Brother Cadfael is a twelfth-century Anglo-Welsh monk. A retired crusader disappointed in love, now a herbalist in charge of the gardens of Shrewsbury Abbey, Cadfael is often called on to solve murders and other crimes in and around Shrewsbury.
Runtime: 75 minutes
Cadfael - Cadafael Cadomedd ap Cynfeddw - Netflix
Cadafael ap Cynfeddw (English: Cadafael son of Cynfeddw) was King of Gwynedd (reigned 634 – c. 655). He came to the throne when his predecessor, King Cadwallon ap Cadfan, was killed in battle, and his primary notability is in having gained the disrespectful sobriquet Cadafael Cadomedd (fully translated into English: Battle-Seizer the Battle-Decliner). Unusual for the era, King Cadafael was not a member of one of the leading families of Gwynedd. His name appears in the Welsh Triads as one of the “Three kings, who were of the sons of strangers” (sometimes referred to as the “Three Peasant Kings”), where he is identified as “Cadafael, son of Cynfeddw in Gwynedd”. Cadafael's reign was a critical time for the future of the Cymry (i.e., the Welsh and the Brythonic 'Men of the North' taken together, exclusive of all others). There was an alliance of the Cymry with Penda of Mercia initially forged by Cadwallon ap Cadfan, and there was ongoing warfare against the then-ascendant Kingdom of Northumbria. Though the alliance was effective and enjoyed several notable successes, it would end disastrously with the death of Penda and a Northumbrian supremacy both in the north and in the English Midlands. The kingdoms of Pengwern, Manaw Gododdin, Gododdin, and Rheged would be permanently obliterated. The kingdoms of Gwynedd, Powys, and Alt Clud would be diminished. The blame for it fell hardest on Cadafael's reputation.
Cadfael - Blame - Netflix
It is not known when Cadafael's reign ended, but it is customary to assume that it must have been shortly after Penda's defeat. There is no contemporary account of the events, but writing some 250 years later Nennius would say that Cadafael had left for home the night before the battle, in his ally's hour of greatest need, implying it was a deliberate decision (i.e., by calling him the Battle-Decliner). It is unlikely that Cadafael would have been chosen king, or would have reigned so long, or that Penda would have engaged in a 20-year alliance with him, had this been his character. In the medieval Welsh Triads, the death of King Iago ap Beli is described as the result of an axe-blow by one of his own men, a certain Cadafael Wyllt (English: Cadafael the Wild). In his Celtic Britain, John Rhys notes that the Annals of Tigernach mention Iago's death and use the word dormitat (or dormitato, meaning sleep in the sense of a euphemism for death), contradicting the notion of a violent death. In the Dialogue between Myrddin and his sister Gwenddydd (Welsh: Cyvoesi Myrddin a Gwenddydd y chuaer) of the Red Book of Hergest, a succession of future kings is given in a prophecy, listing them correctly up to Cadwallon ap Cadfan, but then omitting Cadafael and listing Cadwallon's son Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon as following his father on the throne. Whether deserved or not, disaffection for Cadafael and his name seems to have been genuine. An American contributor to an 1874 publication, in an article on Welsh names, noted that “Cadafael is still a name of opprobrium”, adding that he was unaware of the reason.
Cadfael - References - Netflix