Re: [tied] Welsh Don's children: etymology

From: João Simões Lopes Filho
Message: 4492
Date: 2000-10-23

I found EFEIDD (EVEIDD) at Dumezil (Heur et Malheur du Guerrier).
Math is sometimes linked to Indian Matanga "elephant"; maybe means "big animal".
Gill- is cited by Dumezil as related to Irish gilla "knight, lad, boy"
Math was usually equated with Irish Dagda.
----- Original Message -----
From: Christopher Gwinn
Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2000 9:14 PM
Subject: Re: [tied] Welsh Don's children: etymology

Names found in Old and Middle Welsh manuscripts often present a number of problems due to the imperfection of Welsh orthography at the time. The modern Welsh -dd-, for example (which is pronounced like -th- in "the" or "breathe") is normally written as -d-, but can sometimes be written as  -t-, which can cause confusion with Modern Welsh -d- (which we normally expect to have been written -t- in older manuscripts). Another source of confusion is the Modern Welsh -f-, which normally represents a lenited -m- or -b-, but in older manuscripts can sometimes sit in for a consonantal -w- (which was written as -u- or -v- in the old manuscripts). Thus, -u-, -v- and -f- can all stand for original   -b-, -m-, and consonantal -w- (which = Gaulish -u-).
That having been said,
Gwydyon uab Don (as he appears in "Math uab Mathonwy") appears in an Old Welsh genealogy as Guidgen (should = Common Celtic *Uidu-genos or *Uido-genos), father of Lou hen (=Lugus senos "Old Lugus"). If Guidgen is the original form of the name, then Gwydyon means either "born of the trees" (Welsh gwydd "trees/woods," Gaulish uidu-) or "born of vision" (Welsh gwydd "presence" from *ueid-os "sight"). John Koch (in "The Gododdin of Aneirin") believes that the -gen element ("born of")was assimilated to the  Welsh divine suffix -on (Gaulish -onos/-ona) due to the influence of his matronymic Don as well as Gwydyon's brothers Amaethon and Gofannon. Unfortunately, in the same genealogical tract, there also appears the name Guitgen - which may either be an orthographic mistake for Guidgen, or may represent the Welsh version of a Common Celtic *Uitu-genos/*Uito-genos which would perhaps equate the name with Modern Welsh gwyd "passion/lust" (perhaps related to PIE words for "inspiration/fury").
Amaethon "The divine client." From Celtic *Ambact-on-os (Ambact-o "client" from PIE *ambh[i]-ag-t). Ambact-o in Brittonic took on the meaning of "farmer."
Aranrod/Aryanrod. It is unsure if the proper form is Aranrod or Aryanrod. Aranrod is used exclusively in Math uab Mathonwy - but may be a dialectal variance. There are examples from Gaul of names beginning with Aran- (perhaps related to PIE *Ar- [1.]which is at the root of Indic ara-h "wheel spoke," according nicely with the -rod "wheel/circle" in Aranrod). There is a submerged village off the Welsh coast called Arianrhod, which would mean "silver circle/wheel." Aranrod may take her name from a place, and not from any alleged celestial aspect of her character (there is even the possibility that her name is related to the Gaulish city Argantoratis "silver fort" where -ratis is the equivalent of Welsh -rawd/-rod from PIE *Pra- "bend").
Efeidd - where do you find this spelling? Eufydd is found in Math uab Mathonwy and elsewhere, and is generally taken as the Welsh reflex of Gaulish Ogmios.
Gilfathwy or Gilfaethwy. Once again, an uncertain name - Gilfaethwy looks like the preferrable form. The -f- can stand for a -b-, -m-, or -u-, the -aethwy from -axteios (-axt from PIE -ag-t-, -ap-t- or -abh-t) and the -i- from an original Brittonic -u-, so we may have *Gul[o]baxteios, *Gul[o]maxteios or *Gul[o]uaxteios. Perhaps the first element is related to Gaulish Gulba "peak/beak" and -aethwy from -axt (PIE -ag-t-) "works/does/leads." The -wy suffix comes from a Celtic -ei-os which is found sometimes as a patronymic.
Math should come from Celtic *Mattos (known in Gaul). Mattos would give an Irish Mat (which does appear, with the meaning of "female swine," from *matta, ultimately from PIE *Mad-da), so connections with the Irish sorcerer Mathgen are out of the question, unless Math is a Welsh borrowing from Irish. It may be that the name comes from PIE *Mazd-o "mast/staff," seeing that we have an Irish word matan meaning "small club" and that PIE -zd- gives Gaulish -tt-.
    It is also possible that the name derives from PIE *Ma- "good," which gives Gaulish matus "good/auspicious," but Celtic matus itself becomes Welsh mad, and not math. Mathonwy, like Gilfaethwy, may contain a patronymic suffix (which was no longer productive in Welsh, thus the need to add mab "son of" before the name). The original name may have been *Mattos Mattoneios "Mattos, son of Mattonos." *Mattonos is simply *Mattos with the divine suffix -onos added.  The connection with bears is uncertain - the Irish word for bear is Mathgamain, which comes from *Matu-giamonios "the auspicious winter-ling" (gamain - from Celtic *giamo "winter" - was an Old Irish word for animals - specifically cattle - that were aged one winter). I believe that there might be a Gaulish gloss where Matus meant bear - but, once again, this would come from the word for "auspicious" and is a taboo-name, often found with bears.
Gofannon comes from *Gobantonos "the divine smith." I am unaware at the moment of the PIE root which gives Celtic gobant-o "smith."
-C. Gwinn