Mount Snowdon

Welsh: Eryri
Snowden, Snowdonia, Synadoun, Synadowne, Yr Wyddfa Fawr

The highest mountain and mountain range in northwest Wales, called Eryri by the Welsh and originally known as Yr Wyddfa Fawr. Here is the wells of Cegin Arthur and Ffynnon Arthur – both supposedly have healing properties.

It features in Nennius’s and Geoffrey’s tale of Vortigern. Vortigern sought to build a fortress on Snowdon as a defense against the Saxons, but each night, all construction completed during the previous day would disappear. Vortigern’s advisors told him that the foundation of Snowdon had to be sprinkled with the blood of a fatherless child. The king’s emissaries embarked on a search for such a child, and returned with a young Ambrosius (in Nennius) or Merlin (in Geoffrey of Monmouth).

The child prevented his own execution by showing Vortigern a lake hidden beneath the foundation of the fortress. Within the lake, the child revealed two worms or dragons, one white, one red. The creatures fought each other, and the white was victorious, which, the child said, foretold Vortigern’s eventual defeat. Vortigern fled Snowdon, which became known as Dinas Emrys. According to the Welsh tale of Lludd and Llefelys, the dragons had been buried in Snowdon by Lludd, son of the king of Britain.

Snowdon is named as the capital of Wales in Historia Meriadoc. In Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu, it is a city at the base of the Snowdon mountains, perhaps to be identified with Segontium. It was ruled by Esmeree the Blonde, Queen of Wales, but it was laid waste by two sorcerers named Mabon and Evrain, until Gawain’s son, Guinglain, traveled to the city and lifted the curse by killing the enchanters.

The giant King Rhitta Gawr, who fashioned clothes out of the beards of his fallen enemies, fell to his death from the summit of the mountain.

See also
Valbone | The Legend of King Arthur