Within the text of the Mabinogi, there is a clear theme of honor, courage, and strong warriors. Likewise, many poems sang in the Welsh courts during the early Middle Ages of glorified warrior ideals. Simultaneously, much of Wales was divided; the princes fighting mostly among themselves. The pervasiveness of warrior culture begins to change as the Marches expand further into Wales during the 13th century, and the cultural exchange between the Welsh and the Norman-English became more ubiquitous. This paper will focus on warrior mentality in medieval Wales and the effect the court poets had on the Princes of Wales in relation to fighting each other and raiding the Marches, and the changes that occurred into the 13th and 14th centuries.
My lecture challenges prevailing interpretations of historical materials of various kind ranging from 9th to 12th Century (i.e. works of Gildas, Venerable Bede, ‘Nennius’, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Giraldus Cambriensis) that shaped identity and collective memory. They were often treated by medievalists as sources for writing history without seeing the historical needs both of their authors and literary audiences. Bearing this in mind I will try to analyze these materials as they were written and rewritten to respond to challenging situations. What is more I will propose the answer to the fundamental question – what were the interactions between the Anglo-Saxon and Welsh peoples in aforementioned period and how they were depicted in surviving textual records.