llyw

anonymous asked:

thanks for clearing all that stuff up! But now I have another question: What was the deal with Dafydd? And what happened to that one guy, I think his name was uh, Llywelyn? (I really hope I spelled that right, and I'm sorry if I'm bothering you in any way, I don't know a ton about Wales and I think your discussions are interesting.)

OK so apparently this turned out really long, so if you want to skip a badly told history lesson about a radical war prince who married a teenager and had a son who died after tying his bedsheets together and falling out of a window, then press J on your keyboard now!

OK, so, Llywelyn was a total badass. He was the Prince of Gwynedd, which was a principality in North Wales. Wales in those days didn’t have one ruler; it consisted of several principalities, each of which was ruled by a prince. This was kind of a shitty system, actually, because what tended to happen was that the prince of each principality would have more than one son, each of whom wanted to inherit the land, so the prince would divide it in two and they would share it, and then they would have sons who wanted to inherit the land and so they’d divide it up again, and basically, if this system had continued, then we’d have ended up with 5 billion principalities roughly the size of your average garden allotment. Great system, guys. A+.

ANYWAY, Big Ll was the man. Like, there are some pretty rad dudes in Welsh history, but this guy took the proverbial welshcake. Without going into too much military detail, he ended up as the de facto ruler of the whole of Wales through a series of pretty fucking snazzy political moves, like marrying the daughter of the King of England (although honestly, she was 14 and he was like 33, so actually kind of creepy, although not as creepy as the fact that Daddy Llyw then betrothed their infant daughter to the grown-ass son of the dude who once banged his wife, because this family needed to go on Jeremy Kyle or something). 

Llywelyn had several children, not all of them legitimate, but the most noticeable two are Dafydd and Gruffydd. Dafydd was his legitimate heir, born to Joan in around 1212, and Gruffydd was his older and way sexier bastard son, born in around 1198 to a concubine named Tangwystl, because Welsh names are the best. In Welsh law, a bastard son could still be the heir, as long as the father agreed to it, and hot damn, did Llywdawg agree to it. Long story short: Gruffydd was totally The Man v2, with excellent hair and probably great abs and he almost certainly looked great in a tunic, and Dafydd was basically the genetic equivalent of a stick of limp lettuce. He was all sickly and meek and literally everything that Big Ll didn’t want in a son. As a child, Gruffydd got himself captured by Llew Sr’s father-in-law, King John of England, because John basically had insecurity issues and wanted Llywelyn to promise him that he would be politically faithful, and Llywelyn agreed to make Dafydd his legitimate heir (Dafydd, don’t forget, is King John’s grandson). At this point, basically all of Wales was like ‘oh, great, now we’re lumbered with the shit-dick weakling for our future prince?’ and Llywelyn was like ‘look, he gets that from his mother’s side, don’t blame me’, and he started paying loads of attention to Dafydd instead, training him up for the role and making sure he wasn’t going to do something stupid when he grew up, like hand Wales over to the English. Llywelyn then died in 1240, and shit got real.

Before his death, Llywelyn had suffered a massive stroke in 1237, the same year in which Joan died, which meant that Dafydd had been taking a more prominent role in matters of ruling for the past 7 years, and had proven himself to be totally shit at literally everything except military strategy. That didn’t stop him from trying, though, and Dafydd was proclaimed prince of Gwynedd and de facto ruler of Wales in 1240.

Later on, because Dafydd was also a massively insecure douchebag (must have run in the family) he kidnapped Gruffydd again so that he couldn’t form an uprising against him, because Gruffydd was more popular in Wales as Dafydd was half English (this sentiment hasn’t really changed much, let’s be honest). Gruffydd at this point was probably just getting really sick of being captured by his relatives all the time. Unfortunately, Gruffydd died in 1244 trying to escape capture (he literally tried the old bedsheet rope out of the window schtick, because he clearly hadn’t seen how that turned out in Monty Python’s Holy Grail).

Immediately, Dafydd sort of realised that he had to buck his ideas up at this point, and so he formed an alliance with the rest of the Welsh princes, and they proceeded to kick vast quantities of English butt. At this point, Henry III was the ruler of England, and he really, really wanted to take control of Wales. Dafydd didn’t really think that was such a hot idea, though, and so he fought Henry at every step. Dafydd was such a cool guy that he even managed to take back some of the lands that England had previously taken from Wales. What a rad dude. He continued to be the son that his father would have wanted until 1246, when he dropped dead of no apparent cause, and that’s when shit got a bit messier.

Dafydd never had any sons. He had married Isabella de Braose (who was the daughter of William de Braose, the dude who had fucked Llywelyn’s wife, Joan - don’t even question it) and they hadn’t produced an heir, because Dafydd was too busy saving his country to even think about boning the woman who had come from the same dick that was once inside his mother. Probably thinking ‘fucking finally’, the sons of poor dead Gruffydd used Dafydd’s heirless death to their advantage and took over instead, and it was these two (Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and Owain ap Gruffudd) who signed a truce with Henry III in 1247, which basically said ‘look, dude, you can HAVE Wales, just let us live and also maybe we could keep Gwynedd?’ and Henry was like ‘sweet, an entire country that I didn’t even really have to fight for, awesome’.

Then they ruled over Gwynedd happily ever after, until Llywelyn took his brother Owain to battle and kidnapped him in 1255, because this family loves a good kidnapping, and went solo, ruling Gwynedd alone until Edward II started stirring up some serious shit, and Llywelyn 2 had to start fighting as well as ruling.

Llywelyn later became known as ‘Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf’ - ‘Llywelen, Our Last Leader’ - as he fought at Cilmeri against the English in 1282, where he was killed and England was finally completely ruled by King Edward II. Llywelyn’s brother, Dafydd, continued trying to kick some serious English bottom, but he was even shitter than the other Dafydd had been as a youth, and so he was captured and hanged and cut into tiny bits by the English in 1283. 

The end. My hands hurt from typing this.