Friday, January 21, 2011

The Mountains, The Mountains

From 600 feet, to more than 3,000 feet goes the land. The highest peak being 3560 feet located in the extreme northwest. In the south, the highest peak being 2960 feet. Climb every mountain would seem to be the theme of this land!

The map to the right is my attempt to show the geographic distributions of these mountain peaks. Scattered about in several clusters, they divide and break apart this land into distinct settlement areas. After Roman withdrawal, these areas became open to any group that could get there first and hold on to the land.

Early Welsh writers identify several folks who took charge during this period. [400 A.D.- 600 A.D.] The Cunedda conquests are part of this history. Left alone alone in the northern most boarder of the Roman defenses, called Antonia Wall, he came with his sons to defend the northwest area from the Irish. He and his sons are identified as the founding fathers of what was to become the Kingdom of Gwynedd. [Some early writers also call this Venedotae from the tribe thought to occupy this part of the world.]

You have already read about Vortigern (Gwrtheyrn) and his many escapades involving the Saxons. He is credited, good or bad, with the founding of what was to become the Kingdom of Powys, after being driven there by the Saxons and most of the Britons. [This is where my JONES family derives its Y-DNA.]

The southwest corner came under Irish influence through the spread of Christianity. David, a Celtic priest, came to this area and established a monastic house at what came to be called St. Davids. His name was given to Dyfed, which became the Kingdom of Dyfed.

The southeast sections split in several small areas with competing interest. It is in this area that the "Men of Gwent" settled.

The founding fathers are many. You can begin to understand their history and genealogy based upon the geography of the land. As the Welsh language developed, it was used to describe the location of their family's land. Over the hill, past the large meadow, to the small lake was about the only way to give directions. Understanding these facts begin to lay a foundation to understanding Welsh genealogy, and the Welsh language.

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