Attested: Cuneglase Romana lingua lanio fulve in De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae by Gildas in the early AD 500s. The name appears in one mediaeval Welsh text as Cynlas goch.
Where: Welsh genealogies place Cynlas in Rhos, around Colwyn Bay in north Wales.
Name origin: Cune- is commonly and confidently translated as ‘hound, dog’, related to Irish cú and Welsh ci, and descended from PIE *kwon-, like Latin canis, German Hund, Greek κυων, etc. An alternative translation of ‘kin’ or ‘royal, kingly’, from PIE *genə- ‘to beget, give birth’, is more logical for most ancient personal and divine names that began with Cun-, but has been disregarded because its main descendants are so Germanic (such as Cyneberht, Cynehelm, Cynemund, Cyneric, Cynesige, Cynewulf, etc). The -glasus part is commonly linked with modern Welsh glas ‘blue/green/grey’, but that meaning arose much too late. In Gildas' day glas meant something close to ‘amber’ and was probably used to refer to blonde or golden hair, which is why Gildas used Latin fulvus ‘reddish-yellow, golden’ and why Cynlas was goch ‘ginger-haired’. The implication is that Cuneglasus descended from the family of Gildas' hero Ambrosius Aurelianus (literally ‘divinely golden’) but did not live up to his standards. Conceivably Latin cunio ‘to shit’ or Welsh cun(2) ‘pack of wolves’ helped to make the pun more insulting.
Notes: For an excellent extended discussion (author unknown) of why Gildas linked Cune- to a butcher see here. It raises the possibility that Cune- was distorted from cingeto-, seen in Vercingetorix and ancestral to Welsh cigydd ‘butcher’.
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Last edited 2 February 2020 To main Menu