Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Repost of an Old Note Regarding the Red Dragon of Wales


A NOTE ON VORTIGERN'S RED DRAGON

In the early Welsh poem "Gwarchan Maeldderw" (see G.R. Isaac's translation and commentary in CAMBRIAN MEDIEVAL CELTIC STUDIES 44, Winter 2002), we are told of the 'Pharaoh's red dragon.' The context of the poem makes it difficult if not impossible to tell exactly what the red dragon in this instance represents.  Is it a draco standard?  Or is it merely a poetic reference to Britons in their capacity as members of a field army?

The important thing about the passage is that the dragon is said to be the Pharaoh's.  The Pharaoh is what Vortigern was called in Gildas.  The name appears in later Welsh tradition as Ffaraon Dandde, the 'Fiery Pharaoh', owner of the Dinas Emrys fort prior to the advent there of Emrys/Ambrosius. The epithet for Ffaraon/Pharaoh was concocted through a misunderstanding of Gildas's Latin "Taneos dantes Pharaoni consilium insipens", 'giving foolish advice to Pharaoh.'

Thus in this poem we have the dragon standard or British warriors being referred to as belonging to Vortigern - not to Ambrosius. 

St. Ambrose and the Exhumation of Saints: The Prototype for Ambrosius and the Two Dragons of Dinas Emrys?


Double urn cremation burial

In the past, and again just recently, I've made my case for the "British" Ambrosius being but a legendary reflection of the 4th century Praetorian Prefect of Gaul of that name, perhaps fused with his much more famous son, St. Ambrose. I now have another reason for believing this last to be true, as St. Ambrose appears to play into the story of Dinas Emrys with its exhumation of the two "dragons"(originally the cremated remains of two chieftains placed in funeral urns).

For as it turns out, St. Ambrose did his own little bit of excavating of bodies.  He wrote about two such in one of his letters:

https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/ambrose-letter22.asp

1. As I do not wish anything which takes place here in your absence to escape the knowledge of your holiness, you must know that we have found some bodies of holy martyrs. For after I had dedicated the basilica,1 many, as it were, with one mouth began to address me, and said: Consecrate this as you did the Roman basilica. And I answered: "Certainly I will if I find any relics of martyrs." And at once a kind of prophetic ardour seemed to enter my heart.

2. Why should I use many words? God favoured us, for even the clergy were afraid who were bidden to clear away the earth from the spot before the chancel screen of SS. Felix and Nabor. I found the fitting signs, and on bringing in some on whom hands were to be laid,2 the power of the holy martyrs became so manifest, that even whilst I was still silent, one3 was seized and thrown prostrate at the holy burial-place. We found two men of marvellous stature, such as those of ancient days. All the bones were perfect, and there was much blood. During the whole of those two days there was an enormous concourse of people. Briefly we arranged the whole in order, and as evening was now coming on transferred them to the basilica of Fausta,4 where watch was kept during the night, and some received the laying on of hands. On the following day we translated the relics to the basilica called Ambrosian.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120122.htm

The miracle which was wrought at Milan when I was there, and by which a blind man was restored to sight, could come to the knowledge of many; for not only is the city a large one, but also the emperor was there at the time, and the occurrence was witnessed by an immense concourse of people that had gathered to the bodies of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius, which had long lain concealed and unknown, but were now made known to the bishop Ambrose in a dream, and discovered by him. By virtue of these remains the darkness of that blind man was scattered, and he saw the light of day.

Paulinus in his VITA SANCTI AMBROSII mentions the same episode.

Coincidentally, the father of these two exhumed saints was named Vitalis  This is also the name of Vortigern's father.  Long ago (http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2017/07/appendix-ii-vortigern.html) I demonstrated that Vitalis in the context of Votigern's ancestry was a Roman/Latin substitute for the Irish name Fedelmid.

ST. AMBROSE, ST. CELSUS AND UTHER PENDRAGON

Ambrose also dug up two other saints from a garden.  See

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazarius_and_Celsus

Celsus has an interesting definition.  From William Whitaker's Words (http://archives.nd.edu/words.html):

cels.us              ADJ    1 1 NOM S M POS         
celsus, celsa, celsum  ADJ   [XXXAO]
high, lofty, tall; haughty; arrogant/proud; prominent, elevated; erect; noble;

As it happens Celsus exactly matches in meaning the original definition offered for Welsh uther by Professor John Koch.  For Uther is believed to be cognate with Welsh uachtar and meant 'high, lofty' (see CELTIC CULTURE: A HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA).

The mode of execution of Celsus was decapitation. Of course, one of the meanings of Welsh pen, as in Pendragon, was 'head' - as in the human head.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's fictional history, Uther was buried at Amesbury's Stonehenge. Amesbury was confused with Dinas Emrys in the tradition.  The former place-name was thought to mean the same thing as Dinas Emrys, i.e. the 'Fort of Ambrosius.'


Saturday, January 13, 2018

DINAS EMRYS IN 'LLYDAW': A NEW ORIGIN POINT FOR UTHER PENDRAGON

In past blog posts, I discussed various possible 'Llydaws' in or adjacent to Wales that could have been used as substitutes for Llydaw or Brittany proper.  Among these are the Vale of Leadon, which borders on the ancient Welsh kingdom of Ercing, as well as a possible identification with the Ui Liathain territory in Co. Cork (Munster).

Here I wish to confine myself to an actual known Llydaw in Wales - Llyn Llydaw, a large lake in Arfon, Gwynedd.

I had not paid much attention to this location in the past - and possibly to my detriment.  For Llyn Llydaw is not only a mere half dozen kilometers from Dinas Emrys, it is the feeder lake for the river that empties into Llyn Dinas at the foot of this hillfort.  I'm attaching here some maps that nicely show the geographical proximity and relationship of these sites.


We will recall that Geoffrey of Monmouth has Constantine and his sons, Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon, come to Britain from Brittany (or Llydaw).  Discount Geoffrey's clumsy (or ingenious) conflation of Ambrosius and the Northern Merlin (Myrddin) at Dinas Emrys.  Never mind that hillfort's further confusion with Amesbury near Stonehenge in Wiltshire.  If we stick with pre-Galfridian tradition (Nennius), Ambrosius Aurelianus is given Dinas Emrys by Vortigern, along with all the kingdoms of the western part of Britain, i.e. Gwynedd.

Suppose, hypothetically speaking, we allow for Uther Pendragon coming to southern Wales from Dinas Emrys in "Llydaw"?

At one time or another I've tried to make a case for Uther being either a title for Ambrosius himself (an unhelpful identification, as Ambrosius belongs to the 4th century and was never even in Britain!) or for the great Cunedda.  If we place Ambrosius at Dinas Emrys, does this help us any in our quest for the Terrible Chief Dragon?

Yes - perhaps.  But not in the way we may wish it to!

Dinas Emrys was in Eryri, and I've explained in the past how this mountain-name could easily have been confused for the Welsh word for eagle.  The same was true of Aquileia on the Continent (easily associated with Latin aquila), and so a whole bunch of famous Roman emperors and peripheral figures get relocated to Dinas Emrys in legend.  St. Ambrose (namesake of his father, a Governor of Gaul) is found there, as is Magnus Maximus (called Maximo tyranno in the HISTORIA BRITTONUM, a name/title that could easily have been associated with Vor-tigern).  Maximus is executed at Aquileia. The usurper Eugenius was killed near Aquileia (probably this is the Owain Finddu son of Maximus at Dinas Emrys). Constantine II was killed at Aquileia, and we know Gratian was there, too.  The HISTORIA BRITTONUM tells us that St. Martin spoke with Maximus (see http://www.livius.org/sources/content/martinus-of-tours-and-maximus/).  If Myrddin was linked by Geoffrey of Monmouth with Martin, this may be one reason why he chose to identify Myrddin/Merlin with Ambrosius at Dinas Emrys.  Constantius II captured Aquileia, and forces loyal to the future pagan emperor Julian (who was intimately associated with the draco and the dragon) laid siege to the city.

Ambrosius Aurelianus himself, as the 'Divine/Immortal Golden One', came to be identified with the god Lleu, made Lord of Gwynedd in Welsh story.  Lleu is found in eagle form in Nantlle in Eryri.  A.A. as a fatherless boy in the ballgame at Campus Elleti is a motif borrowed from the story of the Irish god Mac Og, 'Young Son.'  In Welsh tradition, Mabon and Lleu are identified, as both are placed in Nantlle in death.  This identification of A.A. with Lleu/Mabon may have eased the former's identification with the Northern Myrddin (Merlin), who has strong Lleu affinities. 

In short, the legends surrounding Dinas Emrys are a tangled mess.  According to Bartram, Arfon (in which Dinas Emrys was situated) was not a part of the original occupied territory of Cunedda and his sons. Pasted here is the relevant section from A CLASSICAL WELSH DICTIONARY:

"The ‘Harleian’ genealogies supplement this (HG 32, 33 in EWGT p.13) as follows:
These are the names of the sons of Cunedda, whose number was nine: [1] Tybion, the first-born,
who died in the region called Manaw Gododdin and did not come hither with his father and his
aforesaid brothers. Meirion, his son, divided the possessions among his [Tybion's] brothers. 2.
Ysfael, 3. Rhufon, 4. Dunod, 5. Ceredig, 6. Afloeg, 7. Einion Yrth, 8. Dogfael, 9. Edern.
This is their boundary: From the river which is called Dyfrdwy [Dee], to another river, the Teifi;
and they held very many districts in the western part of Britain.

A similar account is given in the second Life of St.Carannog (§§2, 3 in VSB 148) except that the
southern boundary is made the Gwaun instead of the Teifi. The secular boundary of Ceredigion was
always the Teifi. The variant version is due to the fact that the Archdiaconical region was later extended to the Gwaun, so that it included part of Dyfed (VSB pp.xi-xii).

All the sons of Cunedda listed above, except Tybion and Einion Yrth, gave their names to the
kingdoms which were allotted to them, namely, Ysfeilion, Rhufoniog, Dunoding, Ceredigion, Afloegion, Dogfeiling and Edeirnion; Meirion, son of Tybion, gave his name to Meirionydd, and Einion's kingdom appears to have been Rhos.

The sons of Cunedda thus held the north and west coastal districts of Wales, from the mouth of
the Clwyd to the mouth of the Teifi, with the exception of Llyn, Arfon, Arllechwedd, and most of
Anglesey. These seem to have been conquered later by Cadwallon Lawhir ab Einion Yrth. The position of these conquests suggests that entry was made by the sea. (A.W.Wade-Evans in Arch.Camb., 85 (1930) p.333); WCO 39, 88)...

To Cadwallon [born c. 440 A.D.], who was probably not the eldest son, it fell to extend the dominions of the family in Arfon and to conquer the greater part of Môn from the Irish inhabitants [Gwyddyl]. This can be gathered from relatively late traditions. A great battle was fought at a place called Cerrig-y-Gwyddyl in Môn, and Cadwallon's war-band tied the fetter-locks of their horses to their own feet [lest they should waver] in the fight against Serigi Wyddel, so that they are called one of the ‘Three Fettered War-Bands’ of Ynys Prydain (TYP no.62). Cadwallon was aided in the battle by his three cousins, Cynyr, Meilir and Yneigr, sons of Gwron ap Cunedda. Cadwallon slew Serigi at a place called Llam-y-Gwyddyl, ‘the Irishmen's Leap’, in Môn (ByA §29(15) in EWGT p.92). Some later versions mistakenly write Caswallon and Llan-y-Gwyddyl."

The irony here, of course, is that Cunedda came from Ireland (see my previous books and many articles), and his sons were either Irish themselves or Hiberno-British.  They may have chased out the Laigin (a tribal name preserved in that of Dinllaen and Lleyn).  But any conquest inland, including the region of Dinas Emrys in Arfon, would have been at the expense of native Britons.

What all of this tells me is that I might well have been right, all those years ago, when I proposed, only half-seriously, that Uther Pendragon was merely a title for Ambrosius Aurelianus.  This latter "fictional" chieftain of Dinas Emrys was said to be (HB Chapter 48) rex magnus or the 'great king' among the Britains.  His fort was that of the Red Dragon, symbolic of the British, so he was the de facto pen or "chief" of that particular beast.  Also, Vortigern was said to have 'timore Ambrosii', dread of Ambrosius.  One of the meanings of Uther (see GPC) is 'dreadful'.  It was not difficult to see in this combination of facts the title Uther Pendragon.

To quote from Bruce's THE ARTHURIAN NAME DICTIONARY:

"After Geoffrey's chronicle, Ambrosius disappears from legend and romance for some time. The authors of the Prose Merlin and the Vulgate Cycle renamed him Pendragon [emphasis mine]. He resurfaces in the seventeenth century..."

Now, partly this can be explained by the Galfridian fusion of Ambrosius and Merlin at Dinas Emrys.  As Merlin now played a prominent role, that of Ambrosius would naturally have been downplayed or even to have disappeared.  However, it does not account for why the Pendragon epithet continued to be used as a separate character, and one plainly based on Ambrosius.  Instead, this would seem to be confirmation of my idea that Ambrosius IS Uther Pendragon.

My reluctance to adhere to this notion had to do with my desire (not unique among Arthurian scholars) to identify Uther with a chieftain who could actually be Arthur's father.  And that desire, I now feel, has led me seriously astray.

The only way for me to explain the Arthur name and his undeniable connection with the Irish, as well as the locations of his battles, is to remain faithful to the theory propounded in my book THE BEAR KING, i.e. that Arthur is a decknamen for either Irish Artri or British Arthr(h)i, 'Bear-king', and that this title was applied to Ceredig son of Cunedda (= Cerdic of Wessex).  

That Uther is said to have come from the Llydaw in Arfon would be correct in one sense only: the descendants of Cunedda, father of Ceredig/Arthur, had conquered and settled that region early on.  As the progenitor of the princes of Gwynedd, Cunedda was the true Terrible Chief Dragon.



Thursday, January 11, 2018

An Ardri, a Three-Fossed Fort and Arthur and Cadwy




I've recently been thinking of the Dindraethou I've recently identified pretty positively with Dawes Castle near Watchet.  Arthur is placed here with Cato/Cadwy, a known ruler of Dumnonia.  The presence of this last ruler had me thinking that Dindraethou had to be one of the Cadbury forts.  But I have no doubt that Dawes Castle is the right place - at least according to the Life of St. Carannog.

Suppose, however, that Dawes Castle (which is a Saxon fort and had nothing to do with Arthur) is a substitute for a Cadbury - a Cadbury that was called Dun Tradui/Tredui or the 'Triple-fossed fort" in the Irish CORMAC'S GLOSSARY?  And supposed this triple-fossed fort was Cadbury Castle at South Cadbury, with its evidence of major early medieval reuse?

Many years ago I naively suggested that the name Arthur could be from the Irish title ardri, 'high king.'  In CORMAC'S GLOSSARY, the high king Crimthann mac Fidaig is said to have founded Dun Tradui in Britain 'in the land of the Cornish Britains.'

Now, scholars will allow the Roman Artorius as being a decknamen used to replace an Artri or Arthr(h)i name, i.e. an Irish or British 'Bear-king.'  Could the same have happened with an Irish Ardri - perhaps originally applied as a title, not a proper name?

The Irish ard, 'high', became in Welsh ardd.  The /dd/ here is voiced like /th/. Thus is we allow a phonological development, Arddri, pronounced Arthri, could have been replaced by Artorius/Arthur.
At least this seems so to me.  I am, of course, checking with some Welsh linguists to see if such a development was at all possible.  It may not have been. I do find place-name components constantly alternating between ardd and arth.

For now - and purely for fun - let's run with the idea.  What would it mean to say that Arthur 'the Ardri' or High King was at Cadbury Castle?

Well, if I'm right and Arthur was the son of Illtud of the Ui Liathain, then he was acting in a similar capacity as his father, who served Pawl Penychen as master of soldiers.  In other words, Arthur was the general of the troops headquartered at Cadbury Castle. Perhaps he was given his "name" in memory of Crimthann mac Fidaig - as both men were Irish, and of Munster, and both occupied the same fort.  We are reminded that in the Geraint elegy, Arthur's men are said to be fighting at Llongborth. In the past I've tried to explain this away as being figurative/metaphorical.  He is called "ameraudur" or emperor (L. imperator).

Subsequent Arthurs would then all, in a sense, be "High-kings" - a glorified name if ever there was one!

Once again, though, I emphasize that this might be a very silly notion.  As soon as I know one way or the other, I will add an addendum to this post.

NOTE: As I suspected, this idea does not work.  Not a single Celtic or Welsh scholar I contacted thought it worth considering.  Their unanimous view is best summed up by the words of Dr. Simon Rodway from The University of Wales:

"In a word, 'no'. There is no evidence whatsoever for Middle Welsh *arddri, ardd only exists vestigially in place-names, have been usurped at an early stage by uchel, and if Irish ardri had been borrowed into Welsh, it would have sounded completely different to Welsh ears than Arthur. The sounds written in Modern Welsh as dd and th are totally different. Your arth for ardd can only be due to experimental early orthography."

















COMING SOON: Looking Again at the Name Arthur


A very old problem for Arthurian scholars, this one: what is the origin of the name Arthur?

Many ideas out there, most invalid from a philological and/or phonological standpoint.  Conventional wisdom has it deriving from Roman Artorius, perhaps a decknamen for an Irish or British name. 

But I want to approach this from another direction.  We do not find the name in Ireland.  Purely British chieftains of the time did not choose it for their sons.  Instead, it is found only among Hiberno-British royal families.  WHY?

I will do my best to supply a reasonable answer to that question in the next few days. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A HUGE DISCOVERY: WHY ALL SUBSEQUENT ARTHURS BELONGED TO IRISH-DESCENDED DYNASTIES IN BRITAIN

Dinas Powys, Glamorgan, Wales

My readers will know that next to the problem of identifying Uther [Pen]Dragon - which I've now accomplished - I've been constantly vexed by what one could call "The Irish Problem."  No bad pun intended.  In a nutshell, no one has been able to satisfactorily account for the fact that all of the Arthurs immediately subsequent to the original, more famous one belong to Irish-founded dynasties in Britain.  

I've now solved that problem as well.

My past identification of the 'Llydaw' that is said to lie in or adjacent to Wales is wrong.  I had made a linguistically sound selection of the Vale of Leadon, and drawn attention to the fact that this region bordered on Ercing, which itself has many Arthurian associations. This seemed to make sense of a lot, but left The Irish Problem unresolved.

The clue to finding the answer to this riddle lies in the most recent archaeological assessment of the Dinas Powys promontory fort in Glamorgan, where Arthur's father Illtud, the terribilis miles, was the leader of the household soldiers.  According to this analysis, there may well have been Irish involved in the establishment and habitation of Dinas Powys during the Arthurian period.

I had called attention to the fact that the name Powys is the same as that of the kingdom of Powys in central Wales, which in Romano-British times had been the tribal territory of the Cornovii.  The Cornovii, as I also pointed out, bore a name practically identical to the regional designation Cernyw, the Welsh name for Cornwall.  Arthur is consistently placed in Cornwall in Welsh tradition.  There is a Durocornovium, Fort of the Cornovii, hard by Liddington Castle or Badbury.  Both these last sites are also quite close to Barbury, the 'Bear's Fort.'

Why is any of this significant?  Because in Cormac's Glossary, the fort of the Ui Liathain is called 'dind map Lethain.'  Lethain is a very common early spelling given to Irish lethan, 'broad, wide, wide-spread', the cognate of Leadon and from the same root that yielded Llydaw, Letavia (Brittany).  Cf. Welsh llydan.  According to Professor Jurgen Uhlich of Trinity College, Dublin, "lethain is simply one of several regular case forms of lethan, i.e. gen. sg. m./n., dat/acc. sg. fem. or nom pl. m.".

I also find Liathain in Irish Latin as 'Lethani' (Vita Sancta Columba).

That the two words were mistaken for each other in Irish is shown in COIR ANMANN or THE FITNESS OF NAMES (H.3.18, p. 565a):

50. Fedlimith Uillethan, that is, Fedlimith Ua-Liathain, that is in Húi Liathain he was reared. Hence he was named Fedlimith Uillethan. Or Fedlimith Ollethan i.e. huge (oll) and broad (lethan) was he: thence he was named.

Place-names containing these words may also have been substituted for each other.  In Geoffrey Keating's THE HISTORY OF IRELAND FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE ENGLISH INVASION, I find "Drom Liathain (Drum Lee-hawin), is probably Drom Lethan (Drum Lahan), now Drumlane, co. Cavan."  This is confirmed in Edmund Hogan's ONOMASTICON GOEDELICUM: "d. liatháin Fm. i. 44; ¶  prob. for D. Leathan, now Drumlahan or Drumlane, c. Cav.; ¶  Eochaid fought against the Ernu and the Mairthine at D. L., Hk. 324, Lec. 63, 578, Sb. 4 a 1, K. 131 b, Lg. 91; ¶  most prob. in Mun."  Drum/Druim Leathan is 'Broad Ridge' (https://www.logainm.ie/en/5248).

A truly extensive search might well uncover other examples.

Francis J. Byne, in his magisterial IRISH KINGS AND HIGH-KINGS (p. 184) says "Lethain is the archaic form of Liathain." 

The Liathain tribal name is from an epithet whose root is the word for 'grey' in the Irish language and is not related to lethan/lethain.  However, it would have been very easy to have intentionally or accidentally used a spelling of Lethain for Liathain and thus created a "Brittany" within Wales.  

Many writers, myself included, have discussed in detail the many Irish kingdoms in Britain.  The Welsh sources themselves (see HISTORIA BRITTONUM, Chapter 14) tell us that the sons of Liathan "prevailed in the country of the Demetians, where the city of Mynyw is, and in other countries, that is Gower and Kidwelly, until they were expelled by Cunedda, and by his sons..." [Recall that Cunedda and his sons were the Gewissei, with Cunedda's son Ceredig being Cerdic of Wessex.  The Gewissei were Arthur's chief adversary.]

Illtud's father's name - Bicanus - bears a striking resemblance to that of the early Irish Bec(c)an.  Some of these last were native to Munster.

https://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/Masculine/Beccan.shtml

O Corrain and Maguire's IRISH NAMES has:

BECCAN: BEAGAN m, 'little man.'

From the Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language:

becán

Forms: becain

n o, m. (bec) IGT Decl. § 35.

(a) a little, small quantity: b.¤ gl. pauxillum, Sg. 14a12 . ÉC xi 110. gl. paululus, 48a3 . ar na hernigther mar i mbec, Laws v 476.28 glossed: moran i bail i ndlegar becan, 478.31 Comm. dobeir begán dobeir mórán / is dobeir in fichid marg, SG 287.1 . tucc Dīa sonus for beccān bíd, BColm. 60.16 . morán . . . beagán, 2 Cor. viii 15. so cenn begain aimsiri `in a short while', St. Ercuil 258. begcan dergci innti, Maund. 71. begān glōir do budh mōr neimh a small voice (lit. a little of a voice), ZCP viii 223.6 . le beagán do shásadh, DDána 20.26 . beccán becc íarna thionntúdh = a little after, RSClára 16a . began ┐ én mhile amhain `a little more than one mile only', Mart. Don. May 20. a few, a small number: in becan sa dib these few of them (at end of list), LU 2486 ( RC iv 256 § 25 ). in becan ro batar those few, Cog. 176.29 . cenmotha in beccan Cristaige, LB 154a 33 . tāinic Eōgan begān soc[h]raidi `with a few' (Gloss.), ML² 407. becān do maithib a muinntire, 921 . Eoin Bruinne is a bheagán ban, Dán Dé xx 37 . gluaissit begān buidhne `proceeded with a small company', Fl. Earls 20.10 . lé begán briathar `in a few words', FM v 1716.10 . As adv. a little, slightly: fri Dísiurt Lóchait antúaid bican (bicon, TBC² 772 ), LU 5249. codail begán begán beg, Duan. Finn i 84.1 . iníslighid begān, RSClára 105a . In phr. do b.¤ : in mac taisigh rob ferr do bí i nErinn do beagan that was no doubt the best, AU ii 550.9 . na biadha ┐ na deocha as measa do bheagan (= parum deterior potus aut cibus), 23 K 42 , 22.7 .

(b) little one, child; humble, lowly one: indat blaithe beccain (: Breccáin) `little ones', Fél.² Sept. 4 . becain .i. humiles , cxl . Note also: obsa becan (? of a horse) a little fellow (?), IT iii 68.1 .

The corresponding Welsh form is:

bychan

[†bych1+-an, H. Gym. bichan, H. Grn. boghan, Crn. C. byhan, Llyd. bihan, Gwydd. becán, beccán]

a. (b. bechan) a hefyd weithiau fel eg.b. ac adf. ll. bychain, gr. cmhr. bychaned, lleied, llai, lleiaf (a bychanaf weithiau).

a  Bach, o ychydig faint neu nifer:

little, small, minute, diminutive. 

I've not found this as a personal name in the Welsh sources. It is found later in Welsh as a nickname or epithet.

I'm now prepared to claim, rather boldly, that the Welsh 'Llydaw' from which Illtud's father Bicanus hailed, and from where Illtud got his wife, is none other than Irish Ui Liathain, a small kingdom in Munster.



This would explain, finally, why all the Dark Age Arthurs were of Hiberno-British extraction.  

As for the name Arthur itself, all authorities now insist this can only be from the Roman Artorius.  So either Illtud the terribilis miles/Uther Dragon took this name for his son to add a Latin dignity to his family, or as has been suggested before Artorius was a decknamen used to replace an Irish or British 'Bear-king" name.