Gwrthefyr was the son of King Aircol Lawhir of Dyfed (Latin: Demetia), a man traditionally said to have been of Irish descent. He is better known to history as Vortepor the "tyrant of the Demetians" who was denounced by the early 6th century monk, Gildas, in his work, De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. Gwrthefyr's reign was apparently dogged by invasions from the powerful King Maelgwn of Gwynedd. Further evidence of his historicity is provided by a gravestone inscribed to his memory, discovered at the little church at Castell Dwyran in the community of Abernant, just north-west of Carmarthen. The inscription, 'Memoria Voteporigis Protictoris', shows that he used the Roman title of Protector, rather than King. This supports the theory that his Irish ancestors were brought into Dyfed as mercenary peacekeepers, protecting the area against attack from fellow Hibernians. Nancy Edwards' 2007 study of early medieval Welsh inscribed stones suggests this may be an earlier memorial to a a member of the same family with a similar name.
Records of Gwrthefyr date back to the 6th century. He is considered an historic personage.
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