The Struggle for Supremacy: Wales 1063–1172
In August 1063, Gruffudd ap Llywelyn was killed by his own men; his head and the figure-head of his ship were dispatched to Harold Godwinson and so, eventually, to Edward the Confessor, as the trophies of a signal victory. Within Wales itself, his death left a vacuum of authority and power. His hegemony had been founded on military might and personal dependence; it had no institutional base that could outlast his own downfall. The natural fissiparousness of Welsh ‘political’ life — if such a genteel term may be used for the litany of family and inter-dynastic conflicts, raids, kidnappings, and murders — now reasserted itself. Puppet rulers, political exiles, and adventurers competed desperately with each other and joined forces in a perplexing kaleidoscope of temporary alliances to further their ambitions. Rarely, even by its own standards, was the Welsh ‘political’ scene more fluid, its allegiances more brittle and its supremacies more short-lived than in the later eleventh century.
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