Dinas Emrys is a rocky hillock in the Snowdonian mountains. It is near the town of Beddgelert. It rises 250 feet above it’s immediate surrounding in the Glaslyn river valley.
It is connected to Arthur through Vortigan. Vortigan is said to have ruled Britain after the roman withdrawal and is a predecessor of Arthur, attempting to unite the remaining Roman and British factions against common enemies from the North and West. Vortigen sought help from Saxon warriors and invited them to settle in parts of the South East to aid in defending British lands against Picts from the North.. The Saxons for a time were useful allies driving back the invading Picts but they soon grew in numbers and desiring the fertile lands of Britain for themselves they began to turn on their British allies seeking ever more land and resources.
It is told that Vortigan arranged a meeting between British and Saxon chieftains at Stonehenge to try to agree a peaceful treaty as the Saxons were ravaging through the British lands and decimating the people. The leaders arranged to come unarmed but the Saxons deceived Vortigan and concealed knives in their boots, arising to massacre the British chieftains. This event was dubbed “The night of the long knives”. Vortigan however managed to escape and fled to the natural mountain defences of Snowdonia in North Wales. Dinas Emyrs is said to be the site where he decided to construct his fortress and refuge from the Saxon invaders.
Whilst constructing his Fortress at Dinas Emyrs the legend tells that every day Vortigans men would work hard building the first of several planed towers; but the following morning they would awake to discover their work had collapsed in a heap of stone. This continued for some time until Vortigern was advised to seek the council of a young boy born of a virgin mother.
Vortigans men found this boy and he was called Myrddin Emrys or Merlin Ambrosius. Vortigern was advised to sacrifice this boy but Merlin scorned this advise and explained that Vortigan could not construct his fortress because of a hidden pool containing two fighting Dragons. He explained how the White Dragon of the Saxons though winning the battle at present, would soon be defeated by the Red Dragon of the British.