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.

Sanan ferch Elise


HG 15 states:

[G]ripiud . Teudos
caten . Tres sunt
filíí nougoy .
et sanant elized .
filia illorum . mater erat
regis pouis

Bartrum originally interpreted this slighlty corrupted text correctly thus:

… tres sunt filii nougoy regis pouis, et sanant filia elized illorum mater erat.[1]

This is shown int the table below where the generation numbers have been allocated:

Gen. HG 15
9 Gruffudd Tewdws Cathen
8 Nowy Sanan
7 Elise

JC 8 has:

Gruffud. a thewdos. a cathen. Meibyon y vrenhin powys. o sanant verch elisse y mam. Elisse. verch neuue hen mab tewdwr.

The full pedigree list in JC 8 is:

Gen. JC20 8
13 Tewdwr
12 Griffri
11 Elise
10 Tewdwr
9 Gruffudd Tewdws Cathen
8 Vrenhin Powys Sanan
7 Elisse
6 Tewdwr
5 Rhain
4 Cadwgon
3 Cathen
2 Ceindrech
1 Rhiwallon
0 Idwallon
-1 Llywarch
-2 Rhigeneu
-3 Rhain Dremrudd
-4 Brychan I

Y Cymmrodor XLIII 57

Comparing the two tables above, the ruler of Powys, Vrenhin Powys, in gen. 8 is clearly a reference to a Nowy, Sanan’s husband indicating Elisse verch Nowy Hen is an error and that Elisse was the son of Tewdwr. In fact, Elise is a male name.

Note, Rhain Dremrudd is an interloper in this pedigree as he was a contemporary of St. Cadog. Tne cognomen Dremrudd has been incorrectly attached to Rhain ap Cadwgan.

Bartrum correctly proposed the idea that Nowy, the husband of Sanan, was the son of Madog using the lineage that appears in JC 16:


Gen.  JC20 16b seg.
14 Lleucu
13 Adwent
12 Eliffer
11 Gronwy
10 Cynhaethwy
9 Ceno
8 Nowy
7 Madog
6 Sandde
5 Tudwal
4 Merin
3 Madog
2 Rhun
1 Cenelaph Dremrudd
0 Cynan
-1 Casanauth Wledig Thewer
-2 Brydw

Cadair Early Series (Aberystwyth University)

Nowy ap Madog occupies gen. 8 as does Nowy in the firs table and  Bartrum’s proposal was sound. Unfortunately, however, he abandoned this idea, as can be seen by his crossing out in this chart:

He tentatively adopted Dumville’s incorrect proposal that Elise, not Nowy, was the king of Powys and that his father was Gwylog who appears in HG 27 and on the PE.[2] In this scheme Nowy, the husband of Sanan, is made the son of Tewdwr ap Rhain, see the pedigree chart below:

Britons and Anglo-Saxons in the Early Middle Ages 51

Dumville’s chronology does not work. He suggests Tewdwr ap Griffri was a signatory of a land charter dated 934. In fact the LL states this individual was Tewdwr ab Elise.

[1] Cy XLIII 55.
[2] Dumville, D.N., 1993.