Pabo and Sawyl

There were two different individuals with the name Pabo. The cognomen Post Prydyn is incorrectly attached to the earlier 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

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. He 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.

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. Various poems indicate he lived beyond Urien’s death and battled against Owain and Pasgen, sons of Urien.

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

Paganism in the Arthurian age

It is unlikely that paganism had disappeared by the 6th and maybe 7th 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.

St. Collen banishing the court of Gwyn ap Nudd may be a reference to him abolishing pagan belief in the Glastonbury area, see St. Collen.

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

Locating Arthur

The Demetian pedigree according to Bartrum.

The Demetian pedigree according to Bartrum. Cadair Early series (Aberystwyth University)

After fixing Arthur in time to the late 5th/ early 6th century we need to locate him geographically. That so much folklore attached to him suggests it is certain he was regarded as an exceptional leader and if he was the ruler of one of the British kingdoms he is likely to appear in one of the surviving king lists. This narrows the search down to just two individuals: Artur mac Aedan of Dalriada and Arthur map Pedr of Dyfed. However, neither men supposedly lived in the right time frame. According to the AT the former individual died in battle in 596 and, therefore, could not have been also fighting at Badon. Bartrum, the genealogist of the Welsh medieval period, dated the latter ruler to around 560. It would seem this individual too may need to be eliminated from our search. Unless, of course, this dating can be shown to be incorrect, see Why Bartrum’s dating … .