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The Gododdin ( ) were a Brittonic people of north-eastern Britain (modern north-east Englandmarker and south-east Scotlandmarker) in the sub-Roman period, the area known as the Hen Ogledd or Old North. They are best known as the subject of the 6th-century Welsh poem Y Gododdin, which memorializes the Battle of Catraeth and is attributed to Aneirin.

The name Gododdin is the Modern Welsh form; it is derived, via Old Welsh Guotodin from the Brythonic language word Votadini, attested in Latin texts.


It is not known exactly how far the kingdom of the Gododdin extended, possibly from the Stirlingmarker area to the kingdom of Bryneich (Bernicia), and including what are now the Lothian and Borders regions of eastern Scotlandmarker. It was bounded on the west by the Brythonic Kingdom of Strathclyde, and to the north by the Picts. Those living around Clackmannanshiremarker were known as the Manaw Gododdin. According to tradition, local kings of this period lived at both Traprain Lawmarker and Din Eidyn (Edinburghmarker, still known as Dùn Éideann in Scottish Gaelic), and probably also at Din Baer (Dunbarmarker).

Cunedda, legendary founder of the Kingdom of Gwyneddmarker in north Walesmarker, is supposed to have been a Manaw Gododdin warlord who migrated southwest during the 5th century.

Later history

In the 6th century, Bryneich was invaded by the Angles and became known as Bernicia. The Angles continued to press north. In around 600 the Gododdin raised a force of about 300 men to assault the Angle stronghold of Catraeth, perhaps Catterick, North Yorkshiremarker. The battle, which ended disastrously for the Britons, was memorialized in the poem Y Gododdin.

In 638 Din Eidynmarker (Edinburgh) was under siege and may have fallen to the Angles, for the Gododdin seem to have come under the rule of Bernicia around this time. To what extent the native population was replaced or assimilated is unknown. Bernicia became part of Northumbriamarker, and by 954 was overrun by the Danish kingdom of Jorvikmarker (York). Shortly afterwards this came under a unified England, then in 1018 Malcolm II brought the region as far as the River Tweed under Scottish rule.

See also


  1. Claudius Ptolemaeus, "Geographia" (ca. 2nd century)
  2. Watson, 1926
  3. Jackson, 1969
  4. Historia Britonum, retrieved April 4, 2009.


  • Ian Armit (1998). Scotland's Hidden History (Tempus [in association with Historic Scotland]) ISBN 0-7486-6067-4
  • Kenneth H. Jackson (1969). The Gododdin: The Oldest Scottish poem (Edinburgh: University Press)
  • Stuart Piggott (1982). Scotland Before History (Edinburgh: University Press) ISBN 0-85224-348-0
  • W.J. Watson (1926, 1986). The History of the Celtic Place-Names of Scotland: being the Rhind lectures on archaeology (expanded) delivered in 1916. (Edinburgh, London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1926; Edinburgh: Birlinn, 1986, reprint edition). ISBN 1-874744-06-8

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