Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Welsh: Aberteifi
Caradigan, Cardican, Ceredigion, Karadigan, Kardigan, Karidagan

Cardigan, known as Aberteifi in Welsh, is a town in the county of Ceredigion, Wales.

According to Chrétien de Troyes, the stronghold of Cardigan was one of Arthur’s places to hold court. Malory mentions Cardican in passing, as a castle where Sirs Percivale and Aglovale lodged for a brief time while searching for Lancelot.

In the tale of Meriadeuc, the queen of Cardigan is named Lore. Her city was besieged and captured by King Ris of Outre-Ombre, but she eventually forced him to leave. In the Livre d’Artus, it is ruled by Lisanor (Lyzianor) and is besieged by Saxons during the Saxon invasion at the beginning of Arthur’s reign.

From the name alone, one can assume Malory’s Cardycan Castle to be Cardigan city, and would identify it with Chrétien’s Cardigan.

Cardigan | 0 to the 9th century AD

Pre-Roman and Post-Roman Periods
Prior to the Roman conquest of Britain, the area that is now Wales was inhabited by Celtic Britons, specifically the Demetae tribe. They were part of the Iron Age culture in Britain. These tribes had their own languages, cultures, and social structures.

The region likely experencied some degree of Roman influence during the Roman occupation of Britain. Roman forces had a presence in the southern parts of Wales, but the extent of their influence on Cardigan specifically during this period is not well-documented.

The Roman presence in Britain, including Wales, began with the Roman conquest led by Emperor Claudius in the first century AD. Roman legions established control over various parts of the island, and Wales had interactions with Roman culture and administration. Romans built forts and roads in strategic locations, contributing to their military and administrative control.

After the Roman Empire’s withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, the region went through a period of transition and political changes. Various Celtic kingdoms emerged in Wales with local rulers and tribal structures. During this time, the Celtic Britons faced incursions and invasions by various Germanic and Irish groups. It is likely that the Demetae maintained some level of settlement and occupation in the Cardigan area during this period, although specific details are limited.

Age of the Saints
The fifth to seventh centuries in Wales are sometimes referred to as the “Age of the Saints.” This period saw the spread of Christianity and the establishment of monastic communities, which played a significant role in shaping Welsh society.

Early Medieval Kingdoms
The early medieval period witnessed the formation of regional kingdoms, and the kingdom of Ceredigion became part of the broader political landscape of Wales. The exact boundaries and political structures during this time are not well-documented.

Erec | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Lanzelet | Ulrich von Zatzikhoven, c. 1200
Le Livre d’Artus | Early 13th century
Meriadeuc or Le Chevalier aux Deux Épées | c. 1225-1250