Conan Meriadoc, 'King' of Dumnonia & Brittany
(Born c.AD 305)
(Welsh: Cynan; Latin: Conanus; English: Conan)

Conan is a character from Welsh legend. He was said to have been the son of Eudaf Hen's brother, Gerontius, or Eudaf himself according to the Dream of Macsen Wledig. The story goes that he had expected to inherit his uncle's position of influence in what is now Wales, until his cousin, Elen, married the Roman citizen, Magnus Maximus. Originally, Conan was considerably put out by this man's rise to power and he organised a rebellion against him, aided by Picts & Scots. However, being defeated, Conan became great friends with his rival and travelled with Maximus to the Continent to help him become Emperor of the West. He was given control over Armorica (modern Brittany) as a reward for killing the previous holder of the title. His new province was well settled by his men-at-arms. However they lacked wives. Therefore, in order to populate the area, Conan sent to his uncle's old ally, Donaut of Dumnonia for numerous Cornish ladies. Conan proposed to cement the alliance of their two peoples by marrying Donaut's daughter, Ursula. Though Donaut was delighted at the match, Ursula had her heart set on a life devoted only to God. She agreed to the marriage, on the condition that she first be allowed to go on a pilgrimage throughout Europe. Conan appears to have joined her in Rome, where the two must have been married, probably by Pope Cyriacus himself. He apparently did not travel to Cologne where Ursula died. In later years, he gained considerable influence in Dumnonia after the death of his father-in-law. The Governorship of Armorica & Dumnonia was united for only a short time. As his second wife, Conan is said to have married Dareca of Ireland, a supposed, though unlikely, sister of St. Patrick. Upon Conan's death, around AD 395, control of each region was understood to have fallen to the sons of his two marriages, Gadeon and Gradlon.

Folkloric records of King Conan date back to the 11th century. He is generally considered legendary.


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