Edern ap Nudd

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Edern ap Nudd (Latin Hiderus, Old French Yder fils Nu[t]) is a warrior of Arthur's court in early Arthurian tradition. As the son of Nudd (spelled Nu or Nut in Old French romance), he is the brother of Gwyn, Creiddylad and Owain ap Nudd. His equivalent in the Latin Historia Regum Britanniae is Hiderus fils Nu and in the Old French Roman de Brut and Erec and Enide he appears as the knight Yder fils Nu(t). As St Edern, he has two churches dedicated to him in Wales.

Etymology[edit]

The Welsh name Edern comes from a Brittonic borrowing of Latin Aeternus, meaning "eternal, everlasting, immortal".

Appearances[edit]

In Culhwch ac Olwen, he is named as one of Arthur's knights in a list of his retinue, but plays no part in the narrative.[1] Edern is next seen in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae as Hiderus filius Nu, a knight of King Arthur's who fought in his Gallic campaign. The poet Wace, in his adaptation of the Historia Regum Britanniae called the Roman de Brut, renders the name as Yder fils Nu(t).

Edern plays a more important role in Geraint son of Erbin (a Welsh adaptation of Chrétien de Troyes' romance Erec et Enide), in which he and two companions, a beautiful lady and a whip-brandishing dwarf, come across Gwenhwyfar, one of her handmaidens and the knight Geraint ab Erbin in a forest. The handmaiden is sent to discover Edern's identity, but is rebuked and struck by the dwarf. Geraint also goes and suffers the same fate, but chooses to spare the dwarf's life and retreats.

Seeking his adversary, Geraint heads to a "walled town", where a great tournament is annually held. Edern, champion of the tournament for two years running, challenges Geraint to joust. Initially, Edern has the upper hand but by the end of the duel, he suffers vicious wounds at Geraint's hand and begs for mercy. Geraint allows Edern to keep his life on the condition that he rides to Arthur's court to make amends for his insult. Edern accepts the condition, and reveals his name to his rival. Edern later rides to Arthur's court where his apology is accepted by Gwenhwyfar. Heavily injured, he is treated by Morgan Tud, the chief physician of the court. Upon his recovery, he is chosen to accompany Geraint to the kingdom of Geraint's father, Erbin.

Edern also appears in The Dream of Rhonabwy (a late medieval Welsh Arthurian romance) in which he commands a "pure black troop" of Danish [2] soldiers allied to Arthur against the Saxons. He is named one of Arthur's foremost counsellors during the battle.

Saint[edit]

Edern is the patron saint of two churches in Wales: St Edern's Church, Bodedern in Anglesey, and the church in the village of Edern, Gwynedd.[3]

References[edit]