Jocelin’s Life of Kentigern

In his Life of Kentigern, Jocelin combined the lives of the northern Cyndeyrn Garthwys, that is Kentigern, with the southern Cyndeyrn ap Cyngar. As a result the story appears to state anachronisms. However, in reality, Kentigern of gen. 2 would have been a contemporary of Moken if he was Morgan Fwlch, one of Barturm’s candidates for the name. However, when the story shifts to the south with with Dewi in Menevia, Cadwallon Lawhir and Maelgwn Gwynedd the saint was Cyngar, not Kentigern. Finally, the Vita returns to the north with Kentigern and Rhydderch Hen.

Gen. ByS 6b ByS 13 seg. ByS 14 HG 1b seg. HG 6 HG 10 seg.
3 Morgan
2 Cyndeyrn Garthwys Rhydderch Hen Coleddog
1 Cyndeyrn Owain Denw Rhun Tudwal Morgan Fwlch
0 Cyngar Asaph Urien Lleuddun Luyddog Maelgwn Gwynedd Clinoch Cyngar
-1 Garthog Sawyl (Benuchel) [Benisel] Cadwallon Lawhir Dyfnwal Hen
-2 Ceredig Pabo (Post Prydyn)
-3 Cunedda Wledig

Jocelin did not give the name of Kentigern’s father, perhaps, because of having to avoid choosing between Owain ab Urien and Cyngar ap Garthog. Cyndeyrn was probably the saint of Llangyndeyrn. Nothing is known about him as his story was absorbed into that of Kentigern.

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The two bishop Davids

The AC B tells us that David was born 30 years after Patrick left Menevia:

“Anus sanctus dewy nascitur anno xxx post dis(c)essum patricii de meneuia.”

As the Irish annals say Patrick arrived in Ireland in 432 it follows that David I was born in 462. This is the David whose ancestry is given in the Welsh genealogies and is spoken of in the Historia Regum Britanniae. His death is mentioned in AC C:

“Sanctus Dauid meneuensis archiepiscopus in domino quieuit .”

The death of the later individual, David II, appears in the AC A and B texts respectively thus:

“Dauid episcopus moni iudeorum.”

“dauid meneuensis episcopus obiit.”

The B text has incorrectly interpreted the A text, the last three words of which are “manu in deorum”, that is “in the hands of God”. So, in reality there is no reference to Mynyw. The date of 601 is not totally inconsistent with the Irish annals which date his obit between 587 and 589.

The Adventus Saxonum in the Historia Brittonum

The Historia Brittonum contains a number of statements which allow us to date the Adventus Saxonum:

“Vortigern, however, held power in Britain in the consulate of Theodosius and Valentinian and in the fourth year of his reign the Saxons came to Britain, in the consulship of Felix and Taurus, and in the four hundredth year from the incarnation of our lord Jesus Christ.”

The first consulate of Theodosius II and Valentinian III was in the year 425. That this was the start of Vortigern’s reign is plausible since he was of gen. -3. This would suggest he was probably in his 30s when crowned king. The passage suggests the Adventus occurred in the year 428 which was, indeed, the year of the consulship of Flavius Felix and Flavius Taurus. The last element of the text may be reconciled with this date by suggesting incarnation was an error for Christ’s Passion.

In the Chronicon Britannicum we see the Adventus incorrectly placed one Metonic cycle later in the year 447, see The Adventus Saxonum in the Chronicon Britannicum. The events of 425 and 428 listed in the HB may have been swapped in the mind of the author when he wrote:

“Also, from Stilicho to Valentinian son of Placidia, and the reign of Vortigern 28 years.”

as Flavius Stilicho was consul for the first time in 400.

Cath Palug

The poem Pa Gur in the Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin talks of the fight between Cei and Cath Palug, Palug’s cat. Bromwich states:

Cath Baluc is probably to be associated with the murchata or monstrous sea-cats of Irish tradition.”[1]

Murchata may have derived from the Irish name Murchadh which appears in the last line of Triad 15:

“Three Roving Fleets of the Island of Britain:

The Fleet of Llawr son of Eiryf
and the Fleet of Divwng son of Alan,
and the Fleet of Solor son of Murthach”

Note, Bromich writes:

“The spelling with –th– in place of –ch– in the triad and elsewhere would be a simple transposition.”[2]

Bromwich suggests all three fleets belonged to Irish raiders.[3] Cath Palug represents the leader of one of these marauding fleets. Muredach was the son of Eogan who was the son of Niall Noigiallach. As, Murthach would have been born about a century after Niall it is likely he would have been a contemporary of Cei and Arthur.

[1] Bromwich, R., 2006, 474.
[2] Ibid., 455.
[3] Ibid., 30.

The three Merlins

As first stated by Giraldus Cambrensis, Merlin of the Historia Regum Britanniae was not the same individual as Myrddin Caledonius.[1] But whereas he stated there were two Merlins in fact there were three.

Gildas’s Ambrosius Aurelianus was known to the Welsh as Emrys Wledig. Geoffrey or a later copyist called him Ambrosius Merlinus. This Merlin was a boy during Gwrtheyrn’s reign and so belonged to gen -2. His father is likely to have been Constantine III. His mother may have been Gwledyr ferch Clydwyn. If so, his name appears in ABT 18d as Amwerydd ap Custennin.

Emrys was the father of Uthr Bendragon and not his brother as claimed by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Also, Geoffrey created a doublet of Emrys by inverting the two Latin elements and thus producing the name for this supposed brother as Aurelius Ambrosius.

The second Merlin was An, the son of a daughter of Helig ap Glannog, see Myrddin Emrys, and consequently of gen. -1. He was the one who articulated the prophecy in HRB VII 3 and was involved in the deception played on Eigr.

The third Merlin is he of the Vita Merlini, known as Myrddin Caledonius, son of Morfryn and king of Dyfed. His sister, Ganieda, was married to Rhydderch Hael who was of gen. 0, see Rhydderch Hael and Rhydderch Hen. He may well have been a contemporary of the adult Arthur, being of gen. 1.

It is generally held that the name Merlin was created to avoid the association with the Latin equivalent of Myrddin, namely Merdinus. However, in reality, the name originated in the HRB as a corruption of Aurelianus.

[1] Rhys, E., 1908, 125.

Identifying Cynan Wledig

The name Cynan Wledig appears in its Latin form as Aurelius Caninus in the De Excidio where it is listed as one of five tyrants alive at the time of Gildas. Their territories were as follows:

Dumnonia (Constantinus),
? (Aurelius Caninus),
Dyfed (Vortiporius),
Rhos (Cuneglasus),
Gwynedd (Maglocunus).

Bartrum suggests Aurelius Caninus can be identified with Cynan Garwyn of Powys, which is plausible. He adds that there is no consensus as to which kingdom he ruled. Gildas’s list follows a geographical progression which suggests Cynan ruled over an area of South Wales. He would have been of gen. 0 or 1, as were the other tyrants, suggesting that he may have been Cynan ap Casanauth Wledig of Powys, see JC20 16b at Sanan ferch Elise.

The five rulers appear in the DEB after the Ambrosius passage. It may be they inherited his kingdom as indicated by:

brenin Emrys y bumran
King Emrys of the Five Parts

[1] Cylchg LlGC XVIII, 414.

Myrddin Emrys

Gen. PP1 63 seg. MG 3 seg. HG 16a seg. ByS L 42 seg. PP1 12
4 Seissyllt Eorf Caurtam Braint hir
3 Kynvynn Kaenawc Serguan Nevydd
2 Kynann kanhysgwydd Tegonwy Letan Geraint
1 Sawyl velyn Teon Catleu Garanawc
0 Mevric brenin Dyfed Gwineu Catel Glewddigar
-1 Maredudd brenin Dyfed Howyr leu Decion An Kynwas
-2 Predri How dec Cinis scaplaut [daughter] Rychwin varfoc
-3 Pliws hen brenhin Dyved Run rudpaladyr Lou hen Helic Helic
-4 Llara Guidgen Glynnawc Glanawc
-5 Kasnar wledic Caratauc
-6 Gwynn gohoyw Gloyw gwlat lydan Cinbelin
-7 Tenewan Teuhant

The genealogical table above exhibits the names as they appear in the various manuscripts. The name in gen. 0 of the list PP1 63 is Meurig who the document states was present at Arthur’s coronation. This is in accord with some other manuscripts, including the Brut y Brenhinedd :

“And before him [Arthur] were four men bearing four naked swords (namely Arawn Kynvarch’s son, King of Albany, and Caswallaun Longhand, King of Venedotia, and Merrick King of Demetia, and Cador Earl of Cornwall), for this was their privilege by the custom of the emperor.”

The name in gen. -2 is the Demetian Pryderi, son of Pwyll and Rhiannon, and the main character of the Four Branches of the Mabinogion. The name exhibits a number of variations including: Blitri, Bletri, Bledri and Bledri hir. I believe this is the individual that Robert de Boron called Blaise. That he should be the grandfather of a contemporary of Arthur, tallies with the belief that his foster-son, Merlin, should be at least one generation earlier than Arthur.

Bromwich says of Blaes, son of the Earl of Llychlyn, one of the Three Just Knights in Arthur’s Court mentioned in triad 6 of the Pedwar Marchog ar Hugain:

“The name appears to be derived from that of the hermit Bla(i)se in the Prose Merlin …”[1]

The triad states:

“Blaes [preserves justice] by earthly Law …”

This corresponds well to the fact that Blaise defended Merlin’s mother in court.

Confirmation of this analysis is provided by Le chevalier aux deux epées which gives Maredudd of gen -1 the form Mériadeuc and states that he is the son of Bleheri, a name which corresponds to Blaise. Bromwich gives the following footnote:

“K.Jackson discussed the name Bledhericus as a latinization of Ml.W. Bleddri (‘king of wolves’) in a brief note in Les Romans du Graal dans les litteratures des XIIc et XIIIc siècles (Paris, 1956), p. 148. In this he showed that the Welsh name Bleddri becomes easily corrupted to Bleri and then by assimilation to Breri and Bleheris in the continental romances.”[2]

Clearly, if this process could have occurred with the name of Bleddri ap Cydifor then it could also have occurred with Bledri ap Pwyll.

According to the First Branch of the Mabinogion, Pryderi was married to Cigfa, the daughter of Gwyn Gohoyw, son of Gloyw Walltlydan, son of Casnar Wledig. The last two names appear in reverse order in MG 3. However, whichever scheme is correct, Run rudpaladyr of gen. -3 would have been a brother of Gwyn Gohoyw and uncle to Cigfa, confirming the chronological correlation between PP1 63 and MG 3.

Further confirmation of the soundness of the dating is provided by HG 16a which shows Lleu Llaw Gyffes in gen. -2 and his uncle Gwydion, who killed Pryderi, in gen. -3. Note, Cadlew of gen. 1 appears in the HRB IX 12 as Cathleus map Catel and as being present at Arthur’s coronation.

After listing the 7 sons of Helig ap Glannog, not shown in the table above, and mentioning the submerged kindom, ByS L 42 states:

“… ac Anan ap y lleian nai uabchwaer.”

This is similar to the first verse in stanza 17 of Pen. 98B:

“Bedd Ann ap lleian ym newais fynydd,
lluagor llew Ymrais,
Prif ddewin Merddin Embrais.”

This is an englyn penfyr. The rhyme is at the 8th syllable of verse 1 and at the end of the other two verses. The “fynydd”, the final word of line 1, is an addendum known as a gair cyrch. “Lluagor” may be a description of Myrddin’s military skill or a reference to his birth occurring at the same time as that of a certain war-horse. The stanza says “newais” is the name of a mountain, perhaps, it is the Welsh equivalent of Gaelic “Nibheis”, as in Ben Nevis. There is, however, one problem, namely the first verse should contain 11 syllables. It is conjectured that the first line was originally:

“Bedd An anap lleian ym newais fynydd”

The text appears in a number of corrupted forms.

Corruption sequence one: An anap → Ananap → Ananan.
Corruption sequence two: An anap → Ananap → Annap → Airap.
Corruption sequence three: An anap → Ananap → Annap → Ann ap.

“Ananan” appears in ByS K, M 42, “Airap” appears in an englyn milwr transcription and “Ann ap” appears in the englyn penfyr transcription shown above. So, a translation of the text would be:

“The grave of An, the misfortune of the nun, on Ben Nevis,
Host-splitter, lion of Emrais,
Chief magician, Myrddin Emrys.”

Confirmation that the generational dating for ByS L 42 is correct is provided by PP1 12 which shows the descendants of Glannog who was the great-grandfather of Anan, this being the diminutive form for An. One of these is Braint Hir who was a nephew of Cadwallon ap Cadfan and consequently correctly appears in gen. 4.

[1] Bromwich, R., 2006, 289.
[2] Ibid., xciv.