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Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon (English: Cadwaladr son of Cadwallon) was King of Gwynedd (reigned c. 655 – 682). Two devastating plagues happened during his reign, one in 664 and the other in 682, with himself a victim of the second one. Little else is known of his reign. Cadwaladr is most widely recognised as a prominent character in the romantic stories of Geoffrey of Monmouth, where he is portrayed as the last in a line of legendary kings of Britain.

Y Ddraig Goch (English: The Red Dragon) has long been known as a Welsh symbol, appearing in the Mabinogion, the Historia Brittonum, and the stories of Geoffrey of Monmouth. It has commonly been referred to as 'The Red Dragon of Cadwaladr', and since the accession of Henry VII to the English throne, it has often been referred to as 'The Red Dragon of Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon'. The association with Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon is a traditional one, without a firm historical provenance.

Cadwaladr's name appears without the identifying patronymic 'ap Cadwallon' in a number of historical and literary works, such as in the Armes Prydein. Without additional corroborating information it cannot be assumed that Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon is the person referred to, rather than a different person with the same name.

Historical record

A general map of Gwynedd showing the cantrefi.

Cadwaladr's name appears in passing in serious historical works, such as those by Davies[1] and Lloyd,[2] and then only to mention that he was the son of a famous father, Cadwallon ap Cadfan, and the successor to King Cadafael. His name appears in the pedigrees of the Jesus College MS. 20[3] (as "Kadwaladyr vendigeit", or "Cadwaladr the Blessed"). Cadwaladr's name appears as 'Catgualart' in a section of the Historia Brittonum, where it says he died of a dreadful mortality while he was king.[4]

The great plague of 664 is not noted in the Annales Cambriae, but Bede's description[5] makes clear its impact in both Britain and Ireland, where its occurrence is also noted in the Irish Annals.[6]

The plague of 682 is not noted by Bede, but the Annales Cambriae note its occurrence in Britain and that Cadwaladr was one of its victims.[7] Both the Annales Cambriae and the Irish Annals note the plague's impact in Ireland in 683,[8][9] as do other sources.[10]

The genealogies in Jesus College MS. 20[11][12] and the Harleian genealogies[13][14] give Cadwaladr and as the son of Cadwallon and the father of Idwal Iwrch. Idwal, who fathered the later king Rhodri Molwynog, may have been his successor.

Geoffrey of Monmouth

The name of the historical Cadwalladr ap Cadwallon figures prominently in Geoffrey of Monmouth's romantic account of the Historia Regum Britanniae (English: History of the Kings of Britain). As such, the Cadwaladr of Geoffrey is a literary invention that used the name of a historical person in order to advance the plot of the story. In Book XII, Chapter XIV of the Historia, Cadwaladr is given as the last in a line of kings that began with Brutus of Troy. Chapters XV – XVIII have him leaving a depopulated Britain for Brittany, then traveling to Rome, where he dies after meeting the pope.[15]

Geoffrey's story of Cadwaladr's traveling to Rome may have originated from a version of the Brut y Tywysogion (English: Chronicle of the Princes), which contains the assertion. Aside from the questionable reliability of the source, it is virtually impossible that a Welsh king would have made a pilgrimage to Rome at the very height of the great schism between Rome and the Celtic Church, though it became common for them to do so 200 years later.[16]

Also traced to Geoffrey's fertile imagination are stories of Ivor ap Alan and Ynyr traveling from Brittany to Britain.[17] The choice of names for Ivor and Ynyr in the stories may be a consequence of spurious additions to the Laws of Edward the Confessor, which inaccurately speak of good relations between Wessex and the Welsh in the reign of King Ine of Wessex (reigned 688 – 726). From there emerges a conflation of Cadwaladr or Cadwallon with Cædwalla of Wessex (reigned 685 – 688), and a conflation of Cadwaladr's son Ivor with Cædwalla's son Ine.[18]

Citations

  1. ^ Davies 1990:63, A History of Wales
  2. ^ Lloyd 1911:230, A History of Wales, Vol I
  3. ^ Phillimore 1887:87 — he is in his descendant's pedigree, given as: ... Cynan tintaeth6y. M. Rodri mol6yna6c. M. Idwal I6rch. M. Kadwaladyr vendigeit. M. Katwalla6n. M. Kad6ga6n. M. Iago. M. Beli. M. Run hir. M. Maelg6n g6yned ..., and from there back to Cunedda.
  4. ^ Giles, J. A. (translator), ed. (1841), "III. The History", Nennius's History of the Britons, London: James Bohn, http://books.google.com/books?id=3R1mCE7p44MC&pg=RA1-PA35  , in Chapter 64.
  5. ^ Bede (731), Giles, John Allen, ed., The Miscellaneous Works of Venerable Bede: Ecclesiastical History, Books I, II, and III, II, London: Whittaker and Co, 1843, p. 381, http://books.google.com/books?id=azApAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover  , Book III, Chapter XXVII
  6. ^ Reeves, William, ed. (1857), "Additional Notes (Chronicon Hyense)", The Life of St. Columba, to which are added Copious Notes and Dissertations, Dublin: Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, p. 376, http://books.google.com/books?id=3mQJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA369   — year 664, "Mortalitas magna in Hiberniam pervenit"
  7. ^ Phillimore 1888:159, Annales Cambriae, year 682, "Mortalitas magna fuit in brittannia. n qua catgualart filius catguolaum obiit."
  8. ^ Phillimore 1888:159, Annales Cambriae, year 683, "Mortalitas in hibernia."
  9. ^ Reeves, William, ed. (1857), "Additional Notes (Chronicon Hyense)", The Life of St. Columba, to which are added Copious Notes and Dissertations, Dublin: Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, p. 376, http://books.google.com/books?id=3mQJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA369   — year 683, "Initium tertiae mortalitatis"
  10. ^ Plummer, Charles (1896), "Notes to the Ecclesiastical History (The plague in Ireland)", Venerabilis Baedae, Oxford: Oxford University, p. 196, http://books.google.com/books?id=2AaCEFEu-V8C&pg=PA196  
  11. ^ Phillimore 1887:87 — his pedigree is given as: ... Cynan tintaeth6y. M. Rodri mol6yna6c. M. Idwal I6rch. M. Kadwaladyr vendigeit. M. Katwalla6n. M. Kad6ga6n. M. Iago. M. Beli. M. Run hir. M. Maelg6n g6yned ..., and from there back to Cunedda.
  12. ^ Genealogies from Jesus College MS 20, Gwynedd 1.
  13. ^ Owen 1841:xiv, Pedigree of Ywain Son of Hywel, in the Preface of Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales — his pedigree is given as: ... Rotri Map Mermin Map Ethil Merch Cinnan Map Rotri M. Tutgual M. Catgualart M. Catman M. Jacob ..., and from there back through Maelgwn Gwynedd to Cunedda and his ancestors.
  14. ^ Harleian genealogy 1: Gwynedd 1
  15. ^ Giles, J. A.; Thompson, A., eds. (1842), The British History of Geoffrey of Monmouth: In Twelve Books (New ed.), London: James Bohn, http://books.google.com/books?id=FUoMAAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage  
  16. ^ Haddan, Arthur West; Stubbs, William, eds. (1868), Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, I, Oxford (published 1869), pp. 201 – 202, http://books.google.com/books?id=KngQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover  , in the footnote explanations.
  17. ^ Stephens, Thomas (12 November 1857), "The Book of Aberpergwm, Improperly Called the Chronicle of Caradoc", Archaeologia Cambrensis, Third, IV, London: Cambrian Archaeological Association (published 1858), pp. 81 – 82, http://books.google.com/books?id=jZkVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA77  
  18. ^ Haddan, Arthur West; Stubbs, William, eds. (1868), Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, I, Oxford (published 1869), p. 202, http://books.google.com/books?id=KngQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover  , in the footnote explanations.

References

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Cadafael Cadomedd
King of Gwynedd
c. 655 – 682
Succeeded by
Idwal Iwrch?
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