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The City of Crows

A good place to start would be with the name.  Its more than likely that Dinas Bran simply means, ‘Fortress of Crows’, but of course, Bran was also the famous king from the second branch of the Mabinogion (Mabinogi), whose head was supposedly taken and buried beneath the White Hill in London, thought to be the site of the current Tower of London, protecting Britain from invasion.  Bran was also the owner of a magic cauldron that returned life to the dead, a possible origin for the myth of the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend. Indeed, Bran may well be the inspiration for the figure of the Fisher King, since this figure of myth lived in a castle called Corbenic, the etymology of which can be traced to the Old French word, ‘corbin’ meaning ‘raven’ or ‘crow’.  Thus we return to Dinas Bran.  Is it far too great a leap, then, to suggest a connection to the legend of the ravens of the Tower of London, their continued presence protecting Britain from invasion?

Bran was also linked to Brennus, whose reconciliation with his brother, Belinus told by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his ‘Historia Regam Britanniae’ is said in later tradition to have occurred in the Vale of Llangollen.  A connection has been made between his mother, Corwenna and the town of Corwen, a little further down the A5.

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