INHERITANCE AND LORDSHIP IN MATH by Professor C. W. SULLIVAN III, M.A., Ph.D. The female characters in the Four Branches of the Mabinogi have always received their share of critical attention and, I suspect, audience appreciation. In fact, a number of major studies have been given titles which include or are comprised solely of women's names: Gruffydd's Rhiannon and Mac Cana's Branwen are but the most obvious cases in point. And while there has been no doubt about the prominence of women in these narratives, there has been much speculation concerning their natures and roles especially as those roles might reflect on the Celtic cultures from which these narratives sprang. Recent studies by McKenna and Valente, for example, have focused on women as important determiners of lordship in Pwyll and on female/male gender conflicts in Math respectively, and both critics use historical and sociological as well as literary evidence to support their arguments.' Building upon their articles, as well as on additional evidence and analysis, it is possible to suggest a reading of Math in which the struggle between Gwydion and Aranrhod is not only a gender struggle, which it certainly is, but is also an inheritance struggle 1 In 'The Theme of Sovereignty in Pwyll,' Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, XXIX (1980), 35-52, Catherine A. McKenna, drawing on the recent scholarship assessing the Mabinogi as a unified work and on Proin- sias Mac Cana's 'Aspects of the Theme of King and Goddess in Irish Literature,' Etudes celtiques, vii (1955-56), 76-114, 356-413 and viii (1958), 59-65, reads the First Branch as a 'coherent tale about what an eleventh- or twelfth-century Welsh prince should be brave, generous, just, and of noble lineage, like the ideal prince of the bards, but prudent and self-restrained as well', p. 52. Robert Valente, in 'Gwydion and Aranrhod: crossing the borders of gender in Math,' Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, xxxv (1988), 1-9, examines the conflicts between Gwydion and Aranrhod and suggests that each is attempting to take over the other's gender role with Gwydion 'taking on the female power of creation' in a triumph over his sister which is also a violation of traditional and legal norms that leaves Lieu 'a prosperous chieftain and eventually Lord of Dyfed [sic]' but 'a man alone', p. 9.