Trioedd Y Meirch: The Triads of the Horses

From the Red Book of Hergest, col 596.

My notes appear beneith the entry, italicized and small.

The Three Bestowed Horses of the Island of Britain:


Casswallawn is a combination of an early Celtic god with an invisible cloak, and thei historical Cassebellanus, who fought the invasion of Julius Caesar. Lleu Llaw Gyffes is the same as that of the Mabiongion, the Celtic god of light, identified with Lugh Lamhfada. Caradawg Strong-Arm is the same Caradoc of Arthurian legend, called "Son of Llyr," though he is really the son of Bran, grandson of Llyr.

The Three Chief Steeds of the Island of Britain:

  • Tall Black-Tinted, horse of Cynan Garrwyn,
  • and Eager Long Fore-Legs, horse of Cyhored son of Cynan,
  • and Rudvreon Tuthvleid, horse of Gilbert, son of Cadgyffro.

The Three Plundered Horses of the Island of Britain:


Owain is the same as Sir Ywain; Cadwallawn is a historical leader of the British in the war against the Saxons.

The Three Lover's Horses of the Island of Britain:

  • Grey Fetlock, horse of Dalldaf son of Cunin Cof,
  • and Spotted Dun, horse of Rahawd son of Morgant,
  • and Pale White Lively-Back, horse of Morfran son of Tegid.

Morfran ap Tegid is the son of Cerridwen and rival of Taliesin in the Hanes Taliesin. He is also called Afagddu, the dark one; "Morfran" means "Great Raven."

The Three Lively Steeds of the Island of Britain:

  • Grey, horse of Alser son of Maelgwn,
  • and Chesnut Long-Neck, horse of Cai,
  • and Roan Cloven-Hoof, horse of Iddon son of Ynyr Gwent.

Maelgwn is the historical king Maelgwn Gwynedd, known throught legend--a contradictory figure. Cai is Sir Kay, foster-brother of King Arthur.

The Three Pack-Horses of the Island of Britain:


Cunedda was a legendary ruler, likely a historical war-lord (Gwledig, Wledig]. Pasgen is the brother of Owain ap Urien. Rhydderch Hael was a historical king of Strathclyde, and deserving of his own w/u.

The Three Horses who carried the Three Horse-Burdens:

  • Black Moro, horse of Elidir Mwynfawr, who carried on his back seven and a half people from Penllech in the North to Penllech in Mon. These were the seven people: Elidir Mwynfawr, and Eurgain his wife, daughter of Maelgwn Gwynedd, and Gwyn Good Companion, and Gwyn Good Distributor, and Mynach Naomon his counsellor, and Prydelaw the Cupbearer, his butler, and Silver Staff his servant, and Gelbeinevin his cook, who swam with his two hands to the horses crupper - and that was the half person.
  • and Corvan, horse of the sons of Eliffer, bore the second Horse-Burden: he carried on his back Gwrgi and Peredur and Dunawd the Stout and Cynfelyn the Leprous, to look upon the battle-fog of the host of Gwenddolau in Arfderydd. (And no one overtook him but Dinogad son of Cynan Garwyn, riding upon Swift Roan, and he won censure and dishonour from then till this day.)
  • and Heith, horse of the sons of Gwerthmwl Wledig, bore the third Horse-Burden: he carried Gweir and Gleis and Archanad up the hill of Maelawr in Ceredigion to avenge their father.

Of note is Peredur, about whom you should read my impending w/u, as it would take too long to explain here who he is; shortly, he is a semi-historical hero, equated sometimes with Perceval, who is a fiction. Gwrgi is his brother. Gwenddolau was also a historical figure. Regarding him, see The Battle of Arthuret, as much of this triad has to do with that battle.

Back to the Welsh Triads, the Red Book of Hergest, Welsh Mythology.

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