Page 151. " in the town that is now called Caerdydd "

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.

Detail from the banqueting hall of Cardiff Castle
GNU Free Documentation LicenseDetail from the banqueting hall of Cardiff Castle - Credit: Wolfgang Sauber

 

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Page 152. " Arthur had Morgan Tud summoned to him – he was chief of physicians. "
Painting of Morgan le Fay (1864)
Public DomainPainting of Morgan le Fay (1864) - Credit: Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys

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.

 

Door panel depicting Morgan le Fay by Sir George Frampton (1860-1928)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDoor panel depicting Morgan le Fay by Sir George Frampton (1860-1928) - Credit: Gordon Lawson

 

Page 156. " They set off and travelled towards the Hafren "

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.

 

River Severn at Cilgwrgan bridge
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRiver Severn at Cilgwrgan bridge - Credit: kevin skidmore
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Page 167. " The French and the English call him Gwiffred Petit, but the Welsh call him Y Brenin Bychan "
Guivret le Petit's coat of arms
GNU Free Documentation LicenseGuivret le Petit's coat of arms - Credit: Chatsam

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’.