Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Melwas of the Summer Country


The King of the Summer Region or the Island of Glass.

He was Guinevere’s abductor in one of her earliest kidnapping tales. He is thus probably the origin of Meliagrant. He is represented in Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec as Moloas. His name has been translated as “prince of death”, “young prince”, and “noble pig”.

He is considered to be identical with a warrior in Culhwch and Olwen, there called Maelwys, where he is the son of Baeddan.

The story of his abduction of Guinevere is told in Caradoc of Llancarfan’s Vita Gildae and in a Welsh poem called “The Dialogue of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar”. Following Melwas’s kidnapping of the queen, Arthur and his knights hunted Melwas to Glastonbury. Arthur was unable to secure her release. St. Gildas and the Abbot of Glastonbury intervened and convinced Melwas to free his prisoner.

Melwas is the Welsh name for Meleagaunce.

Vita Gildae | Caradoc of Llancarfan, c. 1130
”Dialogue of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar” | 16th century