Badbury Rings

Badbury is a strong candidate for the location of Arthur’s battle of Baddon. It is an Iron Age hillfort located at the intersection of Roman roads. The entries for Cerdic and Cynric in the AC suggest it would have been an area fought over by the emerging kingdom of Wessex. It is close to the Roman military base at Hod Hill which is next to the River Stour and used the port at Hengistbury Head.

An archaeological excavation took place at Badbury in 2004. Besides the expected material from the Iron Age, the finds included a late Roman bronze spiral ring on a chalk floor which had charcoal, all three samples of which were dated to the period 480 to 520.

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Pabo and Sawyl

There were two different individuals with the name Pabo:

Gen. BGG 4
HG 19
1 Dunod Fwr Cerwyd Sawyl Benuchel Cadwallon Lyw
0 Pabo Post Prydyn Guitcun
-1 Arthwys Sawyl Benisel
-2 Mar Pabo Post Prydyn
-3 Ceneu Ceneu
-4 Coel Hen Coel Hen

Triad 5 tells us Dunod was one of the Three Pillars of Battle of the Island of Britain and the son of Pabo Post Prydyn. His warrior character is confirmed in poetry by the words:

Dunod ap Pabo does not retreat.

Geoffrey mentions he was present at Arthur’s coronation. Triad 44 tells us he was at the battle of Arfderydd together with Gwrgi, Peredur, Cynfelyn Drwsgl (also of triad 5) and Dinogad ap Cynan Garwyn. He survived the battle and, according to the AC, died in the year 595. The B-text confirms that his father was Pabo. The father’s cognomen is incorrectly attached to the Pabo of HG 19. Various poems indicate he lived beyond Urien’s death and battled against Owain and Pasgen, sons of Urien.

His brother, Sawyl Benuchel is mentioned in the V. Cadoci as a tyrant who the saint dealt with for the theft of food and drink from his monastery. His cognomen means High-head or Proud. Triad 23 calls him one of the Three Arrogant Men of the Island of Britain. He is not to be confused with Sawyl Benisel whose cognomen means Low-head or Humble.

Sawyl Benisel was married to Deichter, daughter of Muiredach Muinderg, King of Ulster, who died in 489, as stated in the AT. Also, according to Elis Gruffydd, his daughter was married to Maelgwn Gwynedd. Most later documents corrupt his cognomen to Benuchel.

Cadwallon Lyw is likely to be the king who gave land at Llancarfan to Kentigern for a monastery, as mentioned in V. Kentigerni 23.

The battle of Crug Dyved

In the Book of Taliesin we have the poem entitled Trawsganu Kynan Garwyn mab Brochvael. which has the following line:

kat yg cruc dymet. aercol ar gerdet.
A battle in Crug Dyfed, Aergol flying.

This poses a problem of chronology as Aergol Lawhir was of gen. -2, see Why Bartrum’s dating of the Demetian Arthur is wrong, whereas Cynan Garwyn was of gen. 1, see HG 22 below.

Gen. HG 22

2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Mawgan Pasgen Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug

The chronology indicated by the above table looks sound for the following reasons. The AC tells us that Selyf died at the battle of Chester in the year 613:

Gueith Cairlegion, et ibi cecidit Selim filii Cinan.

The AT, refers to the same incident under the 611:

Cath Caire Legion ubí sancti occissi sunt, et cecidit Solon mac Conaín rex Bretanorum et Cetula rex cecidit. Etalfraidh uictor erat, qui post statim obít.

This statement provides the added information that another death at Chester was that of Cadwal Crysban, the king of Rhos, who would have been younger than Selyf. The victor was Aethelfrith. Triad 25 describes Selyf as one of the Three Battle-Rulers of the Island of Britain.

Cynan’s daughter, Tandreg Ddu, was the wife of Cadfan and the mother of Cadwallon. Brochwel was married to Arddun ferch Pabo Post Prydyn and was the son of Cyngen by Tudglid ferch Brychan.

However, if we now look at HG 27 we can see that Cynan and Cyngen have been interchanged, see The Powysian lineage. This is likely to be a corruption. Is it possible that a similar thing happened with the poem and a battle fought by Cyngen, who was of the same generation as Aergol, was wrongly attributed to Cynan? If this were to be the case it suggests Taliesin was not the author.

Rhydderch Hael and Rhydderch Hen

There were two Rhydderchs that have been conflated. The first was Rhydderch Hael, i.e. Rhydderch the Generous, who appears in BGG 8 while the second was Rhydderch Hen, i.e. Rhydderch the Old, of HG 6. ByS 18 indicates that Dyfnwal Hen, a great-grandfather, of Rhydderch Hael according to BGG 8, was a grandson of Macsen Wledig:

Gen. ByS 18 BGG 8 Pen. 268
1 St. Lleuddad
0 Dingad Tenoi Rhydderch Hael
-1 Nudd Hael Lleuddun Luyddog Tudwal Tudclyd Elufed
-2 Senyllt Cedig Cedig Peredur
-3 Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Morhen?
-4 Ednyfed Ednyfed
-5 Macsen Wledig Macsen Wledig

Note, although ByS 18 states Senyllt was the son of Cedig, I have shown them as brothers since B. Llawddog states Senyllt was the son of Dyfnwal Hen.

Rhydderch Hael’s sword, Dyrnwyn meaning ‘White-hilt’, is the first listed of The Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain.[1] The reason he was called generous was because he would give his sword to anyone who asked for it. However, it was always returned when it was realised that if it was drawn by any well-born man it would burst into flame. The Chirk Codex of the Welsh Laws states that he was one of the kings involved in the failed attempt to avenge the death of Elidir Mwynfawr.

Note, ByS 18 mentions other sons of Dingad of gen. 1 apart from St. Lleuddad. They have not been shown in the above chart. Although Lleuddun of gen. 1 ruled in Edinburgh, this is a southern pedigree as indicated by the fact that the Buchedd Llewddoc Sant says Dingad was king of Bryn Buga, i.e Usk. St. Lleuddad  succeeded Cadfan as abbot of Bardsey.

Dreon Lew was the son of Nudd Hael and is mentioned in triad 31 W :

and the Retinue of Dreon the Brave at the Dyke of Ar(f)dery(dd)

This allows us to give a floruit for him of 573, the date of the battle of Arderydd according to the AC. His father appears in triad 2:

Nudd the Generous, son of Senyllt

ByA 18 mentions brothers of Rhydderch Hael, including Morgan Mwynfawr, i.e. Morgan the Wealthy. Triad 20 calls him, together with Arthur, one of the Three Red Ravagers of Britain since wherever he went neither grass nor plants grew for a period. He is said to have owned the fourth of The Thirteen Treasures of Britain. It was a chariot which would rapidly take whoever was in it wherever they wanted.

Rhydderch Hael’s father was Tudwal Tudclyd. Tudwal means ‘leader of the people’ and Tudclyd ‘defender of the people’.[2] His wife, according to Pen. 268, was Elufed and it can be seen from the above chart that they were second cousins. The Whetstone of Tudwal is the eighth of The Thirteen Treasures of Britain. While it would sharpen a brave man’s weapon, it would blunt that of a coward.

The Stanzas of the Graves tell us that Rhydderch’s grave is at Abererch, which is in Llŷn. The Cyfoesi Myrddin a Gwenddydd states that he was followed by the king Morgan Mawr ap Sadyrnin who, in turn, was followed by Urien.

The reason why the two Rhydderchs were conflated is because their fathers shared the same name, as did their great-grandfathers. However, by comparing the table above with that below it can be seen their genealogies differ.

Gen. HG 6
 HG 5
12 Rhun
11 Arthgal
10 Dyfnwal
9 Rhydderch
8 Owain
7 Dyfnwal
6 Tewdwr
5 Beli
4 Elffin
3 Owain
2 Rhydderch Hen Beli
1 Tudwal Neithon
0 Clinoch Gwyddno
-1 Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen
-2 Cynwyd
-3 Ceredig Wledig
-4 Cynllwyb
-5 Quintilus
-6 Clemens
-7 Cursalem
-8 Fer
-9 Confer

Using HG 5, Rhydderch Hen’s ancestors can be traced back to gen -9. Ceredig Wledig was Coroticus, the king of Alclud, to whom St. Patrick complains about his enslavement of some recently baptised Irish. Rhydderch was one of the kings who, according to HB 63, fought against king Hussa of Bernicia. The V. Merlini implies he fought in the battle of Arderydd. V. Kentigerni 45 indicates he died soon after the saint, probably in the year 614 and as predicted in the V. Columbae he did not die in battle.

[1] Bromwich, R., 2006, 259
[2] Bromwich, R., 2006, 508

 

Dating Baddon

The AC A-text indicates the battle of Baddon occurred 63 years after Pope Leo’s dating of Easter which occurred in the year 455. This points to a date for Baddon of 518.
The AC B-text describes the occurrence of an eclipse thus:

Anus dies tenebrosa sicut nox.

This is likely to be that which occurred on 23 December 447 and would have been visible over Britain. The document shows Baddon as occurring 71 years later. This too indicates Baddon took place in the year 518.

Further confirmation of this date is given by the ASC and DE as can be seen in the post entitled The Adventus Saxonum.

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 two fragments as shown in the second to fifth columns in the table below.

Gen. HG 1:1st seg.   HG 1: 2nd. seg. ByA 28c ChB
13 Owain
12 Hywel D.
11 Cadell
10 Rhodri M.
9 Merfyn F. Esyllt
8 Cynan D.
7 Rhodri M.
6 [Hywel]
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.

Note, although the manuscript states Merfyn Frych was the son of Esyllt, later sources indicate he was her husband. Also, Hywel ab Idwal Iwrch has been inserted as indicated in the Cyfoesi Myrddin a Gwenddydd ei chwaer. However, in that poem the father’s name has been corrupted to Cadwal, probably by the scribe being influenced by the grandfather’s name, Cadwaladr. As can be seen in the third 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 fifth 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 third 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

 

Paganism in the Arthurian age

It is unlikely that paganism had disappeared in the early 6th C. O.J. Padel refers to a probably early 10th C text in the Vatican library listing between twenty-four and thirty-two names of saints revered in Cornwall.[1] Another text lists the twenty-four saintly children of Brychan Brycheiniog, the Cornish version of which is in The V. Nectani. Both lists are in the vernacular and the names are partly geographically arranged. Padel states that these lists demonstrate the existence in Cornwall of local dedications, many of which are unique to particular parish churches. The explanations he gives for the dedications is usually in terms of the conversion of the area by the local saint. The Vatican list dedications includes a number of 6th C saints, such as St. Levan, St. Just and St. Gerrans.

The AC records for the year 589 AD ‘The conversion of Constantine to the Lord’. This event is also recorded in the AT and AU. He may well have been Constantine, the king of Damnonia, the one rebuked by Gildas.

There is a description of communal worshiping in the V. Samsonis where the saint comes across in Tricurium (The Cornish Hundred of Trigg) a group worshipping an idol with music and dance.

[1] Thacker, A., Sharpe, R., 2002, 316-319