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Pendragʹon

.

A title conferred on several British chiefs in times of great danger, when they were invested with dictatorial power: thus Uter and Arthur were each appointed to the office to repel the Saxon invaders. Cassibelaun was pendragon when Julius Cæsar invaded the island; and so on. The word pen is British for head, and dragon for leader, ruler, or chief. The word therefore means summus rex (chief of the kings).

So much for fact, and now for the fable: Geoffrey of Monmouth says, when Aureʹlius, the British king, was poisoned by Ambron, during the invasion of Pascentius, son of Vortigern, there “appeared a star at Winchester of wonderful magnitude and brightness, darting forth a ray, at the end of which was a globe of fire in form of a dragon, out of whose mouth issued forth two rays, one of which extended to Gaul and the other to Ireland.” Uter ordered two golden dragons to be made, one of which he presented to Winchester, and the other he carried with him as his royal standard, whence he received the name of Uter Pendragon. (Books viii. xiv. xvii.)

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Pelorus
Pelos [mud]
Pelt
Pen Name
Pen and Feather
Penang Lawyers
Penates
Pencil of Rays
Pendennis (Arthur)
Pendente Lite (Latin)
Pendragon
Penelope
Penelophon
Penelva
Penetralia
Penfeather (Lady Penelope)
Peninsular War
Penitential Psalms
Penmanship
Penmanship
Pennals [pen-cases]

See Also:

Pendragon