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Words as Weapons in the Correspondence of Edward I with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd

From: Parergon
Volume 30, Number 1, 2013
pp. 51-71 | 10.1353/pgn.2013.0051



The correspondence exchanged by Edward I of England and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, in the late thirteenth century has traditionally been read for its legal and jurisdictional implications. However, as Rees Davies noted, language was itself a weapon in medieval Anglo-Welsh conflict. From this assumption, I examine a single letter exchange to investigate the construction and function of royal epistolary language. I suggest that traditional and formulaic elements were adapted to strategic expression of the authority and longevity of royal power, and that silences were equally intentional and rhetorically forceful weapons in the campaign to dominate Wales.

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