Bendigedfran ap Llyr: ben-DEE-ged-VRAHN ap HLUR

One of the many versions of the same name:

  • Bendigedfran ap Llyr: used by Lady Charlotte Guest in her translation of the Mabinogion.
  • Bran the Blessed son of Llyr: a somewhat more literal translation.
  • Bran Bendiged: shortend, rearranged, and terrible grammar.

    The name in Welsh means "Blessed Raven, son of the Sea"

  • bendiged: "blessed" ultimately derived from the Latin "benedictus" and not the usual Welsh term "gwyn." The term bendiged is usually only found attatched to medieval Welsh figures, like "Cadwallader Bendiged" in some texts (Cadwallader having lived in the late 7th century). However, Bran is originally an iron age god.
  • -fran: from bran meaning "raven." ("b" becomes "f" (sound of "v") when compounded; in some texts, it even becomes a "u," as the sound "v" is mutated into a "u," there being no "v" in the Latin of the monks.)
  • ap: from mab, meaning "son, young man" and later used in creating surnames.
  • llyr: "sea"

    Bendigedfran is king of Britain, in context of the Mabinogion and the Welsh Triads, it seems he ruled sometime around the beginning of the first millennium. Of course, Bendigedfran wasn't historical--but his brothers were sired by the Roman general Ostorious and his son is given as Caradoc, who is said to be Caractacus, who fought the Roman legions.

    Bendigedfran goes off to rescue his sister Branwen, who is being abused by her husband, the king of Ireland. In the battle for his sister (and for a magic cauldron), he is killed--sort of. He is peirced in the thigh, and has his head cut off. Doing so lets him bring the Seven Survivors of Prydein to the Otherworld to feast for 80 years.

    As a king possessing a cauldron of rebirth, and who is peirced in the thigh but doesn't quite die, as well as having a nephew whose life seems to parallel that of Sir Perceval, scholars long ago concluded that Bendigedfran ap Llyr is the Fisher King of the Holy Grail myth. It helps that the Fisher King's name in Robert de Boron's Le Roman du Graal happens to be Brons.