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crusaderknight

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The Heirs of King Arthur
A History of Wales
WelshFlag.jpg


Hello, and welcome to the exciting new series, History's Story. The goal of History's Story is to tell the story that is history to any and everyone who wishes to know about the past.

In this first programme, we will be learning about the history (and pre-history) of the Kingdom of Wales, dating back to the days of King Arthur and before.

Many people do not realise just how ancient the Welsh people really are. For the Welsh are the last remnants of the Britons, those ancient inhabitants of the land the Romans called Britannia. Theirs is a long and proud history, and one which we here at History's Story hope we can do justice. We hope you enjoy our humble programme.

Author's note: I have a few things I wish to point out.

Firstly, I am aware that much of the early history of the Britons (including King Arthur) is legend-a mixture of fact and fiction. I will do my best to avoid legends for the most part, except in the case of King Arthur, but I will make it very clear when I am writing about legend rather than history.

Second, this is my second AAR (my first is The Morea, A Palaeologid AAR). However, I am not abandoning my first AAR, but I will soon be taking a break from it (as soon as I finish recounting the Fifth Orthodox Crusade). During that break, I will be recounting my game as the Cynfyn dynasty. When this AAR is finished, work will resume on my first one. However, until the Crusade in my first AAR is finished, I will be posting updates here with a brief history of the Welsh people. Once the Crusade is finished, and work on this AAR can begin in earnest, I will begin telling the history of Bleddyn Cynfyn and his heirs.

Thirdly, this is my first attempt at a history book AAR. I have read great history book AARs by authAARs such as Veldmaarchsalk, VILenin, RossN, and many others, and I can only hope that this AAR will be even slightly comparable to their many great works.

Fourth, I will be playing CK version 1.05. The only modification I have made is to add a few names into the character names file. However, if I should one day conquer all of the British Isles, then in true Arthurian fashion, I will become "King of the Britons", which would require the creation of a new kingdom.

Fifth, each king will be roleplayed. My overall main goal will be to achieve "King of the Britons", but progress can only be made by the right kings, and could be ruined by the wrong ones.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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I will look forward to it.

Just so long as you do go back to Morea afterward. :)
 

LlywelynII

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Dia dhuit!

Nifty. Drachen and I can always use more company.

One thing - although obviously you wouldn't want to restart a game if you've already gotten on in it, since it's before your first post, thought I'd be remiss not to point out Drachen's Welsh mod adds many historical characters and fixes the botched in-game presentation of Wales.
 

Aethis

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Hey, this caught my eye I thought it was pretty daring :p

Hope the English dont eat you up ;)
 

crusaderknight

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stnylan said:
I will look forward to it.

Just so long as you do go back to Morea afterward. :)
Don't worry, I have no intention of abandoning the Morea. I am really enjoying telling that story. When this is finished, I will return to the Morea.

Llywelyn said:
Nifty. Drachen and I can always use more company.

One thing - although obviously you wouldn't want to restart a game if you've already gotten on in it, since it's before your first post, thought I'd be remiss not to point out Drachen's Welsh mod adds many historical characters and fixes the botched in-game presentation of Wales.
You caught me just a little too late. I'm already past the year 1100. However, I did do some preliminary research, and I found out that CK had the COAs for Gwynedd and Wales backwards, so I fixed them, so you will see the four quartered lions as the COA for Gwynedd and the Dragon as the COA for Wales.

Capibara said:
It looks very interesting, I'll be following
Glad to hear it.

Aethis said:
Hey, this caught my eye I thought it was pretty daring :p

Hope the English dont eat you up ;)
Truth be told, this AAR will be about my third attempt at this. First two times, English gobbled me up real fast (1068 first time. 1083 second time.)
 
Last edited:

crusaderknight

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CHAPTER I
The Ancient History of the Britons

No one knows for sure if the Celtic peoples commonly known as Britons were the first inhabitants of the British Isles or if there was once an early people inhabiting the Isles. What we do know is that they have been in Britain since at least 320 B.C., and this we know from the writings of Pytheas, a Greek who visited the Isles in the aforementioned date.

Little is known about them until Julius Caesar's excursions into Britain in 55 and 54 B.C. To Caesar, they gave strong resistance. Many of the tribes united under Cassivellaunus, Chief of the Catuvellauni. Cassivellaunus was a mighty warrior king. Before Caesar, Cassivellaunus had defeated the king of the Trinovantes, and expanded his territory greatly.

However, many tribes feared and hated Cassivellaunus, and thus sided with Caesar aganst him. Chief among their number were the Cenimagni, the Segontiaci, the Ancalites, the Bibroci and the Cassi. These tribes provided Caesar with information needed to defeat Cassivellaunus.

Despite Caesar's efforts, the Romans were unable to bring full Roman order into Britain until an invasion led by Claudius in AD 43.

After Claudius' conquest, the Britons Romanized, to an extent, and became known as the Romano-British. The Romano-British were among the most loyal of the Roman peoples, and among the most welcoming to the new religion of Christianity.

This new religion was brought by men such as St. Alban, who was martyred in Verulamium, near modern say St. Albans.

When the Roman Empire was in decline, and was forced to withdraw from Britain, the Romano-British found themselves alone against a world of barbaric and un-Christian enemies. To the north the Scotti and Picti were constant threats, and now from the east came the pagan Germanic tribes of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes.

It was now that two great leaders would rise to defend the Romano-British peoples. Little is known of them in fact, but their legends are well known.

The first was Uther Pendragon. Uther was a strong defender of the people, and during his day, the Romano-British were relatively safe from their many enemies. Most sources, including Geoffrey of Monmouth, say that Uther sired an illegitmate son, named Arthur (with a very few claiming Arthur to in fact be a legitimate heir).

Upon Uther's death, his son Arthur (bastard or not) succeeded him as King of the Britons. There are many different stories (some more fanciful than others) concerning the means by which Arthur gained the crown, which we shall not concern ourselves with here, as they all have very little (if any) credibilty as historical accounts. The little we actually know of Arthur is given to us by Nennius, Gildas, and the Annales Cambriae.

We are told by these sources that he was a mighty warrior, fighting many battles against the Saxons. His greatest battle was the battle of Mons Badonicus (better known as the battle of Badon Hill), in 516, where according to the record he personally slew 960 warriors. The accuracy of this number is debated, however. Regardless of how many men Arthur truly slew at Badon Hill, it is clear that he was a tower of strength on the battle field.

Arthur is reported to have died in the battle of Camlann, in 537, alongside Medraut, who is known in Arthurian legends as Arthur's arch-nemesis Mordred(also spelled Modred). However, the historical records neglect to tell us whether Arthur and Medraut fell as foes or allies, so the accuracy of the later legends is debateable.

What is clear is that after the death of Arthur, the Angles and the Saxons conquered much of Brittania, leaving the Romano-British in only two places, which are today known as Wales and Cornwall (though in those days they were known as North Wales and West Wales).

There they stayed for centuries, defending the last remnants of their lands against many invaders.

Ultimately, all of Wales' neighbours were also Christianized, but still the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms sought to conquer the Welsh.

But the Welsh motto, "Cymru am byth" (Wales forever), held true, and the Welsh would outlast their old foes, the Anglo-Saxons.

The "Last Hurrah" of the Anglo-Saxons in the mid 11th century marked a turning point in Welsh history.

End chapter I.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Nice concise history post.
 

crusaderknight

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stnylan said:
Nice concise history post.
Thankyou.

Now that the history of the Welsh has been briefly shared, it is time to begin the more detailed history of the Cynfyns.
 

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Dunno why, but I bet that Caledfwlch is going to give troubles again to the poor AngloSaxons... :D
 

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Kurt_Steiner said:
Dunno why, but I bet that Caledfwlch is going to give troubles again to the poor AngloSaxons... :D
Wow, I rarely see that name used for the great Caliburnus. I haven't decided yet if Caledfwlch will make an appearance or not. It depends upon a number of factors. But if the great Sword will make an appearance, it is likely to be more of a pain to the Normans now that they rule Britannia, or, should I say, now that they think they rule Britannia.

Fanzun said:
This AAR looks quite good *subscribes*
Glad to have you aboard!
 

Kurt_Steiner

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crusaderknight said:
Wow, I rarely see that name used for the great Caliburnus. I haven't decided yet if Caledfwlch will make an appearance or not. It depends upon a number of factors. But if the great Sword will make an appearance, it is likely to be more of a pain to the Normans now that they rule Britannia, or, should I say, now that they think they rule Britannia.

Blame Stephen Lawhead and his Pendragon saga for that ;) Until that moment I was used to Malory and Excalibur (Escalibor for some Spamiards, poor them...).

Thus, I hope that the blessed Ken-ti-gern may guide you to victory, my good cymbrogi. Best of wishes!
 

crusaderknight

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CHAPTER II
The Rise of the Mathrafal Dynasty

During the turbulent times of Anglosaxon dominance, a new family rose to power amongst the Welsh. Named for the castle which was their seat of power, the Mathrafal Dynasty brought a new hope to the Welsh that had been lost since the days of Arthur.

II.I - Rhodri the Great

In AD 844 Rhodri ap Merfyn became the King of Gwynedd, inheriting the realm from his father Merfyn Frych ap Gwriad. When Rhodri inherited his father's throne, the realm of Gwynedd was very small. However, Gwynedd was one of the three most powerful realms in Wales, along with Powys and Dyfed.

Eleven years after his rise to the throne, Rhodri's uncle, Cyngen ap Cadell, King of Powys, died on a pilgrimage to Roma. Rhodri was his uncle's heir, thus Powys passed to the young King of Gwynedd, doubling the size and power of his realm.

A map of Gwynedd in 855, after the inheritance of Powys, can be seen here.
Gwynedd-855.jpg


In 856, Rhodri fought a great battle against the Danes. Their leader Gorm was slain in the battle. According to some reports, Rhodri himself delivered the blow that ended Gorm's life. Rhodri's epic victory is recounted in two poems written by Sedulius Scotus.

In 877, Rhodri was defeated by the Danes at Anglesey and forced to flee to Ireland. The following year he returned to Gwynedd, but was slain along with his son, Gwriad. Depending upon the sources used, either Alfred the Great of Wessex, or Aethelred of Mercia is blamed for Rhodri and Gwriad's deaths. The latter is most likely true, as later events seem to fit with Mercia's guilt far better than with Wessex's. His exact manner of death in unknown. Upon their deaths, Gwynedd passed to another of Rhodri's sons, Anarawd.

II.II - Anarawd and the submission to Wessex

When Anarawd inherited Gwynedd from his father, his power was already under serious threat. Earl Aethelred of Mercia had raised an army with which to invade Gwynedd, and Anarawd was given little time to prepare.

In 881, the armies of Mercia and Gwynedd met in battle at the mouth of the River Conwy, and the Mercians were slaughtered by the Welsh. The Annals hail this victory as "God's vengeance for Rhodri", this jubliation being one of the many reasons making it far more likely that Aethelred was indeed responsible for Rhodri's death, and not Alfred.

With the Mercians defeated and his realm secure, Anarawd sought to ally with the Danish King of York, but this alliance proved undesirable in the end. Anarawd then turned to Alfred the Great of Wessex, who agreed to protect Gwynedd if Anarawd would become his vassal. Despite his displeasure at the terms, Anarawd agreed.

Ultimately, this would prove to his benefit, as the Danes would raid Gwynedd many times during his reign. However, the Danish raids never succeeded, as the armies of Gwynedd, combined with reinforcements sent by Alfred, were always able to repel the attackers.

Anarawd died in 916. His son Idwal succeeded him.

II.III - Idwal the Bald

Idwal ap Anarawd became King of Gwynedd in 916. Idwal was a rather weak king. Upon his coronation, he accepted the King of Wessex (now the King of England) as his overlord. However, after the death of King Aethelstan, Idwal and his brother, Elisedd, led the armies of Gwynedd against the English. This did not prove to be wise, as their armies were defeated, and in 942 both were slain.

Upon Idwal's death, a scion of a cadet branch of Rhodri's line, Hywel ap Cadell, the son of Cadell ap Rhodri, invaded Gwynedd. Hywel was the King of Deheubarth, and had a mighty army with which he took Gwynedd and drove Idwal's sons, Iago and Idwal, from the realm.

II.IV - Hywel Dda (the Good)

After his successful invasion of Gwynedd, Hywel ap Cadell now ruled nearly all of present day Wales. In addition to being King of Gwynedd and Deheubarth, Hywel also bore the title "King of the Britons". Though many Welsh lords had borne this title since the days of King Arthur, none had truly deserved it until Hywel, who ruled nearly all of the remaining Britons.

While the reigns of Rhodri, Anarawd, and Idwal had been marked by warfare, the reign of Hywel was peaceful. With this peace, Hywel did much good for his people. He minted coins, and gave new laws to the Welsh people. His laws are still remembered as the Laws of Hywel, and continued to be the laws of Wales for centuries.

II.V - Return of the Mathrafals

Upon Hywel's death in 950, the Kingdom was divided into three. Iago and Idwal, the sons of the late King Idwal, returned to Gwynedd and took their rightful throne. Deheubarth was divided into two realms, each ruled by one of Hywel's sons.

In Gwynedd, Iago and Idwal could not get along, and ultimately led armies against each other. Iago was victorious over his brother, but was soon defeated by Idwal's son, Hywel.

In 979 Hywel deposed Iago and became the King of Gwynedd. Iago's fate is not revealed.

In 980, Iago's son, Custennin, challenged Hywel's right to the throne, and another civil war broke out. Custennin had allied himself with the Viking Godfrey Haraldsson, and together they attacked the forces of Hywel. The alliance was defeated in a single battle, in which Custennin was slain and Godfrey and his men were routed.

In 985, the English, perhaps fearing the rising power of Hywel, turned upon him and attacked him. During the battle, Hywel was killed. His brother, Cadwallon, became the next King of Gwynedd.

Cadwallon reigned for only one year. In 986 Maredudd ap Owain, King of Deheubarth, invaded Gwynedd, claiming it to be rightfully his as he was the grandson of Hywel Dda. In a brief battle, Cadwallon was slain and Maredudd became the new King of Gwynedd.
 

stnylan

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Good history post.
 

crusaderknight

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Sorry everyone, that it's been a while without an update. Rather busy week. I promise to have one for you tomorrow (Saturday). It should be the last update covering pre-1066 Welsh history (worst case scenario there will be one more after it). Then I will actually begin with the events of the game. :cool:
 

coz1

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I just read through the beginning. Excellent concise history prior to the game. Looking forward to the action starting. Good luck.
 

crusaderknight

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CHAPTER III
A Time of Turbulance

The end of the 10th century and the first half of the 11th century was a time of great turmoil in Wales. The Mathrafal Dynasty came to power, fell, came to power again, and fell again.

III.I - Maredudd ap Owain

When Maredudd ap Owain seized the throne of Gwynedd in 986, his father, Owain, King of Deheubarth, was still alive. For the next two years, Maredudd ruled Gwynedd as his father's vassal, and upon Owain's death in 988, Maredudd inherited Deheubarth, and so was now the sole power in Wales. Though small areas such as Gwent and Morgannwg remained independent, they were no threat to Maredudd's power. Maredudd, like his grandfather before him, bore the title "King of the Britons", and he well deserved it.

Viking raids were ceaseless during Maredudd's reign, and he is even recorded as having once payed a penny per head to ransom his captured subjects. One tide which was turned, however, was the conflict with Mercia. For over a century Mercian raids into Welsh lands had been commonplace, and nearly every King of Gwynedd had to deal with the Mercians. Maredudd, however, turned around and began his own raids into Mercian lands, plundering many border villages.

Maredudd ap Owain died in 999. The Annales record him as "the most famous King of the Britons". He was succeeded by an heir to the line he had deposed, Cynan ap Hywel, and so the Mathrafal dynasty was once again the power in Wales.

Here is a map showing the extent of Maredudd's Kingdom
Wales-990.jpg


III.II - Cynan ap Hywel

Cynan ap Hywel came to power in Gwynedd in 999. Deheubarth and the rest of the Kingdom were lost to other claimants. Little is recorded of Cynan's brief reign. All that is known for certain is that in 1005 he was deposed by Aeddan ap Blegywyrd, though the manner in which this coup occured is unknown. Even Aeddan's claim to the throne is an enigma. Regardless of how, or by what right, history has recorded that Aeddan supplanted Cynan in 1005, and became the new King of Gwynedd.

III.III - Usurpation of the Throne From the Mathrafal Dynasty

With Cynan's death in 1005, Aeddan ap Blegywyrd became the new King of Gwynedd. Little is recorded about his reign. In 1018, Llywelyn ap Seisyll rebelled against Aeddan, and during the course of the war, the King of Gwynedd and his four sons were slain.

Llywelyn ap Seisyll was now the King of Gwynedd. Though not of Royal Blood himself, Llywelyn still had a stronger claim to the throne than Aeddan, for he was married to the daughter of Maredudd ap Owain, Angharad.

In 1022, Llywelyn declared war upon Deheubarth. The southern kingdom had been taken over by an Irish pretender, Rhian, and Llywelyn claimed Deheubarth as his right, in light of being the son-in-law of Maredudd ap Owain. At the battle of Abergwili he crushed the armies of Rhian, and was soon after crowned King of Deheubarth.

The Annales speak very highly of Llywelyn. His reign is recorded as being one of prosperity, perhaps even greater than that of Hywel Dda's. According to the Annales, "there was no one needy in his realm, and there was no town empty or deserted".

Llywelyn died prematurely in 1023.

III.IV - Brief Restoration of the Mathrafal Dynasty

With the death of young Llywelyn in 1023, the heir to Cynan ap Hywel, Iago ap Idwal, came to the throne. Iago was not very well liked, and in 1039 he was betrayed and murdered by his own men. The soldiers then put Llywelyn's son, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, on the throne of Gwynedd. A few loyal supporters of the Mathrafal Dynasty, however, managed to steal away Iago's son, Cynan, and hide him in Dublin...
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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As far as I see, those Welshmen have a lustful desire for power...