Letan Luyddoc, King of Gododdin
(Born c.AD 470)
(Welsh: Lleuddun; Latin: Leudonus; English: Lloyd)

Letan Luyddoc (of the Host) is the original character who became the famous king of legend who married Anna-Morgause, the half-sister of the great King Arthur, and became father of Gawain. The Brut y Brenhinedd - the Welsh translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain - confuses him with Llew ap Cynfarch, brother of Urien Rheged, another powerful king in Northern Britain. In Welsh tradition, the father of Gawain is called Gwyar, a confused name sometimes, mistakenly, thought to refer to Lot's wife. It seems to have been some kind of heroic title meaning 'Blood'. The real Letan probably had a more obscure ancestry as he appears in the otherwise unknown line of Run ap Neithon.

Letan appears in hagiographic tradition as Leudonus of Leudonia or Lewdwn Lluydawc. In his early years, at least, Letan was a pagan and he is not portrayed in a very positive light. He apparently ruled from Dun Pelder - Traprain Law near Haddington - where a post-Roman booty, possibly from his treasury, has been uncovered. Letan is said to have been so incensed by the shame, brought about by his unmarried daughter's pregnancy, that he had her thrown off the cliff there! When he eventually died, he is traditionally said to have been buried at Dunpender Law in the same area.

If Letan held the hillfort at Din Eityn (the Castle Rock in Edinburgh) as well as Traprain Law, this would suggest that he ruled the large kingdom of Gododdin that surrounded it. This eventually became named after him, as Leudonia in Latin, today rendered as Lothian.

Records of Letan, under various versions of his name, date from the 12th century. It is probable that he is historic.


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