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British story; they were the contemporaries of Gwallog; and they appear to have offered their arms to defend his right.
Rhun was the son of Maelgwn Gwynedd. He is reputed to have been illegitimate; but whether that be so or not, he succeeded his father on the throne of Gwynedd. Maelgwn's daughter Eurgain is said to have married Elidyr the Courteous, the son of Gwrwst Briodor ab Dyvynwal Hen, a chieftain, as Mr. Owen supposes, of some part of Lancashire. On the death of Maelgwn, whether that occurred in 547, or 566, or some date still later, Elidyr came to North Wales to claim Gwynedd as the inheritance of his wife; a battle appears to have taken place at the efflux of the Mewydus rivulet, which flows past the town of Caernarvon into the Menai; the brook was thence named Cadnant; and Elidyr, falling in the conflict, gave his name to " Elidyr Bank," the place of his death. The chieftains of the north, hearing of this misadventure, collected their forces together, and came to North Wales to avenge their brother sovereign; but this had better be related in the words of the Welsh Laws:—
THE PRIVILEGES OF THE MEN OF ARVON.
Here (£. e. in Arvon) Elidyr the Courteous, a man from the north, was slain, and after his death the men of the north came here to avenge him. The chiefs, their leaders, were Clydno Eiddin, Nudd the Generous, son of Senyllt; Mordav the Generous, son of Servari, and Rhydderch the Generous, son of Tudwal Tudglyd; and they came to Arvon; and because Elidyr was slain at Aber Mewydus in Arvon, they burned Arvon as a further revenge. And then Run (pronounced Reen) son of Maelgwn, and the men of Gwynedd, assembled in arms, and proceeded to the banks of the Gweryd in the north (the river Wear, it is supposed); and there they were long disputing who should take the lead through the river Gweryd. Then Run despatched a messenger to Gwynedd, to ascertain who were entitled to the lead. Some say that Maeldav the Elder, the lord of Pennard,1 adjudged it to the men of Arvon; Iorwerth, the son of Madog, on the
1 The ground on the west side of the river Seiont, opposite the town of Caernarvon.
authority of his own information, affirms that Idno the Aged assigned it the men of the black-headed shafts. And thereupon the men of Arvon advanced in the van, and were valorous there; and Taliesin sang,—
And then on account of the length of time they remained arms, their wives slept with their bond-servants; and on that account Run granted them fourteen privileges.—Owen's Wei Laws, 8vo. ed. vol. i. p. 105.
Rhun is also named in the poems of Llywarch He who appears to have received several favours from him :—
"Were there not given to me, by Rhun the Warlike,
"Were there not given to me by Rhun the celebrated chief,
"In the lifetime of Rhun the peaceless wanderer, The truly brave will encounter dangers;And there will be fetters of iron on the steeds of the faithful.'
These verses occur in the elegy on Urien Rheged, and Mr. Owen supposes this Rhun to be some other person than the son of Maelgwn, because the latter only died in 568, and Urien is thought to have died in 560. This argument, however, has no great force; the date of Maelgwn's death is uncertain, and is variously placed in A.d. 547, 566, 568 and 590; and the death of Urien will, at the proper time and place, be shown to have occurred in 584. E. Lhuyd states this person to have been the son of Maelgwn—(Arch. Britt. vol. i. p. 258); and I think that he is right. Some further particular
2 The translation of this verse differs essentially from that of Mr. Owen; and if reference be made to the Triads of the Tri Hualogion Deulu, and the usage of the word Enwir in Aneurin, it will be see;
Behold! from the ardency of their blades,
With Run the reddener of armies,
The men of Arvon with their ruddy lances.
Heroic Elegies, p. 35.
are found in the Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Welshmen:—
"There are some notices of Rhun ab Maelgwn preserved in the Triads, in one of which he is called one of the three 'Gwyndeyrn' or blessed princes of the isle of Britain—the other two being Rhuvawn Bevyr, and Owain ab Urien. In another Triad he is joined to Rhiwallon Wallt Banhadlen, and Cadwaladr Vendigaid, to form the three 'Aurhualogion,' or golden-banded ones, who were so called from wearing bands of gold round their arms, knees, and necks, as insignia of supreme power in every province of Britain. Rhun's chief residence was the Roman Conovium, on the western bank of the river Conway, which from him obtained its subsequent name of Caer Rhun. He died in 586, and was succeeded by his son Beli."
In the dialogue between Gwenddydd and Merddin, the following character is assigned to Rhun:—
Gwenddydd.—Who will reign after Maelgwn?
Foremost of the army in battle;
Woe is Britain of the day.—Myv. i. p. 139.
Nudd was the person named as Nudd the Generous in the last paragraph; and all that is known of him is embodied in the following notice:—
"Nudd (Hael) a nobleman who lived in the sixth century. He was the son of Senyllt ab Cedig ab Dyvynwal Hen ab Ednyved ab Maxen Wledig. He is recorded in the Triads as one of the three generous ones of the isle of Britain, the other two being Morder Hael and Rhydderch Hael. We are informed in another Triad that he was proprietor of a herd of cattle, which contained twenty-one thousand milch cows, and was kept by Llawvrodedd Varvog. Nudd Hael is also reckoned among the Welsh Saints, and is said to have been a member of the college of Illtyd, and to have founded the church of Llysvronnudd."—Williams' Bioyraphical Dictionary.
His dominions appear to have been in some part of the Scottish Lowlands; his son Dry won took a conspicuous part in support of Rhydderch at the battle of Arderydd, (Airdrie, near Glasgow, most probably,) in 577; and another of his sons will be named in the next notice. The liberality of Nudd is the subject of frequent eulogy;
ARCH. CAMB., NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. I
and, in this respect, to compare a British lord to Nudd, Mordav, or Rhydderch, was the highest reach of bardic eulogy.
Nwython was the son Gildas or Euryn y Coed Aur, and brother of An-Euryn (i. e. the son of Euryn) the bard. He and his brothers, Dolgan, Cennydd, and Gwynnog were members of the colleges of Illtyd and Cattwg; but whether this connexion existed in youth or old age is not clear. Two chapels, founded by Gwynnog and Nwython, formerly existed near the church of Llangwm Dinmael in Denbighshire, which are now converted into a mill and a kiln. The festival of Gwynnog and Nwython was kept Oct. 23rd.—(Wi Hams' Biographical Dictionary.) At one period of his life he was a distinguished warrior; his dominions appear to have lain about Strathclyde, in Scotland; and he probably inherited the lands of his grandfather Caw, lord of Cwm Cawlwyd, after the death of his uncle Huail. These conjectures are based upon certain passages in the Gododin:—
Much credit is due to the author for his zeal and industry in furnishing us with a careful text of this poem, and his translations are generally very accurate; but the translator of so long, obscure, and corrupted a composition must needs make many slips; and there are many cases where a variety of interpretation must arise from a difference of taste in the translators, without there being any demerit attached to either. In the case under consideration, Mr. Williams does not appear to me to have seized the real significance of the lines of Aneurin; and I should translate the verse thus:—
I saw the array from the upland of Doon,
While they were placing sacrifice on the sacred fire:
I saw what was customary (i. e. a fight) above the town of
Redegein, And the men of Nwython lost the day. I saw marshalled men by the dawn of Doon, And the head of Dyvynwal the speckled—gnawed by ravens.
The pentir adoun of this verse appears to be "the banks and braes of bonny Doon" in Ayrshire. Rhedegein is the British form of Retigonium, now Stranraer, Wigtonshire, one of the towns of the Novantae; and Rerygwyddyn, which takes its place in verse xcii., corresponds with equal exactness to Rerigonius Sinus, the Roman name for Loch Ryan, on the banks of which Stranraer now stands. And the events here recorded were probably the subjects of the following notices:—
A.d. 642.—The battle of Offa among the Britons.
A.d. 642.—The death of Donald Mac Hugh, in the end of January. Afterward Donald Breck, in the battle of Strath-carmaic or Cairvin, in the month of December, was killed by Owen king of the Britons; and he reigned fifteen years.3
Donald Breck, or the speckled, was king of the Scots of Argyle, and was killed by Owen, king of the Britons of Strathclyde, in the vale of Girvan; and a glance at a map will show that Aneurin, from the hills of Doon, might very well have commanded a view of both Rhedegein and of the vale of Girvan. Donald began to reign in 628 or 629; he reigned fourteen or fifteen years; and he fell in 642. Another king of the Scots of the same name appears to have reigned in 678, and to have died in 686.
But to return to Nwython. The conflict alluded to by Aneurin appears to be the event commemorated in the Mabinogi of Kilhwch and 01 wen, p. 305:—
3 A.d. 642.—Bellum Offa apud Britones!—Mitson's Annals, &c. p. 174.
A.d. 642.—Mors Domnail Mac Aodha regis Hiberniae, in fine Januarii. Postea Domnail Brec in bello Fraithe Cairvin (1. StraithCairmaic) in fine anni, m. Decembri, interfectus est (ab Hoan rege Brittonum) et annis quindecim regnavit.—Annals of Ulster and Tighernach, in Mitson, ii. p. 45.