CK II Chronicles — Chapter One: Caradog Of Gwent, The Rise Of A Dynasty
History of the family of Gwynllwg as written by Burgundian chronicler Trouillet de Mussy.
The year 1066 AD saw great changes in our world. It marks the beginning of a new era, through events that have to be recorded for the generations to come.
At that time, Philipp was king of France and Harold of England; The Holy Roman Empire was led by Heinrich the IV while the Byzantine Empire was under the rule of Konstantinos the X. Alexander II was Pope in Rome. My master’s ancestor, Caradog Gwynllwg was then only a minor count in the province of Gwent, in Wales, and vassal of the independent Petty King Maredudd II Dinefwr of Deheubarth. Count Caradog was in his twentieth year while the King was reaching the end of his life already. Besides, the count’s father and grandfather were both Kings of Deheubarth before they lost the throne to the accursed family of Dinefwr. It was time for Caradog to claim his rightful heritage.
The Petty Kingdom of Deheubarth was itself divided into three counties: Gwent on the East, Dyfed on the West -together united under the Crown of the Petty Kingdom- and Glamorgan inbetween, independently ruled by Count Cadwgan Morgannwg. The latter would be Caradog’s first target to expand his realm and overthrow Maredudd. Cadwgan was too willing to seize the crown for himself. War broke out in 1069, but Cadwgan was quickly crushed by the king’s armies.
in 1066 Caradog married Aénor, the daughter of the Count of Thouars, a province of the kingdom of France. Her diplomatic skills would prove extremely useful. Yet as Count Caradog had a son from a previous bed -Owain- the countess plotted against him to kill him and put her own progeny on the throne. Thank God she failed in her attempt.
In 1071 William, Duke of Normandy, became King of England.
In 1076, the Chancellor found in the archives evidences that Glamorgan was rightfully part of Caradog’s territory. He now had a valid casus belli to seize Glamorgan. Raising his troops and his vassals’, and borrowing from Jewish merchants to pay for mercenaries, Count Caradog marched onto Glamorgan in August 1076 with the full backing of the council, and in January 1078, barely 18 months later, the war was over and Caradog ruled upon Glamorgan.
in 1080 an epidemy of smallpox reached the Kingdom, followed a year later by Camp fever.
In 1082 Owain, son of Caradog, reached majority, and married Agathe of Normandy, daughter of William of England.
1082 was known as Camp Fever Year, as no less than six epidemies broke out in the world. People lived in fear of being the next victim of the disease. Gates of the castles were closed, but it didn’t prevent the death of Agathe de Normandy, on October 8th. Some cases of cannibalism were reported, but this is no more than stories to frighten children and shed a dark light on Caradog’s spotless reign.
In 1083 Pope Alexander II died, succeeded by Alexander III.
In 1084, the Camp Fever epidemic ended. The count had gathered a war chest, and his armies were ready. In July he rebeled against the unlawful rule of the Dinefwr family, and attacked the county of Dyfed, where the young Petty Queen Ystradwel, daughter and heir of Maredudd had her court. In January 1085 the fort of Diefwr fell. Four months later Tyddewi, city of the bishop, fell too. Knowing that the war was lost, Ystradwel surrendered and gave up the crown of Deheubarth to Caradog. Deheubarth was now united under its rightful King. Yet in people’s memory, King Caradog remains known as the Usurper, because of false rumours spread by jealous nobles into the populace.
In 1086 Owain married Princess Eve of France, daughter of King Philipp “The Butcher” of France. Soon after an alliance between the two kingdoms is agreed upon.
With his wife Aénor, King Caradog II Has had three children: a son Alured who didn’t survive his first year, and two daughters, Elinion who married a prince of Scotland and Mallt who married a castillian Prince. The small dynasty was rising.
In 1093 Pope Alexander III died, succeeded by Alexander IV.
Aénor died on March 16th 1096 of cancer. The King married his former liege and rival Ystradwel, who had remained Countess of Dyfed. Some say that this marriage was political, to ensure a heir to Ystradwel and make sure that the county of Dyfed would not be parted from the Kingdom on her death, but these are again only rumours, as the gracious King had seen her bravery on the battlefield and knew what a flamboyant woman she was.
The last years of reign of King Caradog were uneventful, and the Petty Kingdom quickly became prosperous. Forts were developped and hospitals were built.
1098 saw the first call for a Crusade to free Jerusalem from the infidels. It quickly ended in a bloodbath, and those who went crusading never came back alive.
On October 3rd 1102, beloved King Caradog II of Deheubarth died peacefully in his bed, aged 57. He was succeeded by his son, known then as King Owain III of Deuheubarth.