Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Case for Medraut/"Mordred" as the Lord of Dinas Emrys

Not too long ago I cautiously floated the idea that Medraut, from the Roman/Latin name Moderatus, may be a reflection of Ambrosius Aurelianus, called 'viro modesto' by Gildas.  Or, alternatively, Ambrosius as the modest man may have been relocated in folk tradition from Amesbury in Wiltshire to Dinas Emrys in Arfon precisely because the actual Arthurian-period lord of the latter fort was none other than Moderatus.


At the time I thought the notion intriguing, but more or less dismissed it as a somewhat interesting coincidence.  In this blog post I would like to revisit the suggestion, if only to assure myself that I wasn't suffering from delusion!

Above is a map of early Wales, showing the geographical relationship between Ceredigion (with Aberarth at its heart) of Arthur/Ceredig son of Cunedda, Camlan (= the Afon Gamlan) and Dinas Emrys.  The Kingdom of Ceredigion extended to the southern boundary of Meirionydd.  Camlan was in Meirionydd.  At the time, Dinas Emrys was in Arfon, but very close to Eifionydd, which was part of the previous kingdom of Dunoding.

In yet another blog, I discussed the possible association of Ambrosius ('the divine or immortal one') with the god Lleu, styled Lord of Gwynedd in Welsh tradition.  I had posted the following map to demonstrate the proximity of Lleu's two principal residences (Mur Castell and Dinas Dinlle), Segontium (of the two crossed serpents military standard) and Nantlle (his death-place) with that of Dinas Emrys:

As I pointed out before, this is significant in that Medraut's father is said to be the god Lleu.  In other words, his real ancestry was unknown, but it was claimed he had descended from the pan-Celtic sun god who was especially revered in Gwynedd in the pre-Christian period.  This is assuming, of course, that the Welsh name for his father is not simply a borrowing from Geoffrey of Monmouth, who opted for 'Loth of Lothian', Lothian being a modern spelling for Lleuddiniawn, 'country of the fort of Lleu', an early designation for the region around Edinburgh, Scotland.  If this comes from Geoffrey, it is almost certainly a literary invention.

I'm now going to propose, quite seriously, that while Ambrosius Aurelianus and Medraut were not one and the same person, it is possible that A.A. as the modest man was mistakenly placed at Dinas Emrys because that was the fort of Moderatus

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