The History of Leith

April 14, 2013

Mynydoc, leader of the Celtic Britons

In the ” Myrvyian, or Cambrian Archasology,” a
work replete with ancient lore, mention is made of
Caer-Eiddyn, or the fort of Edin, wherein dwelt
a famous chief, Mynydoc, leader of the Celtic
Britons in the fatal battle with the Saxons under
Ida, the flame-bearer, at Catraeth, in Lothian, where
the flower of the Ottadeni fell, {1^510; and this is
believed to be the burgh subsequently said to be
named after Edwin.
In the list of those who went to the battle of
Catraeth there is record of 300 warriors arrayed in
fine armour, three loricated bands (i.e., plated for
defence), with their commanders, wearing torques
of gold, ” three adventurous knights,” with 300 of
equal quality, rushing forth from the summits of
the mighty Caer-Eiddyn, to join their brother
chiefs of the Ottadeni and Gadeni.
In the ” British Triads” both Caer-Eiddyn
(which some have supposed to be Carriden), and
also Dinas-Eiddyn, the city of Eiddyn, are repeatedly
named. But whether this be the city of
Edinburgh it is exceedingly difficult to say; for,
after all, the alleged Saxon denominative from
Edwin is merely conjectural, and unauthenticated
by remote facts.
From Sharon Turner’s “Vindication of Ancient
British Poems,” we learn that Aneurin, whose work
contains 920 lines, was taken prisoner at the battle
of Catraeth,* and was afterwards treacherously slain
by one named Eiddyn; another account says he
died an exile among the Silures in 570, and that the
battle was lost because the Ottadeni ” had drunk
of their mead too profusely.”
The memory of Mynydoc Eiddyn is preserved
in a beautiful Welsh poem entitled ” The Drinking
Horn,” by Owain, Prince of Powis. The poets
is full of energy.
” When the mighty bards of yore
Awoke the tales of ancient lore,
What time resplendent to behold,
Flashed the bright mead in vase of gold!
The royal minstrel proudly sung
Of Cambria’s chiefs when time was young;
How, with the drink of heroes flushed,
Brave Catraeth’s lord to battle rushed,
The lion leader of the strong,
And marshal of Galwyiada’s throng ;
The sun that rose o’er Itun’s bay
Ne’er closed on such disastrous day;
There fell Mynydoc, mighty lord,
Beneath stern Osway’s baneful sword;
Yet shall thy praise, thy deathless name,
Be woke on harps of bardic fame,
Sung by the Cymri’s tuneful train,
Aneurin of celestial strain.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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