Talk:Hywel Dda

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Moving of article[edit]

I have moved this article to Hywel Dda from Howell the Good, which is the form normally used these days even in English. Applying the Google test: Howell the Good 783 hits; Hywel the Good 327 hits; Hywel Dda 20,800 hits. Some of the hits for Hywel Dda are in Welsh of course, but even if only half of them are in English it is still a pretty clear majority. Rhion 12:42, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Powell, son of Howell?[edit]

Hi all. I find this at the bottom of the Powell disambiguation page: Powell is a traditional Welsh surname said to mean "Son of the Servant of St. Paul," and often indicates descent from King Hywel the Good. The Welsh term "ap" means "son of", hence Ap Hywel was eventually spelled as Powell. Is this correct? Could it be added to this page? Regards, --Powo 22:35, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Hi Powo. The bit from the Powell disambiguation page is correct in so far as Powell does derive from the Welsh "ap Hywel" or "ap Howell". However it is not true that the surname often indicates descent from King Hywel the Good, since patronymics were usually used in Wales until (roughly) the 18th century. For example. Hywel's son was Owain ap Hywel, but Owain's son was Maredudd ab Owain. The "Powells" would derive from a much later Hywel. As for the meaning "Son of the Servant of St. Paul" I've never heard this before and I rather doubt it. Rhion 07:15, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your explanations! --Powo 07:37, 24 May 2006 (UTC)


Anyone got anything on him making it illegal to kill cats? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:26, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, this is a bit late, but it's mentioned on the British Library page here—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:56, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
The short version is, no, he didn't make it illegal to kill cats, but you had to pay a certain amount of silver or its equivalent in cows for depriving someone of their cat. Useful mice-killing cats were more valued than kittens. — LlywelynII 16:59, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

The date of Hywel Dda's death[edit]

What is the reasoning behind Hywel's death being dated to 950 rather than 949? All three of the principal Annales Cambriae texts (A,B & C) have it in the third year after the death of 'Eadmund rex saxonum' which is usually placed in 946. --Henrywgc (talk) 12:50, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Importance Low?[edit]

At least for the Wales WikiProject, this should be a high. — LlywelynII 21:42, 19 February 2013 (UTC)


We could use subsections talking about Hywel's relationship with England and his laws (which certainly needs to be cleaned up using Welsh law and the introduction on Wikisource: it's been written with poor sources and doesn't understand, e.g., that Blegy's only notable in one of the three traditions of surviving codices). On the other hand, those sections should be focused and well-integrated into the article instead of showing up halfway through and replacing discussion of the rest of Hywel's reign and his succession. — LlywelynII 21:42, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Seisyllwg quite possibly nonexistent[edit]

Lloyd is normally fine, but this article reviews his sources for the place's existence and finds them wanting (they incl. Iolo's forgeries and the Mab.).

If possible, we should stick with the titles employed by Hywel during his own lifetime and not those later attributed to him by descendants aiming to justify their rule. — LlywelynII 22:57, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

That article is interesting, but it's written by an amateur researcher and published on his site; it can't be used per WP:SPS. The issue of Seisyllwg vs. Ceredigion is discussed a bit at Seisyllwg; it is true the term wasn't used until much later, however it's clear that by Hywel's time the dynasty held Ystrad Tywi as well as Ceredigion. "Seisyllwg" remains a conventional term in the literature for the territory in the time comprising both Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi. As it's useful there's no need to avoid it, though we can qualify it.--Cúchullain t/c 23:20, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
(parenthetical to the discussion) It can't be used for the reason given, but it seems to be a good starting point, and checkout/references can be built independently. I went through the site some time ago and asked Enaidmawr for his opinion; he was "pleasantly surprised" that the references were meticulous and the articles well-researched. He also noted some caveats and deficiencies. Regards, Notuncurious (talk) 04:19, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, that's the thing. He's obviously done his homework and his points w/r/t, e.g., Lloyd seem spot on. But I can fully understand the policy Cuch mentioned. I'll try to just make his valid points via other sources and link to his articles (where appropriate) on talk pages instead of namespace. — LlywelynII 18:57, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Following up the second point, do we have reliable period sources for Hywel's own titles? or just the pompous English ones that indiscriminately labelled the Welsh rulers "kinglets" (Medieval Latin: subreguli)? — LlywelynII 18:57, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that the Ancient Wales Studies site will be useful for research and identifying useful public sources. And we definitely don't need to stick to Lloyd when he's been superseded by more recent research. As for the titles, there's a good section on Welsh/Brittonic conceptions of kingship in a book by Charles-Edwards; I'll try to recall which one and find it. Titles for Welsh rulers and concepts of kingship were not always consistent and modulated over time. I believe the native title in Hywel's time would have been brenin. This applied to any ruler over a territory, regardless of size or prominence, and is given as either "king" or "prince" in English. At various times this was also the concept of an over-king or emperor ruling over all the Britons, or all of Britain. This was used for past historical or legendary kings, for particularly powerful Welsh kings (usually, but not always, of Gwynedd) who ruled most of the other Britons, and also for any king, Brittonic or not, seen as having authority over Britain (namely, the English king). From what I can tell there was a mix of the concepts during Hywel's time; he clearly thought of himself as the highest ruler in his own realm (ie Deheubarth) as well as the leading king among Welsh rulers, but accepted being a sub-king under Aethelstan.--Cúchullain t/c 16:58, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
You might be thinking of After Rome; TCE was editor but also wrote several chapters. Better on explaining conceptions is Patterns of Power in Early Wales by Wendy Davies ... it's not what you'd expect in a historian's book, but this kind of thing seems to be her interest. There's quite a bit of useful information on kingship and such, and she covers terminology and its changing meanings (eg, she notes that 'brenin' was a word for a king in the 12th century, but its earlier, original meaning was simply 'person of status'). If you're looking for clues as to the meanings of references to Seisyllwg in context of when those references were made, it is probably a useful read. Regards, Notuncurious (talk) 17:43, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Other minters[edit]

Speaking of sources we can look at but not use:

It's pretty common to see Hywel Dda credited as the only minter of Welsh coins (albeit he used the English mint at Chester to get them) but this site seems to have silver pennies from Rhuddlan they claim were minted by 12th-century princes of Gwynedd. — LlywelynII 01:30, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Not to dispute them, but the site says that the coins were produced at Rhuddlan, but it doesn't offer a provenance; how do they know that the coins were actually produced at Rhuddlan, and who wrote the text (webmaster, academic with a professional reputation, etc)? It's a big deal if it can be shown that there was a production mint at Rhuddlan, right? Regards, Notuncurious (talk) 02:19, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Hywel Dda Edit-a-thon[edit]

A Hywel Dda Edit-a-thon will be held at The National Library of Wales of October 16th, 2015 to focus on improving content relating to Hywel Dda, the Laws of Hywel Dda, and their legacy. Everyone is welcome! Jason.nlw (talk) 11:13, 24 September 2015 (UTC)