Pendragon

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For other uses, see Pendragon (disambiguation).

Pendragon or Pen Draig, meaning in Welsh "head (Pen) dragon (Draig) " or "chief dragon" (a figurative title referring to status as a leader and shortened from Pen y Ddraig (pronounced Thraig soft 'th' as in 'then')), is the name of several traditional Kings of the Britons:

In the Historia Regum Britanniae, one of the earliest texts of the Arthurian legend, only Uther is given the surname "Pendragon", which is explained as meaning "dragon's head". In the prose version of Robert de Boron's Merlin, the name of Uther's elder brother Ambrosius is given as "Pendragon", while Uter (Uther) changes his name after his brother's death to "Uterpendragon".

The use of "Pendragon" to refer to Arthur, rather than to Uther or his brother, is of much more recent vintage. In literature, one of its earliest uses to refer to Arthur is in Alfred Tennyson's poem Lancelot and Elaine, where, however, it appears as a title of Arthur rather than as a surname, following contemporary speculation that "pendragon" had been a term for an ancient British war-chief.