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ОТЛУЧЕННЫЕ ПРИНЦЫ: ЭКСКОММУНИКАЦИИ В СРЕДНЕВЕКОВОМ УЭЛЬСЕ

Excommunication as a punishment for violating church rules on marriage and family relations was repeatedly imposed on members of Welsh dynasties during the 12th century. The aim of the research is to define the true reasons for such strict measures by means of analyzing historical sources: Welsh and English chronicles, including the Chronicle of the Princes, Annales Monastici, the corpus of Welsh native law texts known as the Law of Hywel Dda, the Historical Works of Gerald of Wales, some legal acts and official correspondence concerning Wales, including Thomas Becket’s letters. The Welsh native law was considered as a “barbarian” one by the Church. Undoubtedly, Welsh native customs contradicted canon law to some extent, allowing marriages between relatives, permitting divorces without reference to ecclesiastical procedures, and tolerating extramarital relationships. Incest marriages between members of major Welsh dynasties were a widespread phenomenon in Wales till the 13th century. Such marriages seemed to be an inevitable part of creating native political alliances in the face of danger from the Norman invaders. Welsh dynasties were often closely interrelated through marriages, but far not always this fact drew attention of the church. Owain Gwynedd and Lord Rhys, who are believed to be the most powerful Welsh leaders of the 12th century, were both married to their first cousins. Owain Gwynedd was excommunicated for refusal to have his marriage annulled on the grounds of consanguinity. Meanwhile, the same circumstances of  Lord Rhys’ marriage went unnoticed. It must be taken into account that Owain Gwynedd’s canonically unacceptable marriage became a subject of the Pope’s attention only when the question of the Bishop of Bangor’s election and subsequent conflict with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, erupted.  Lord Rhys suffered the penalty of anathema just before his death not because of his scandalous marriage or immoral relationship but on account of disrespectful treatment of the Bishop of St. David’s, Peter de Leia. Obviously, conflicts between the Welsh rulers and the Anglo-Norman senior clergy as an essential part of Anglo-Welsh confrontation were the underlying reasons for such measures as excommunication. It is noteworthy that both of the aforementioned great Welsh princes were buried with due honor in the consecrated land despite the fact of excommunication, which demonstrated that the Welsh native clergy were loyal to their Welsh patrons rather than to the supreme ecclesiastical authorities.