Maurice, Son of Theodoric: Welsh Kings and the Mediterranean World AD 550-650
North American Journal of Welsh Studies: Vol. 8 (2013)
Among the many petty rulers of early medieval Wales was a king whose name can be rendered Maurice, son of Theodoric. That seemingly odd combination of Germanic and Mediterranean/Byzantine namesdemands explanation. Understanding the appearance and spread of such exoticnames provides a valuable context for exploring a very dark period of Welshhistory. This paper originated with a question about how and why a seventh century Welsh king acquired a rather odd name. From that starting point, the research has involved issues like the sources and evidence for the era in which that king lived; the nature and scope of his power; and the larger question of European influences in what remains a dark and controversial period of Welsh history. The king in question would in modern Welsh be known as Meurig ap Tewdrig, the form which I shall adopt throughout. Meurig ruled between about 625 and 665 in south-east Wales. He attracted little attention from early historians outside the immediate area, although the local dynasty that he established held power until the 1070s. One of his descendants would be a certain Morgan, from whom the western part of the realm would take the name of Morgannwg, later Glamorgan.