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Arviragus Gweyrydd Gwairydd (Britain) Cunobelin (abt. 0020 - abt. 0090)

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King Arviragus Gweyrydd Gwairydd (Arviragus Gweinivyth) "ap Cymbeline" Cunobelin formerly Britain
Born about in Colchester, Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died about in Siluria, Somerset, Englandmap
Britain-81 created 29 Apr 2014 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 5,661 times.

Categories: Estimated Birth Date | Trinovantes | Roman Britain | European Royals and Aristocrats Prior to 742 Project.

The Birth Date is a rough estimate. See the text for details.

This is a profile from the First Era — Dates are speculative



Brother: Guiderius



Peter Roberts in his Chronicle of the Kings of Britain [1] states that Gweyrydd is the name of the father of Marius and Avriragus is another way of spelling y-Veurig yr-Veurig.

Tacitus [2][3] compares Arvigarus Gweyrydd to Caratacus, son of Cunobelinus.

Tacitus writes: When Gloywkassar (= Claudius Caesar) saw this, he sent to the Bryttaniait to ask for peace, and forthwith peace was made between them; and to confirm the peace, Gloywkassar gave his daughter to Gwairydd (= Arviragus) to wife. And after this, with the power of the Bryttaniaid, the men of Ryfain (= Rome) subdued the Ork islands, and the other islands about them. And when winter slipped away, the maid, matchless in her form and fairness, came from Ryfain, and Gwairydd married her. And then Gloywkassar built a city which he called kaer-loyw (= Gloucester) on the bank of Hafren (= Severn), on the boundary betwen kymrv (= Wales) and lloegr (= Loegria). [4]

Caratacus. The legendary Welsh character Caradog ap Bran and the legendary British king Arvirargus may be based upon Caratacus. Caratacus's speech to Claudius has been a common subject in art. [5]

Cunobeline as Arviragus' father

Arviragus is said to be the son of Cunobeline.

Cunobeline's name was derived from the Latin Cunobelinus, which in turn was derived from Greek Kynobellinus, Κυνοβελλίνος [6] Cunobeline appears in British legend as Cynfelyn (Welsh), Kymbelinus (medieval Latin) or Cymbeline, as in the play by William Shakespeare. His name is a compound made up of cuno- (hound) and Belenos (the god Belenus). [7]

Cunobeline was a king in pre-Roman Britain from the late first century BC until the 40s AD. [6]

He is mentioned in passing by the classical historians Suetonius and Dio Cassius, and many coins bearing his inscription have been found. [6]

He appears to have controlled a substantial portion of south-eastern Britain, and is called "King of the Britons" (Britannorum rex) by Suetonius. [6]

From numismatic evidence Cunobelinus appears to have taken power around the year 9 of the Common Era, minting coins from both Camulodunum (Colchester, capital of the Trinovantes) and Verlamion (later the Roman town of Verulamium, now modern St Albans), capital of the Catuvellauni.

Cunobelinus appears to have maintained quite good relations with the Roman Empire. He used the title Rex (Latin "king") and classical motifs on his coins, and his reign saw an increase in trade with the continent. Archaeology shows an increase in luxury goods imported from the continent, including Italian wine and drinking vessels, olive oil and fish sauces from Hispania, glassware, jewellery and Gallo-Belgic tableware, which from their distribution appear to have entered Britain via the port of Camulodunum. [8]

Cunobelinus had three sons, Adminius, Togodumnus and Caratacus, [6] Cunobelinus continued to expand his territory until his death in about 35, when Caratacus took over from him and the Atrebates recovered some of their territory. [6]

Cunobelinus died some time before 43. Caratacus completed the conquest of the Atrebates, and their king, Verica, fled to Rome, providing the new emperor, Claudius, with a pretext for the conquest of Britain. Caratacus and Togodumnus led the initial resistance to the invasion. [6]

Cunobelinus and Arvirargus in Legend

Cunobelinus's memory was preserved in British legend and beyond. In Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (1136) Cunobelinus appears as Kymbelinus, son of Tenvantius, a powerful warrior who was raised in the courts of Augustus. He was very friendly with the Roman court: his country was equipped with Roman weapons, and all tributes to Rome were paid out of respect, not out of requirement. He had two sons, Guiderius and Arvirargus. Guiderius succeeded him, but died in the early stages of Claudius's invasion, leaving Arvirargus to carry on the fight. [9]

Cambelinus dies after a reign of two years. Leaves two sons, Guiderius and Arviragus.

Guiderius succeeds his father in the government of the kingdom. He refuses to pay the tribute to the Roman government.[10]

44 Reign

Became King in 44 A.D. [11]

‘...Claudius and Arviragus went to Winchester, where they sojourned together, and the emperor immediately sent ambassadors to Rome for his daughter Genois. In the meantime, while the ambassadors were performing their journey, Claudius, with the assistance of Arviragus conquered the isles of Orkney, and some others; after which the ambassadors returned from Rome, bringing the daughter of Claudius.’ [12]

Taking command of the British forces on the death of his brother Guiderius, Arvirgus emerged victor from a major skirmish with Claudius' troops. He eventually ruled the British as Rome's puppet-king, being interred in the city of Gloucester. British warriors at that time were famed for their ability to fight whilst standing on the pole of the chariot, and Arviragus was particularly adept at this as a certain Roman author testified: "Either you will catch a certain king, or else Arviragus will tumble from the British chariot-pole."

55 Invasion by Julius Caesar

Cassivelaunus. It was this king who withstood, in the year 55 BC, the invading armies of Julius Caesar. Arviragus was starved into submission after betrayal by Androgeus, his brother Lud's eldest son. The British resistance, however, had been great and fierce, evoking from the Roman author Lucan much praise concerning one particular engagement : Territa quaesitis ostendit terga Britannis, when Caesar fled in terror from the very Britons whom he'd come to attack!".The leader of the resistance to Caesar in both of his British campaigns. Cassivellaunus possibly formed the tribe later to become known as the Catuvellauni from a federation of smaller like-minded Belgic tribes living north of the Thames, specifically to counter Caesar.


‘...Aviragus marrying the daughter of the Emperour, joining the Brittish and Roman Regal and Imperial lines together, thereby ended all debates between them.’ [Source: Enderbie, p143]

Genvissa was possibly an adopted daughter rather than a natural one, as Claudius’s three natural daughters are said to be accounted for in Roman history; if so, she must have been of the highest lineage not to affront the dignity of the British king; further information would be welcome on this Roman lady of the Emperors kindred [Source: Enderbie, p142], as Genvissa and Arviragus founded a Brito-Roman dynasty, which ruled on after them in the persons of their son Marius, Coel I & Lucius; the Romans accepted Arviragus's kingship of Roman-controlled Britain at this time – probably the area to the south and east of the Fosse Way, ‘fosse’ being the Roman word for a defensive ditch; later on Arviragus went into rebellion and the Roman general Vespasian was sent to bring Britain back into the imperial fold; peace was brokered by Genvissa, again indicating her status;

70 Cogidubnus out of Retirement

in this period, AD 70s, Cogidubnus may have come out of Roman retirement briefly to become client king in the south of the country, probably based at the Roman-style villa at Fishbourne near Chicester; he may well also have been such in the AD 40s, after the death of the usurper Verica, who seems to have been his kinsmen [see above, Guiderius]; Arviragus became compliant once more and presumably Cogidubnus departed the scene or retired, this time for good; note that Verica and Cogidubnus, the latter mentioned by Tacitus, are unrecorded in the British Chronicles;

Arviragus seems to have been a worthy adversary as the Roman poet Juvenal enquired:

‘Hath our great enemy,
Arviragus, the car-borne British king,
Dropped from his battle-throne?’[13]

This poetic fragment, the text and translation of which are taken from Juvenal and Persius, trans. G. G. Ramsay (Cambridge, MA: 1929), is also cited by Geoffrey after his giving credit to Genuissa for establishing peace between Arviragus and Vespasian. Juvenal, as is well known to Classical scholars, was somewhat adverse to things not historically Roman.[14]

63 Legend of Joseph of Arimathea

Arviragus is said by the interpolators of William of Malmesbury's De Antiquitate Glastoniensis Ecclesiae to be the king who granted 12 hides of land around Glastonbury to Joseph of Arimathea and his band of followers, when they brought Christianity to Britain for the first time in 63 AD. Some scholars think that it may have been Arviragus and his people who occupied the ancient hillfort, located in the county of Somerset, known as Cadbury Castle (which would later come to be associated with King Arthur), and used it as a base for their resistance against the Romans.[15]


The next identifiable ruler of the Catuvellauni was Tasciovanus who came to power, though whether he was the son or grandson of Cassivellaunus is not known. [It is possible that Cassivellaunus should be translated as 'Vellaunus of the Cassi', i.e. his tribe was the Cassi and his name was Vellaunus. It follows that the name given to the amalgamated tribe gathered under his command could mean 'the Followers or Smiters of Vellaunus'. Latin caterva crowd, troop, company, flock. Gaelic cath to smite.][16]

90 Death

Arviragus: died AD 90; this first century king of the Lloegrian (eastern) line, the second son of Cymbeline, is often confused with Caractacus of the Silures, son of Bran, of the Cambrian (western) line; note that there is an error in R W Morgan's genealogy above [17]

Arviragus does not appear to have been Caractacus’s cousin; Arviragus has also been confused with the king of the Iceni, Prasutagus, Boadicea’s husband, who is mentioned by Tacitus, but whereas Prasutagus died in AD 60 Arviragus expired thirty years later; to be clear,

Arviragus, Caractacus & Prasutagus were separate individuals, as recognised by Holinshed & Enderbie [see Sources];

Arviragus’s older brother King Guiderius was killed early on in the fighting during the Roman invasion of AD 43 of the Emperor Claudius; Aviragus assumed the kingship and fought on in his brother’s stead, but neither he nor Claudius wanted to fight to a bloody conclusion; as part of a peace deal, Arviragus was to marry a daughter of Emperor Claudius’s, whose name was Genvissa according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Tysilio leaving her unnamed.


  1. Brut Tysylio, The Chronicle of the Kings of Britain Translated from the Welsh and Illustrated with Notes; to which are Added Original Dissertations Etc. by Peter Roberts, p. 89 -. London, E. Williams 1811. (angl.) (Google eBook),
  2. Complete Works of Tacitus: 12.33
  3. Complete Works of Tacitus. Tacitus. Alfred John Church. William Jackson Brodribb. Sara Bryant. edited for Perseus. New York. : Random House, Inc. Random House, Inc. reprinted 1942.
  4. folio 80 recto. English translation by Robert Ellis Jones from the Welsh manuscript cited as Oxford, Jesus College, MS LXI (15th century). The Welsh translation is printed in Griscom's edition of the Latin. The Welsh manuscript, as is plain to see, gives an abridged translation of Geoffrey's Latin. This passage is found on fol. 80r. Source: Dr. J. C. Marler
    June 17, 1999, added 2014-07-23, amb
  5. Wikipedia. Caratacus. Accessed Feb 24, 2017. jhd
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Wikipedia. Cunobeline. Accessed Feb 24, 2017. jhd
  7. Anne Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain: Studies in Iconography and Tradition, Routledge, 1967, p. 340. Cited by Wikipedia.
  8. Keith Branigan (1987), The Catuvellauni, Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd, pp. 10–11. Cited by Wikipedia.
  9. Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae 4.11–12. Cited by Wikipedia.
  10. John de Wavrin, 1864, A Collection of the Chronicles and ancient Histories of Great Britain, now called England, translated by Will. Hardy: From Albina to A, Part 688 (Google eBook)
  11. The Librarian; Being an Account of Scarce, Valuable, and Useful ..., p. 55.Volumes 1-4. edited by James Savage
  12. John de Wavrin, p132.
  13. Monarchs, AD, The National CV of Britain
  14. Genuissa, Arviragus, and Claudius. J. C. Marler, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Assistant Vatican Film Librarian, Saint Louis University
  15. Juvenal, the 2nd century (AD) Roman satirist (Satire 4.124-128),author Deloria Hurst
  16. Bill Cooper Title: After the Flood, Appendix 13 Britain's First Christian King, The Table of Nations
  17. See Royal Family Tree: (

See also:


Created through the import of Campbell-Charsha Family Tree.ged on 28 February 2011.

This person was created through the import of Morton Family Tree.ged on 16 November 2010.

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Huntingdon and Monmouth's Mythical Pedigree
Huntingdon and Monmouth's Mythical Pedigree

''Monarchs'' from The Holinshed Project
''Monarchs'' from The Holinshed Project


On 26 Apr 2014 at 01:18 GMT Michelle (Bairfield) Brooks wrote:

Britons-3 and Britain-35 appear to represent the same person because: see bio of Britain-35, Arviragus: died AD 90; this first century king of the Lloegrian (eastern) line, the second son of Cymbeline, is often confused with Caractacus of the Silures, son of Bran, of the Cambrian (western) line

Arviragus Gweinivyth is 46 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 56 degrees from Jacob Bernoulli, 49 degrees from Susie MacLeod and 42 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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