The Powysian lineage

Understanding the descent of the kings of Powys poses considerable problems. These can be resolved when it is realised that the sons attributed to Vortigern (Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu) are in reality the offsprings of Cadell Ddyrnllug. The reason behind this intentionally incorrect attribution is given in HB 32 – 35. It tells how the royals of Powys were descendants of Cadell whose origins were humble. HB 34 tells us Cadell had nine sons. The Harleian manuscript gives the names of five of them, although they are incorrectly listed not as siblings but as sons of each other:

Gen. HG 22
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Mawgan Pasgen Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
Gen. HG 23
5 [H?]esselis
4 Gwrhaearn
3 Elfoddw
2 Cynin
1 Millo
0 Camuir
-1 Brydw Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
Gen. HG 27    
9 Cyngen
8 Cadell
7 Brochwel
6 Elise
5 Gwylog
4 Beli
3 Eiludd
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Glodrydd Mawgan Pasgen Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
-2 Selevan

The PE mentions four of the sons:

CONCE[NN]  PASCEN[T]  MAU[N]  ANNAN [+]  BRITU

The third and fourth elements of this part of the inscription is a reference to a single name, i.e. Mawgan. It is claimed the PE states they were the sons of Gwrtheyrn. However, this may be a misreading and the above four names were not being linked to Gwrtheyrn but rather to the largely missing previous lines. Following the above text the inscription reads:

A[ ]T[ ]M FILIUS GUARTHI[ ] QUE(m) BENED[ ] GERMANUS

HB 48 tells us that Gwrtheyrn’s son, Faustus, by his incestuous relation with his daughter, was brought up by Germanus. So, the first word in the above text may be a reference to Faustus, the only genuinely known son of Gwrtheyrn. This interpretation is supported by the use of the singular form ‘filius’.

The first segment of ABT 6k, shown below, matches the above HG 27:

Gen. ABT 6k 1st seg.
ABT 6k 2nd. seg.
10 Rhodri Mawr
9 Merfyn Frych  Nest
8 Cadell
7 Brochwel
6 Elise
5 Gwylog
4 Beli
3 Eiludd
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Glodrydd Pasgen Brydw
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug Rhuddfedel Frych
-3 Cyndeyrn
-4 Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu

Although the manuscript states Nest was the mother of Merfyn Frych the above table shows her as his wife. This is indicated as being the case in JC 18.

The second segment indicates two of the sons of Cadell Ddyrnllug were also the sons of Rhuddfedel Frych. This suggests the latter individual was Cadell’s wife despite the fact that the manuscript suggests the individual was male. Uncertainty on the gender of an individual occasionally occured with the manuscript copyists. It would seem that the cognomen ‘Frych’ is a corruption of ‘ferch’ meaning ‘daughter’.

Interestingly, with the aid of the LaB, HB M 49  and GaC 2 it is possible to trace the Powysian ancestry back to the 2nd century BCE. The manuscript form of the names are given:

Gen. LaB HB M 49
9 Fernmail
8 Teudubir
7 Pascent
6 Guoidcant
5 Moriud
4 Eldat
3 Eldoc
2 Beuno Paul
1 Bugi Mepurit
0 Gwnlliw Briacat
-1 Tegit Pascent
-2 Kadell Drynlluc [Rhuddfedel Frych] [Rhuddfedel Frych]
-3 [Cyndeyrn] [Cyndeyrn]
-4 Gortegyrun Guorthigirn Guortheneu
-5 Gorthevyn Guitaul
-6 Gorthgeyrun Guitolin
-7 [Gloiuda] Gloiuda
-8 [Paul Merion] Paul Merion
-9 [Gloiu] Gloiu
-10 [Rhifedel] [Rhifedel]
-11 Rutegyrn [Rutegyrn]
-12 Deheuwynt [Deheuwynt]
-13 Eudegan [Eudegan]
-14 Eudegern [Eudegern]
-15 Elud [Elud]
-16 Endos [Endos]
-17 Endolen [Endolen]
-18 Avallad [Avallad]
-19 Amalech [Amalech]
-20 Belim [Belim]

LaB goes on to say Beli was the son of Anna. Rhifedel of gen. -10 does not appear in either of the above documents. However, he is the only known son of Rhydeyrn and appears in HG 10, GaC 2 and ABT 1c. The last king mentioned in the above list from the HB, Ffernfael ap Tewdwr, was reigning in Buellt and Gwrtheyrnion at the time the document was written according to the manuscript, i.e. c. 830, confirming he belonged to gen. 9.

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The king list of Gwynedd

The line of descent of the Venedotian kings is given in HG 1. However, this list poses a problem in terms of chronology until it is treated as three fragments as shown in the second to fourth columns in the table below.

Gen. HG 1:1st seg. HG 1:2nd seg. HG 1: 3rd. seg. ByA 28c ChB
13 Owain
12 Hywel D.
11 Cadell
10 Rhodri M.
9 Merfyn F.
8 Esyllt
7 Cynan D.
6 Rhodri M.
5 Idwal I. Conobertus
4 Cadwaladr F. Alain II
3 Cadwallon Salomon II
2 Cadfan Beli m. Rhun Hoel III
1 Iago Rhun H. Perweur Alain I
0 Beli Maelgwn G. Rhun R. Hoel II
-1 Rhun [Einion] Cadwallon L. Einion Hoel I
-2 Einion Y. Mar Budic
-3 Cunedda W. Ceneu Audroenus
-4 Edern Coel Salomon I
-5 Padarn B. Gradlon
-6 Tegid Conan M.

As can be seen in the second column, the list states that Rhun was the father of Beli. This is correct but that individual was not Rhun Hir, the son of Maelgwn Gwynedd, who appears in the fourth column.

Rhun Hir married Perweur f. Rhun Ryfeddfawr whose name appears in ByA 28c and they both belonged to gen. 1 as shown in the above table. Triad 79 tells us she was one of the Three Lively Ladies of Britain. ByA 28c errs when it says Perweur was the “Mam Beli m Rhun …”. As can be seen from the second column Beli m. Rhun belonged to a generation one earlier than that of his supposed parents. ByB confirms that Rhun was the father of Beli. HRB wrongly asserts that Einion was the father whereas in fact he was an uncle. It was this Rhun and not Rhun Hir who fled to Armorica. His daughter, Tymyr, married Hoel II who appears in ChB.

Both HRB and ByB assert that Einion was Rhun’s brother. This allows us to solve a 1500 year old murder mystery which is not a whodunit but a “who was it dun to”, as we know the identity of the murderer but it is unclear who the victim was. Gildas wrote of Maelgwn:

In the first years of thy youth, accompanied by soldiers of the bravest, whose countenance in battle appeared not very unlike that of young lions, didst thou not most bitterly crush thy uncle the king with sword, and spear, and fire?[1]

In the Latin text the word for uncle is avunculus which strictly means mother’s brother. However, in this context I believe this can be linked to the fact given in JC 23 that an Einion was not only half-brother to Cadwallon Lawhir, Maelgwn’s father, through Einion Yrth, their father, but that their mothers were sisters, daughters of king Didlet.

Although HRB states Rhun escaped to Armorica after the death of Einion because he was driven out by the Saxons, it would seem that Maelgwn had a hand in it as well. After Maelgwn’s death his son successfully thwarted challenges to his kingship. However, it would seem that the rightful lineage to the throne was reestablished when Beli became king. As can be seen in the above table, Cadwallon is correct when he tells Salomon II  in the ByB that their two fathers were two second cousins.

[1] Williams, H., 1899, 77

 

Clinog Eitin and Clydno Eidin

Clinog and Clydno have been identified as the same person. The former name is said to be a corruption of the latter. Also, the two names share the same cognomen, which means Edinburgh. However, their pedigrees indicate they were not the same individual as the following table, which uses the manuscript form of their names, illustrates. Clinog was a generation earlier than Clydno.

Gen. HG 7 BGG 3 ByS 15
4 Gorỽst
3 gỽeith hengaer eiryorỽy
2 Clydno Eidin elphin glydno eidin
1 [C]linog eitin Kynnỽyt Kynnỽydyon vryen
0 Cinbelim Kynuelyn
-1 Dumngual hen Arthwys
-2 Mar
-3 Keneu
-4 Coel

(Three other sons of Cynwyd Cynwydion who are mentioned in BGG 3 have not been included in the above table .)

In ByS 15 Clydno appears as the father of Euronwy, the wife of Gwaith Hengaer and the mother of St. Gwrwst. In CO his daughter is mentioned in a list of “the gentle, golden-torqued ladies of this Island” as “Eurneid daughter of Clydno Eidin”.[1] The medieval poem Y Gododdin by Aneirin celebrates the valour of his son, Cynon, in the battle of Catraeth which occurred c. 600.

[1] Davies, S., 2007, 188.

The two Macsen Wledigs

The name Macsen Wledig has been applied to two distinct persons. The first individual appears in gen. -8 of HG 2 as Maxim gulecic, see Why Bartrum’s dating … . He also appears in HG 4 as Maxim guletic and in BGG 11 as Maxen Wledic. I believe this individual can be identified with the Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus as explained in the above link.

The opening lines of The Dream of Macsen Wledig from Pen. 4.

The opening lines of The Dream of Macsen Wledig from Pen. 4. (The National Library of Wales)

The Pen. 16 version of The Dream of Maxen Wledig only describes the story up to his stay in Britain. The version in Pen. 4 of the White Book of Rhydderch speaks about his return to Rome, but this continuation is actually referring to the second Macsen.

This is the Western Roman emperor Magnus Maximus born c. 335. He appears in gen. -5 as in the follwing fragment from JC 13.

Gen. JC 13
1 Cyndwr Fendigaid
0 Owain
-1 Cyngar m. Protec
-2 Owain
-3 Miser
-4 Custennin
-5 Macsen Wledig
-6 Maximianus
-7 Constantinus Mawr
-8 Constantius Elen

Note, Cyngar son of Protec is an error in this pedigree list. The latter name is simply Cyngar’s cognomen. The table is in accord with Constantine the Great’s birth in 272 or 273 and the birth of Helena, a wife of Constantius Chlorus, birth between 248 and 250.[1]

[1] Harbus, A., 2002, 13.

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

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.