Athrwys ap Meurig

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Athrwys ap Meurig
Prince of Gwent
Reignc. 620
PredecessorMeurig ap Tewdrig
Bornc. 605
Diedc. 655
FatherMeurig ap Tewdrig

Athrwys ap Meurig (c. 605–655) was a prince, and possibly king, of Gwent and Glywysing in Wales. He was the son of King Meurig ap Tewdrig and the father of the later king Morgan ab Athrwys. It is possible he died before his father Meurig and did not live to rule as king himself.

History[edit]

Athrwys's name is spelled variously. It is spelled Atroys in the 10th century Welsh Harleian genealogies and Andrus in the early medieval Latin Life of Saint Cadoc; also note Andres[us] son of Morcant[us] in the same section of the saint's life, all derived from an early Old Welsh spelling *Antres.[1]

He was the son of Meurig ap Tewdrig, a King of Gwent and Glywysing in South Wales.[2] His mother was Onbrawst, daughter of Gwrgan Fawr, King of Ergyng. His siblings were Idnerth and Ffriog.[3] His wife may have been Cenedlon ferch Briafael Frydig; his children included Morgan ab Athrwys, later a king of Gwent, as well as Ithel and Gwaidnerth.[2] While Athrwys's father Meurig and son Morgan are named as kings in the Book of Llandaff, Athrwys never is. Wendy Davies concluded that Athrwys predeceased his father and thus never ruled as king, and when Meurig died after a long reign the kingship passed to Morgan. Davies suggests Athrwys lived between about 605–655.[4]

His son was Morgan ab Athrwys or Morgan Mwynfawr 'Morgan the Benefactor' in the Welsh language. Morgan was King of Morgannwg, or Gwent and Glywysing, land as far west as the River Towy and also encompassing land beyond the River Wye, into the old Kingdom of Ergyng, South Herefordshire.

Arthurian connection[edit]

Some writers have identified Athrwys ap Meurig as a potential historical basis for King Arthur. This connection originates with William Owen Pughe, who suggested that Athrwys was the same person as the historical Arthur in his Cambrian Biography of 1803. This apparently derives from Pughe's reading of the unreliable manuscripts of the literary forger Iolo Morganwg; Iolo repeatedly misspelled Athrwys' name in his manuscripts, in one place writing it as "Arthur". Pughe's idea was accepted by some 19th-century authors but rejected by modern scholars.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sims-Williams, p. 52
  2. ^ a b c Bartrum, p. 35.
  3. ^ Bartrum, p. 547.
  4. ^ Davies, p. 76.

Sources[edit]

  • Bartrum, Peter C. (1993). A Welsh Classical Dictionary (PDF). Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales. p. 136.
  • Davies, Wendy, The Llandaff Charters, National Library of Wales, 1979.
  • Sims-Williams, Patrick, "The Emergence of Old Welsh, Cornish and Breton Orthography, 600-800: the evidence of Archaic Old Welsh", Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, V. 38, 1991, p. 52
  • Williams, David. (1796). The History of Monmouthshire.