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|Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > The Cities of Vortigern > Yr Wyddfa|
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One of the more strange places where Vortigern is reputed to have built his 'city' is the wilderness of North Wales. Here, in the absolute inaccessible highland of Gwynedd, he built his fortress to escape from his persuers. At least, this is told to us by 'Nennius':
Historia Brittonum, chapter 40
Geoffrey of Monmouth later changed this 'Heremus' to 'Erir':
Regum Britanniae, book VI, chapter 17
Clearly, both 'The mountains of Heremus' and 'Mount Erir' are versions of Eryri, 'Abode of Eagles', better known as Yr Wyddfa or Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.
Though we can find several structures in this locality, it seems very hard to believe that anyone would dare to build a hide-out in a harsh place as this one! Or was Geoffrey simply mistaken, meaning the well-known Dinas Emrys instead?
Of course, Dinas Emrys is only a few miles to the south of Yr Wyddfa, and we have seen that local legend has connected other places in the region with Vortigern, such as Llyn Dinas. It seems safe to suggest that maybe Geoffrey did only mean a certain region and did possible only refer to Dinas Emrys. Besides that, Yr Wyddfa is of course not just one mountain, but also the name of a whole mountain range. It could therefore be possible, as one reader of this website rightly remarked, that another place was meant that the highest peak.
However, we should never rule out this possibility of a fortress on the mountain completely, for maybe Geoffrey had heard from such a structure. Since the view from the mountain is indeed far and wide, a look-out instead of a hide-out could remain possible!
I can't resist including this beautiful poem, ascribed to(*) George Borrow (1803-1881):
(*): I fact, this is not a poem by Borrow at all! These strange Welsh 'Englynion' or stanzas consist entirely of vowels, except for only one consonant, the 'R'. Borrow liked to recite it to dazzle (or bore) his friends and fellow walkers by his command of the Welsh language..
George Borrow had this to say about Vortigern and Snowdon:
Wales, Chapter 29
Those who wish to go and see for themselves, can of course climb Snowdon, which is no mean feat in the best of wheather for the average walker. But for the less able-bodied enthousiast there is another possibility; the much-praised and much-reviled small railway that goes to the top as well! Since the views tend to be good in (almost) any weather, I can recommend it.
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