Beli Mawr

Beli Mawr (“Beli the Great”) is recognized as the father of several prominent figures, including Arianrhod, Llefelys, and Afallach. Beli may be related to the continental Celtic god Belenus, from whom his name is derived.

Key Aspects of Beli Mawr

Family Connections

Beli Mawr is the father of Arianrhod (with Dôn) and other children, although details about the mother of these children aren’t clear in the literature. Several royal lines in medieval Wales traced their lineage back to him. Penarddun is named as a daughter of Beli in the Mabinogi, but there is some confusion, as she might have been intended to be his sister.

Beli and Belenus

The etymology of the name ‘Beli’ is debated among scholars. A common theory links it to the Gaulish and Brittonic divine name Belenus. However, John T. Koch, a Harvard Celticist, proposes an alternative origin, linking Beli to a Proto-Celtic name Belgius or Bolgios, associated with a Gallic chieftain of the 3rd century BCE.

Beli son of Manogan

Beli Mawr is often confused with another Beli, Beli Mawr, son of Manogan, found in the 9th century Historia Brittonum. This confusion stems from textual corruptions and conflation of historical figures Cunobelinus (Cunobelin) and his son Adminius, leading to a separate but related mythological figure.

And immediately the emperor set forth with his army. And these men were his guides. Towards the Island of Britain they went over the sea and the deep. And he conquered the Island from Beli the son of Manogan, and his sons, and drove them to the sea, and went forward even unto Arvon.

The Dream of Macsen Wledig

he is the father of Lludd Llaw Ereint, Nynniaw, and Caswallon.