Identifying Cynan Wledig

The name Cynan Wledig appears in its Latin form as Aurelius Caninus in the De Excidio where it is listed as one of five tyrants alive at the time of Gildas. Their territories were as follows:

Dumnonia (Constantinus),
? (Aurelius Caninus),
Dyfed (Vortiporius),
Rhos (Cuneglasus),
Gwynedd (Maglocunus).

Bartrum suggests Aurelius Caninus can be identified with Cynan Garwyn of Powys, which is plausible. He adds that there is no consensus as to which kingdom he ruled. Gildas’s list follows a geographical progression which suggests Cynan ruled over an area of South Wales. He would have been of gen. 0 or 1, as were the other tyrants, suggesting that he may have been Cynan ap Casanauth Wledig of Powys, see JC20 16b at Sanan ferch Elise.

The five rulers appear in the DEB after the Ambrosius passage. It may be they inherited his kingdom as indicated by:

brenin Emrys y bumran
King Emrys of the Five Parts

[1] Cylchg LlGC XVIII, 414.

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 Annales Cambriae tells us that Selyf died at the battle of Chester in the year 613:

Gueith Cairlegion, et ibi cecidit Selim filii Cinan.

The Annals of Tigernach, 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.