau Gododdin pre 597 and around 597-604, and in Gwent 645.  

Literature mentions Arthur:

Aneirin’s poem ' Y Gododdin' – late C 6.  Aneirin bard of Rheged late C 6.  The 'Y Gododdin' survives only in one manuscript, the Book of Aneirin from the later C 13, but 'Y Gododdin' has been dated to anywhere between C 7  and early C 11.  Others consider it the work of a poet from Wales in C 9, 10 or 11.  At Catraeth C 600 Gwawrddur ‘glutted the black ravens of the ramparts of the city, though he was no Arthur.’

Taliesin’s mythical poems – late C 6.  The Book of Taliesin / Llyfr Taliesin dating from the first half of C 14 though many of the fifty-six poems it preserves are taken to originate in C 10 or before.  The volume contains some of the oldest poems in Welsh, possibly but not certainly dating back to C 6 and to a real poet called Taliesin.  Eight poems re Urien Rheged.  Mention of Arthur is mystical. One mentions Bedwyn’s warlike feats ‘on the shores of the Tryvrwyd [Tribuit]’ and a follower of Arthur as ‘Uthr Pendragon’s man’. Another mentions Madawc ab Uthr, brother of Arthur, father of Eliwlod.

Nennius – C 9.

Annales Cambriae – C 10.

'Llongborth poem' – C 10 based on an earlier version recording an event of ? 501. 'Marwnad Gereint' / 'The Elegy of Gereint' son of Erbin in the Black Book of Carmarthen.  C 10 but based on earlier. The poem may have been composed in C 10 or C 11.  Geraint Llyngesog / Fleet Owner, King of Dumnonia C 480-C 501/508at ? Porchester 501: 

 

In Llongborth I saw Arthur’s

Brave men who cut with steel,

The emperor [ameraudur], ruler in toil of battle.

'

'Geraint and Enid' / 'Geraint ab Erbin' in C 14 White Book of Rhydderch and the Red Book of Hergest; based either on Chretien de Troyes’s C 11 'Erec and Enide', or on earlier Celtic stories.  Includes Bedwyr uab Bedrawt and (out of chronology) Gwallog ap Lleenog.

'Culhwch and Olwen', a complete version in the Red Book of Hergest, C 1400, and a fragmented version in the White Book of Rhydderch, C 1325. Certain linguistic evidence indicates it took its present form by the C 11 making it perhaps the earliest Arthurian tale.  It mentions Urien Rheged and many figures out of chronological possibility.  Names of Arthur’s family are given: Culhwch ap Cilydd ap Celyddon Wledig by Goleuddydd ferch Anlawdd Wledig, 1st cousin to Arthur; Gormant ap Ricca, Arthur's brother on his mother's side (Ricca was penhynaf, ‘chief elder’, of Cornwall implying that Eigr / Igerne was previously married to Ricca / Rhica);  Drudwas ferch Tryffin, Arthur’s mistress, sister of Erdudful ferch Tryffin; Gwair Gwrhyd Enwir / False Valour / Faithful Valour and Gwair Gwyn Paladr / Baladr Hir White-shaft uncles of Arthur, brothers of Eigr; Gwalchmar ap Gwyar, Arthur’s sister’s son or son of his sister and first cousin, and brother Gwalhafed / Gwalchaved ap Gwyar; Gwenhwyfach, sister of Gwenhwyfar, wife of Medrod; Gwenhwyfar, wife of Arthur; Gwrfoddw Hen, uncle of Arthur, mother’s brother / ? Gwrfoddw Hen, King of Ercyng.

'Rhonabwy’s Dream' / 'Breuddwyd Rhonabwy', set during the reign of Madog ap Maredudd, prince of Powys (d 1160), it is dated to the late C 12 or C 13. It survives in only one manuscript, the Red Book of Hergest. It includes Cai, finest horseback rider at Arthur’s court and Iddog Cordd Prydain ap Mynio / the Embroiler of Britain, envoy between Arthur and nephew / foster son Medrod who replaced Arthur’s fair words with foul and so caused Camlan.  The tale says that Arthur fought Osla Gyllellfawr / of the Long Knife at Badon; ? equates to Ossa, grandfather of Ida of Bernicia. Others included are Caradog Freichfras ap Lyr Marini, Arthur’s Chief Counsellor and first cousin, Cadwy of Dumnonia. It states that Caer Faddon by the Severn is Badon.  Rhun Hir ap Maelgwn Gwynedd is described as a ‘big, curly-headed, auburn man’.  Cyn-March ap Meirchion is head of a troop of ‘Norwegian’ horse and Arthur’s first cousin.  It lists Arthur’s Forty-Two Counsellors.

'Who is the Porter?' in the Black Book of Carmarthen / Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin, which dates from the mid C 13, written before 1250. It praises Bedwyr Bedrydant as a fighter and lists Cai Guin / the fair as fierce, a hostage taker. 

'Owain and Luned' 'Owain' / 'The Lady of the Fountain', analogous to Chrétien de Troyes' Old French poem 'Yvain, the Knight of the Lion'. It survives in the White Book of Rhydderch and the Red Book of Hergest, both from C 14.  Based on Chretien or on a Welsh source.

Poems and fragments in the Red Book of Hergest.  Caer Hir ap Sefin is an opponent of Melwas of Ynys Wydrin, escort of Gwenhwyfar when carried off by Melwas.  Dywel ab Erbin b 510slain in a battle in Dyfed against invading Maelgwn Gwynedd.

 

Late Poems and Lists.  Saint Derfel Gadarn [PCB] b 490, saint in Glywyssing and Gwent, named as one of seven who escaped Camlan. Geneid Hir is one of the seven men left after Camlan.  Tradition has Gwenhwyfach, sister of Gwenhwyfar, as wife of Modred and quarrelling with her sister over nuts, leading to Camlan.

[JM] Welsh Laws lay down that bards sing three songs of Camlan (kerd of Camlan) to the Queen in her apartment.

Bonedd y Saint; Llawfrodedd Farfog b 490 is father of Gwyddnabi and grandfather of Saint Idloes; or father of Efadier and Gwrial by Archfedd ferch Arthur.  It names the opponent of Arthur at Badon as Offa / Ossa Cyllellfawr, king of Loegre. 

Triads of Ynys Prydain [undated] include Arthur:

 

As one of ‘Three Frivolous Bards’.

List him in the ‘Three Wicked Uncoverings / Unfortunate Disclosures’.

‘Three Great Queens of Arthur’s Court'. 

‘Three Faithless Wives’ has Guinevere as number 4.  

‘Three / Fixtures of Arthur’s court’.

‘Three Battle-Diademed Men’ includes Cai ap Cynyr Ceinfarfog; Huail ap Caw; and Bedwyr listed as a fourth.

‘Three Chief Elders’ include Caradog Freichfras, Penynhaf of Celliwig

‘Three Chief Officers’ have Cawrdaf ap Caradog Freichfras.

‘Three Chieftains’ of Arthur’s court'. 

'Three Elens who went from Ynys Prydain’ including Elen, sister of Arthur.

‘Three Favourites’ of Arthur’s Court'.

‘The Twenty-four Knights of Arthur’s Court’. 

‘Three Grand Conspiracies’ of Ynys Prydain', including Iddawc Corn Prydain’s misrepresentation of Arthur to Medrod before Camlan. 

‘Three Gwenhwyfars, Wives of Arthur’.

‘Three Harmful Blows’ of Ynys Prydain', including Gwenhwyfach giving her sister Gwenhwyfar a blow over nuts, leading to Camlan;

‘Three Mistresses of Arthur’.  

‘Three Most Courteous to Guests and Strangers’ at Arthur’s Court, including Cadwy ap Gerren of Dumnonia. 

‘Three Offensive Knights’ of Arthur’s court. 

‘Three Peers’ of Arthur’s court. 

‘Three Royal Knights’ of Arthur’s Court.

‘Three Skilled Bards’ of Arthur’s Court. 

‘Three Splendid Maidens’ of Arthur’s court. 

‘Three Tribal Thrones’ of Ynys Prydain, including Celliwig, also as Arthur’s court ravaged by Medrod and the location of Bedwin, chief bishop. 

‘Three Unfortunate Blows’ of Ynys Prydain, including Gwenhwyfar giving her sister Gwenhwyfach a blow, causing Camlan. 

'Three Unfortunate Counsels’ of Ynys Prydain, including Camlan.

‘Three Unopposable Knights’ at Arthur’s court. 

‘Three Unrestrained Ravagings’ of Ynys Prydain, including when Modred came to Arthur’s court at Kelliwig, dragged Gwenhwyfar from her royal chair and struck her, leading to Camlan. 

‘Three Unrestricted Guests’ of Arthur’s court.

 

Summary

 

1. A supreme military figure who was not himself of imperial or royal stock was standard in the period: compare Stilicho, Aetius, Aegidius and Syagrius.  Such could be expected in Britain.

 

2. Arthur is given no title save that of Dux bellorum given him by Nennius.   He is not entitled Wledig.  Given his (mythical?) genealogical links with Dumnonia, one might suggest that he was something like Magister Militum of that principality (as Saint Illtud was of Penychen) and War Leader for the British state (as it was common later to appoint in joint campaigns).

 

3. If no one named Arthur existed, someone who performed the task of defeating the invaders and establishing a situation in Britain that lasted for about 60 years did. But there is no one named in any historical or literary source other than Arthur who could have been such a figure.

 

4. Given the great achievement of whoever directed the post-Roman British state in the recovery after the Saxon revolt, and given the lack of an alternative, it seems churlish to deny the existence of Arthur. It is worth recounting this achievement of the British in this period, some of which must be the achievement of Arthur:

 

The final defeat of the Anglo-Saxon invaders after a struggle of fifty or so years.

 

The creation of a peace that lasted about seventy years.

 

The confinement of the Germanic tribes to the eastern fringes of the island.

 

The destruction of the kingdom of Sussex and its reduction to an impoverished and isolated, backward and impotent power.

 

The weakening of the kingdom of Kent, which did not revive for about ninety years.

 

The prevention of the formation of Germanic kingdoms in Essex, Surrey, Middlesex, East Anglia, the eastern Midlans, Deira and Bryneich.

 

The recovery of lost lands in the eastern Midlands: Cynwydion / Calchwynedd.

 

The end of raiding from Hibernia by the Scotti.

 

The end of raiding from Alba by the Piscts.

 

The strengthening of the British presence in Armorica so that it was able to withstand the Franks permanently.

 

The evangelization and bringing of Romanitas to the people of western and northern Britain, Hibernia and Alba. 

 

 

PRINCELY PRELATES AND ROYAL SAINTS

 

For a short period, around the turn of C 5 and C 6, some princes ruled whilst in holy orders. Saint Gildas makes oblique criticism of this in his attacks on Maelgwn Gwynnedd and Constantine ap Cado. The period was unique in this aspect. The number involved is too large to be coincidental. It appears that either for reasons of devotion or politics, it was felt advantageous to combine both roles.  In many case, this seems to have been due to religious fervour.  Some abdicated and retired to a religious life. Some princes were so obviously attracted to a religious life that they gave up their thrones and remained childless, even at the expense of their dynasties.  Holding both roles gave the possibility of great power, as was shown by Saint Cadog, the most powerful prelate and prince of his day. 

 

The cases of this were:

 

Ceredigion. 

 

Saint Carannog / Carantocus /Cairnech ap Corun ap Ceredig ap Cunedda, prince of Ceredigion, nephew of Saint Ina, refused throne in 453 when grandfather died, his father having died earlier.  Founded monasteries and churches in Carhampton, Somerset; Crantock in Cornwall; Carantec, Brittany; and Dulane, Meath and Inis Baithen, Leinster, Hibernia. Died C 466.  Brother of Saint Ceneu ap Corun of Llangeneu, Dyfed, Saint Pedr Llanfawr, Saint Tydiwg; and Saint Tysul.

 

Edeyrnion. 

 

Saint Mordeyrn ? ab Edeyrn, prince of Edeyrnion / Edeirnion, saint in Rhufoniog, Gwynedd [Edeyrn ruled post 445], leaving Edeyrnion to be absorbed into Rhos when his father died.

 

Cerneu / Glywyssing.

 

Saint Glywys ap Solor, prince of Cernyw / Glywyssing b C 430, ruled C 470/480-495, became a hermit at Penryn.  Father of Saints Pedrog and Cynfarch.

 

Saint Cynfarch ap Glywys, prince of Glywyssing, disiciple of Saint Dubricius in Ercyng.

 

Saint Gundleus / Gwynllyw Farfog ap Glywys / prince of Gwynllwg C 480/490-523; founder of monastery Eglwys Wynllyw, where he was buried; lived an eremitical life on site of current Saint Woolos Cathedral, Monmouth, separated from wife.  Father of Saints Cadog, Egwinus / Eigion and Cynidr of Glasbury. 

 

Saint Cadog Ddoeth ap Gwynllyw, King of Gwynllwg and Penychen b C 497, ruled 523 – 550/571 and C 495 Penychen.  Studied at Lismore and Brycheiniog. Abbot of Llancarfan. Builder of monasteries at Kilmadock in Scotland, Cornubia and Ile de St Cadou in Armorica.  Abbot of Beneventum / Bannaventa in Calchwynedd, killed there by Anglo-Saxons, ending line, leaving Glywyssing to be absorbed by Gwent.  Gildas says Maelgwn Gwynedd was pupil of ‘the refined master of almost all Britain’, probably meaning Cadog.

 

Dyfed.

 

Cyndur / Cyndwr Fendigaid ab Owain, prince of Dyfed, b ? 460.  

 

Brycheiniog.  

 

Saint or Patriarch Brychan Brycheiniog ap Anlach, prince of Brycheiniog, b ? C 400, ruler C 450 – up to 30 named ‘sons’ and up to 30 named ‘daughters’, many of whom become saints with links to Manau or Cornwall: the ‘Children of Brychan’.

 

Saint Cynog b C 420, Brychan’s eldest son, founds churches in Cornwall, south Wales and Powys, leaving the throne to the second son. 

 

Saint Rhain Dremrudd ap Brychan, prince of Brycheiniog, born C 430, died C 480s / 495, grandfather of Saint Asa / Asaph, was also for some reason regarded as a saint, althought there is no detail as to why. Perhaps his and his father’s sainthood stemmed from the school in their territory and their missionary work.

 

Dumnonia.  

 

Custennin Corneu Fendigaid ap Conomar, prince of Dumnonia, father of Saint Digian / Doco, b C 415, r C 435-443.

 

Saint Erbin ap Custennin, prince of Dumnonia, r 443 - pre 480, grandfather of Saint Cybi.

 

Gerren ap Erbin, prince of Dumnonia, patron of Gerrans, Falmouth, r C 480-508, father of prince Saint Cyngar ap Geraint.

 

Saint Custennin ap Cado ap Gerren, prince of Dumnonia, ruled C 530-560; AC has conversio 589. Taught by Saint Petroc.  Joined Saint David at Menevia. Succeeded Saint Mo-Chuda at Raithin, Ireland and Abbot of Galloway, Scotland.  Killed in Kintyre 576. Venerated as a saint in Cornwall, Devon, Hereford and Govan in Scotland.

 

 

Cornubia. 

Saint Cybi ap Salomon ap Erbin, prince of Cornubia, b 485, refuses throne C 530 and settles in Anglesey, ending line in Cornubia, which is re-absorbed by Dumnonia.  

 

Powys.

 

Cyndeyrn ap Gwrtheyrn / Categirn Fendigaid prince of Powys, born 404, killed 455, blessed by Saint Germanus 429.

 

Saint Cyngen Glodrydd ap Cadell Ddyrnllwg, prince of Powys, born C 460, ruled C 490-520.No detail as to why a saint. Married Saint Tudlwystl, daughter of Brychan ap Gwyngwen ap Tewdr.

 

Gwynedd. 

 

Maelgwyn Gwynedd Hir ap Cadwallon Lawhir, prince of Gwynedd, according to Gildas ‘Dragon of the Island’ and ‘sodden with the wine of Sodom’, Maelgwn murdered an uncle to succeed.  His confessor was Saint Cadog. Later, he abdicated the throne, late in his reign, and entered a monastery but, returning to secular life, he murdered his second queen and his nephew, and married the latter's widow. Born C 480, ruled C 517-537/539/547. Gildas says Maelgwn Gwynedd was pupil of ‘the refined master of almost all Britain’, probably meaning Saint Cadog. [PCB] Maelgwyn may be Maelgwn Fynach / the Monk, uncle of Saint Curig.

 

Rhos.

 

Saint Einion Frenin ab Owain Danwyn, prince of Rhos and Afflogion, Llyn, brother of Saints Seiriol and Meirion, ruler C 540 – 560. No detail as to why a saint. Died childless, ending the independence of Rhos, which is for a time absorbed by Gwynedd.

 

The North.

 

Saint Ceneu / Cerneu / Cenyw / Ceneus / Kenneth C 420-460, ruler of North Britain, elder son of Coel, based at Eboracum / Ebrauc / York [other has him C 458; other has 375 - 450].

 

Saint Pabo Post Prydein / Pillar of Britain, abdicates throne in the Pennines and becomes a monk at Llanbabo, Anglesey, C 525-530.

 

Saint Dunaut Fawr ap Pabo Post Prydain, prince of Dunoting in the Pennines, father of Saint Deiniol; born C 525 died C 595/597. Abbot?  His son, Saint Deiniol, dispossessed by the loss of Dunoting to Bernicia, founded Bangor-on-Dee.

 

Saint Santan ap Sawyl Penuchel ap Pabo Post Pridein, prince of the ? southern Pennines, born C 500, founded churches in Rheged and Ynys Manw, reaching Ireland, Bishop of Cill-da-Les, Kilnasantan in County Dublin and maybe Saint Sanctanus of Mount Sanctan / Cill Sanctan, Antrim. Brother of St. Madog

 

Brittany.

 

Saint Melor, prince of Vannes,mutilated thenmurdered by older brother Rivold, ruler of Vannes C 470/472.

 

Macliau, Bishop of Vannes, usurper of Tewdr Mawr, King of Vannes C 556, ruler of Bro Erech C 570 [or 533].

 

Saint Iudicael, King of Brittany, abdicates C 635.

© 2014 Nigel Collett All Rights Reserved