Selyf ap Cynan

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Selyf ap Cynan (or Selyf Sarffgadau) (died 616) appears in Old Welsh genealogies as an early 7th-century King of Powys, the son of Cynan Garwyn.

His name is a Welsh form of Solomon, appearing in the oldest genealogies as Selim. He reputedly bore the nickname Sarffgadau, meaning battle-serpent. According to the Annals of Ulster and the Annals of Wales, in 616 he died at the Battle of Chester, fighting against Æthelfrith of Northumbria. The Annals of Ulster entitle him King of the Britons, perhaps because he led a combined force from more than one Brythonic kingdom at that battle against the Northumbrians. In Jesus College Manuscript 18 Selyf is made father of Beli and subsequently ancestor of the Later Kings of Powys, whereas other Genealogies he is father of an Eiludd ap Selyf and in a third grandfather of a Beli ap Mael Myngan ap Selyf. According to Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr court poet of the major Kingdoms of Wales at the time in his poem Breneu Powys or the Privileges of Powys as referring to Selyf's descendants as serpents of battle, most likely in reference to the Mathrafal dynasty, the ruling dynasty of Powys at the time. Which prompts that Eiludd whom is the most named progenitor of the continuation of the House of Gwerthrynion was likely to have been a son of Selyf.


  • Kari Maund (2000) The Welsh Kings: The Medieval Rulers of Wales (Tempus)
  • Jesus College Ms.18

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Preceded by
Cynan Garwyn
King of Powys
?– 616
Succeeded by
Manwgan ap Selyf