"Maxen Wledig was emperor of Rome"
Coin depicting Magnus Maximus
Public DomainCoin depicting Magnus Maximus - Credit: unknown

Maxen Wledig is the name given to the Galician-born Roman emperor Magnus Maximus (ca.335-388), also known as Maximianus. He became commander of the Roman forces in Britain in 380 and was proclaimed Western Roman Emperor in 384. He was defeated in battle by Theodosius I in 388, and was executed shortly afterwards.

The portrayal of the Romans in Maxen Wledig’s story in The Mabinogion is a positive one. Indeed, several Welsh tribes and royal dynasties claimed descent from the Emperor Maxen.

This positive image of the relation between Wales and Rome, as personified in the figure of Maxen Wledig, is expressed in Dafydd Iwan’s iconic anthem ‘Yma o Hyd’ (‘Still here’) where he suggests that Maxen had a beneficial influence on Wales.