Picture of Gerald of Wales

Gerald of Wales

places mentioned

Book 1, Ch. 2: Of the ancient division of Wales

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Of the ancient division of Wales into three parts

Wales was in ancient times divided into three parts nearly equal, consideration having been paid, in this division, more to the value than to the just quantity or proportion of territory. They were Venedotia, now called North Wales; Demetia, or South Wales, which in British is called Deheubarth, that is, the southern part; and Powys, the middle or eastern district. Roderic the Great, or Rhodri Mawr, who was king over all Wales, was the cause of this division. He had three sons, Mervin, Anarawt, and Cadell, amongst whom he partitioned the whole principality. North Wales fell to the lot of Mervin; Powys to Anarawt; and Cadell received the portion of South Wales, together with the general good wishes of his brothers and the people; for although this district greatly exceeded the others in quantity, it was the least desirable from the number of noble chiefs, or Uchelwyr, (6) men of a superior rank, who inhabited it, and were often rebellious to their lords, and impatient of control. But Cadell, on the death of his brothers, obtained the entire dominion of Wales, (7) as did his successors till the time of Tewdwr, whose descendants, Rhys, son of Tewdwr, Gruflydd, son of Rhys, and Rhys, son of Gruffydd, the ruling prince in our time, enjoyed only (like the father) the sovereignty over South Wales.

Gerald of Wales, The Description of Wales (Oxford, Mississippi, 1997)

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