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Land and power in Early Medieval Wales

Davies, Wendy

Past and Present, Vol.78 (1981)


Such was the impact of the conquest of Wales that we remain more conscious of the difference between Welsh and others, a difference sustained by the continuing use of Welsh law in some areas after the Conquest, than of any similarities between them. Generations of historians have so deeply absorbed the conquerors’ attitudes and reactions that it is customary to view Wales at the time of the Conquest as some peculiar outback. So strong is this impression that we often forget that medieval Wales had a Roman background, that it had shared a common political system and aspects of a common culture with much of Continental Europe, and that its early medieval development is as significant a comment on the problems of post-Roman Europe as is that of other parts of the former empire. In so far as the history of the late empire was determined by factors other than immigration we may expect Wales to share political, social and economic trends with the west.

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