Gwyddno Garanhir

Maes Gwyddno (The plain of Gwyddno) was a lowland area protected by a number of dykes which were managed by a individual named Seithennin, possibly its king. However, one night he failed in his duty through being too drunk and the land was drowned. This area, also known as Cantre’r Gwaelod, is said to be in Cardigan Bay near Aberdyfi.[1]

The region was named after Gwyddno Garanhir (Gwyddno Long-shank). Although Bartrum maintained that he was a legendary character, I believe we can identify him as a historical figure. The following table is a composite one.

Gen. BGG 10, 11
1 Elffin
0 Gwyddno
-1 Cawrdaf
-2 Garmonion
-3 Dyfnwal Hen
-4 Ednyfed
-5 Macsen Wledig

Gen. 1 to -3 are from BGG 10, gen. -4 to -5 are from a fragment of BGG 11. Gwyddno Garanhir appears in gen. 0 and his supposedly legendary son, Elffin, in gen. 1. As explained by Wolcott the Dyfnwal Hen in this pedigree was a different individual to that in the pedigree of the kings of Strathclyde.[2]

The prose Hanes Taliesin describes how Elffin discovered the child Taliesin. Elffin and Maelgwn, the king of Gwynedd, are contemporaries in this story and this is consistent with the fact that former belonged to gen. 1 and the latter to gen. 0. Maelgwn’s son, Rhun, plays a role in the tale which suggests he and Elffin belonged to the same generation, and this is in line with the above chronology.

When the bard Taliesin was 13 years of age he visited Maelgwn Gwynedd, who we are told was Elffin’s uncle, and correctly predicted Maelgwn’s imminent death. The AC tells us Maelgwn died of the plague in 547 and so we may conclude Taliesin was born c. 534.

[1] Rhys, J., 1901, 382
[2] Ancient Wales Studies > Anwn Dynod ap Maxen Wledig
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The king list of Ceredigion

HG 26, JC 21, JC 42 and ABT 6j together provide us with the pedigree of the royals of Ceredigion. In the columns two to five the medieval forms of the names are given whereas in the column headed Combined the modern forms are used.

Gen. HG 26 JC 21 JC 42 ABT 6j Combined
10 [G]uocaun Angharat Agharat  Angharat Gwgon and Angharad
 9 Mouric veuric veuruc  Feurig  Meurig
 8 Dumnguallaun dyga6l dyfynwal  Dyfynwal Dyfnwallon
 7 Arthgen Arthen Arden  Arthen  Arthen
 6 Seissil Seissill Seissyll  Seissill Seisyll
 5 Clitauc Clyda6c Cleta6c  Kledawg Clydog
 4 Aruodeu Aruodeu Aruodeu
 3 Artgloys Argloes Argloes Artholes Arthlwys
 2 Artbodgu  Arbothev Arthfoddow
 1 Bodgu Pode6 Pode6  Bothev Boddw
 0 Serguil Seruuel Seruul  Serwyll Serwyl
-1 Iusay Vsai Vsai  Usa Usai
-2 Ceretic Keredic Karedic  Keredig Ceredig
-3 Cuneda Kuneda wledic Kuneda wledic  Kunedda wledig Cunedda

Gwgon and Angharad, in gen. 10, were siblings. JC 42 adds the incorrect comment that Angharad was the mother of Rhodri Mawr who appears in gen. 10, see The king list of Gwynedd . It is generally agreed that she was his wife and this is confirmed by ABT 6j which states the mother of the sons of Rhodri mawr was Angharad.