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Coordinates: 52°48′11″N4°02′24″W / 52.803°N 4.040°W / 52.803; -4.040 Ardudwy is an area of Gwynedd in north-west Wales, lying between Tremadog Bay and the Rhinogydd. Administratively, under the old Kingdom of Gwynedd, it was first a division of the sub kingdom (cantref) of Dunoding and later a commote in its own right. The fertile swathe of land stretching from Barmouth to Harlech was historically used as pasture. The name exists in the modern community and village of Dyffryn Ardudwy.


Ardudwy features prominently in Welsh mythology. In the Second Branch of the Mabinogi, Bendigeidfran holds court at Harlech, and his severed head returns there for seven years before it is taken on to Gwales. [1] In the Fourth Branch, Lleu Llaw Gyffes is given Eifionydd and Ardudwy as his fief by Math fab Mathonwy. Lleu built his palace at Mur y Castell in Ardudwy. He reigned there before and after the usurpation of Gronw Pebr, whom he killed on the banks of the River Cynfael. [2] A holed stone in Ardudwy is still known as Llech Ronw (Gronw's Stone).

Ardudwy is later associated with the 9th-century chieftain Collwyn ap Tango, the progenitor of the fifth of the Fifteen Noble Tribes of Gwynedd. He was Lord of Eifionydd, Ardudwy and part of Llŷn and is a maternal ancestor of the Anwyl of Tywyn Family. Ardudwy was a core part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd above the River Conwy throughout the early Middle Ages. After the conquest and subjugation of Gwynedd in 1283, the cantref was merged with Meirionydd to form the new county of Merionethshire. This situation was retained until 1974, when Welsh Local Government was reorganised and it became part of the reformed Gwynedd, where it remains to this day.[ citation needed ]

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Gwydion Character from Welsh mythology

Gwydion fab Dôn is a magician, hero and trickster of Welsh mythology, appearing most prominently in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, which focuses largely on his relationship with his young nephew, Lleu Llaw Gyffes. He also appears prominently in the Welsh Triads, the Book of Taliesin and the Stanzas of the Graves.

In Welsh mythology, Gilfaethwy was a son of the goddess Dôn and brother of Gwydion and Arianrhod in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi.

Goewin is a figure in Welsh mythology, where she has a small but crucial role in the Math fab Mathonwy, one of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi.


Pryderi fab Pwyll is a prominent figure in Welsh mythology, the son of Pwyll and Rhiannon, and king of Dyfed after his father's death. He is the only character to appear in all Four Branches of the Mabinogi, although the size of his role varies from tale to tale. He is often equated with the divine son figure of Mabon ap Modron, while Jeffrey Gantz compares him to Peredur fab Efrawg, who is himself associated with the continental figure of Sir Percival de Galles.

In Welsh mythology, Math fab Mathonwy, also called Math ap Mathonwy was a king of Gwynedd who needed to rest his feet in the lap of a virgin unless he was at war, or he would die. The story of Math is the fourth of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi.

Arianrhod is a figure in Welsh mythology who plays her most important role in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. She is the daughter of Dôn and the sister of Gwydion and Gilfaethwy; the Welsh Triads give her father as Beli Mawr. In the Mabinogi her uncle Math ap Mathonwy is the King of Gwynedd, and during the course of the story she gives birth to two sons, Dylan ail Don and Lleu Llaw Gyffes, through magical means.

Lleu Llaw Gyffes is a hero of Welsh mythology. He appears most prominently in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, the tale of Math fab Mathonwy, which tells the tale of his birth, his marriage, his death, his resurrection and his accession to the throne of Gwynedd. He is a warrior and magician, invariably associated with his uncle Gwydion.


Blodeuwedd or Blodeuedd, , is the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes in Welsh mythology. She was made from the flowers of broom, meadowsweet and oak by the magicians Math and Gwydion, and is a central figure in Math fab Mathonwy, the last of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi.

Gronw Pebr "Gronw the Radiant" is a warrior, hunter and antagonist in Welsh tradition, appearing primarily in the fourth branch of the Mabinogi as the lord of Penllyn, the lover of Blodeuwedd and the murderer of Lleu Llaw Gyffes. He is also mentioned in the Welsh Triads and in the medieval poem Cad Goddeu.

Dylan ail Don is a character in the Welsh mythic Mabinogion tales, particularly in the fourth tale, "Math fab Mathonwy". The story of Dylan reflects ancient Celtic myths that were handed down orally for some generations before being written down during the early Christian period by clerics. The story as it has been preserved therefore exhibits elements and archetypes characteristic of both Celtic pagan and Christian mythologies. His name translates as "Dylan the Second Wave", referring to him as being the second born of Arianrhod.


Merionethshire or Merioneth is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, a vice county and a former administrative county.


Meirionnydd is a coastal and mountainous region of Wales. It has been a kingdom, a cantref, a district and, as Merionethshire, a county.

Harlech Human settlement in Wales

Harlech is a seaside resort and community in the North Wales county of Gwynedd and formerly in the historic county of Merionethshire. It lies on Tremadog Bay in the Snowdonia National Park. Before 1966 it belonged to the Meirionydd District of the 1974 County of Gwynedd. Its landmark Harlech Castle was begun in 1283 by Edward I of England, captured by Owain Glyndŵr, and in the 1480s a stronghold of Henry Tudor. Once on a seaside cliff face, it is now half a mile inland. New housing has appeared in the low town and in the high town around the shopping street, church and castle. The two are linked by a steep road called "Twtil". Of its 1,447 inhabitants, 51 per cent habitually speak Welsh. The built-up area with Llanfair had a population of 1,762 in the 2001 census, over half of whom lacked Welsh identity, and of 1,997 in the 2011 census. The estimate in 2019 was 1,881.

Welsh mythology Folk traditions developed in Wales and by the Celtic Britons elsewhere

Welsh mythology consists of both folk traditions developed in Wales, and traditions developed by the Celtic Britons elsewhere before the end of the first millennium. As in most of the predominantly oral societies Celtic mythology and history were recorded orally by specialists such as druids. This oral record has been lost or altered as a result of outside contact and invasion over the years. Much of this altered mythology and history is preserved in medieval Welsh manuscripts, which include the Red Book of Hergest, the White Book of Rhydderch, the Book of Aneirin and the Book of Taliesin. Other works connected to Welsh mythology include the ninth-century Latin historical compilation Historia Brittonum and Geoffrey of Monmouth's twelfth-century Latin chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae, as well as later folklore, such as the materials collected in The Welsh Fairy Book by William Jenkyn Thomas (1908).

The Four Branches of the Mabinogi or Pedair Cainc Y Mabinogi are the earliest prose stories in the literature of Britain. Originally written in Wales in Middle Welsh, but widely available in translations, the Mabinogi is generally agreed to be a single work in four parts, or "Branches." The interrelated tales can be read as mythology, political themes, romances, or magical fantasies. They appeal to a wide range of readers, from young children to the most sophisticated adult. The tales are popular today in book format, as storytelling or theatre performances; they appear in recordings and on film, and continue to inspire many reinterpretations in artwork and modern fiction.


Eifionydd is an area in north-west Wales covering the south-eastern part of the Llŷn Peninsula from Porthmadog to just east of Pwllheli. The Afon Erch forms its western border. It now lies in Gwynedd.

Cantref Arfon

The mediaeval Welsh cantref of Arfon in north-west Wales was the core of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. Later it was included in the new county of Caernarfonshire, together with Llŷn and Arllechwedd under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284. The island of Anglesey faced it across the Menai Strait; to the east was the cantref of Arllechwedd, to the south the cantref of Eifionydd, and to the west was the cantref of Llŷn.

<i>The Island of the Mighty</i>

The Island of the Mighty is a fantasy novel by American writer Evangeline Walton, the earliest in a series of four based on the Welsh Mabinogion. It was first published in 1936 under the publisher's title of The Virgin and the Swine. Although it received warm praise from John Cowper Powys, the book sold poorly, and as a result none of the other novels in the series reached print at the time. Later rediscovered by Ballantine Books, it was reissued under the present title as the eighteenth volume of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in July, 1970, with an introduction by Lin Carter and a cover by Bob Pepper. It has been reprinted a number of times since, and gathered together with Walton's other Mabinogion novels by Overlook Press as the omnibus The Mabinogion Tetralogy in 2002. The novel has also been published in translation in several European languages.

Llech Ronw, or the Slate of Gronw, is a holed stone located along Afon Bryn Saeth in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. The stone is described as being roughly forty inches by thirty inches with a hole of about an inch in diameter going through it.

<i>Math fab Mathonwy</i> (branch)

Math fab Mathonwy, "Math, the son of Mathonwy" is a legendary tale from medieval Welsh literature and the final of the four branches of the Mabinogi. It tells of a vicious war between the north and the south, of the birth of Lleu Llaw Gyffes and Dylan ail Don, of the tyngedau of Arianrhod, and of the creation of Blodeuwedd, a woman made of flowers. The chief characters of the tale are Math, king of Gwynedd, his nephew Gwydion, a magician, warrior and trickster, and Gwydion's own nephew, Lleu, cursed by his mother Arianrhod.