The king list of Gwynedd

The line of descent of the Venedotian kings is given in H3859 1. However, this list poses a problem in terms of chronology until it is treated as two fragments as shown in the first and third columns in the table below. The reason why I have inserted a second column in between will be explained.

Gen. H3859 1:1st seg. H3859 1:2nd seg. H3859 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 first 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 3rd 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 first column Beli m. Rhun belonged to a generation one earlier than that of his supposed parents. ByB confirms that a Rhun was the father of Beli. It was this Rhun and not Rhun Hir who fled to Armorica. His daughter, Tymyr, married Hoel II who appears in ChB.

HRB wrongly asserts that an Einion was Beli’s father but I believe it contains a germ of truth in that he was his uncle. Both HRB and ByB assert that Einion was Rhun’s brother and this is depicted in column 2. However, although those documents claim they were the sons of Maelgwn, I suggest their father was Einion Yrth. 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 JC20 23 that Einion was not only half-brother to Cadwallon Lawhir, Maelgwn’s father, through Einion Yrth 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 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. H3859 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 H3859 2 as Maxim gulecic, see Why Bartrum’s dating … . He also appears in H3859 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 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 JC20 13.

Gen. JC20 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

H3859 26, JC20 21 and JC20 42 together provide us with the pedigree of the royals of Ceredigion when Artgloys in the first manuscript is lined up with Argloes in the second one. In the columns two to four the medieval forms of the names are given whereas in the column headed Combined the modern forms are used.

Gen. H3859 26 JC20 21 JC20 42 Combined
10 [G]uocaun Angharat Agharat Gwgon and Angharad
 9 Mouric veuric veuruc  Meurig
 8 Dumnguallaun dyga6l dyfynwal Dyfnwallon
 7 Arthgen Arthen Arden  Arthen
 6 Seissil Seissill Seissyll Seisyll
 5 Clitauc Clyda6c Cleta6c Clydog
 4 Aruodeu Aruodeu Aruodeu
 3 Artgloys Argloes Argloes Arthlwys
 2 Artbodgu Arthfoddow
 1 Bodgu Pode6 Pode6 Boddw
 0 Serguil Seruuel Seruul Serwyl
-1 Iusay Vsai Vsai Usai
-2 Ceretic Keredic Karedic Ceredig
-3 Cuneda Kuneda wledic Kuneda wledic Cunedda

Gwgon and Angharad, in generation 10, were siblings. JC20 42 adds the incorrect comment that Angharad was the mother of Rhodri Mawr, whereas it is generally agreed that she was his wife. This is confirmed by the fact that he belongs to generation 10 in other pedigree lists.