Pendragon or Pen Draig (Middle Welsh : pen[n] dreic, pen[n] dragon; composed of Welsh pen, 'head, chief, top' and draig / dragon , 'dragon; warrior'; borrowed from the Latin word dracō, plural dracōnēs, 'dragon[s]', Breton : Penn Aerouant) literally means 'chief dragon' or 'head dragon', but in a figurative sense: 'chief leader', 'chief of warriors', 'commander-in-chief', generalissimo, or 'chief governor'). It is the epithet of Uther, father of King Arthur in medieval and modern Arthurian literature and occasionally applied to historical Welsh heroes in medieval Welsh poetry, such as Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd.
In the Historia Regum Britanniae , one of the earliest texts of the Arthurian legend, only Uther is given the surname Pendragon, which is explained by the author Geoffrey of Monmouth as literally 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 Arthur's title rather than his surname, following contemporary speculation that "pendragon" had been a term for an ancient Welsh war-chief.[ citation needed ] In C. S. Lewis's 1945 novel That Hideous Strength , the Pendragon leads a national moral struggle through the centuries; bearers of the title include Cassibelaun, Uther, Arthur, and Elwin Ransom.
Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court makes various satirical and scathing remarks about "The Pendragon Dynasty" which are in fact aimed at ridiculing much later British dynasties. The story of The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb revolves around a Welsh noble family called Pendragon.
The Round Table is King Arthur's famed table in the Arthurian legend, around which he and his knights congregate. As its name suggests, it has no head, implying that everyone who sits there has equal status, unlike conventional rectangular tables where participants order themselves according to rank. The table was first described in 1155 by Wace, who relied on previous depictions of Arthur's fabulous retinue. The symbolism of the Round Table developed over time; by the close of the 12th century it had come to represent the chivalric order associated with Arthur's court, the Knights of the Round Table.
Uther Pendragon (Brittonic), also known as King Uther, was a legendary King of the Britons in sub-Roman Britain. Uther was also the father of King Arthur.
Beli Mawr was an ancestor figure in Middle Welsh literature and genealogies. He is the father of Cassivellaunus, Arianrhod, Lludd Llaw Eraint, Llefelys, and Afallach. In certain medieval genealogies he is listed as the son or husband of Anna, cousin of Mary, mother of Jesus. According to the Welsh Triads, Beli and Dôn were the parents of Arianrhod, but the mother of Beli's other children—and the father of Dôn's other children—is not mentioned in the medieval Welsh literature. Several royal lines in medieval Wales traced their ancestry to Beli. The Mabinogi names Penarddun as a daughter of Beli Mawr, but the genealogy is confused; it is possible she was meant to be his sister rather than daughter.
King Lot, also spelled Loth, is a British monarch in Arthurian legend. He was introduced in Geoffrey of Monmouth's influential chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae that portrayed him as King Arthur's brother-in-law and under-king, who serves as regent of Britain during the time between the reigns of Uther and Arthur. In the wake of Geoffrey, Lot has appeared regularly in the works of chivalric romance, alternating between the roles of Arthur's enemy and ally. He chiefly figures as ruler of the northern realm of Lothian and sometimes Norway; in other texts he rules Great Britain's northernmost Orkney isles. He is generally depicted as the husband of Arthur's sister or half-sister, often known as Anna or Morgause. The names and number of their children vary depending on the source, but the later romance tradition has given him the sons Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, Gareth, and Mordred. Lot's literary character is likely connected to the hagiographical material concerning Saint Kentigern, which feature Leudonus as king of Leudonia and father of Saint Teneu.
Peredur is the name of a number of men from the boundaries of history and legend in sub-Roman Britain. The Peredur who is most familiar to a modern audience is the character who made his entrance as a knight in the Arthurian world of Middle Welsh prose literature.
The Welsh Triads are a group of related texts in medieval manuscripts which preserve fragments of Welsh folklore, mythology and traditional history in groups of three. The triad is a rhetorical form whereby objects are grouped together in threes, with a heading indicating the point of likeness; for example, "Three things not easily restrained, the flow of a torrent, the flight of an arrow, and the tongue of a fool."
King Leodegrance, sometimes Leondegrance, Leodogran, or variations thereof, is the father of Queen Guinevere in Arthurian legend. His kingdom of Cameliard is usually identified with Cornwall but may be located in Breton Cornouaille near the town of Carhaix-Plouguer, which is the Carhaise of L'Histoire de Merlin.
Celliwig, Kelliwic or Gelliwic is perhaps the earliest named location for the court of King Arthur. It may be translated as 'forest grove'.
Rachel Bromwich born Rachel Sheldon Amos, was a British scholar. Her focus was on medieval Welsh literature, and she taught Celtic Languages and Literature in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge, from 1945 to 1976. Among her most important contributions to the study of Welsh literature is Trioedd Ynys Prydein, her edition of the Welsh Triads.
Sanddef Pryd Angel is a figure of Welsh tradition. He usually figures as a warrior of King Arthur's court, and is distinguished by his great beauty, which gives him his epithet Pryd or Bryd Angel.
Pen Rhionydd is named as the location of King Arthur's northern court in a Welsh triad found in Peniarth MS 54, containing pre-Galfridian traditions:
Arthur as Chief Prince in Pen Rhionydd in the North, and Gerthmwl Wledig as Chief Elder, and Cyndeyrn Garthwys as Chief Bishop.
King Arthur's family grew throughout the centuries with King Arthur's legend. Many of the legendary members of this mythical king's family became leading characters of mythical tales in their own right.
Talhaearn Tad Awen, was, according to medieval Welsh sources, a celebrated British poet of the sub-Roman period. He ranks as one of the earliest, if not the earliest, named poets to have composed and performed in Welsh. The better known poets Aneirin and Taliesin, who may have been slightly younger contemporaries, also belong to this early generation, the first of those known to modern scholars as the Cynfeirdd. Whereas medieval Welsh manuscripts preserve verse composed by or otherwise ascribed to the latter two figures, no such work survives for Talhaearn and in fact, his former fame seems to have largely vanished by the later Middle Ages.
Gwrgi Garwlwyd is a warrior character in Welsh Arthurian legend. He appears in the poem Pa gur and in the Welsh Triads as a fierce warrior, and may have been seen as a werewolf.
In Welsh tradition, Hueil mab Caw was a Pictish warrior and traditional rival of King Arthur's. He was one of the numerous sons of Caw of Prydyn and brother to Saint Gildas.
Goreu fab Custennin is a hero of Welsh and early Arthurian mythology, the son of Custennin, and cousin to Arthur, Culhwch and Saint Illtud through their grandfather Amlawdd Wledig. He is a significant character in the Middle Welsh Arthurian tale Culhwch and Olwen, and also appears in a number of other medieval texts. His name may be derived from Gorneu; "of Cornwall."
Drudwas ap Tryffin is a knight of King Arthur's court in early Arthurian mythology and the owner of the magical Adar Llwch Gwin. His father, Tryffin, is described as the king of Denmark, while his sister, Erdudwyl, was, according to The Death of Drudwas, supposedly a “mistress” of Arthur.
According to Welsh tradition, Afaon fab Taliesin was the son of the bard Taliesin and a member of King Arthur's retinue. He appears both in the Welsh Triads and in the medieval Arthurian tale Breuddwyd Rhonabwy.
Poem 31 of the Black Book of Carmarthen, a mid-13th century manuscript, is known from its first line as Pa gur yv y porthaur? or Pa gur, or alternatively as Ymddiddan Arthur a Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr. It is a fragmentary, anonymous poem in Old Welsh, taking the form of a dialogue between King Arthur and the gatekeeper Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr, in which Arthur boasts of his own exploits and those of his companions, especially Cai the Fair. Pa gur is notable for being one of the earliest vernacular Arthurian works, and for alluding to several early adventures of Arthur which are now lost. Its precise age is not known and has been the subject of wide-ranging disagreement, but scholarly opinion now tends to favour a date of c. 1100.
Rhongomyniad, or Rhongomiant, was the spear of King Arthur in the Welsh Arthurian legends. Unlike Arthur’s two other weapons, his sword Caledfwlch and his dagger Carnwennan, Rhongomyniad has no apparent magical powers.