The Info List - Olwen

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In Welsh mythology, Olwen (or Olwyn) is the daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden and cousin of Goreu. She is the heroine of the story Culhwch and Olwen in the Mabinogion. Her father is fated to die if she ever marries, so when Culhwch (sometimes spelled as Kilhwch) comes to court her, he is given a series of immensely difficult tasks which he must complete before he can win her hand. With the help of his cousin King Arthur, Culhwch succeeds and the giant dies, allowing Olwen to marry her suitor. The name "Olwen" reappears in the non-Arthurian folktale Einion and Olwen, about a sheep herder who travels to the Otherworld to marry Olwen; they later have a son named Taliesin.[1][2] The tale was collected at the turn of the 20th century but is related to Culhwch and Olwen. The meaning of the name Olwen is "white footprint".[3] According to legend, she was so gentle and fragile that white lilies would grow in her footprints. Some authorities consider her to have been originally a solar goddess, based on the etymology of her name and light-related attributes.[4][5] Notable persons with this name[edit]

Olwen Brogan, British archaeologist Lady Olwen Carey Evans, DBE, daughter of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George Olwen Fouéré, Breton-Irish actress on stage and in film Dame Olwen Hufton, British historian of early modern Europe, women's history and social history Olwen Kelly, Irish model and actress Olwen Wymark, American playwright and author

See also[edit]

Olwyn (name) Welsh mythology in popular culture


^ Bruce, Christopher W. (21 August 2013). "The Arthurian Name Dictionary". Routledge – via Google Books.  ^ "The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries: Section I: The Living Fairy-Faith: Chapter II. Taking of Evidence: V. In Wales". www.sacred-texts.com.  ^ "Welsh ol "footprint, track" and gwen "white, fair, blessed"", cited from http://www.behindthename.com/name/olwen ^ Simon Andrew Stirling, The Grail: Relic of an Ancient Religion, 2015 ^ Patricia Monaghan, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, page 433.

v t e

Celtic mythology series

Welsh mythology

Texts and tales

Four Branches of the Mabinogi

Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed Branwen ferch Llŷr Manawydan fab Llŷr Math fab Mathonwy


Culhwch and Olwen Preiddeu Annwfn Pa gur Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain Geraint and Enid Peredur son of Efrawg The Dream of Rhonabwy Geraint son of Erbin


Taliesin Cad Goddeu Welsh Triads The Dream of Macsen Wledig Englynion y Beddau Giant tales Lludd and Llefelys


Afaon fab Taliesin Amaethon Arawn Arianrhod Arthur Afallach Beli Mawr Bleiddwn Blodeuwedd Bedwyr Bendigeidfran Branwen Cai Caradog ap Bran Caswallawn Ceridwen Cigfa Creiddylad Culhwch Cyhyraeth Cyledr Wyllt Cymidei Cymeinfoll Cynon Dôn Drudwas Dylan ail Don Dywel fab Erbin Edern ap Nudd Efnysien Elen Elffin ap Gwyddno Eliwlod Eufydd Euroswydd Geraint Gilfaethwy Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr Goewin Gofannon Goreu fab Custennin Gronw Pebr Gwawl Gwern Gwrhyr Gwyddno Garanhir Gwydion Gwyn ap Nudd Gwythyr Gwalchmei Hafgan Hefeydd Hueil mab Caw Hychddwn Hyddwn Iddog ap Mynio Idris Llefelys Lleu Llŷr Lludd Llwyd Mabon Madoc ap Uthyr Macsen Wledig Mallt-y-Nos Manawydan Math Matholwch Menw Modron Morfydd Morfran Nisien Olwen Penarddun Penpingion Peredur Pryderi Pwyll Rhiannon Saint Cyllin Saint Eigen Sanddef Seithenyn Taliesin Tegid Foel Teyrnon Ysbaddaden

Animals and creatures

Adar Llwch Gwin Adar Rhiannon Afanc Cavall (Cafall, Cabal) Ceffyl Dŵr Cewri Coblynau Coraniaid Cŵn Annwn Cyhyraeth Dreigiau Gwyllgi Gwyllion Llamhigyn y Dŵr Morgens Plentyn Newid Pwca Twrch Trwyth Tylwyth Teg


Annwn Cornwall (Celliwig) Caer Sidi Cantre'r Gwaelod Dyfed (Arberth, Gwales) Gwynedd (Aberffraw, Arfon, Ardudwy, Caer Dathyl) Ireland London (Ludgate)


Excalibur (Caledfwlch) Cauldron of rebirth Llech Ronw Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain

v t e

King Arthur and the Matter of Britain

Key people

King Arthur Constantine Galahad Gawain Queen Guinevere Igraine Lady of the Lake Lancelot Merlin Mordred Morgan le Fay Morgause Percival Tristan Uther Pendragon

Knights of the Round Table

Aglovale Agravain Bagdemagus Bedivere Bors Breunor Calogrenant Caradoc Dagonet Dinadan Elyan the White Erec Gaheris Gareth Geraint Griflet Hector de Maris Hoel Kay Lamorak Leodegrance Lionel Lucan Morholt Palamedes Pelleas Pellinore Safir Sagramore Segwarides Tor Urien Ywain Ywain the Bastard

Other characters

Balin Balan King Ban Claudas Culhwch Dindrane Ector Elaine of Astolat Elaine of Corbenic Fisher King Galehaut Gorlois Gwenhwyfach Hellawes Iseult Black Knight Green Knight Red Knight Lohengrin King Lot Maleagant King Mark Emperor Lucius Olwen Questing Beast Rience Tom Thumb


Excalibur Holy Grail Round Table Siege Perilous


Astolat Avalon Brocéliande (Paimpont) Caerleon Camelot Celliwig Corbenic Glastonbury Logres Lyonesse Sarras Tintagel

In media

Books Films Various media


Battle of Badon Battle of Camlann Dolorous Stroke King Arthur's family Historicity of King Arthur King Arthur's messianic return

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