Caerdydd (Cardiff) in southeast Wales is now the Welsh capital. The original Caerdydd (‘the fort on the River Taff’) was a Roman fort, but little is known of the area’s history between the departure of the Romans and the Norman conquest. Following the conquest, Cardiff developed into a small anglicized town which by the end of the 13th century had a population of about 2,000. One of the city’s landmarks is the medieval castle, which was converted into a gothic-revival mansion during the Victorian period.
In the ‘three romances’ of The Mabinogion (in contrast to many of the other tales) the geographical settings are generally vague and nameless, so the specific reference to Caerdydd is rather striking.
The name Morgan Tud has caused a certain amount of controversy amongst Arthurian scholars. In Chrétien de Troyes’ 'Erec et Énide', the equivalent character is Arthur’s half-sister Morgue or Morgain la Fée (generally referred to in English as Morgan le Fay). However, it has been suggested that there may well be alternative interpretations of the name ‘Morgan Tud’, who is of course presented as a male character in The Mabinogion.
For the ins and outs of the arguments, click here.
Hafren is the Welsh name for the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain. It rises in Plynlimon (Pumlumon - see map) and drains into the Bristol Channel. The cities of Worcester and Gloucester, and the town of Shrewsbury are all situated on the Severn.
Gwiffred Petit is a version of Guivret le petit, the dwarf who appears in Chrétien de Troyes’ ‘Erec et Énide’.
‘Y Brenin Bychan’ means ‘The Little King’.