Welsh: Sea Half-speech.
Welsh god of the sea, equivalent to the Irish god Ler, and to King Lear/Leir. He married Penardun, who gave birth to his children Bendigedfran, Branwen, and Manawyddan. Legend says that he was taken prisioner (The Three Supreme Prisoners of the Island of Britain) by Eurowyssedd (Ostorius?) the Roman, and taken then to Rome with Bran.
Elsewhere, he may be identified with Llwyr (whose name means "complete"), possessor of a magic cup in the story "Culhwch ac Olwen" in the Mabinogion. As the Fisher King's father is said to be the one fed by the Grail in Perceval, and Bran is the Fisher King, then Llyr, hypothetically, is the Old King of the legend.
There is also some reference to a Llŷr Merini in the Triads and the genealogies; he is given as the father of Caradawg Strong-Arm. However, as the name Marini seems to be a double for Llŷr (both refering to the sea), and as Caradawg is also the name of Llŷr Lediath's grandson, this is likely a confusion with the original Llŷr, his name appended to the later Welsh hero.
Llŷr, like his counterparts, is a figure of tragedy; his family usually comes to ruin, as with the battle over Branwen and usurption of Manawyddan in the Mabinogion.
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Mary Jones © 2004