Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Twrch Trwyth

‘King’s Boar’
Torch Triath

An Irish king that God turned into a boar as a punishment for his sins. Twrch Trwyth’s father’s name was Taredd.

As one of his tasks, Culhwch had to hunt Twrch Trwyth and take a comb and shears from between the boar’s ears. The giant Ysbaddaden had demanded these instruments to groom his hair. Simply killing the boar and taking the items would not suffice, however: Ysbaddaden attached a number of other tasks to this hunt. Culhwch had to hunt the boar with dogs named Drudwyn (who had to be held with a special leash, collar, and chain), Aned, and Aethlem.

To be successful in the hunt, Culhwch also had to seek the services of Mabon, Garselid, Cynedyr, Gwynn, GwilenhinBwlchCyfwlchSyfwlch, and, finally, Arthur himself, some of whom had to be mounted on special horses.

Arthur’s warriors found Twrch Trwyth in Ireland. Twrch Trwyth had seven piglets that acted as his warriors (six of their names are given – Grugyn Silver BristleLlwydawg the Killer, Twrch LlawinGwysBanw, and Benwig). For many days and nights, Arthur’s men fought Twrch Trwyth and his piglets. Many of Arthur’s men and, eventually, all of the piglets died.

In the course of the many battles, they chased the boar out of Ireland into Wales, through England, and down into Cornwall. Finally, Arthur’s men trapped the boar in a river, and Mabon got a razor from between his ears, while Cyledyr the Wild took the shears. It took several more battles and losses to retrieve the comb. The warriors succeeded in driving Twrch Trwyth into the sea, where he disappeared, never to be seen again.

It is probably this hunt to which Nennius alludes in the mirabilia section of Historia Brittonum. Nennius says that Arthur and his dog Cabal (Caval) hunted a boar named Troynt in the country of Buelt.

Twrch Trwyth’s name signifies “king’s boar” and the creature is probably identical to Orc Treith of Irish legend (Chambers, 72). Twrch Trwyth may also be the origin of Tortain in a French legend and has even been suggested as the origin of Tor, son of Aries.


Porth Cleis
A coastal location where Twrch Trwyth and his piglets are first encountered, but they escape into the sea.

Porth Taf
An estuary where Twrch Trwyth and his piglets are spotted, but they manage to escape again by swimming away.

Glyn Ystyn
A wooded glen where the boar and his piglets are sighted, but they evade capture. [More]

Pant Corvan
A valley where Twrch Trwyth is found but escapes again.

Mynydd Twrch
A hill where Twrch Trwyth is seen but remains elusive. [More]

Llyn Lliwan
A lake where one of Twrch Trwyth’s piglets is captured using a magical leash. See Linligwan.

Morfa Rhuddlan
A sandy marshland where the final confrontation with Twrch Trwyth takes place, resulting in his eventual capture after a fierce battle.

Culhwch and Olwen | Late 11th century