I have been chatting back and forth with an interested individual about the nature of Arthur, his historicity, location, floruit, and what-not. I won’t bore you with the details, but the discussion has got me wandering back to my subject. This week I would like to discuss several of the more interesting people associated with Arthur. I am sure my small list will inspire requests about other characters, and look forward to speaking about them as well. Call it the scholar in me, but my entries will be followed by a list of pre-Galfridic (Geoffrey of Monmouth) sources that name him.
-Anwas Edeinauc (?): Anwas’ epithet means “winged”. It’s unfortunate there is no story associated with him so that we might have a better idea about his ability. My personal guess would be he was fast, whether on a horse or with his feet I do not know. “Pa Gur?”, Culhwch ac Olwen.
-Bedwyr (Bedevere): The one-armed. Later tradition makes him only a butler, but in legends he is one of two warriors who are always at Arthur’s side. The way he is spoken of (and the later association with butler) suggest he may have been the king’s champion. “Pa Gur?”, Vita Cadoci, Trioedd ynys Prydein, Culhwch ac Olwen.
-Hueil (Hoel): Known for his size. In the earliest stories Hueil came down from Scotland to raid Arthur and was killed by. By the time of Geoffrey he had become one of Arthur’s most trusted nobles. Culhwch ac Olwen, second Vita Gildae, and “The Tale of Hueil son of Caw and Arthur”.
-Cei (Kay): The tall. In an era where 5’6″ was the height of an average male and perhaps 5’9″ for a warrior, a man a couple inches over six feet would be considered incredibly tall. Cei was the second of Arthur’s two consistent warriors. Cei was the seneschal in later tradition, the gatekeeper. His function was to test would-be warriors. “Pa Gur?”, Vita Cadoci, Trioedd ynys Prydein, Culhwch ac Olwen, and “Conversation between Gwenhwyfar and Arthur”.
-Drust (Tristan): Lover of Essylt and legendary keep of pigs. A legend had it that he was the only king ever able to keep Arthur from stealing livestock. The romances would forget the pigs and focus on his love for Isolt. Trioedd ynys Prydein and Culhwch ac Olwen.
-Drutwas: The only legends connected with him involve his ownership of man-killing birds and a dispute with Arthur. In typical Welsh fashion, Arthur turned the tables on him and Drutwas’ birds killed him instead. Culhwch ac Olwen and several independent sources.
-Gwalchmei (Gawain): His name means hawk (of the plain?). Who never failed in a quest, was the greatest of walkers and riders, and son to Gwyar. Later tradition makes him a womanizer, the nephew of Arthur and his greatest related knight. Culhwch ac Olwen.
-Llacheu (?): The son of Arthur, he is killed by Cei after their falling out. “Pa Gur?” and Culhwch ac Olwen.
-Llwch Llauynnauc (?): Not Lancelot, and never associated with any strength. “Pa Gur?”, Culhwch ac Olwen, “Preiddeu Annwn”.
-Mabon son of Modron (Grail king): “Pa Gur?”, Culhwch ac Olwen, “Preiddeu Annwn”
-Medrawt (Modred): His single association to Arthur says that he fought with Arthur at Camlann. As all the other persons mentioned in this source were all significant leaders we can assumed Medrawt was as well, but there is no way of knowing whether they fought against each other or as allies. Annales Cambriae.