Rhodri Mawr

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Rhodri Mawr
King of the Britons
Depiction of Rhodri the Great from Historiae Cambriae
King of Gwynedd
Reign844-878
PredecessorMerfyn Frych
SuccessorAnarawd ap Rhodri
Born820
Isle of Man
Died878
Anglesey
IssueAnarawd ap Rhodri
Cadell ap Rhodri
Meurig ap Rhodri
Merfyn ap Rhodri
Tudwal ap Rhodri
Gwriad ap Rhodri
Gwyddelig ap Rhodri
HouseMerfynion
FatherMerfyn Frych

Rhodri ap Merfyn, commonly known as Rhodri Mawr (Welsh for 'Rhodri the Great'), was a Welsh king whose legacy has impacted the history of Wales. Rhodri rose to power during a tumultuous era, where the fate of Welsh kingdoms was often determined by the power of their leaders.

Early life[edit]

Rhodri was born in the 9th century on the Isle of Man. Rhodri was the son of Merfyn, who, under enigmatic circumstances, assumed the kingship of Gwynedd following the death of Hywel ap Caradog in 825.[1] Rhodri ascended to the throne of Gwynedd and following the passing of his father, Merfyn, in the year 844.[2]

Reign[edit]

Rhodri's reign unfolded against a tumultuous backdrop, as Wales confronted escalating Viking incursions. Among Rhodri's earliest recorded achievements was his defeat and killing of Gorm, a Danish chieftain, in a battle on Anglesey in 856.[3] This victory garnered international acclaim, reaching the ears of Charles the Bald whose realm Gorm had previously harried.[4]

Wales c. 850 – 920

In that same year, Rhodri finalized his subjugation of Powys following the death of its exiled ruler Cyngen in Rome. In 871, Rhodri expanded his dominion further, into Ceredigion following the death of its King Gwgon.[5]

During the year 873, Rhodri won two more successes against the Vikings by securing victories in the battles of Banolau and Ynegydd on Anglesey.[6]

In 877, a Danish force, aided by their client king Ceolwulf, assailed Anglesey, intent on avenging Gorm's death and securing communication routes with Dublin. They succeeded in defeating Rhodri in the Battle of Sunday and seizing Anglesey, compelling him into exile on Ireland.[7] The subsequent year marked Rhodri's return from Irish exile, winning a battle against the Vikings occupying Anglesey. However, Rhodri and his son Gwriad perished in a clash against Ceolwulf.[8]

Succession[edit]

Rhodri's realm remained unified upon his demise, passing to his eldest son Anarawd.[9] However, during Rhodri's exile, Ceredigion was conquered by Hyfaidd ap Bleddri, the King of Dyfed.[10] Subsequently, Anarawd and Rhodri's other sons managed to reclaim Ceredigion and eventually extended their rule to the rest of Dyfed. This expansion established a distinct branch within the Merfynion dynasty, with Rhodri's second eldest son, Cadell, at its helm.[11]

Children[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edwards, Thomas (2014). Wales and the Britons, 350-1064 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 359. ISBN 978-0198704911.
  2. ^ Davies, John (2007). A History of Wales (Revised ed.). Penguin. p. 79. ISBN 978-0140284751.
  3. ^ Edwards, Thomas (2014). Wales and the Britons, 350-1064 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 484. ISBN 978-0198704911.
  4. ^ Davies, Sean (2014). War and Society in Medieval Wales, 633-1283: Welsh Military Institutions (2nd ed.). University of Wales Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-1783161393.
  5. ^ Maund., Kari (2006). The Welsh Kings: Warriors, Warlords and Princes (3rd ed.). The History Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0752429731.
  6. ^ Davies, Sean (2014). War and Society in Medieval Wales (2nd ed.). University of Wales Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-1783161393.
  7. ^ Edwards, Thomas (2014). Wales and the Britons, 350-1064 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 488. ISBN 978-0198704911.
  8. ^ Davies, John (2007). A History of Wales (Revised ed.). Penguin. p. 80. ISBN 978-0140284751.
  9. ^ Maund, Kari (2006). The Welsh Kings: Warriors, Warlords and Princes (3rd ed.). The History Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0752429731.
  10. ^ Edwards, Thomas (2014). Wales and the Britons, 350-1064 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 487. ISBN 978-0198704911.
  11. ^ Edwards, Thomas (2014). Wales and the Britons, 350-1064 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 495. ISBN 978-0198704911.

External links[edit]

Rhodri Mawr
Born: 820 Died: 878
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of the Britons
844–878
Succeeded by
King of Gwynedd
844–878
Preceded by King of Powys
856–878
Preceded by King of Ceredigion
871–878
Succeeded by