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Parents and Children of the Lord Rhys
                           MAXEN WLEDIG AND THE WELSH GENEALOGIES
                                            By Darrell Wolcott
 
        A number of modern scholars contend that those pedigrees which claim ancestry from Maxen Wledig were simply attempts by certain early families to attach themselves to noble ancestors.[1] Perhaps one reason for that conjecture comes from the disarray into which certain of the pedigrees have been edited.
        
        Harleian Ms 3859 contains the earliest and best record of the various Royal Families of Wales in the days of Owain ap Hywel Dda of the tenth century.  Families were listed in columns on a page and in reverse order of modern pedigrees; the name on the top was the last-born of those listed and it descended downward to the earliest, most ancient ancestor.  The extant manuscript is but a transcribed copy and even a copy of a copy.  Its principal difference from the original is the insertion of the word "map" or "ferch" by which the copyist tried to identify which names were male and which female, and that word has been inserted to the left of the names in the column.[2]  In some cases, it can be seen that when a two-word name was written one beneath the other (as in Coyl hen Guotepauc), the transcriber has inserted "map" before each line to yield "map Coyl hen map Guotepauc". There is also evidence that copyists occasionally inserted descriptive data taken from their own knowledge (the addition of "gulecic" to "Maxim" or "& Cleopatre" to "Antun du" who was incorrectly thought by the scribe to be Mark Antony).
 
         Egerton Phillimore edited the surviving manuscript (now lodged in the Harleian collection) in Y Cymmrodor vol ix in 1888; it is his version and his suggested emendations which is reproduced in Peter Bartrum's work.[3] The obvious difficulty in determining, from names presented in vertical columns, what name ends one family as opposed to beginning a new one was handled quite well, except for those we shall examine presently. 
 
          The first pedigree which speaks of families descended from Roman Emperors is the one now called Harleian Ms 3859, 2 being the descent of Owain ap Hywel Dda's mother, Elen.  While its editors suggest places where "map" has been improperly inserted, we believe there are two separate families which were originally intended but it will require other manuscripts to reflect how they were connected. These families were also cited in three other medieval manuscripts, Achau Brenhinoedd a Thywysogion Cymry, Jesus College Ms 20, and Bodleian Ms Rawlinson B 502. We present these side by side in the following table:[4]
 

      1

      2

      3

      4

      5

      6

      7

Protector

 

  

   

   

  

  

Protec

  

  

  

Custinint

Constantii

  

Maxim

  

  

 

Constantinus mawr

Constantini magni

  

Dimet

Dyfed

  

Messchorp

Artchorp

Maximianus

Constans

  

Nimet

Nyfedd

  

Eochiud

Maxen wledic

  

Maxen wledic

Gloitguin

Gletwin

  

Corath

Custinnin

 

Custinnen

Clotri

Gwledyr

Ewein vreisg

Aeda Brosc

Miser

Pincr misser

Amweryd

Triphun  

Ewein

Tryffin

Tristin

Ewein

Stater

Amloyd

Aircol

Kyngar

Aergul llawir

Alchoil

Kyngar Prwtech

Eliud

Elynt

Guortepir

Ewein

Gwethefyr

Gartbuir

Ewein

Ebiud

Ebynt

  

Kyndeyrn vendigeit

  

  

Cyndwr bendigeit

  

  

           We have made our own edit of these confusing citations and presented them so that those names which appear in multiple sources are aligned so they will appear on parallel horizontal lines.  Except for two omitted names in the column 6 pedigree, the citations appear to be intact and fit correctly together.  Those missing names are easily supplied from the columns on either side.    
 
         The family in columns 1 and 2 reflects a male line down to Clydwyn (Gloitguin and Gletwin are variant spellings) and cites two offspring, Clotri and Gwledyr, with separate lines descended from each.  The family shown beneath Clotri is the ruling dynasty of Dyfed and that branch is also found in columns 3 and 4.  A look at Tryffin will find two parents cited, Aed Brosc (Irish version of Ewein vreisg) and Clotri.  It seems obvious the pedigrees were intended to show both the maternal and paternal ancestry of Tryffin, and that Clotri is his mother.  Virtually every modern genealogist claims that Clotri is a man because this name is followed by "map" not "ferch".  But just because an unknown medieval scribe thought so when he inserted his "maps" is not evidence the original drafter of the pedigree believed it.  To avoid the absurd conclusion that Tryffin had two fathers, modern scholars have conjectured that Clotri died without heirs and "his" sister Gwledyr married a member of the Irish family and delivered the kingdom of Dyfed to that line.  The only thing they seem to disagree about is whether Gwledyr married Aircol or Tryffin or Aed Brosc.  In fact our edit discloses that she married none of that family as we shall discuss presently.
 
          The family of Tryffin and Aircol Lawhir is that of Vortepir, the sixth century king of Dyfed excoriated by Gildas in his contempory work The Ruin of Britain.  Described in the words "the end of your life is gradually drawing near", this would indicate Vortepir was past 60 when Gildas wrote in about 530/540.  This provides our first timeline for our chart; we should expect the birth of Vortepir occurred near 470. But since neither the Romans nor the Irish necessarily followed the Welsh custom of sending sons away to make up the warbands of their lords, and thus prevent them from standing on their own in their twenties, we would assume a somewhat smaller generational span than the customary 32 years. Counting back three generation from 470, we would estimate the two daughers of Clydwyn occurred c. 390/395.
 
         The father of Clydwyn was, in modern spelling, Ednyfed and he was the son of Antonius Donatus, a name occurring in pedigrees variously as Anthun, Antoni or Dunawt and modernized as Anwn Dynod.  We believe it was the scribal distortion of Dynod into Dyfed in Column 2 which led to the belief that he and his paternal line had ruled the kingdom of Dyfed until the era of Clotri.  But the manuscripts which recount the settlement of the Irish Deisi tribe in the far southwest of Wales should put forth the suggestion that it was the ruling family there both before and after the era of Tryffin.  His father merely married a lady descended from a Roman noble whose lands are not identified in these pedigrees.
 
         Continuing our date estimates which we began with Vortepir, Dynod ap Maxim in column 1 would date from near 305 and Maxim from about 280.  Clearly this man was too old to be identified with the Maxen Wledig slain in 388; if we were to apply standard generational gaps rather than the shorter ones we felt appropriate, Maxim's era would be all the more removed from Maxen Wledig.  In fact, a glimpse at our columnar array places Maxen Wledig two generations after this Maxim and a birthdate around 340/345 is where most scholars place the famous Maxen.
 
          However, Emperor Maxentius was born c. 279 and fits chronologically as the father of Anwn Dynod; his father was Emperor Maximianus Herculius and could well be the "Protect" in the pedigree in column 1.  That man was adopted as a son of Diocletian before being named a Caesar and the latter may be the "Protector" cited.  Both Maximianus and Diocletian held the honorific Brittanicus Maximus and thus protectors of Britain.
 
          Turning now to the second family in the Harleian pedigree, shown in columns 5-7 above, they begin with Constantius Chlorus and his son, Constantine the Great.  The latter did have a son named Constans, whom Nennius called Maximus, and that man's son Maxen is cited as the father of Custinnen.  Probably born near 370, the latter's son appears in columns 5 and 6 under the Roman title "Miser" or "Pincr misser" (Pincerna is the Latin equivalent of the butler in a Welsh king's court) but since the families in columns 6 and 7 are identical, that man's given name was Amweryd. One son of Amweryd is called "Stater" but his given name seems to have been Amloyd.  His other son was Ewein (Owain) and the maternal descent of Ewein is shown in column 2.  Accordingly, we find that Gwledyr ferch Clydwyn was the wife of Amweryd ap Custinnen and mother of Ewein and, perhaps, his brother Amloyd.
 
          Ewein's descendants in the pedigrees end with Kyndeyrn bendigeit (the Blessed) better known as St. Kentigern.  Although the medevial genealogists claim his father was Owain ap Urien Rheged (not Owain ap Cyngar) this is chronologically impossible.  St. Kentigern was born somewhere between 515 and 525 (our estimate from the generational gaps is c. 520) and died an old man early in the seventh century. Owain ap Urien Rheged could not have been born earlier than c. 540 based on recorded events in his life.
 
          In summary, we find two separate families in Harleian Ms 3859, 2 which have been editorially merged but which were actually only connected by marriages.  The tenth-century drafter of the pedigrees identified two daughters of Clydwyn ap Ednyfed, the men they married and the ancestry of those men, and the principal families which descended from each of these daughters.  If both families were merely attached to "famous ancestors" by later descendants, they certainly selected ancestors which fit chronologically.  We see no good reason to reject them as cited.  We would only insist that the "Maxen/Maxim" of the pedigrees was two very different men who lived at least two full generations apart, the first born c. 280 and the other c. 340.  
 
NOTES:
[1] See Rachel Bromwich "Trioedd Ynys Prydein", 1961, Cardiff, pp cxxx, 452
[2] See Y Cyymmrodor, vol xxi, pp 63-105 for a full discussion of the problems in editing Harleian Ms 3859
[3] P.C. Bartrum "Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts", 1966, Cardiff
[4] Column 1 = first fragment from Harleian Ms 3859, 2
     Column 2 = one fragment from ABT 18(a)
     Column 3 = another fragment from ABT 18(a) but incorrectly inserts Erbin as the father of Vortepir; a virtually duplicate fragment is found in Jesus College Ms 20, 12/13
     Column 4 = Bodleian Ms Rawlinson B 502
     Column 5 = second fragment from Jesus College Ms 20, 12/13
     Column 6 = second fragment from Harleian Ms 3859, 2
     Column 7 = third fragment from ABT 18(a)