[ahn-nuh-vehn / an-nvun]
[from Welsh an ("in") + dwfn ("the world")]
The Welsh name for the
Otherworld, corresponding roughly to the
sídh and the
[Ir., House of Donn] of Irish tradition.
about its location and description vary; Annwfn
might be on the surface or under the earth or the
sea. It may be a great revolving castle, in Welsh
surrounded by the sea or by a series
of fortified islands, where sickness and old age are
unknown and there are both enchanting music
and a fountain flowing with a liquid sweeter than
Conceived as Caer Feddwid [W, Court of
Intoxication or Carousal], it offers denizens a
sample of sparkling wine. It may also be identical
with Caer Wydyr [W, Fortress of Glass] and
In most of the Mabinogi
Annwfin is next to Pwyll,
but in Culhwch ac Olwen it was beyond
Generally it is a place of delight with a
magic cauldron and a well of sweet water.
There are two kings in Annwfn, mortal enemies:
Arawn (who appears more often and makes
alliances with mortals), and Hafgan.
- Arawn (King of Annwn) fights agains the two
sons of Don, Gwydion and Amathaon, in the Cad Goddeu ('Battle of the Trees').
Gwyn ap Nudd
was placed over a brood of devils here so they
would not destroy the human race.
times Annwfn became confused with concepts of
Hell [W uffern].
Cf. the Breton term Anaon; see also
CWN ANNWFN [The Hounds of Annwfn].
The Preiddiau Annwfn [Spoils of Annwfn] is the
cauldron of Arawn.
Three shiploads of Arthur's men
seek it in vain; only seven of them return.
In the cosmogony of Llywelyn Siôn (1540--c.I6I5),
Annwfn is the abode of Cythrawl.
See Patrick Sims-Williams, Celtic Langtlage, Celtic Culture, ed. A.
Matonis and D. Melia (Van Nuys, Calif., 1990), 57-81