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Gwrwst Ledlwm, as below
Cynfelyn Talhaiarn Elifer Gosgorddfawr Nadog Morfryn
Benasgell, dr. Wyllt
Calchfynydd Deiniolen Euinaid, dr. Cynion Euronwy, dr.
Meirig Many other Elaeth
* who was afterwards the mother of Constantine the Great. But setting fable aside, no transactions of his life have been recorded, and to the Welsh genealogists he is known only as the founder of a large family of descendants. He was probably regarrled as the head of a tribe in the system of clanship, which, as it is found flourishing in full vigour upon the departure of the Romans, must have been maintained in some degree under their supremacy.
Ceneu, the son of Coel,t probably spent his life in the service of religion, for which reason he has been called a Saint ; but no churches have been consecrated to his
Llangeneu in Brecknockshire being assigned to Ceneu, a daughter or grand-daughter of Brychan.
With Cynan Meiriadog and Macsen Wledig, who flourished about A. D. 380, the history of Britain according to the Triads
be said to recommence. Macsen Wledig, or Maximus, is reported to have married Elen Luyddog, the sister of Cynan, who was the chieftain of Meiriadog in North Wales; and in this story may be recognised the prototype of the fable that Helen, the daughter of Coel, was married to Constantius. It is further said, that Cynan led over an army of 60,000 men into Gaul to support the claims of Maximus, and that this army afterwards settled in Armorica. Though some modern French writers find reasons for discrediting the whole of the story,t it should not, upon that account, be dismissed without examination; but as its truth or falsehood forms no part of the present enquiry, it is only necessary in this place to establish the date of the expedition, A. D. 383, so far as it may affect subsequent events.
*“Nyt oed o plant oy that namyn hy ehunan.”—Brut Gr. ab Arthur, Myv. Archaiology, Vol. II. p. 207.
+ He is not to be confounded with another Ceneu ab Coel, a warrior who flourished in the time of Arthur.
| Turner's Anglo Saxons, Appendix to Book VI. Chap. II.
The monkish chronologists thought that these 60,000 men would, of course, be in want of wives ; and therefore they appended the tale of St. Ursula and the eleven thousand, nay seventy thousand virgins, who, on their voyage from Britain to Armorica, were captured by pagan pirates, and all suffered for their faith. But this grave narration is so improbable throughout, that the whole may, without scruple, be pronounced a fiction,*
There is a church in Cardiganshire called Llanygwyryfon, or Llanygweryddon, which is supposed to be dedicated to St. Ursula and the virgins; and if so, it is obviously of late foundation.
Before the end of this century the celebrated Pelagius, who was a Briton, commenced his career; but as the name of this person has not been enrolled in any catalogue of Saints, it will be enough to observe that his heresy was first promulgated in Italy, and was soon afterwards brought to Britain by his disciple, Agricola.
* The story may be seen at length in Cressy's “ Church History of Brittany."
The Welsh Saints from A. D. 400 to A. D. 433.
The list of primitive Christians has reached the beginning of the fifth century, and it may be stated that of all those hitherto mentioned, none, with the exception perhaps of Lleurwg, were founders of churches in the usual sense of the term. But the reader is now about to enter upon a time, when, in consequence of the distresses of the Romans, the Britons threw off their yoke, and the affairs of the island underwent a complete revolution. From the Welsh genealogies it would seem as if the country came at once into the possession of several chieftains, who rose into power, either as elders of tribes according to a system of clanship, or from their activity in resisting the northern invaders.
This event took place, according to Zosimus, in A. D. 408 or 409; and he says it happened in consequence of an irruption of barbarians into Gaul, which cut off the communication between Britain and the rest of the Roman empire. His words may thus be rendered :
“The barbarians above the Rhine, invading all parts with unrestrained freedom, forced, of necessity, the inhabitants of the island of Britain, and some of the Celtic tribes, to revolt from the dominion of the Romans, and to live independent, no longer obeying the Roman laws. The Britons, therefore, armed themselves, and, facing the danger on their own account, delivered their cities from the barbarians that infested them. And all Armorica and other provinces of Gaul, imitating the example of the Britons, set themselves free in like manner; expelling the Roman governors, and setting up a native form of government at their own liberty. This revolt of Britain and the Celtic tribes happened during the time of the usurpation of Constantine, when the barbarians had made an incursion through his neglect of the affairs of the empire."*
This is the statement of a contemporary historian, for Zosimus died A. D. 420; and though it does not enter into particulars as much as could be wished, it is of incomparably greater value than all the dreaming of Gildas and the monkish writers about the " groans of the Britons," whom they represent as the most imbecile of the nations of antiquity. It is pleasing, however, to find historians of such eminence as Gibbon, Mr. Sharon Turner, and Dr. Lingard, giving to the testimony of Zosimus the respect to which it is entitled; and they proceed to describe the state of Britain after its emancipation, in terms perfectly consistent with the information to be gleaned from the Welsh authorities. Gibbon indeed quotest a passage from Procopius to show that the Romans could never recover possesssion of the island, which continued from that time under the government of tyrants; and by the latter term, in the original úno Tupavvors, which is not always used in a bad sense, it is obvious the writer intended to designate the native chieftains.
From the Triads it would appear that the emperor Maximus left a son in Britain, called Owain ab Macsen Wledig, who was by national convention elected to the chief sovereignty of the Britons. It is said that under him Britain was restored to a state of independence, and the annual tribute which had been paid to the Romans from the time of Julius Cæsar was discontinued. It is added that the Romans, under pretence of consenting to these proceedings, withdrew their troops, and
* Zosimi Historiarum Lib. VI. Cap. 5, 6. Decline and Fall, Chap. XXXI. Notes 177 and 186.