Owein Ddantgwn

   The high point of “Dream of Rhonabwy” occurs when Arthur and Owein play a board game - essentially a Celtic form of chess. Some scholars believe that the Owein mentioned is Owein ap Urien, King of Rheged/ Cumbria, and a much celebrated warrior in early Welsh poetry for his many victories over the Anglo-Saxons of northern England in the late Sixth Century. But another possibility is that Owein is Owein Ddantgwn, Maelgwn Gwynedd's uncle and of Cunedda's line.
    While Owein and Arthur play their game, their warbands fight each other, for no apparent reason. At first, Arthur’s warband is winning, and Arthur ignores Owein’s requests that he stop the fighting. Then the situation is reversed, and Owein ignores Arthur’s requests. (Owein’s warband, by the way, are referred to as “ravens” - probably after their flag emblem.) The two leaders finally agree to halt the fighting, but by then both warbands are so depleted that they have to call off the Battle of Badon Hill.
   Phillips and Keatman in King Arthur: The True Story (1992) have seen the “Dream of Rhonabwy” as a criticism of Welsh civil wars, but they read too much into it. They speculate that the Owein of the story is not Owein of Rheged (as stated in the story), but really Owein Ddantgwn who ruled Viroconium (modern Wroxeter) in Arthur’s time. They also claim that the symbolism of the story is to show Arthur fighting against himself, and therefore that Arthur is really Owein of Viroconium. Their evidence in support of this is the fact that Viroconium did undergo major new construction on the middle of the fifth century. However, the town and its “construction boom” are better connected to Vortigern, who in legend ruled much of Britannia before Arthur’s time and who is elsewhere strongly associated with the region (Civitas Cornoviorum) for which Viroconium served as political center.

Will go into more of their line of reasoning later.