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This is the story of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth , the penniless exile who became Wales's greatest prince. He presided over a turbulent and politically-charged period of Welsh history, having to prove himself first on the battlefield before learning the statesman's craft to establish his control over the warring factions of his own country. Ultimately, he presented the Welsh princelings with the most decisive political choice in the nation's history: accept his lordship or that of a foreign English king. In Roger Turvey's fascinating study, the first to concentrate exclusively on Llywelyn the Great, we also learn of a generous patron of Welsh culture, the arts and the Church, and of a figure who continues to be a source of inspiration and debate in 21st-century Wales.
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This book provides a very concise biography of one of the largest figures in medieval Welsh history. There are endless stories surrounding the legend of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, one of only a few Welsh princes who had a chance at uniting the warring regions of medieval Wales into one country, but it is quite difficult to separate fact from fiction. Roger Turvey has done an excellent job of putting together what information is available from sources contemporary to Llywelyn into a very readable biographical account. Turvey opens the book with a description of the background of medieval Wales, particularly the situation after the death of Owain Gwynedd, and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the limited contemporary source material available which chronicles Llywelyns life: the chronicles of Gerald of Wales and other contemporary writers and poets, and the treaties and pacts negotiated by Llywelyn during his quest for control of Wales. For the remainder of the book, he uses that material to provide as accurate a picture of Llywelyns life as he can, using as much contemporary evidence as is possible. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the life of Llywelyn the Great. Although complete on its own, it is also a good starting point. The authors references are numerous and well-documented, and provide a useful guide for anyone interested in further study. Turvey has written an enjoyable, academic account of the life of one of medieval Waless most important figures. Julie Jones It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books CouncilAbout the Author:
Roger Turvey is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London, and an Associate of the Institute of Educational Assessors. In 2003-4 he was elected to a Visiting Fellowship of the Institute of Historical Research, London. He has published widely on medieval and early modern Welsh history, contributing regularly to historical journals and is the current editor of the Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society.
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