Eudaf Hen's Ancestry
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:
|© Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.|