Pwy oedd y Brenin Arthur?

Bu enw'r Brenin Arthur yn gysylltiedig â Chymru ers amser maith, ond beth a wyddom am y dyn a'i amseroedd?

Mae'r enw Arthur yn dwyn i gof gysylltiadau lu. Fel gŵr gwychryw, daeth yn destun chwedlau. Yn llenyddiaeth ddychymyg Ewrop mae chwedlau a rhamantau yn dathlu'r brenin a'i lys, ac mae'r syniadau mwy diweddar hyn am Arthur yr un mor ddiddorol â'i gilydd. Dyma ambell gwestiwn cyffredin a ofynnir: Ai gŵr o gig a gwaed oedd Arthur? Sut un oedd ef? I ddarganfod yr atebion mae'n rhaid edrych yn feirniadol ar ddwy ffynhonnell bwysig o wybodaeth: testunau hanesyddol ac archaeoleg.

Pryd oedd y Brenin Arthur byw?

Mae'n debyg y ceir y cyfeiriad cyntaf at Arthur mewn llinell yng ngerdd Aneirin, 'Y Gododdin', y llenyddiaeth Gymraeg gynharaf y gwyddom amdani:

'Gochorai brain du ar fur caer / Cyn ni bai ef Arthur'
'Bwydai [Gwawrddur] frain du ar ragfur caer / Er nad oedd yn Arthur'.

Mae'r gerdd yn dyddio o'r chweched ganrif, pan oedd y rhan fwyaf o drigolion gorllewin Prydain (Cymru, gogledd Lloegr a de'r Alban) yn siarad Cymraeg; mae ffurf ysgrifenedig gynharaf y gerdd yn dyddio o'r drydedd ganrif ar ddeg. Mae'n bosibl nad yw'r cyfeiriad at Arthur yn y ffynhonnell hon yn gynharach na'r nawfed ganrif ond mae'n tystio i enwogrwydd Arthur ymhlith y Cymry yn ystod y cyfnod hwn.

Y pwysicaf o'r testunau hanesyddol yw Historia Brittonum, 'Hanes y Brytaniaid', sy'n cynnwys y cyfeiriad ysgrifenedig cynharaf at Arthur 'a frwydrodd yn eu herbyn [y Sacsoniaid] yn y dyddiau hynny gyda brenhinoedd y Brytaniaid ond ef ei hun oedd arweinydd y Brwydrau', gan ennill deuddeg buddugoliaeth. Lluniwyd fersiwn cynharaf yr hanes hwn tua OC829-830.

Yn Annales Cambriae, cronicl a ysgrifennwyd yng nghanol y ddegfed ganrif yn ôl pob tebyg, cofnodir dyddiad brwydr Baddon ar gyfer y flwyddyn OC518, a marwolaeth Arthur ym mrwydr Camlan yn OC537-9. Felly, os oedd Arthur yn ŵr hanesyddol o gig a gwaed, roedd ar dir y byw, yn ôl pob tebyg, yn ystod y chweched ganrif.

Lyfr Aneirin

Tudalen o gopi o Lyfr Aneirin yn dyddio o'r drydedd ganrif ar ddeg. Mae Llyfr Aneirin yn cofnodi ymosodiad y Brythoniaid ar y Sacsoniaid yng Nghatraeth (Swydd Efrog). Er y cafodd y gerdd ei chyfansoddi yn y chweched ganrif, mae'n bosibl y cafodd y cyfeiriad at Arthur a geir ynddi ei ychwanegu'n ddiweddarach. [Image © Cardiff Library]

Ble mae'r Brenin Arthur wedi ei gladdu?

Mae'r Myrddin sy'n ymddangos yn Vita Merlini, y gerdd am fywyd Myrddin a ysgrifennwyd gan Sieffre o Fynwy yn y ddeuddegfed ganrif, fel pe bai'n gyfuniad o ddau draddodiad gwahanol, hwnnw am Ambrosius yn Historia Brittonum a oedd, yn ôl y sôn, yn arweinydd yn ystod y 460au and 470au, a hwnnw am y 'gŵr gwyllt a drigai yn y coed'. Erbyn y cyfnod pan oedd Sieffre o Fynwy yn ysgrifennu 'Hanes Brenhinoedd Prydain' roedd chwedlau a gysylltai Arthur â Chernyw eisoes yn datblygu.

Mae llenyddiaeth Gymraeg gynnar yn llawn chwedlau rhyfeddol sy'n ffurfio rhan bwysig o'r traddodiad Arthuraidd. Mewn llawysgrifau yn dyddio o'r drydedd a'r bedwaredd ganrif ar ddeg ceir portreadau gwahanol o Arthur mewn barddoniaeth Gymraeg gan feirdd anhysbys. Yn 'Englynion y Beddau', un o'r cerddi a geir yn Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin, disgrifir bedd Arthur fel rhyfeddod mawr, gan na ŵyr neb lle y mae'n gorwedd.

Yr wychaf o'r chwedlau rhyddiaith Arthuraidd yw 'Culhwch ac Olwen', y ceir fersiynau ohoni yn llawysgrifau Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch (a ysgrifennwyd tua 1350) a Llyfr Coch Hergest (a ysgrifennwyd tua 1400). Paratowyd a chyhoeddwyd y cyfieithiad Saesneg cyntaf o'r chwedl hon, un o un chwedl ar ddeg y Mabinogion, gan y Foneddiges Charlotte Guest yn ystod y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg. Mae pedair o chwedlau eraill y Mabinogion hefyd yn canolbwyntio ar Arthur, sef y tair rhamant, 'Iarlles y Ffynnon', 'Hanes Peredur Fab Efrog' a 'Geraint Fab Erbin', ynghyd â 'Breuddwyd Rhonabwy' sy'n cyflwyno golwg ddychanol o Arthur a'i fyd.

Map yn dangos lleoliad enwau lleoedd a grybwyllir yn yr erthygl hon

Map yn dangos lleoliad enwau lleoedd a grybwyllir yn yr erthygl hon

Archaeoleg

Yr ail ffynhonnell allweddol bwysig o wybodaeth am Arthur yw archaeoleg. Mae'r dystiolaeth archaeolegol am y cysylltiad rhwng Cymru, Cernyw a'r byd Sacsonaidd yn amrywiol ei natur - o waith metel gwneuthuredig mewn dull Eingl-Sacsonaidd a ddarganfuwyd yn ne-ddwyrain Cymru, i ddosbarthiad crochenwaith y cyfnod canoloesol cynnar a fewnforiwyd o'r cyfandir a glannau Môr y Canoldir.

Mae cloddiadau ar safle Dinas Powys, bryngaer dywysogaidd ger Caerdydd y trigai pobl o fewn ei muriau rhwng y bumed a'r saithfed ganrif, wedi dweud llawer wrthym ynglŷn â natur safle o statws uchel yn ne Cymru yn ystod y cyfnod hwn. Mae'r safle hwn o'r un oed ag eraill megis South Cadbury yng Ngwlad yr Haf a Tintagel yng Nghernyw (y naill a'r llall â'u traddodiadau Arthuraidd).

Cribau asgwrn o Ddinas Powys (Bro Morgannwg)

Cribau asgwrn o Ddinas Powys (Bro Morgannwg), caer y trigai pobl ynddi rhwng y bumed a'r wythfed ganrif.

Amffitheatr Rufeining yng Nghaerllion

Byth oddi ar y 12fed ganrif mae'r amffitheatr Rufeining yng Nghaerllion wedi cael ei chydnabod fel safle llys y Brenin Arthur.

Yn OC1405, ar ôl glanio yn Aberdaugleddau i gefnogi gwrthryfel Owain Glyndŵr yn erbyn coron Lloegr, cyrhaeddodd byddin ymgyrchol Ffrengig Gaerllion. Yma, ymwelodd y milwyr â 'Bord Gron y Brenin Arthur'. Yn ôl un ffynhonnell Ffrangeg (Chronique Religieux de St Denys), ymlwybrodd y Ffrancwyr heibio i'r 'Ford Gron', yn ogystal ag 'Abaty Urddasol' (Llantarnam yn ôl pob tebyg) y chwedl Arthuraidd. Mewn gwirionedd, amffitheatr Rufeinig lleng-gaer Isca oedd y Ford Gron.

Mae'r camadnabyddiad hwn yn dyddio'n ôl i'r 12fed ganrif. Yn ôl Gerallt Gymro, awdur Itinerarium Kambriae ('Hanes y daith drwy Gymru') a ysgrifennwyd yn OC1190: 'I'r fan yma y deuai dirprwy lywodraethwyr Rhufain i geisio gwrandawiad yn llys enwog Arthur fawr'. Dylanwadwyd yn fawr ar Gerallt ac awduron diweddarach gan Sieffre o Fynwy, a oedd wedi cyfeirio at Gaerllion, 'Dinas y Llengoedd', fel llys y Brenin Arthur yn ei epic ffuglennol, 'Hanes Brenhinoedd Prydain' (Historia Regum Britanniae, y credir iddo gael ei gwblhau tua OC1136). Cafodd y cofnod hwn, a gyfeiriai at fan a oedd yn agos i fro ei febyd, ei ddisgrifio fel 'ffrwyth dychymyg hanesyddol byw yn seiliedig ar weddillion gweledol dinas Rufeinig drawiadol'. Roedd rhywfaint o Isca'r Rhufeiniad yn dal i sefyll yn ystod y 13eg ganrif.

Yn ôl Triawd 85 yn Trioedd Ynys Prydein, y ceir y casgliad sylfaenol mewn llawysgrifau o'r 13eg a'r 14eg ganrif, roedd Tri Phrif Lys Arthur yn:

'... Caerllion ar Wysg yng Nghymru,
A Chelliwig yng Nghernyw,
A Phenrhyn Rhionydd yn y Gogledd.'

Ymhen dim o dro, clensiwyd y datganiad hwn gan gyfeiriadau at Gaerllion fel lleoliad Llys Arthur mewn rhamantau Cymreig a Ffrengig poblogaidd gan Dafydd ap Gwilym, Chrétien de Troyes ac eraill.

Amffitheatr Rufeinig Caerllion.

Amffitheatr Rufeinig Caerllion. [Image © Steve Burrow]

Carreg Arthur

Mae tua hanner dwsin o fegalithau Neolithig Cymru yn dwyn yr enw Arthur, megis Coetan Arthur a Charreg Coetan Arthur, ac mae ei enw hefyd ynghlwm wrth fryngaer o'r Oes Haearn ar Fryniau Clwyd, sef Moel Arthur ger Dinbych. Yn ôl un traddodiad, mae'r Brenin Arthur a'i farchogion yn gorwedd ynghwsg mewn ogof yng nghrombil Craig y Dinas, Pontneddfechan, ym mhen uchaf Cwm Nedd yn ne Cymru.

Maen Ceti, ym Mro Gŵyr

Maen Ceti, ym Mro Gŵyr. Yn Saesneg, 'carreg Arthur' yw enw maen capan enfawr y siambr gladdu gynhanesyddol hon. Yn ôl y sôn, mae ysbryd y brenin yn ymddangos o'r siambr o dan y maen o bryd i'w gilydd.

Darllen Cefndir

Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature gan Oliver James Padel. Cyhoeddwyd gan Wasg Prifysgol Cymru (2001).

Arthur's Britain. History and Archaeology AD367-634 gan Leslie Alcock. Cyhoeddwyd gan Harmondsworth (1971).

The Arthur of the Welsh. The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Welsh Literature gan Rachel Bromwich, A. O. H. Jarman a Brynley F. Roberts. Cyhoeddwyd gan Wasg Prifysgol Cymru (1991).

The Gododdin, a olygwyd gan A. O. H. Jarman. Cyhoeddwyd gan Wasg Gomer (1995).

Y Mabinogion, diweddariad gan Dafydd a Rhiannon Ifans. Cyhoeddwyd gan Wasg Gomer (2001). 

sylw(11)

phantammeron
16 Ionawr 2022, 14:52
We have evidence of a real historical Arthur right in front of our eyes! If we are to trust the only near contemporary writer of Arthur’s age, Gildas, there is only one historical figure in the late 5th century that perfectly fits the deeds of such a figure - Ambrosius Aurelianus. According to Gildas he was the victor of the siege widely attribute to Arthur at Badon. And his historic victories, according to Gildas, we’re still remembered generations later when Gildas wrote down such things around 540 A.D. he claims such memories were dimmed but still remembered by some. This sets the tone for the legend of a real heroic figure in pre-Anglo Saxon Briton. Therefore, Ambrosius Aurelianus is likely our Arthur, though how the name became attributed to an “Arthur” only the evolution of legends now hides from
view. The fascinating nature of Ambrosius Aurelianus is he was a Celtic Romano-Britain, an orphaned child possibly from eastern Briton whose parents were likely Consuls of the old Roman ruling class. They were slain and this young man orphaned, which ironically fits the later 12th century legends. If this is true and our Arthur was the last of Roman nobility, his vengeance would fit such a motivation in leading Welsh/Celtic/Britons to some decisive last victories against the feudal kings of his age and the Germanic Saxon invaders they shipped over to those shores. That the last of Roman children remained behind with such courage to organize one last counter attack in the last dark years of Romanized Briton seems fitting to both the later legends and mystery surrounding who Arthur was. Yet this possibly assigns the man to a real historical figure clearly mentioned by Gildas as the hero of his age. We know that the name “Ambrocius” went on to fill many Welsh and British legends, including that of the origins of Merlin in very early manuscripts. This might prove that the myth surrounding Ambrosius Aurelianus went through many twists and turns before finally connecting back to the battle-chieftain hero Arthur in name that started to appear by the 8th century among the literature. I think we should not discount Ambrosius Aurelianus as our Arthur. If we trust Gildas 6th century text, where he shared such vivid accounts of this historical and heroic figure with the siege of Badon and decades of peace with invaders that followed (events later attributed to Arthur) then all that’s left for modern historians today is to piece together how Arthur, the legend, evolved over time and came to be a representation of this much older Roman figure. My theory for the evolution of this take involves Western European Celtic legends circulating in parts of France and Brittany that were brought over and layered over Welsh legends. These two combined to build the mashed form of Ambrocius/Arthur we have from Monmouth. But I’m not a scholar and my own theories are purely my own and limited by my own studies on this topic that are still ongoing.
Sheila White
6 Hydref 2021, 14:31
I am fascinated by the Welsh version, especially the burial mounds and the 'field of tents'. Fighting the Saxons and the Romans makes sense. Any Celtic versions would be poo pooed because that wouldn't fit well with our monarchy. The origins of Britain must surely be Celtic and religion of Druid theme
au smith
20 Awst 2019, 22:52
Kings Arther 1 11 Prince Madoc were PowIells Look up Sr. Hoel Sr Howell SrAp Howell chop H And A you get Powells of Madoc Castle Stuff like this got Alan and Baram KILLEDI
T Williams
19 Rhagfyr 2018, 10:39
Diolch am erthygl diddorol
Paham dydy Baram Blackett a Alan Wilson yn cael cyn llaied o cydnabyddiaeth ? Mae rhaid corddir dyfroedd I ddod at y gwirionedd. Ydyn nhw yn aelodau o'r Orsedd ?
Grace
12 Tachwedd 2018, 16:44
There is also a ' Maen Arthur' in Ceredigion. ?
Bob Sunman
21 Medi 2018, 19:40
E Raymond Capt (1985) transliterating the Assyrian cuneiform tablets claims that the Lost Tribes of Israel were referred to variously as Kumri and Khumri. The welsh word for the Welsh is cymru - pronounced 'kumri'. The migration paths of this diaspora was north west from Assyria to Britain and Brittany. Capt lists many welsh words which appear in the tablet. Curiously, Wilson and Blackett proposed years ago that the welsh coelbren alphabet is cognate with Etruscan which therefore permits the translation of Etruscan. Reading through this into the inscriptions in the Wadi Moqateb and the Djel Moqateb (Charles Forster, 1854, Indico Pleustes 550) the epigraphical emergence of coelbren from the heiroglyphs may be observed. As Wilson once observed, one might have, at one time, hear a conversation which ran thus: 'Oh siwmai Pharoah, sut wyt ti?' 'iawn Moses , dda iawn, diolch.' Wilson and Blackett can read the poster language of the heiroglyphs using this knowledge.
Liesbeth
26 Gorffennaf 2018, 15:33
In the main article the death of Arthur (II) is suggested as 537/9 ad whereas in one of the comments by Angela it is suggested as 579. Is there any way of clarifying this? Could he really have been about 90 when he died in battle? Seems unlikely.
Angela Bruist
17 Mai 2018, 16:44
Dear Rani, If you are interested in the real Arthurian Kings, King Arthur I and King Arthur II, You will need the books of Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett, I suggest 'King Arthur, King of Glamorgan and Gwent,' and 'Arthur and the Charters of the Kings', and also 'Artorius Rex Discovered.'
King Arthur I 350 - 396 ad, fought the Romans in France, and was victorious.
King Arthur Ii, 490-579 ad, fought the Battle of Badden, (Baden), and the Battle of Camlann, and more.
In 'Arthur and the Charters of the Kings', the authors reorganised the Charters of Lancarvan, and the Charters of the Church of Llandaff, into chronological order rather than by region. Saints who were quite often Bishops, were designated Saints in their lifetime by the early apostolic Christian Church, by nature of their noble birth. Since the bishops crowned and buried the kings, and were related closely to the kings and other noble families, once organised correctly chronologically, bishops and kings overlapping, a clear picture emerged. The actual Charters, are records of gifts, often land, given by kings, and other nobles, to the church of Llandaff, in thanks to God, in penitence to God (after being excommunicated for committing some horrible act) and in return for the prayers of the Church for a dear deceased relative, etc.
Gildas, 'The Destruction of Britain' De Excidio Britanniae, 533 ad - 547ad, is a contempory of Arthur II.
Nennius, who drew on Gildas, but produced 17 chapters on King Gourthiigirnus, Vortigern. He also describes the victorious battles of Arhur II
The Welsh Annals- Annals Camriae -earliest record 444 ad continuing to 954 ad (gap of 27 years) and a last entry 977 ad, very much like a series of diary entries. Several versions of this document exist.The Brut of England. The death of King Arthur II, is the only date recorded in this document.
I could list all of Wilson and Blacketts original sources, but it would take a long time I suggest that you purchase these three books, they are available from the store at the Richplanet tv webite (Richard.D. Hall has interviewed Wilson and Blackett - interviews and programmes can be seen on YouTube) I advise getting an Amazontvfirstick, or equivalent, much more relaxing watching these interviews on a tv screen, rather than on a smaller screen - especially when maps are involved.
Good luck with your project, I hope all goes well. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
If you send me an email, I can scan the 'contents' pages of these books for you, so you'll have an idea of the breadth of research involved in their production, before you commit to buying. I would also say, don't wait too long, these books sell fast; there were none available for several months recently, unless your willing to pay silly prices on Amazon or where ever.
Regards,
Angela

Dai
26 Rhagfyr 2017, 22:50
The arthur that fought at mynydd baedan against a large saxon and vandal force was none other than athrwys ap(son of) meurig, grandson of theoderic. In his time he was known as arthmael (iron bear). There is a wealth of information on this on youtube by unsung british hero alan wilson, who has wrote many books and delved far deeper into our history than all other so called academics, and methodically pieced together his entire bloodline of that era with supporting physical (real) evidence. The fact that we welsh are taught nothing about the south Wales kings should set alarm bells ringing. The romans arrived, and after they 'triumphantly' (not!) marched out at the end of the4th century, apparently bugger all happened for 700years, until the good old normans arrived to impose themselves. Now this idea is nonsense as it is recorded that when robert fitzhamon a marcher lord deposed the last of the ancient british line iestyn ap gwrgan, they 'seized all the castles', so this idea that the welsh were uncivilised celts in blue woad and tartan is a complete lie. The fact is the real arthur has been airbrushed from history as we are told he is mythical legend, but go to mynydd baedan nr bridgend and the local farmers will tell you exactly what happened on that great forgotten battlefield, the mass grave mounds of the dead are still there. Yet apparently no historian can find it, even at dunraven castle there is a sign showing our ancient british line of kings but mysteriously athrwys is missing, even though both his father, grandfather and sons are showing, there is definately a concerted effort to destroy all knowledge of this very real king. The annoying thing is, the powers that be in Wales are marching in tune with what london say, and are afraid to upset the applecart. The german 'british' monarchy certainly couldnt have their royal claim undermined by the subjugated welsh, and so great attempts have been made to quell all knowledge. They must think we're stupid, its our language and our history is written in the landscape in welsh on maps, you dont name farmers fields for example 'fields of the white tents' or'field of drunk slaughter' for nothing. Apologies for the rant, but im sick of the double standards applied to our history, bbc1 time team have never dared to unearth anything in south wales as its obviously too close to the bone, even if they did any building foundation would immediately be ok declared roman, norman or wait for it saxon!
graham
26 Medi 2016, 11:06
Dear Rani Gill,
Thank you for your comment, there is a list of sources mentioned at the base of this article that will help you delve a little further into the origin of the legend.
I hope this helps,
Many thanks, Graham Davies, Digital Team, Amgueddfa Cymru.
Nid yw sylwadau ar gael ar hyn o bryd. Ymddiheuriadau am yr anghyfleustra.