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Who Was Sir Robert Pounderling?
Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
Parents and Children of the Lord Rhys

 

NOTE:  The following is an essay outlining what we believe to be true.  It is not "history" nor do we present it as "scholarly research".  While many of our statements can be supported by ancient credible sources, we elected not to include footnotes since that would appear to elevate the paper to an unintended level.  Our single footnote merely explains why we chose not to insert two names. 
 
                                 BRITAIN'S ROYAL ROMAN FAMILY
                                             By Darrell Wolcott
 
          We have previously suggested there was one special family on the isle of Britain in the 4th century which was recognized as worthy "to wear the purple" and rule as Emperor in the Roman style.  It began as a purely Celt family where the concept of a "kingly" family ruling a tribe was long established.  While that form of government in Wales continued until the Edwardian Conquest, its Roman nature, which had been strong for 200 years, began to fade away in the century after Rome officially withdrew from the island.  The most Romanized element of the population lived in the cites of the flatlands which were overrun by Saxons in the 5th and later centuries; by the end of the 7th century, only the mountainous lands in the west, dubbed "weahls", remained under Celtic control.
 
          Our story begins with the family descended from the brave Caraticus whose AD 51 stand against the Roman invasion was recorded by Tacitus.  Called "Silures" in that account, the family had settled in Wales two generations earlier by the arrival of a Menapian mariner known only as Llyr Llediath, the "man of the seas who spoke with a foreign accent".  By the beginning of the 3rd century, his descendants held lands circling the coast of Wales, from Caerleon in Gwent to Menevia in Dyfed to Segontium by the Menai Straits to Degannwy at the mouth of the Conwy and Rhuddlan at the Clwyd.  If the rugged interior of Wales was populated by earlier tribes unrelated to this family, none of their names have been preserved. It is our belief the early Roman conquerors referred to them as "mountain men" or Silures, and called the ruling family "Ordovices".  We think later historians referred to men of that ruling family as "Menapians" from their pre-British ancestry.
 
         That this family provided military leaders for the Roman legions as early as the 2nd century is indicated by the name cited for a great-grandson of Caraticus: Meirchion Fawr Filwr, the "great soldier".  Four generations later, the early pedigree materials identify four brothers born about the first quarter of the third century, sons of Einudd ap Gwrddwyfan:
 
         1.  Caradog, the eldest born c. 220 to the first wife of Einudd and who resided at Minevia in Dyfed, and ruled a territory called Demetia.
         2.  Arthfael, born to Einudd's second wife about 230 and who resided at Llanmelin in lower Gwent, and ruled a territory called Dumnonia.
         3.  Eudaf Hen, born about 230 who resided at Segontium across the Menai from Anglesey in Gwynedd, and ruled a territory called Cernyw.
         4.  Gereint, born c. 235 who resided at Degonnwy, and ruled a territory called Llydaw.  His son Cynan resided at Rhuddlan and held a lordship called Meriadog during the life of his father.
 
         Caradog ap Eunydd had a son born c. 250 named Ceris, who became a skilled seaman since his father's kingdom extended both above and below the Bristol Channel (Dyfed and Cornwall).  When Roman Emperor Maximianus Herculius sought an admiral to clear pirates from the North Sea off the coast of France, he was referred to Ceris. Pronounced KARE-us in the Brythonic Celt language, this man became known by the Latin cognomen Mauseus Carausius Dionotus.  While his fleet achieved the Roman goal of defeating and deterring piracy on the seas between Britain and France, it is claimed that he would wait until they had plundered coastal towns and attack their ships only when loaded with loot.  When it was reported to the Emperor that such loot was not finding its way into the Roman treasury, Maximianus ordered his army to capture Carausius for execution. 
 
         When he eluded Maximianus by sailing home to Minevia, both the legions under his command and those in Wales declared their loyalty to Carausius and elevated him as a rival Emperor. Depending on which early sources we accept, this occurred in the year 286 or 287. His "legitimacy" as a breakaway Emperor ruling the island of Britain was confirmed by Diocletian and Maximianus. Carausius then issued coinage proclaiming his authority.  Contemporary historians name his closest ally as Allectus and say that man was his finance minister.  We tend to see the new emperor as still a Celt tribal king; his father, even if yet living, was past age 65 and would have given over rule of his lands to his son.  Accordingly, we see Allectus as that family's chosen "edling", the next to rule after the present king.  There is no mention of any sons of Carausius, so we suggest Allectus was a younger first-cousin, the son of Arthfael ap Eunydd.  All we really know from the early accounts is that Allectus was raised to the purple after the death of Carausius.  Likely, he became king of the tribe in the Celt style and Emperor of Britain in the Roman style.  The latter ended in 296 when Maximiamus's caesar, Constantius Chlorus, and his praetorian prefect, Asclepiodotus, killed Allectus and reclaimed Britain for the Roman Empire.  No evidence is seen that other then-living members of the family of Carausius claimed to be more than "tribal king" in the Celtic sense.
 
         We think Carausius left an only daughter who married Cynan Meriadog.  Although his accounts are both anachronistic and muddled, Geoffrey of Monmouth mentions a daughter of "Donotius" (whom he calls a brother of Caradog) that Cynan desired for his wife.  Our timeline shows why we believe the lady's father was a son of Caradog:
 
                            190
    first wife===Eunydd==============second wife
                  l                     _____l_______________________
                  l                     l                       l                          l
     220  Caradog    235  Gereint       230 Arthfael       230  Eudaf Hen
                  l                     l                       l
        250  Ceris(a)   265  Cynan(b)   260  Sandde(c)
                  l
     280  daughter(d)
 
       (a)  Called Donotius by Geoffrey of Monmouth, his Welsh name was Latinized as Mauseus Carausius Dionotus.  When he became Emperor, he adopted the added Latin names of Marcus Aurelius and dropped "Dionotus"
      (b)  Lord of Meriadog, the lands east of the Clwyd and north of the Dee
      (c)  The Welsh version of "Alexander" or "Alec", Latin writers rendered it Allectus
      (d)  While the lady's birthname is unknown, she would have been about 13 when Cynan Meriadog sought a wife at age 28.  Both were typical ages for a first marriage in the Celt society
 
 
         About AD300, Cynan Meriadog fathered a son he named Ceris after the child's maternal grandfather.  We suggest this grandson of Carausius joined the Roman fleet and earned the nickname "Graddllong" as "having rank among ships". Most early pedigrees cite him merely as "Gradlon ap Cynan Meriadog". He married and fathered, in addition to a son Selyf, a daughter of unknown name born c. 329.  In the winter of 343, when that young lady reached child-bearing age, her second-cousin Anwn Dynod contacted Constans I (his first-cousin) to report that a lady of suitable breeding was available to bear the Emperor's child.  Constans made a quick trip to Britain and 9 months later his son, named Magnus Maximus, was born.
 
          When Constans was killed in 350, Ceris was elevated to Emperor by the legions in Britain as "Carausius II".  Among the coinage he authorized were some marked "Genceris" to denote his direct descent from "the tribe of Ceris", i.e. from Carausius I.  The date of his death is not known, but his grandson (and the son of Constans I) emerged into history in 383 when he was proclaimed Emperor by the Roman establishment in Britain.  His Welsh family and friends called him Maxen Wledig.  His combined Celt/Roman roots are shown in this chart:
 
        250  Ceris ap Caradog (Carausius I)     Gereint  235
                        l                                            l
            280  daughter==============Cynan Meriadoc  265
                                          l
                    300  Ceris Graddllong (Carausius II)   Constantine  274  
                                          l                                       l
                             329  daughter====/=======Constans I  320
                                                          l
                                           343  Maxen Wledig

         When Maxen Wledig was killed in 388, none of his sons were yet old enough to rule.  Desperately needing military assistance to repel Picts invading from the north, the British ruling council invited Rome to reassume control of the island. Stillicho was sent with a legion to oust the Picts and regain Britian for the Western Roman Empire.  But about 405, his army was required on the European continent and his withdrawal again left the island undefended.  When Honorius told the ruling council to look to their own defenses, they again annointed a "breakaway" Emperior, again chosen from the same family:
                                     
                                  300  Ceris (Carausius II)
                                            l
                                  330  Selyf
                                            l
                               365  Custinnen aka Constantine III
 
          The Roman legions had put forth two "Emperor" candidates from their own ranks, but both had been rejected and deposed by the ruling council as unfit outsiders.  The suitablity of Constantine III was enhanced by requiring him to marry Sefera, a daughter of Maxen Wledig, thus connecting him to the lineage of Constantine the Great.  Rather than settle for being a "breakaway" Emperor ruling only Britain, Constantine III took an army to Gaul to contend for the entire Western Empire held by Honorius.  Both he and his eldest son, Constans, were captured and killed by forces loyal to Honorius in 411. Meanwhile, the Britains had purged all the Roman bureaucracy from their cities and installed a new "overking". The reason why they rejected Constantine III after he went over to Gaul is unknown, but he may have enacted heavy taxes on the wealthy class to finance his adventure.
    
         Maxen Wledig had left 2 sons when slain in 388, neither of which was then old enough to succeed him.  The eldest, Owain, had since fallen battling Irish invaders in North Wales, but Maxen's younger son was in his mid-30's when passed over for Constantine III in 407.  Known as Blessed Custinnen, this man had entered a monastary to train as a cleric and did not wish to hold political office.  But in 409, with no other eligible adults in the "royal" family, he was pursuaded to accept the role of "overking" and given a council of military advisers to assist him.  His chief adviser and battle leader, Gwrtheyrn ap Gwydol, married his daughter Sefera.  About the year 425, Blessed Custinnen was slain in a battle with Picts.  His only legitimate son, Ambrosius, was a youngster about 15 years of age.  As interim "overking", the council selected his penteulu and son-in-law who became known to history as Vortigern. 
 
            When Ambrosius reached "full age" for kingship under the Celtic custom, Vortigern refused to stand aside.  An attempt to depose him militarily failed in 437, and it was not until about 445 that Vortigern finally stepped down and was replaced by Ambrosius.  He had a daughter, but no sons.  In c. 447, this daughter married the man [1] who was the battle-leader for Ambrosius.  Ambrosius died about 475 and was succeeded as "overking" by that son-in-law. This new "overking" had an eldest son who became his warband leader and eventual successor. That son fathered a son  c. 475, who was elevated to battle-leader c. 500 and scored an impressive victory over the Saxons at Mount Badon.  Called "the bear", that son became king c. 510 and is better known as King Arthur.
                    

NOTES
[1]  We do have a birth name for this man and for his son (the traditional "Uther Pendragon") and grandson, but choose not to disclose the names.  The first is a man well-known to history, but in his primary role.  The same is true of his son, and his famous grandson who was NOT named Arthur at birth. We prefer not to devote our time debating this single subject and will leave that pursuit to others. The only observation we will share is that the historic "Arthur" bore no resemblance whatever to the Arthur of romantic myths.  His "knights" did not gallantly rescue damsels in distress.  If anything, they were the cause of that distress.