Before the advent of the Romans, the Angels, the Saxons, the Vikings or the Normans, the
indigenous people were... let's call them Britons and the 'Welsh' and the 'Scottish' lived all over the
island. Therefore, pre-Roman Welsh mythology often relates to Britain as a whole rather than to only the bit
that we now call Wales. They were Celts in those days rather than Welsh and they lived in tribes, which
covered quite large areas, when you consider the size of the country.
Let's call the tribes that lived in Wales, the Welsh, although neither term was in use then. There were no
written records, history, as they knew it, was recorded orally, passed down from mouth to mouth by the Druids and
learned as part of their fifteen year apprenticeship. However, when the Welsh did start committing the stories
to parchment, or whatever it was, they had been Christians for centuries and old their old gods and goddesses had
been sanitised into kings and heroic figures.
This is what may have happened to Arthur and Gwynoveer, and even the Knights of the Round Table. However, 'many
of the characters who exhibit divine characteristics fall into two rival families, 'Y Plant Don' (The Children of
Dôn) and Y Plant Ll?r (The Children of Ll?r) according to Wikipedia.
Don was the matriarch of the one family, whereas Ll?r was the patriarch of the other. There were also two major
kingdoms, Dyfed in the south and Gwynedd in the north. The most famous 'King' of Dyfed was Pwyll, who swapped
places with Arrawn, the King of the Annwn, the Otherworld, for a year, thereby earning his eternal gratitude.
Pwyll's wife, Rhiannon, associated, perhaps rather weakly, with the horse goddess Epona, married the rightful heir
to the throne on the death of Pwyll. Pryderi was her son with Pwyll. His wife's name was Cigfa.
Another important figure is Beli Mawr - Beli The Great - who is described as the King of Britain. He and his
family and descendents feature prominently in many stories. Arianrhod was said to be the daughter of Don and Beli.
Caswallawn, Beli's son succeeded him and his two sons, Lludd and Llefelys ruled Britain and Gaul respectively.
Lludd was also known as Nudd and his son, Gwyn ap Nudd was the ruler of the Otherworld and the leader of Y C?n
Annwn, The Hounds of Hell, associated with Glastonbury Tor. When he was eventually Christianised, he became the
King of the Tylwyth Teg, The Fairies. Then there was Owain ap Nudd of King Arthur's court.
Although the legend of King Arthur was adopted by several European countries, Wales had first claim on the
stories. No country in any language talked about King Arthur before Wales. In other words, his stories were copied
and modified and French names were given to the knights because it was a more popular language than Welsh. Indeed,
it was the language of the high English, read Norman, society of the day. French was the international European
language, the lingua franca.
Previous to his adoption by the English/French nobility, he was only known in the Brythonic areas of Wales,
Cornwall and Brittany.
These comments can easily be checked out on line by the diligent.
by +Owen Jones