The Powysian lineage

Understanding the descent of the kings of Powys poses considerable problems. These can be resolved when it is realised that the sons attributed to Vortigern (Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu) are in reality the offsprings of Cadell Ddyrnllug. The reason behind this intentionally incorrect attribution is given in HB 32-35. It tells how the royals of Powys were descendants of Cadell whose origins were humble. HB 34 tells us Cadell had nine sons. The Harleian manuscript gives the names of five of them, although they are incorrectly listed not as siblings but as sons of each other:

Gen. HG 22
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Mawgan Pasgen Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
Gen. HG 23
5 [H?]esselis
4 Gwrhaearn
3 Elfoddw
2 Cynin
1 Millo
0 Camuir
-1 Brydw Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
Gen. HG 27    
9 Cyngen
8 Cadell
7 Brochwel
6 Elise
5 Gwylog
4 Beli
3 Eiludd
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Glodrydd Mawgan Pasgen Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
-3 Selevan

The PE mentions four of the sons:

CONCE[NN]  PASCEN[T]  MAU[N]  ANNAN [+]  BRITU

The third and fourth elements of this part of the inscription is a reference to a single name, i.e. Mawgan. It is claimed the PE states they were the sons of Gwrtheyrn. However, this may be a misreading and the above four names were not being linked to Gwrtheyrn but rather to the largely missing previous lines. Following the above text the inscription reads:

A[ ]T[ ]M FILIUS GUARTHI[ ] QUE(m) BENED[ ] GERMANUS

HB 48 tells us that Gwrtheyrn’s son, Faustus, by his incestuous relation with his daughter, was brought up by Germanus. So, the first word in the above text may be a reference to Faustus, the only genuinely known son of Gwrtheyrn. This interpretation is supported by the use of the singular form ‘filius’.

The first segment of ABT 6k, shown below, matches the above HG 27:

Gen. ABT 6k 1st seg. ABT 6k 2nd. seg.
10 Rhodri Mawr
9 Merfyn Frych  Nest
8 Cadell
7 Brochwel
6 Elise
5 Gwylog
4 Beli
3 Eiludd
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Glodrydd
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
-3 Pasgen Brydw Rhuddfedel Frych Cyndeyrn
-4 Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu

Although the manuscript states Nest was the mother of Merfyn Frych the above table shows her as his wife. This is indicated as being the case in JC 18.

The second segment promotes the myth that, except for Cyngen, the sons of Cadell were, in reality, the sons of Gwrtheyrn. As noted by Phillimore the name Cateyrn has been ‘tortured’ into the form Cyndeyrn by later genealogies.[1] Vermaat explains the presence in the list of Rhuddfedel as a reference to the battle at Rithergabail where Cateyrn died.[2]

Interestingly, with the aid of the LaB, HB M 49  and GaC 2 it is possible to trace the Powysian ancestry back to the 2nd century BCE. The manuscript form of the names are given:

Gen. LaB HB M 49
9 Fernmail
8 Teudubir
7 Pascent
6 Guoidcant
5 Moriud
4 Eldat
3 Eldoc
2 Beuno Paul
1 Bugi Mepurit
0 Gwnlliw Briacat
-1 Tegit Pascent
-2 Kadell Drynlluc
-3 [Faustus] [Faustus]
-4 Gortegyrun Guorthigirn Guortheneu
-5 Gorthevyn Guitaul
-6 Gorthgeyrun Guitolin
-7 [Gloiuda] Gloiuda
-8 [Paul Merion] Paul Merion
-9 [Gloiu] Gloiu
-10 [Rhifedel] [Rhifedel]
-11 Rutegyrn [Rutegyrn]
-12 Deheuwynt [Deheuwynt]
-13 Eudegan [Eudegan]
-14 Eudegern [Eudegern]
-15 Elud [Elud]
-16 Endos [Endos]
-17 Endolen [Endolen]
-18 Avallad [Avallad]
-19 Amalech [Amalech]
-20 Belim [Belim]

LaB goes on to say Beli was the son of Anna. Rhifedel of gen. -10 does not appear in either of the above documents. However, he is the only known son of Rhydeyrn and appears in HG 10, GaC 2 and ABT 1c. The last king mentioned in the above list from the HB, Ffernfael ap Tewdwr, was reigning in Buellt and Gwrtheyrnion at the time the document was written according to the manuscript, i.e. c. 830, confirming he belonged to gen. 9.
[1] Cy IX, 179 n. 5
[2] Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > The Family of Vortigern > Catigern, son of Vortigern

Advertisements

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 columns two, three and five:

Gen. HG 1:1st fragment ChB HG 1: 2nd. fragment ByA 28c
13 Owain
12 Hywel D.
11 Cadell
10 Rhodri M.
9 Merfyn F. Esyllt
8 Cynan D.
7 Rhodri M.
6 Idwal I. Conobertus
5 Cadwaladr F. Alain II
4 Cadwallon Salomon II
3 Cadfan Hoel III
2 Iago Alain I (Beli m. Rhun)
1 Beli Hoel II Rhun H. Perweur
0 Rhun Hoel I Maelgwn G. Rhun R.
-1 [Einion] Budic Cadwallon L. Einion
-2 Aldwr Einion Y. Mar
-3 Salomon I Cunedda W. Ceneu
-4 Gradlon Edern Coel
-5 Conan M. Padarn B.
-6 Tegid

Note, although the manuscript states Merfyn Frych was the son of Esyllt, later sources indicate he was her husband, a viewpoint supported by Bartrum. 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 above.

Rhun Hir married Perweur f. Rhun Ryfeddfawr whose name appears in ByA 28c and they both belonged to gen. 1 as shown in the 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 the same generation as 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 the grandfather. It was this Rhun and not Rhun Hir who fled to Armorica. His daughter, Tymyr, married Hoel II who appears in ChB, see above table.

Both HRB and ByB incorrectly assert that Einion was Rhun’s brother whereas, in reality, he was his father. 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]

The Latin text uses the word “avunculus” where the above passage reads “uncle”. Strictly speaking, that term 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 half-brother to Cadwallon Lawhir, Maelgwn’s father, through their father Einion Yrth. 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 Iago 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