Hafren


Hafren

Hafren (Old Welsh Habren, Latinised to Sabrina) is the name of a mythical person in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudo-history "Historia Regum Britanniae". The name is cognate with the root of a number of river names in Britain and Ireland and is the modern Welsh name for the River Severn ("Afon Hafren").

Geoffrey of Monmouth represents her as a princess drowned in the river Severn ("Afon Hafren") that was named after her. Her story may be derived from a pre-Celtic deity of that river by the same name, thus the name corresponding to Welsh Hafren occurs in Ireland in the form of Sabrann, an old name of the river Lee that flows through the city of Cork.

The story given by Geoffrey is that King Locrinus fell in love with princess Estrildis of the Huns who invaded Britain under chief Humber following the death of Brutus of Troy. However, Locrine was already engaged to Princess Gwendoline, daughter of Cornwall. Although Locrine eventually fathered an heir called Madan with his Queen Gwendoline, he could not give up his love for the Hun princess Estrildis and he also fathered a daughter with her called Hafren. After Cornwall died, Locrine left his queen to live with Estrildis and his daughter Hafren. Enraged at the slight, Gwendoline raised a Cornish army against Locrine and killed him in battle. Estrildis and her daughter Hafren were drowned in the river Severn.


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