Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Aedán mac Gabráin

Old Irish: Aodhán mac Gabhráin

Father of Arthur of Dál Riada, a possible historical prototype for King Arthur.

Áedán was son of Gabrán mac Domangairt and ruled the kingdom of Dál Riata (modern Argyll and Kintyre) between c. 574 and c. 609. Dál Riata was a Gaelic kingdom which included parts of western Scotland and northeastern Ulster in Ireland. Áedán was known for his prolific warfare; and Arthur of Dalriada was killed in one of Aedan’s battles against the Picts, at Miathi.

He appears in the Life of Saint Columba, written by Adomnán of Iona in the end of the 7th century, as well as other works. Áedán ruled over lesser tribal king as the chief king in Dál Riata. When he was 40 years old his uncle Conall mac Comgaill died in 574 and Áedán was made king, perhaps ordained as king by Columba.

Áedán, called “the Wily,” appears in a Welsh Triad, in which he visits the court of Rhydderch the Generous, killed all of the beasts, ate all of the food, and drank all of the wine.

Triads of the Island of Britain | 11th century to 14th century | Welsh “Triads”
Life of Saint Columba | Adomnán of Iona, late 7th century