The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

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home > Transactions > Volume 24 - 2018 > OWAIN LAWGOCH: YR ARWR SY’N CYSGU


This T. H. Parry-Williams Memorial Lecture was delivered at the
National Eisteddfod in Anglesey in 2017. Owain Lawgoch or Owain
ap Thomas ap Rhodri was the grandson of Rhodri ap Gruffudd, the
youngest brother of Llywelyn and Dafydd, the last two Princes of
Wales and was the last heir of the Gwynedd dynasty. Assassinated
in France by an English agent in 1378, few in Wales would have
seen him and it is therefore not entirely surprising that he joined the
ranks of the Sleeping Heroes, those charismatic figures whose deaths
could not easily be accepted and who were believed to be awaiting
the call to return and restore the dignity of their peoples. These
heroes included Arthur and Owain Glyn Dŵr in Wales, Frederick
Barbarossa in Germany and Dom Sebastian, King of Portugal, killed
in an attack on Morocco in 1578. Indeed, this belief in the return of
a hero is known as Sebastianism and it also came to be tied up with
the teaching of the twelfth-century Cistercian abbot Joachim of Fiore


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