Here Be Dragons beta
Welsh Expansion 1.0
"Theirs was a land of awsome grandure, a land of mountains and moorlands and cherished myths. They called it Cymru and believed themselves to be the decendants of ancient Troy. They were a passionate, generous, and turbulent people with but one fatal flaw. They proclaimed themselves to be Cymry- "fellow countrymen"- but they fought one another as fiercely as they did their English neighbors, and had carved three separate kingdoms out of their native soil. To the north was the alpine citadel of Gwynedd, bordered by Powys, and to the south lay the realm of Deheubarth. To the English Kings, this constant discord was a blessing and they did what they could to sow seeds of dissension and strife amongst the Welsh.
"During the reigns of the Norman conquerors, William the Bastard, and his sons, the English crown continued to gain influence in Wales. Norman castles rose up on Welsh soil, and Norman towns began to take root in the valleys of South Wales. As the Normans had subdued the native-born Saxons, so, too, it began to seem that they would subdue the Welsh.
"As a point of interest, the title of this book has its roots in the common practice of medieval cartographers; when a mapmaker had drawn upon all of his geographical knowledge, he would neatly letter across the void beyond: Here be dragons. I found the symbolism hard to resist, given how very little the English of the thirteenth century knew of Wales and the Welsh. Then, too, the national emblem of Wales is a winged red dragon, much like those heraldic dragons once emblazoned upon the banners of her princes."
-Sharon Kay Penman
Here Be Dragons
A Ballatine Book, 1985