NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia



Powys is a historic county in central Wales.

The Kingdom of Powys emerged during the early medieval period and played a significant role in the political landscape of Wales. It covered a considerable part of what is now central and eastern Wales, including areas that later became the historic counties of Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire, and parts of Brecknockshire.

This kingdom was, in the Arthurian period, said to have been ruled by legendary kings such as Cadell I, Cyngen I and Brochmail I (Brochmael I). It is rarely mentioned in Arthurian legend.

The bard Taliesin is connected to its court.

Powys | 0 to 9th century AD

Roman Influence | 1st – 5th centuries AD
During the Roman period, the area that would later be known as Powys was part of the Roman province of Britannia. Roman roads, settlements, and fortifications were established, contributing to the region’s integration into the Roman administrative and economic systems.

Post-Roman Period and Tribal Kingdoms | 5th – 7th centuries AD
With the decline and eventual withdrawal of Roman forces in the early fifth century, the region experienced a period of political fragmentation. Various tribal groups, including the Celtic Britons and incoming Anglo-Saxons, vied for control of territories.

Emergence of Powys | 6th – 9th centuries AD
Powys, as a distinct political entity, began to emerge during this period. It was part of the landscape of tribal kingdoms that included Gwynedd, Dyfed, and others in Wales. Names associated with the early rulers of Powys include figures like Brochwel Ysgithrog, who played a role in resisting Anglo-Saxon and Mercian expansion.

Border Conflicts, Interactions and Political Dynamics
Powys was situated along the border between the Welsh kingdoms and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to the east, leading to conflicts and interactions. The kingdom found itself at the center of struggles for territorial control and influence.

Powys experienced internal divisions, with different areas coming under the rule of local princes or rulers. The political dynamics of Powys were influenced by relationships with neighboring kingdoms and the shifting power dynamics in the region.

Anglo-Saxon and Mercian Influence
The kingdom of Powys interacted with the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, which exerted influence over the border regions of Wales. The Mercians sought to extend their control westward, leading to conflicts with the Welsh kingdoms.