Three Levies That Departed From This Island, And Not One Of Them Came Back:
- The first went with Elen of the Hosts and Cynan her brother,
- The second went with Yrp of the Hosts, who came here to ask assistance in the time of Cadial son of Eryn. and all he asked of each Chief Fortress was twice as many (men) as would come with him to it; and to the first fortress there came only himself and his servant. (And it proved grievous to have given him that.) Nevertheless that was the most complete levy that ever went from this Island, and no (man) of them ever came back. The place where those men remained was on two islands close to the Greek sea; those islands are Gals and Avena.
- The third levy went with Caswallawn son of Beli, and Gwenwynwyn and Gwanar, sons of Nwyfre, and Arianrhod daughter of Beli their mother. And those men came from Arllechwedd. They went with Caswallawn their uncle across the sea in pusuit of the men of Caesar. The place where those men are is in Gascony. And the number that went in each of those Hosts was twenty-one thousand men. And those were the Three Silver Hosts: they were so called because the gold and silver of the Island went with them. And they were picked men.
Elen is the Elen of "Breuddwyd Macsen
"; she is also sometimes confused with Elen/Queen Helen, who according to British tradition is the daughter of Coel Hen
(Old King Cole
) and mother of Constantine the Great
. This Elen is instead the sister of Cynan who is also called Conan ap Meriadoc
, who is said to have settled Brittany.
The second story I'm not familiar with; however, it is of significance that the Britons claimed they were decended of the Trojans, and the Irish decended of Greeks (via the Tuatha de Dannans). The Irish invaded Dyfed, and ruled there through the sixth century; this undoubtedly had an influence on the stories of southern Wales--just read "The Elegy of Corroi son of Dayry" for more evidence.
Finally, Caswallawn is a combination of the historical Cassibelanus, a leader of the resistance against the invasion of Julius Caesar, and of Caswallawn son of Don and Beli Mawr. Of Arianrhod, she is the sister of Caswallawn ap Beli, as well as Gwydion, and is the mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes and Dylan eil Ton in "Math fab Mathonwy" in the Mabinogion. Perhapse this is a confusion of that tradition with a historical event. As such, "Gwenwynwyn" is translated as "Blessed-White-and-Fair" (lit. "gwyn gwyn gwyn"), and "Nwyfre" means "sky" and "firmament"; it is also the Welsh version of the name Nennius. "Arianrhod" means "silver wheel," possibly the moon or Zodiac.
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