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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to GunnLeif Merl I 64VIII (Bret 132)

[All]: Cf. DGB 115 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 149.110-11; cf. Wright 1988, 105, prophecy 20): Cadualadrus Conanum uocabit et Albaniam in societate accipiet ‘Cadualadrus will summon Conanus and make Scotland his ally’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 148). This predicts the expulsion of the foreigners and the restoration of Welsh hegemony under the ancestral British king Cadualadrus (Taylor 1911, 90). He was assisted by a pan-Celtic alliance. One participant in it was Brittany, among whose rulers Conanus was a favourite name, harking back to Conanus Meriadocus (Welsh Cynan Meiriadoc), who figures in DGB as a leader in the conquest of the territory that became Brittany; Tatlock (1950, 158) remarks that ‘Conanus … is an obvious symbol for Brittany’. The other participant was Scotland (Tatlock 1950, 414 n. 45; Bromwich 1978, 320-1). According to DGB XI (Reeve and Wright 2007, 278-9), Cadualadrus was remembered as the last native king to rule Britain before the Saxon monarchy; Geoffrey envisages his return in the style of Arthur. The identification of this Cadualadrus with a C7th king of Gwynedd proposed by Merl 2012 does not fit this scenario. In Armes Prydein, from which Geoffrey derives this prophecy, Cadwallader and Conan appear as prophesied saviours of the Britons (Faletra 2008, 134). As if to signal the importance of this juncture, Gunnlaugr amplifies Geoffrey’s text with a battle excursus.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Faletra, Michael A., ed. and trans. 2008. Geoffrey of Monmouth: The History of the Kings of Britain. Peterborough, ON: Broadview.
  3. Reeve, Michael D., and Neil Wright. 2007. Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. An Edition and Translation of De gestis Britonum [Historia regum Britanniae]. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  4. Tatlock, J. S. P. 1950. The Legendary History of Britain. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  5. Taylor, Rupert. 1911. The Political Prophecy in England. Columbia University Studies in English, vol. 2 no. 13. New York: Columbia University Press.
  6. Wright, Neil, ed. 1988. The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The First Variant Version: A Critical Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  7. Bromwich, Rachel, ed. 1978. Trioedd Ynys Prydein. 2nd edn. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
  8. Merl 2012 = Horst, Simone, ed. 2012. Merlínússpá. Merlins Prophezeiung. Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag.


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