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Celtic Kingdoms of the British Isles

Celts of Cymru

 

Afflogion (Romano-Britons) (Wales)

FeatureWith the expulsion of Roman officials in AD 409 (see feature link), Britain again became independent of Rome and was not re-occupied. The fragmentation which had begun to emerge towards the end of the fourth century now appears to have accelerated, with minor princes, newly declared kings, and Roman-style magistrates all vying for power and influence while also facing the threat of extinction at the hands of the various barbarian tribes which were encroaching from all sides.

FeatureIn the west, largely in what would become modern Wales, this process seems to have started earlier and taken place more quickly. Even by the start of the fifth century it is apparent that several territories had emerged here. The process seems to have been triggered by the reorganisations of Magnus Maximus in the late fourth century (see feature link), with what later tradition would claim as the creation of the 'kingdoms' of 'North Wales', 'South Wales', and 'Mid-South Wales'.

FeaturePerhaps not originally a Roman district which later became a Welsh cantref, unlike Rhos, Afflogion was granted to, or was acquired by, Venedotia during the creation of this principality by Cunedda (sometimes shown in later Welsh texts as Cunedag). It was located on the Llŷn peninsula, south of Anglesey, in the east of Venedotia which itself is better known as Gwynedd (see feature link for more on its sub-kingdoms). It was later absorbed by Rhos.

Upon Cunedda's death the Afflogion territory was passed onto his sixth son, probably in the mid-fifth century AD, an event which saw it converted into a sub-kingdom of Gwynedd, neighboured to the west by Dunoding. After a short period of personal control by its only known prince within Gwynedd's overall borders, the ruler of Rhos was allowed to absorb it into his territory ('king' was a Germanic title, while the Welsh used the Latin princeps). The timescale here is too long for Afflogion to have had one single ruling prince. Therefore any other names have been lost.

The origin of 'Afflogion' is purportedly based on that of the first ruling prince: Afloyg. Even that name may have been Latinised by a newly-created royal family which already had Latinised links in its original homeland amongst the Venicones. In later Welsh records it became Afloegion, a commote within the cantref of Llŷn, which may have consisted of the entire cantref. Even later it is shown as Gaflogion, perhaps under the influence of 'gafl', meaning 'fork', or Cafflogion, which represents the hardening of Welsh consonants in English documents.

Virtually nothing seems to be known about the territory within Afflogion during its brief existence as a sub-kingdom. Only later medieval genealogies record the names of its ruling prince, probably using oral tradition as their source. For that reason the name is probably reliable, as it would be the duty of each ruling prince to be able to recite the list of his ancestors back to Cunedda and his many sons, with this successful warlord being a powerful and highly important figure to have in one's family tree.

Roman Canterbury

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Edward Dawson, from Ancestry of the Kings and Princes of Wales (genealogical document in Old Welsh), from The Landscape of King Arthur, Geoffrey Ashe, from Wales and the Britons, 350-1064, T M Charles-Edwards (Oxford University Press, 2013), from Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400, Peter Bartrum, from The Oxford History of England: Anglo-Saxon England, Sir Frank Stenton, from History of the Kings of Britain, Geoffrey of Monmouth, from the Historia Brittonum (The History of the Britons), Nennius, from the Annales Cambriae, James Ingram (taken from the Harleian manuscript, the earliest surviving version, London, Everyman Press, 1912), from A History of the English Church and People, The Venerable Bede (Leo Sherley-Price translation - revised by R E Latham), and from External Links: Ancient Wales Studies, and Cunedda Wledig (Dictionary of Welsh Biography), and The Irish Settlements in South-West Wales: A Topographical Approach, Melville Richards (The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol 90, No 2, 1960, pp 133-162, and available online via JSTOR).)

fl c.445

Afloyg ap Cunedag

Sixth son of Cunedda Wledig of Venedotia.

c.460s - 470s

Any details of Afloyg's life and family are unrecorded in the genealogies, potentially making it likely that he remains an unmarried warrior of the Venedotians (or perhaps not, if he has successors whose names have been lost to history). Perhaps his efforts are more concerned on ridding the region of Irish raiders and perhaps even attempts at settlement (as in the case of the highly successful Déisi tribe of Demetia).

Map of Britain AD 450-600
This map of Britain concentrates on British territories and kingdoms which were established during the fourth and fifth centuries AD, as the Saxons and Angles began their settlement of the east coast (click or tap on map to view full sized)

fl c.470s?

?

Unknown individual and relationship.

fl c.490s?

?

Unknown individual and relationship.

fl c.520s?

?

Unknown individual and relationship.

fl c.540s?

?

Unknown individual and relationship.

c.540

At some point in his lifetime, St Einion Frenin of Rhos inherits the minor territory of Afflogion after the death of its last appointed ruler. That last ruler may be Afloyg ap Cunedda, a son of Cunedda Wledig, founder of the Venedotian principality, although it is more likely to be an unknown grandson whose name has been lost to history.

At the time of the Anglo-Norman conquest of Wales in 1283, Rhos is organised into the lordship of Denbigh along with Rhufoniog. In the modern age both form part of the county of Denbighshire.

 
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