Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio
Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio or Gwenddolau was a Brythonic king who ruled in Arfderydd. This is in what is now south-west Scotland and north-west England in the area around Hadrian's Wall and Carlisle during the sub-Roman period in Britain. Carwinley near Longtown north of Carlisle is thought to represent Caer Wenddolau or Gwenddolau's Fort. Genealogies make him a descendant of Coel Hen, believed to have ruled much of what is now southern Scotland and the Borders following the Roman withdrawal from the island of Britain, in the area known as the Hen Ogledd. Gwenddoleu was therefore to have been either the heir to one of the many successor states of Coel Hen's realm or an usurper who claimed descent from Coel Hen to legitimize his family's claim to the region. Little is known of his reign, but it ended when, as described in the Annales Cambriae, the sons of Eliffer and Gwrgi, the joint kings of Efrog, killed him at the Battle of Arfderydd in 573, it is possible. This was one of many battles fought between Brythonic kings who led the various fractured successor states that took over the Roman province of Brittania following the Roman withdrawal.
Although Gwenddoleu plays no part in Arthurian legend, his court adviser Myrddin formed part of the basis for the Arthurian legends concerning the wizard Merlin. In Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini, Myrddin is said to have been driven mad with grief following the death of Gwenddoleu and to have fled into the Caledonian forest; the memory of both Gwenddoleu and Myrddin was preserved in Welsh literature. Rachel Bromwich, Trioedd Ynys Prydein
Heraclius was the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 610 to 641. He was responsible for introducing Greek as the Byzantine Empire's official language, his rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas. Heraclius's reign was marked by several military campaigns; the year Heraclius came to power, the empire was threatened on multiple frontiers. Heraclius took charge of the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628; the first battles of the campaign ended in defeat for the Byzantines. Soon after, he initiated reforms to strengthen the military. Heraclius drove the Persians out of Asia Minor and pushed deep into their territory, defeating them decisively in 627 at the Battle of Nineveh; the Persian king Khosrow II was overthrown and executed by his son Kavadh II, who soon sued for a peace treaty, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territory. This way peaceful relations were restored to the two strained empires.
Heraclius soon experienced the Muslim conquests. Emerging from the Arabian Peninsula, the Muslims conquered the Sasanian Empire. In 634 the Muslims marched into Roman Syria. Within a short period of time, the Arabs conquered Mesopotamia and Egypt. Heraclius entered diplomatic relations with the Serbs in the Balkans, he tried to repair the schism in the Christian church in regard to the Monophysites, by promoting a compromise doctrine called Monothelitism. The Church of the East was involved in the process; this project of unity was rejected by all sides of the dispute. Heraclius was the eldest son of Heraclius the Elder and Epiphania, of a family of possible Armenian origin from Cappadocia, with speculative Arsacid descent. Beyond that, there is little specific information known about his ancestry, his father was a key general during Emperor Maurice's war with Bahram Chobin, usurper of the Sasanian Empire, during 590. After the war, Maurice appointed Heraclius the Elder to the position of Exarch of Africa.
In 608, Heraclius the Elder renounced his loyalty to the Emperor Phocas, who had overthrown Maurice six years earlier. The rebels issued coins showing both Heraclii dressed as consuls, though neither of them explicitly claimed the imperial title at this time. Heraclius's younger cousin Nicetas launched an overland invasion of Egypt. Meanwhile, the younger Heraclius sailed eastward with another force via Cyprus; as he approached Constantinople, he made contact with prominent leaders and planned an attack to overthrow aristocrats in the city, soon arranged a ceremony where he was crowned and acclaimed as Emperor. When he reached the capital, the Excubitors, an elite Imperial Guard unit led by Phocas's son-in-law Priscus, deserted to Heraclius, he entered the city without serious resistance; when Heraclius captured Phocas, he asked him "Is this how you have ruled, wretch?" Phocas's reply—"And will you rule better?"—so enraged Heraclius that he beheaded Phocas on the spot. He had the genitalia removed from the body because Phocas had raped the wife of Photius, a powerful politician in the city.
On October 5, 610, Heraclius was crowned for a second time, this time in the Chapel of St. Stephen within the Great Palace. After her death in 612, he married his niece Martina in 613. In the reign of Heraclius's two sons, the divisive Martina was to become the center of power and political intrigue. Despite widespread hatred for Martina in Constantinople, Heraclius took her on campaigns with him and refused attempts by Patriarch Sergius to prevent and dissolve the marriage. During his Balkan Campaigns, Emperor Maurice and his family were murdered by Phocas in November 602 after a mutiny. Khosrau II of the Sasanian Empire had been restored to his throne by Maurice, they had remained allies until the latter's death. Thereafter, Khosrau seized the opportunity to attack the Byzantine reconquer Mesopotamia. Khosrau had at his court a man who claimed to be Maurice's son Theodosius, Khosrau demanded that the Byzantines accept this Theodosius as Emperor; the war went the Persians' way because of Phocas's brutal repression and the succession crisis that ensued as the general Heraclius sent his nephew Nicetas to attack Egypt, enabling his son Heraclius the younger to claim the throne in 610.
Phocas, an unpopular ruler, invariably described in historical sources as a "tyrant", was deposed by Heraclius, who sailed to Constantinople from Carthage with an icon affixed to the prow of his ship. By this time, the Persians had conquered Mesopotamia and the Caucasus, in 611 they overran Syria and entered Anatolia. A major counter-attack led by Heraclius two years was decisively defeated outside Antioch by Shahrbaraz and Shahin, the Roman position collapsed. Over the following decade the Persians were able to conquer Palestine and Egypt and to devastate Anatolia, while the Avars and Slavs took advantage of the situation to overrun th
Exeter Cathedral, properly known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Exeter, is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of Exeter, in the city of Exeter, Devon, in South West England. The present building was complete by about 1400, has several notable features, including an early set of misericords, an astronomical clock and the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England; the founding of the cathedral at Exeter, dedicated to Saint Peter, dates from 1050, when the seat of the bishop of Devon and Cornwall was transferred from Crediton because of a fear of sea-raids. A Saxon minster existing within the town was used by Leofric as his seat, but services were held out of doors, close to the site of the present cathedral building. In 1107 William Warelwast, a nephew of William the Conqueror, was appointed to the see, this was the catalyst for the building of a new cathedral in the Norman style, its official foundation was in 1133, during Warelwast's time, but it took many more years to complete.
Following the appointment of Walter Bronescombe as bishop in 1258, the building was recognised as outmoded, it was rebuilt in the Decorated Gothic style, following the example of Salisbury. However, much of the Norman building was kept, including the two massive square towers and part of the walls, it was constructed of local stone, including Purbeck Marble. The new cathedral was complete by about 1400, apart from the addition of the chapter house and chantry chapels. Like most English cathedrals, Exeter suffered during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but not as much as it would have done had it been a monastic foundation. Further damage was done during the Civil War. Following the restoration of Charles II, a new pipe organ was built in the cathedral by John Loosemore. Charles II's sister Henrietta Anne of England was baptised here in 1644. During the Victorian era, some refurbishment was carried out by George Gilbert Scott; as a boy, the composer Matthew Locke was trained in the choir of Exeter Cathedral, under Edward Gibbons, the brother of Orlando Gibbons.
His name can be found scribed into the stone organ screen. During the Second World War, Exeter was one of the targets of a German air offensive against British cities of cultural and historical importance, which became known as the "Baedeker Blitz". On 4 May 1942 an early-morning air raid took place over Exeter; the cathedral sustained a direct hit by a large high-explosive bomb on the chapel of St James demolishing it. The muniment room above, three bays of the aisle and two flying buttresses were destroyed in the blast; the medieval wooden screen opposite the chapel was smashed into many pieces by the blast, but it has been reconstructed and restored. Many of the cathedral's most important artefacts, such as the ancient glass, the misericords, the bishop's throne, the Exeter Book, the ancient charters and other precious documents from the library had been removed in anticipation of such an attack; the precious effigy of Walter Branscombe had been protected by sand bags. Subsequent repairs and the clearance of the area around the western end of the building uncovered portions of earlier structures, including remains of the Roman city and of the original Norman cathedral.
Notable features of the interior include the misericords, the minstrels' gallery, the astronomical clock and the organ. Notable architectural features of the interior include the multiribbed ceiling and the compound piers in the nave arcade; the 18-metre-high bishop's throne in the choir was made from Devon oak between 1312 and 1316. The Great East Window contains much 14th-century glass, there are over 400 ceiling bosses, one of which depicts the murder of Thomas Becket; the bosses can be seen at the peak of the vaulted ceiling. Because there is no centre tower, Exeter Cathedral has the longest uninterrupted medieval vaulted ceiling in the world, at about 96 m; the fifty misericords are the earliest complete set in the United Kingdom. They date from two periods: 1220–1230 and 1250–1260. Amongst other things, they depict the earliest known wooden representation of an elephant in the UK, they have supporters. The minstrels' gallery in the nave is unique in English cathedrals, its front is decorated with 12 carved and painted angels playing medieval musical instruments, including the cittern, hautboy, harp, organ, guitar and cymbals, with two others which are uncertain.
Since the above list was compiled in 1921, research among musicologists has revised how some of the instruments are called in modern times. Using revised names, the list should now read from left to right gittern, shawm, harp, jew's harp, organ, recorder, cymbals; the Exeter Cathedral Astronomical Clock is one of the group of famous 14th- to 16th-century astronomical clocks to be found in the West of England. Others are at Wells, Ottery St Mary, Wimborne Minster; the main, dial is the oldest part of the clock, dating from 1484. The fleur-de-lys-tipped hand indicates the hour on a 24-hour analogue dial; the numbering consists of two sets of Roman numerals I to XII. The silver ball and inner dial shows both the age of its phase; the upper dial, added in 1760, shows the minutes. The Latin phrase Pereunt et imputantur, a favourite motto for clocks and sundials, was written by the Latin poet Martial, it is transla
Merlin is a legendary figure best known as an enchanter or wizard featured in Arthurian legend and medieval Welsh poetry The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures. Geoffrey combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt, a North Brythonic prophet and madman with no connection to King Arthur, with tales of the Romano-British war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus to form the composite figure he called Merlin Ambrosius. Geoffrey's rendering of the character was popular in Wales. Writers expanded the account to produce a fuller image. Merlin's traditional biography casts him as a cambion: born of a mortal woman, sired by an incubus, the non-human from whom he inherits his supernatural powers and abilities. Merlin matures to an ascendant sagehood and engineers the birth of Arthur through magic and intrigue. Authors have Merlin serve as the king's advisor and mentor to the knights until he is bewitched and forever imprisoned or killed by the Lady of the Lake.
He is popularly said to be buried in the magical forest of Brocéliande. The name "Merlin" is derived from the Welsh Myrddin, the name of the bard, one of the chief sources for the legendary figure. Geoffrey of Monmouth Latinised the name to Merlinus in his works. Medievalist Gaston Paris suggests that Geoffrey chose the form Merlinus rather than the regular Merdinus to avoid a resemblance to the Anglo-Norman word merde for feces. Clas Myrddin or Merlin's Enclosure is an early name for Great Britain stated in the Third Series of Welsh Triads. Celticist A. O. H. Jarman suggests that the Welsh name Myrddin was derived from the toponym Caerfyrddin, the Welsh name for the town known in English as Carmarthen; this contrasts with the popular folk etymology. The name Carmarthen is derived from the town's previous Roman name Moridunum, in turn derived from Celtic Brittonic moridunon, "sea fortress". Geoffrey's composite Merlin is based on the legendary "madman" poet and seer Myrddin Wyllt, Emrys, a fictional character based in part on the 5th century, historical war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus mentioned in one of Geoffrey's primary sources, the early 9th century Historia Brittonum.
The former had nothing to do with King Arthur: in British poetry he was a bard driven mad after witnessing the horrors of war, who fled civilization to become a wild man of the wood in the 6th century. Geoffrey had Myrddin Wyllt in mind when he wrote his earliest surviving work, the Prophetiae Merlini, which he claimed were the actual words of the legendary poet and madman. Geoffrey's Prophetiae do not reveal much about Merlin's background, he included the prophet in his next work, Historia Regum Britanniae, supplementing the characterisation by attributing to him stories about Aurelius Ambrosius, taken from Nennius' Historia Brittonum. According to Nennius, Ambrosius was discovered when the British king Vortigern was trying to erect a tower; the tower always collapsed before completion, his wise men told him that the only solution was to sprinkle the foundation with the blood of a child born without a father. Ambrosius was rumoured to be such a child but, when brought before the king, he revealed the real reason for the tower's collapse: below the foundation was a lake containing two dragons who fought a battle representing the struggle between the invading Saxons and the native Celtic Britons.
Geoffrey retells this story in his Historia Regum Britanniæ with some embellishments, gives the fatherless child the name of the prophetic bard Merlin. He keeps this new figure separate from Aurelius Ambrosius and, with regard to his changing of the original Nennian character, he states that Ambrosius was called'Merlin'—that is,'Ambrosius Merlinus', he goes on to add new episodes that tie Merlin with his predecessors. Geoffrey's account of Merlin Ambrosius' early life in the Historia Regum Britanniae is based on the tale of Ambrosius in the Historia Brittonum, he adds his own embellishments to the tale, which he sets in Wales. While Nennius' Ambrosius reveals himself to be the son of a Roman consul, Geoffrey's Merlin is begotten on a king's daughter by an incubus demon; the name of Merlin's mother is not stated, but is given as Adhan in the oldest version of the Prose Brut. The story of Vortigern's tower is the same. At this point Geoffrey inserts a long section of Merlin's prophecies, taken from his earlier Prophetiae Merlini.
He tells only two further tales of the character. In the first, Merlin creates Stonehenge as a burial place for Aurelius Ambrosius, bringing the stones from the Preseli Hills in south-west Wales and Ireland. In the second, Merlin's magic enables the new British king Uther Pendragon to enter into Tintagel Castle in disguise and father his son Arthur with his enemy's wife, Igraine; these episodes appear in many adaptations of Geoffrey's account. As Lewis Thorpe notes, Merlin disappears from the narrative after this. Geoffrey dealt with Merlin again in Vita Merlini, he based it on stories of the original 6th-century Myrddin, set long after his time frame for the life of Merlin Ambrosius. Geoffrey tried to assert that the characters are the same wi
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Kingdom of Dyfed
The Kingdom of Dyfed is one of several Welsh petty kingdoms that emerged in 5th-century sub-Roman Britain in southwest Wales based on the former territory of the Demetae. Following the Norman invasion of Wales between 1067–1100, the region was conquered by the Normans and by 1138 incorporated into a new shire called Pembrokeshire after the Norman castle built in the Cantref of Penfro and under the rule of the Marcher Earl of Pembroke. In the year 360, a sudden series of coordinated raids by the Irish, Anglo-Saxons and Picts began; these continued as the Irish colonised the Isle of Man and resulted in a short period lasting until the 5th century during which Old Irish was spoken in the region: twenty stones dated to this period have ogham inscriptions. One bilingual Latin-Irish stone in Castelldwyran, near Narberth, has the name Votecorigas written on it. Dyfed may have occupied the area that bordered the rivers Teifi and Tywi, included contemporary Pembrokeshire, the western part of contemporary Carmarthenshire, with the town of Carmarthen.
Dyfed comprised at least seven cantrefi: Cemais, Emlyn, Cantref Gwarthaf, Pebidiog and Rhos, with an approximate area of about 2,284 square kilometres. During times of strength, the kingdom expanded to additionally cover the Ystrad Tywi, including Cydweli and Gwyr, bordered Brycheiniog. Dyfed lost the Ystrad Tywi region to another petty kingdom, in the late 7th century. During the "Age of the Saints", Dyfed may have had as many as seven bishops, called in Latin sacerdotes one for each cantref. However, by the High Middle Ages the Diocese of St David's emerged as one of only three episcopal dioceses in Wales, with St. David's covering all of West Wales and part of Mid Wales. Dyfed was subject to extensive raids during the Viking Age between the 8th and 11th centuries, causing social and political instability, with the Vikings establishing settlements in southern Dyfed. By the latter part of the 9th century, the rulers of Dyfed had grown cautious of the influence of the sons of Rhodri the Great, sought out an alliance and the patronage of Alfred the Great of England.
The precise nature of the relationship between King Alfred and the rulers in Wales remains unclear, whether a transitory alliance or a formal mediatisation of the Welsh rulers to the king of England. Historical attempts have been made to cast the relationship as one as a confederation of Christian unity on the isle of Britain, under the leadership of Alfred, against the heathen Danes. However, there evolved a significant degree of coercion according to Davies. "The recognition by Welsh rulers that the king of England had claims upon them would be a central fact in the subsequent political history of Wales," according to Davies. In about 904, Dyfed's ruler, Llywarch ap Hyfaidd, leaving his daughter Elen ferch Lywarch as his heiress. Elen was married to Hywel Dda, ruler of neighbouring Seisyllwg and grandson of Rhodri the Great through his second son, Cadell ap Rhodri. Through his marriage to Elen, Hywel incorporated Dyfed into an enlarged realm to be known as Deheubarth, meaning the "south part", went on to conquer Powys and Gwynedd.
However, both Powys and Gwynedd returned to their native dynasties on Hywel's death in 950. Hwyel's grandson Maredudd ab Owain recreated the kingdom of his grandfather, but his rule was beset with increasing Viking raids during the latter part of the 10th century, it is during this period that Viking settlements increased in the area in the cantref of Penfro, with other Viking settlements and trading station at Haverfordwest and Caldey Island in Dyfed. Viking raids upon the Welsh were "relentless", according to Davies, Maredudd was compelled to raise taxes to pay the ransoms for Welsh hostages in 993, in 999 a Viking raiding party attacked St. David's and killed Morganau, the bishop. Dyfed remained an integral province within Deheubarth until the Norman invasions of Wales between 1068-1100. In the Dyfed region, the cantrefi of Penfro, Rhos and Pebidiog became occupied by Norman overlords; the Normans influenced the election of the Bishops of St. David's, from 1115 onwards; the Princes of Deheubarth, Llywelyn the Great as the Prince of a virtual Principality of Wales from 1216, fought to recover the region until the Conquest of Wales by Edward I in 1284 settled the matter.
The 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan established the English counties of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire out of the region formally known as Dyfed. Archaeological evidence and theories from this period are dealt with in depth by Dyfed Archaeological Trust. In 1974 an administrative area was established in south west Wales called Dyfed, incorporating Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Déisi Charles-Edwards, Thomas. Wales and the Britons, 350-1064. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-821731-2; the Irish settlements in Wales, Myles Dillon, Celtica 12, 1977, p. 1-11
Mordred or Modred is a character, variously portrayed in the Arthurian legend. The earliest known mention of a historical Medraut is in the Welsh chronicle Annales Cambriae, wherein he and Arthur are ambiguously associated with the Battle of Camlann in a brief entry for the year 537, his figure seemed to have been regarded positively in the Welsh tradition and may have been related to that of Arthur's son. As Modredus, Mordred was depicted as Arthur's traitorous nephew and a legitimate son of King Lot in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudo-historical work Historia Regum Britanniae which served as the basis for the following evolution of the legend since the 12th century. Variants most characterized him as Arthur's villainous bastard son, born of an incestuous relationship with his half-sister named either Anna, Orcades or Morgause; the accounts presented in the Historia and most other versions include Mordred's death at Camlann in a final duel during which he manages to mortally wound his slayer Arthur.
Mordred is a brother or half-brother to Gawain, however his other family relations as well as his relationships with Arthur's wife Guinevere vary greatly. In a popular telling originating from the French chivalric romances of the 13th century and made prominent today through its inclusion in Le Morte d'Arthur, Mordred is knighted by Arthur and joins the fellowship of the Round Table. In this narrative, he becomes the main actor in Arthur's downfall as he helps his half-brother Agravain to expose Guinevere's and Lancelot's affair and takes advantage of the resulting war to make himself the king of Britain; the name Mordred, found as the Latinised Modredus in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, comes from Old Welsh Medraut. It is derived from Latin Moderātus, meaning "within bounds, observing moderation, moderate"; the earliest surviving mention of Mordred occurs in an entry for the year 537 in the chronicle Annales Cambriae, which references his name in an association with the Battle of Camlann.
Gueith Camlann in qua Arthur et Medraut corruerunt."The strife of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell." This brief entry gives no information as to whether Mordred killed or was killed by Arthur, or if he was fighting against him. As noted by Leslie Alcock, the reader assumes this in the light of tradition; the Annales themselves were completed between 960 and 970, meaning that although their authors drew from older material they cannot be considered as a contemporary source having been compiled 400 years after the events they describe. Meilyr Brydydd, writing at the same time as Geoffrey of Monmouth, mentions Mordred in his lament for the death of Gruffudd ap Cynan, he describes Gruffudd as having eissor Medrawd. Gwalchmai ap Meilyr praised Madog ap Maredudd, king of Powys as having Arthur gerdernyd, menwyd Medrawd; this would support the idea that early perceptions of Mordred were positive. However, Mordred's characterization as the king's villainous son has a precedent in the figure of Amr or Amhar, a son of Arthur's known from only two references.
The more important of these, found in an appendix to the 9th-century chronicle Historia Brittonum, describes his marvelous grave beside the Herefordshire spring where he had been slain by his own father in some unchronicled tragedy. What connection exists between the stories of Amr and Mordred, if there is one, has never been satisfactorily explained. Mordred is found in Geoffrey's influential Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. Here, he is portrayed as traitor to Arthur; the unhistorical account presented by Geoffrey describes Arthur leaving Mordred in charge of his throne as he crossed the English Channel to wage war on Lucius Tiberius of Rome. During Arthur's absence, Mordred crowns himself king and lives in an adulterous union with Arthur's wife, Guinevere. Geoffrey does not make it clear how complicit Guinevere is with Mordred's actions stating that the Queen had "broken her vows" and "about this matter... prefers to say nothing." This forces Arthur to return to Britain to fight at the Battle of Camlann, where Mordred is slain.
Arthur, having been gravely wounded in battle, is sent to be healed in Avalon. A number of Welsh sources refer to Medraut in relation to Camlann. One triad, based on Geoffrey's Historia, provides an account of his betrayal of Arthur; the Old French chivalric romance prose literature of the 13th century expand on the history of Mordred prior to the war with Arthur. In the Vulgate Merlin part of Vulgate Cycle, his elder half-brother Gawain saves the infant Mordred and their mother Morgause from the Saxon king Taurus. In the Old French prose narrative's revision known as the Post-Vulgate Cycle, in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Arthur is told prophecy by Merlin about a just-born child, to be his undoing, so he tries to avert the fate by ordering the killing of all the May Day newborns; this episode, reminiscent of the Biblical Massacre of the Innocents and sometimes dubbed the "May Day massacre", leads to a war between the husband of Mordred's mother and