CHAPTER XI
WALES

OF the Celtic lands Wales, the modern Wales, that is, without Strathclyde Wales in North Britain or West Wales ( Cornwall), suffered not the least from the marauding vikings of the ninth and tenth centuries; for on their way to Ireland, whether Danes coming from the south or Norwegians from the north, Cambria lay open to their attack, and there can be little doubt that from Anglesey and from the monasteries and settlements of the north and south coasts the vikings took a full toll of life and plunder. Yet the records of the raids are scarce and there is no coherent history of viking Wales, the reason being that this is the Celtic country that most successfully with- stood the attack of the Northmen in the early colonizing period, yielding less to them than did Scotland or Ireland, and showing to the invader a fiercer and a firmer front. Thus upon the first appearance of the vikings (they were Danes) in 795, when after ravages in England they came to Glamorganshire to lay that county waste with fire and sword, manfully rose the Cymry against them, routed them in battle, and, driving them back to the sea with heavy loss, saw them sail off to Ireland in search of an easier prey. And thereafter followed a period of peace, if the chronicles are to be trusted, until the '50s and '60s of the ninth century when Anglesey in the north and Gower in the south were attacked, though in Gower it is known that the Northmen, like the first viking invaders of South Wales, were repulsed.

That the foreigners made no permanent settlements of historical import in the south at this period when the Irish colonies were founded must be due to this resolute defence of the stalwart Cymry, and that they likewise failed to gain a lasting foothold in the north, so temptingly close to Ireland and to Man, may be owing in no small degree to the energy and example of a gallant Welshman, Rhodri Mawr, prince of Gwynedd, who, succeeding to the throne in 844, reigned until 878 and died as lord of the whole of North Wales. His best-known exploit in the wars with the vikings was the slaying of Orm (who perhaps gave his name to the Ormes Heads at

RHODRI MAWRAND THE IRISH VIKINGS

-323-

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A History of the Vikings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • List of Abbreviations viii
  • Contents ix
  • Contents x
  • List of Illustrations in the Text xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Lands of the Vikings 41
  • Chapter II - The North Germans 62
  • Chapter III - The Birth of the Viking Nations 78
  • Chapter IV - Scandinavia and Denmark in Viking Times 117
  • Part II - The Vikings Abroad 143
  • Chapter VI - The South and East Baltic Coasts 179
  • Chapter VII - The Western Empire 193
  • Chapter VIII - England 227
  • Chapter IX - Ireland 274
  • Chapter X - Scotland and Man 300
  • Chapter XI - Wales 323
  • Chapter XII - The Faroe Islands 328
  • Chapter XIII - Iceland 336
  • Chapter XIV - Greenland 361
  • Chapter XV - America 370
  • Select Bibliographies 389
  • Index of Authors 393
  • General Index 396
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