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Dinas Emrys

The legendary stronghold of Vortigern, and the place where the young prophet Merlin revealed the fighting dragons.  In legend there are two characters associated with the same story with slight variations. One is Vortigern, the Dark Age ruler who let the Saxons into the country, and was responsible in part for their later invasions. The other character is King Gwrtheyrn, who was fleeing from his people as a traitor (He may have been identified with Vortigern later).

King Gwrtheyrn tried to build his fortress on this location but the foundations would not hold and the walls fell to the ground. His advisors told him that if the blood of a boy, born of a virgin was spilled on the foundation then he would be able to build his fortress.

The young Emrys was brought along as the sacrifice. He prophesised that there were two dragons in a submerged lake under the hill, and that their constant fighting caused the tremors that shook the building to the ground.

The site was excavated and the pool drained. The fighting dragons escaped, one red and one white representing the Welsh and the Saxons. The king built a new fort at Nant Gwrtheyrn. Emrys is often identified as Merlin.

Excavations have shown that there was once indeed a pool of some form on this hill fort, in use during the Roman occupation.

Directions: The hillfort lies in the valley of Nant Gwynant off the A498.

Image Copyright: 
Simon Topham

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Ian Topham
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Re: Dinas Emrys

Also appears in the story of Llud and Llevelys from the Mabinogion.



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