Dinefwr Castle, built by Rhodri Mawr Cadw, Welsh Assembly Government (Crown Copyright).

Rhodri The Great

Rhodri Mawr brought the kingdoms of Gwynedd, Powys and Seisyllwg under his control, and fought the threats of the Anglo Saxons and Vikings.

Rhodri Mawr was the first ruler of Wales to be given the epithet 'Mawr' or 'The Great', reflecting both his territory and his military achievements.

He was the son of Merfyn Frych ap Gwriad, king of Gwynedd and Nest ferch Cadell of the royal house of Powys. He inherited his father's kingdom in 844, and when Nest's brother Cyngen ap Cadell died, Powys passed to Rhodri's control.

His marriage to Angharad, the sister of Gwgon, king of Seiswllwg became very beneficial when Gwgon drowned. Another kingdom was handed on a plate to Rhodri.

He regularly was forced to defend his territory, both against the Anglo Saxons across the border and the marauding Scandinavians.

In 856, Rhodri fought the Danes and won a famous victory, but in 877 he was defeated in another battle in Anglesey, fleeing to Ireland. He returned, but is thought to have been killed by the Anglo Saxons of Mercia in 878.

His son Anarawd ap Rhodri continued to rule the combined Powys and Gwynedd kingdoms.

Rhodri Fawr is thought to have built the first fort at Dinefwr Castle.


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