Iago, King of Gwynedd
(Latin: Iacobus; English: James)

Iago was the son of King Beli ap Rhun. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'History of the Kings of Britain', the Gwynedd royal court offered sanctuary to the exiled King Edwin of Deira. This was in AD 588 when Edwin was but a toddler of four years. He had managed to escape with some of his fellow countrymen when the power-hungry, King Aethelfrith of Bernicia, invaded his homeland and murdered his father. There was certainly an independent Welsh tradition that Edwin was raised on Ynys Mon (Anglesey), so Geoffrey was probably correct. Iago seems to have raised Edwin along with Iago's grandson, Cadwallon. This act of compassion was not without risk however, for, as the young Deiran grew older, he became a threat to Aethelfrith's position as King of a united Northumbria. The Bernician eventually marched on Gwynedd in AD 613. Iago rallied the combined British armies of the South behind him, and the two clashed at the Battle of Caer-Legion (Chester). The outcome was unresolved and both sides claiming victory, but one thing is certain: King Iago was killed in the slaughter and was succeeded by his son, Cadfan.

Records of King Iago date back to the 10th century. He is generally considered historic.


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