Page 179. " How Culhwch won Olwen "
1st century BC depiction of a boar (Celtic Museum, Hallein)
GNU Free Documentation License1st century BC depiction of a boar (Celtic Museum, Hallein) - Credit: Wolfgang Sauber

Culhwch ('pigsty') is so named because he was born where a swineherd was tending pigs.

Olwen (‘white track’) is so named because four white clovers would spring up wherever she walked.

Culhwch may also be translated as ‘lean pig/boar’. It has been suggested that Culhwch may have associations with the Celtic god Moccus (the Gaulish word for ‘boar’ or ‘pig’) who is equated with the Roman god Mercury.


White clover (Trifolium repens)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeWhite clover (Trifolium repens) - Credit: contri



Page 183. " and Caledfwlch my sword "
Sir Bedivere returning Excalibur to the lake
Public DomainSir Bedivere returning Excalibur to the lake - Credit: Aubrey Beardsley

Caledfwlch is the Welsh name for King Arthur’s sword Excalibur.

In Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, Excalibur is given to Arthur by The Lady of the Lake, and returned to her by Bedivere when Arthur is mortally wounded at the Battle of Camlan.

There is, separately, the famous story of Arthur pulling a sword from a stone, the feat that confirmed him as king. This anonymous sword is not to be confused with Excalibur.

Page 184. " He invoked his gift in the name of Cai and Bedwyr "
Knights of the Round Table
Public DomainKnights of the Round Table - Credit: unknown

As mentioned in the bookmark for page 68, Cai and Bedwyr are often linked, and both are referred to in the Welsh poem Pa Gur. In other Arthurian literature, they appear as two of the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere.


Page 185. " no man laid his weapon in him at Camlan because he was so ugly "

The Battle of Camlan is said to be the final battle of the legendary King Arthur, in which he was either killed or fatally wounded. It is referred to in the medieval Annales Cambriae and in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae. There are also several references to it in The Mabinogion’s ‘Rhonabwy’s Dream’ (often translated as ‘The Dream of Rhonabwy’).

There has been much speculation about the location of the battle. Suggestions include: the village of Queen Camel in Somerset; the Roman fort of Camboglanna (Castlesteads) on Hadrian’s Wall, Camelon near Falkirk in Scotland; and the Camlan Valley (Cwm Camlan) near Ganllwyd, north of Dolgellau in North Wales (the River Camlan is a tributary of the Mawddach).


Waterfall at Cwm Camlan
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeWaterfall at Cwm Camlan - Credit: Keith Havercroft

Google Map



Page 197. " p.198 except the comb and shears that lie between the ears of Twrch Trwyth son of Taredd Wledig "
Wild boar (Sus scrofa)
Creative Commons AttributionWild boar (Sus scrofa) - Credit: Brian Gratwicke

Another example of shapeshifting (see bookmark p.4), the implication being that the Twrch Trwyth (Twrch: boar; Trwyth: king/boar) is the son of a ruler who has been turned into a wild boar.


Page 198. " Mabon son of Modron, who was taken when three nights old from his mother "
Dea Matrona
Public DomainDea Matrona - Credit: PHGCOM
Dea Matrona
Public DomainDea Matrona - Credit: PHGCOM

Mabon is identified with the Celtic god Maponos, and his mother Modron with the Celtic goddess Dea Matrona. Maponos, said to have been worshipped in Gaul and Britain, was the god of youth and is equated with the Roman Apollo. Dea Matrona, (‘divine mother goddess’) was goddess of the River Marne in Gaul. Divine mother goddesses were also worshipped as a triad, the Deae Matronae. As mentioned in the bookmark for page 11, Matrona has also been linked with Rhiannon who appears in ‘The First Branch of the Mabinogi’.

Mabon son of Modron is also referred to as one of Arthur’s counsellors in ‘Rhonabwy’s Dream’.


Deae Matronae
Public DomainDeae Matronae - Credit: Urban