Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri the Great)
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
In England the period from 800-1000 AD is often called the late Anglo-Saxon period, and in some measure the same can be said for Wales, in as much as the constant threat and tension created by the presence of powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to the east helped define and create a sense of separate identity and even nationalism - though that nationalism was often overshadowed by regional interests.
Rhodri was the son of Merfyn, king of Gwynedd, and Nest of Powys. Through marriage more than conquest, Rhodri was ruler of a realm stretching from Anglesey to the Gower peninsula by the time of his death in 877. Although the extent of his kingdom would have been enough to make Rhodri's fame, he was more reknown as a warrior, a reknown that was noted in places as far afield as Ulster and Liege.
Just 7 years later Mercia itself succumbed to the growing might of Wessex, and from that point the southern kingdom posed an ongoing threat to Welsh independence. From 871 the leader of Wessex was Alfred the Great.
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