Occupation: Irish Monarch (c. 10 AD), patron goddess of love, marriage and fidelity
Legal Status: Citizen of Otherworld, former citizen of Ancient Eire
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Branwen except as a character from Welsh legend.
Other Aliases: Brangwine
Place of Birth: Harlech, Britain (now part of modern England)
Marital Status: Widowed
Known Relatives: Llyr (father), Iweriadd (mother, deceased), Bran (brother), Manannan, Lodan (brothers), Efnissen, Manawydan (half-brothers, deceased), Matholwych (husband, deceased), Gwern (son, deceased), Arviragus Caractus (nephew, deceased), Beli Mawr/Belenus (maternal grandfather, deceased), Elathan (paternal grandfather), Ares, Aphrodite (aka Venus) (ancestors), Aeneas, Brutus, Llud, (ancestors, deceased),
Group Affiliation: The Gods of Britain
Base of Operations: Avalon, formerly Harlech, Britain (now part of modern England)
First Appearance: Branwen has not yet appeared in the Marvel or DC Universes.
History: Branwen is the daughter of Llyr, one of the Tuatha de Danaan who was worshipped as god of the sea by the Ancient Celts, and Iweriadd, grand-daughter of King Llud of Britain. A member of Irish nobility, Branwen was the twin-sister of Bran the Blessed, who was said to have introduced Christianity to Britain. He gave Branwen as a bride to King Matholwych of Eire along with a mystical cauldron. However, Matholwych was insulted by Efnissen, Bran's mortal half-brother, at their wedding ceremony, and he took out his dishonor cruelly upon Branwen by treating her badly once they returned to Eire. Branwen was used by Matholwych to give him a male heir, Gwern, but she was mostly kept under forced captivity. Under unknown circumstances, Bran learned of the ill-treatment of Branwen and launched a navy of ships to Eire to defend her honor.
Bran landed at Eire hoping to avoid bloodshed and met under conditions of peace to free Branwen. A truce was achieved that Matholwych would lose his throne for his dishonor and the infant Gwern would be assigned king, but Efnissen again succumbed to his own hostility and tossed the child into a fire. The resulting war took a heavy toll on Bran's armies because Matholwych used the cauldron's magic to restore his slain warriors to life after death. Efnisien eventually managed to destroy the cauldron, and Bran laid siege to Eire with the help of the warriors Pryderi, Manawyden, Glifieu, Talisen, Ynawag, Gruddieu and Heilyn who finally succeeded in slaying Matholwych and freeing Branwen. Bran, however, was eventually felled by a poison dart, and as he died, he asked his compatriots to cut off his head after death and bury it at the White Mount in London facing France as a mystical guardian over Britain. Even after he was beheaded, his head dispensed prophecies of fortune and good luck upon his compatriots as it was carried to London and buried per his instructions. Branwen eventually retired to Anglesey as a guest of Queen Arianrhod who ruled there. She eventually died of a broken heart grieving for her brother and was buried at Bedd Branwen near the Alaw River on the island.
As an adult, Bran's son, Arviragus Caractus clashed with the
armies of Emperor Claudius of Rome as the Roman armies invaded Britain. One of
his descendants was
of Camelot who in the 5th Century AD removed Bran's head from it's resting place in order
that he would be the one true guardian
of Britain and reburied it at the Tower of London. Later belief is that Arthur
never found the head and it still rests somewhere near the White Mount.
At some point in the past, Branwen was restored to life by Llyr and became a goddess of love among the Tuatha de Danaan. She also became acquainted with Aphrodite, the goddess of love to the Greeks, whose mortal descendants had claimed Britain and became ancestors of the British Kings.
Height: 5' 7"
Weight: 410 lbs.
Strength Level: Branwen possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 25 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers: Branwen possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Tuatha de Danaan or Celtic gods. Like all of the Danaans, she is exceptionally long-lived, but she is not immortal like the Olympian gods: she has aged at an exceptionally slow rate since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. She is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If she were somehow wounded, her godly life force would enable her to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of her bodily molecules to cause her a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as the Dagda, Gwydion or Llyr or for a number of Celtic gods of equal power working together to revive her. Arianrhod also possesses superhuman strength and her Danaan metabolism provides her with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Danaan flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Celtic gods.)
Branwen has very limited mystical abilities. She can conjure objects, mystically alter her clothing and appearance, affect the perceptions of mortals that she may appear invisible and mystically levitate herself and other objects.
Comments: Branwen has not yet been seen in the Marvel or DC Universes. Bran, however, has recently appeared in She-Hulk IV #24.
Some myths claim Branwen and Bran the Blessed is the children of Llyr and Penardun, but this would make them full gods instead of half-mortal and related to the British Kings. While it is not explicit in the myths, it can be guessed Llyr believed Iweriadd was the mortal reincarnation of Penardun, a recurring theme in other Irish myths.
It is not clear whether Leir, god of storm in he Marvel Universe, is the same figure as Llyr, the Celtic god of sea and storm. In the tradition of confusion in Celtic myth, some references identify Manannan, the sea-god, identical with Manawydan, heir to the British throne.
Matholwych is not listed in the chronology of legendary kings of Eire. He was possibly an Irish Chieftain or a transplanted Welsh ruler.
The full story of Bran the Blessed can be found in the Mabinogion. The legend could have its roots in the story of the Trojan War by the Greeks. Bran has a bio at the Appendix of the Marvel Universe.
Clarifications: Branwen is not to be confused with:
Last updated: 06/01/14
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