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Dylan


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[W, ocean, wave].

Welsh aquatic hero or sea demigod, the son of Arianrhod daughter of Dôn in the fourth branch of the Mabinogi; may carry the epithet Ail Ton, Eil Ton, Eil Tôn, Eilton, Eil Don [W, son of wave] or Ail Mor [W, son of the sea]. Described as dark, Dylan contrasts with his fair twin brother, Lleu Llawgyffes.

Arianrhod gives birth to Dylan immediately after stepping over Gwydion's magic wand. He takes to the sea as soon as he is baptized, and assumes the sea's nature; he can swim as well as any fish and no wave ever breaks under him. He is killed by a single blow from his uncle, Gofannon fab Dôn. The rising tide rises to avenge the killing; the roar of the tide at the mouth of the Conway River is thought to be the death-groan of Dylan. His name is also cited in the Book of Taliesin and the Triads. Learned speculation asserts that Dylan may be based on an independent sea-divinity whose story became associated with Lleu Llaw Gyffes. See also ENDIL. Dylan may have served as a model for the Arthurian figure Dyonas, the father of the beautiful Vivien/Vivian. ‘Dylan’ was an uncommon given name in Wales before the career of poet Dylan Thomas (1914–53).

See Studia Celtica, 24–5 (1989–90), 26–37.

Subjects: Religion.


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