Amaethon fab Dôn

In Welsh mythology, Amaethon fab Dôn is revered as the deity of agriculture. He is recognized as the son of the goddess Dôn, a significant figure in Welsh lore. The name Amaethon translates to “labourer” or “ploughman,” highlighting his role and importance in the agrarian aspects of Welsh culture.

Amaethon’s most notable mythological contribution is his involvement in the Cad Goddeu, or “Battle of Trees.” This epic confrontation pits Amaethon and the Children of Dôn, paralleling the Irish Tuatha Dé Danann, against Arawn, the lord of the otherworld.

Key Sources for Amaethon

Culhwch and Olwen: Amaethon’s primary reference appears in this medieval Welsh prose tale. He is depicted as the only individual capable of tilling a specific field, a task set as part of the impossible challenges Culhwch must overcome to win Olwen’s hand.

“Though this be easy for thee, there is yet that which will not be so. No husbandman can till or prepare this land, so wild is it, except Amaethon the son of Don, and he will not come with thee by his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.

Culhwch and Olwen

Cad Goddeu: In this early Welsh poem, there is a cryptic passage that possibly refers to Amaethon. If the interpretation is accepted, it suggests that Amaethon steals a dog, a lapwing, and a roebuck from Arawn, sparking a battle between Arawn and the Children of Dôn.

These are the englyns that were sung at the Cad Goddeu (the Battle of the Trees), or, as others call it, the Battle of Achren which was on account of a white roebuck and a welp; and they came from Hell, and Amathaon ab Don brought them. And therefore Amathaon ab Don, and Arawn, King of Annwn (Hell), fought. And there was a man in that battle, unless his name were known he could not be overcome; and there was on the other side a woman called Achren, and unless her name were known her party could not be overcome. And Gwydion ab Don guessed the name of the man

The Battle of the Trees


Amaethon’s name is derived from Proto-Celtic *Ambaxtonos, meaning “great follower,” “servant,” or “ploughman.” This term is an augmentative form of ambactos, which has roots in *ambhi-ag-to-, further solidifying his connection with servitude and agriculture in the mythological context.