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Details of the Ancestry of Eudaf Hen
by David Nash Ford


EUDAF HEN'S
ANCESTRY
Mythological Background

The family of Eudaf Hen - or Octavius the Old as he would have been known to his contemporaries - hailed from the Gwent area of Wales. Eudaf was apparently Lord of the Gewissae.

The Gewissae are a confused people. Some think they were the Germanic race who lived around Dorchester-on-Thames and Abingdon even before the Romans left Britain. They later merged with the West Saxons who continued to use the name. However, there are other indications that they were the British who lived further to the West. The word "Gewissae" may be related to Ewyas, the northern region of Gwent, and, possibly, to the Hwicce, an apparently Saxon people who lived in Gloucestershire. Their name may have had British origins.

There are tales of Eudaf holding court at Caer Segeint (Caernarfon), but this was probably due to associations with his son-in-law, the Emperor Magnus Maximus. The Gwent/Gloucestershire area would appear to have been his real home, like the tyrant Vortigern who seems to have claimed him as an ancestor.

But Eudaf is a man on the boundaries of mythology. All that can really be said about him is that he probably lived in the early 4th century. He supposedly took up the British High-Kingship after defeating King Coel Godhebog (the Magnificent)'s brother, Trahearn. However, even the old Celtic client-kingdoms under Roman rule had disappeared by this period. If Eudaf held any office of power, it would have been a simple administrative role; perhaps a praeses of Britannia Prima or a decurion of Gloucester or Caerwent. 

He had no sons and was succeeded by his son-in-law, the Emperor Magnus Maximus. Conan, his nephew, had to be content as King of both Brittany and Dumnonia. Like many prominent men of their era, Eudaf and Conan claimed descent from Celtic Gods: Llyr Llediarth (Half-Speech), God of the Sea and his son, Bran Fendigaid (the Blessed), who was mortalized in popular tradition as a King of Siluria (Gwent). The pedigree below is gleaned from several sources, but is of little historical value:

  • Llyr Lleddiarth (Half-Speech), Abt 55 bc -
    m. Iweriadd ferch Beli Mawr (the Great), 60 bc -
  • Bran Fendigaid (the Blessed), Abt 20 bc -
    • Caradog ap Bran (see below)
    • Alan ap Bran, Abt 22 -
    • Sadwr ap Bran, Abt 24 -
    • Nine Others, Abt 26 -
  • Caradog ap Bran, Abt 20 -
  • Coellyn ap Caradog, Abt 60 -
  • Owain ap Beli, Abt 100 -
  • Meirchion ap Owain, Abt 140 -
  • Cwrrig Fawr (the Great), Abt 180 -
  • Gwrddwfn ap Cwrrig, Abt 215 -
  • Einudd ap Gwrddwfn, Abt 250 -
    • Eudaf Hen (the Old), King of Ewyas & High-King of Britain, Abt 283 -
      • St. Elen Lwyddog (of the Host), Abt 340 - (m. Magnus Maximus, Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, d.388)
    • Gereint ap Einudd (see below)
    • Arthfael ap Einudd, Abt 310 -
      • Gwrgant ap Arthfael, Abt 330 -
        • Meirchion ap Gwrgant, Abt 370 -
  • Gereint ap Einudd, Abt 285 -
  • Conan Meriadoc, King of Brittany & Dumnonia, Abt 305 - Abt 367, (1)m. St Ursula of Dumnonia, Abt 305 - from whom descend the Kings of Dumnonia & (2)m. Dareca of Ireland, Abt 310 - from whom descend the Kings of Brittany

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