Slike strani

his name ;

logical story or romance now extant.* After this there is no mention of his name in an authenticated composition until the twelfth century, when he is described by Cynddelw as a distinguished warrior.t The weight of evidence would show that if the Triads, which relate to his character as a Saint, were as ancient as the twelfth century, they were then comparatively recent and not generally received.

Bran, on account of the supposed introduction of Christianity, has had the epithet of “Bendigaid” or Blessed attached to

and in the Triads he is classed with Prydain and Dyfnwal, as one who consolidated the form of elective sovereignty in Britain. Nothing further is related of him, except as the subject of romance. In the “Mabinogion," or Juvenile Tales, is described an expedition of Bran to Ireland to revenge an insult offered to his sister, Bronwen, by Matholwch, the Irishman. From this expedition, only seven returned, after having destroyed nearly all the people of the country; and Bran, being mortally wounded, ordered his companions who survived to carry his head to be interred in the White Hill in London, as a protection against all future invasions, so long

*“Bum i gan Vran yn Iwerddon.” (Kerdd am Veib Llyr ab Brychwel. Myv. Archaiology, Vol. I. p. 66. See also Turner's Vindication, p. 284.) p“Rhudd ongyr Bran fab Llyr Llediaith,

Rhwydd ei glod o gludaw anrhaith.”
The bloody spears of Bran, the son of Llyr Llediaith,
Of unrestrained fame as the bearer of the spoil.

Myv. Archaio). Vol. I. p. 212. “ Rhybu Fran fab Llyr, llu rwymadur mad,

Ynghamp, ynghywlad, yng hâd, ynghûr." Bran the son of Llyr has been,—the excellent commander of the host, In the games, in the assembly of the country, in battle, in anxious care.

Ibid. Vol. I. p. 248. | No. 36, Third Series, and Cambrian Biography voce Bran.

as it remained there. * It was afterwards removed by Arthur, who would not have this island defended by other means than his own prowess.f

Ilid and Cyndaf, the reputed companions of Bran from Rome, are said to have been “men of Israel,” which would imply that they were converted Jews; while Arwystli is styled "a man of Italy,” or a Roman. In the Silurian catalogue he is said to have been the confessor or spiritual instructor (periglor) of Bran; and by some modern commentators he is identified with Aristobulus, mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, xvi. 10. It is, however, remarkable that according to the Greek Martyrology, as cited by Archbishop Usher, # Aristobulus was ordained by St. Paul as a Bishop for the Britons. Cressy also says that St. Aristobulus, a disciple of St. Peter, or St. Paul at Rome, was sent as an Apostle to the Britons, and was the first Bishop in Britain; that he died at Glastonbury A. D. 99, and that his Commemoration or Saint's day was kept in the Church, March 15.

Two of Lewis Morris's authorities state that Meigent or Meugant, was the son of Cyndaf, a man of Israel ;” but this is probably a mistake, as the catalogues of North Wales make no other allusion to Bran or his companions. || The Saint intended appears to be Mawan, who according to one of the copies of the Silurian catalogue is said to have been a son of Cyndaf, and to have accompanied Bran from Rome to Britain.

The descendants of Bran are styled in the Triads, one of the three holy families of Britain. It is not stated that Caractacus himself embraced Christianity; but Eigen, a daughter of Caradog ab Bran, or Caractacus, is recorded as the first female

* Dr. O. Pughe, in Preface to Gunn's Nennius.
+ Triads.
| De Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Primordiis, page 9.
Myv. Archaiology, Vol. II. 47.
| Qu. Is there any notice of Bran in the Regestum Landavense ?

Saint among the Britons. « She lived in the close of the first century, and was married to Sarllog, who was lord of Caer Sarllog, or the present Old Sarum."* Cyllin, the son of Caradog, is also called a Saint, and with him is closed the list of primitive Christians of the first century; none of whom, except Arwystli, have been noticed by the monkish writers, and no churches in the Principality are known to bear their names.

That Christianity, however introduced, had taken deep root in Britain in the second century is clear from the testimony of Tertullian, a contemporary writer, who states that certain parts inaccessible to the Romans were subdued by Christ. I The first Saint of this period, mentioned in the Welsh accounts, is Lleurwg, or Lleufer Mawr, the grandson of Cyllin. | One Triad states that he was the person “who erected the

first church at Llandaff, which was the first in the Isle of Britain; and he bestowed the freedom of country and nation, with the privilege of judgment and surety upon those who might be of the faith in Christ." Another Triad, speaking of the three Archbishopricks of the Isle of the Britons, says, "the earliest was Llandaff, of the foundation of Lleurwg ab Coel ab Cyllin, who gave lands and civil privileges to such as first embraced the faith in Christ.”|| And the Silurian catalogues of Saints further relate that he applied to Rome for spiritual instruction ; upon which, four persons, named Dyfan,

[ocr errors]

Cambrian Biography.-Claudia, the wife of Pudens and reputed daughter of Caractacus, is not noticed in the Welsh records.

+ Llanilid, Glamorganshire, supposed by some to have been called after Ilid, is dedicated to Julitta and Cyrique. See the List of Parishes, at the end of the Myvyrian Archaiology, Vol. II. with Iolo Morganwg's note.

I“ Britannorum inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo verò subdita.”

§ Triad 35, Third Series. The privileges, which are scarcely intelligible, appear to mean redress in courts of justice, and the obligation of contracts made by a Christian.

|| No. 62, Third Series. The title of Archbishop was not known until after the council of Nice, A. D. 325.

Ffagan, Medwy, and Elfan, were sent him by Eleutherius, Bishop of that See. This is all the account the Welsh authorities give respecting a person about whom so much has been written under the name of Lucius, or Lles ab Coel. Not con 1 tent with these statements, Walter de Mapes, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose authority, as observed, is not Welsh but Armorican, must make him the king of all Britain ; and gravely relate, that by a decree of his sovereign power he converted all the heathen temples in the kingdom into churches, that he transformed the Sees of twenty eight Flamens and three Archiflamens into so many Bishopricks and Archbishopricks, and in fact established a national religion more complete in its provisions than that which is the pride of England at this day. But this was not sufficient to satisfy come Catholic writers; they must needs add, that after he had Christianized the whole of his dominions, he laid aside his crown; and, in company with his sister, St. Emerita, he toiled his weary way, as a missionary, through Bavaria, Rhætia, and Vindelicia, until at last he suffered martyrdom near Curia in Germany. *

After this extravagance of fiction, it can be no wonder that some modern writers have denied altogether the existence of Lucius; and it must be admitted that his history, though upon the whole better attested than that of Bran, is, with its most confined limitations, involved in uncertainty. The Welsh accounts authorize no further supposition than that he was the chieftain of that part of Siluria, which was afterwards known by the joint names of Gwent and Morganwg. But even these accounts must be received with caution. The second Triad, just quoted, as it would appear from the remainder of its contents, is of no higher date than the seventh century;t and some of its statements are so manifestly inaccurate that it must be rejected entirely. The statement of the

• Cressy's Church History of Brittany.

+ It speaks of the Archbishopricks of Canterbury and York: the latter, as a Saxon church, was not founded till A. D. 625.

first Triad is not incredible, only that the privileges, which could have been granted by a chieftain retaining his patrimony under the Roman jurisdiction, must have been limited. As for the mission to Rome, the Welsh authorities make no mention of an alleged epistle of Eleutherius, still extant; and it may be observed that the four names Dyfan, Ffagan, Medwy, and Elfan are not Roman, but British. Some accounts* state that Medwy and Elfan were Britons, and that being sent to Rome with the message, they brought Dyfant and Ffagan with them on their return. Amid these doubts and contradictions, the reader must exercise his own judgment, and perhaps he will reject the idea of a mission to Rome as a monkish fabrication. There are, however, local indications in the neighbourhood of Llandaff which support the belief of the existence of these persons. Four churches have been called after the names of Lleurwg, Dyfan, Ffagan, and Medwy; and their locality not only determines the situation of the patrimony of Lucius, but, in some respects, the confined sphere to which the labours of these Christian teachers were limited; for in no other part of Wales has a tradition of their presence remained, a fact inconsistent with the notion that they evangelized the whole of Britain.

Lleurwg was also called “ Lleufer Mawr,” or the Great Luminary, which probably was an epithet bestowed upon him at at a later age in consideration of his having promoted the cause of Christianity. The Latin name corresponding to this epithet was Lucius from Lux. Lles, on the other hand, first occurs in the fabulous chronicles, and is perhaps due to those later authors who formed a Welsh imitation of Lucius. Geoffrey of Monmouth also gives him a different pedigree to that

* The Latin Book of Llandaff, and the Life of St. Dubricius in John of Teignmouth and Capgrave. (See Usher de Primordiis, pp. 49, 50.)

+ If any dependence could be placed upon the genealogies of this period, it would appear that Dyfan was a Briton by descent; his pedigree is given under his name in the “Cambrian Biography.”

« PrejšnjaNaprej »