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The Description of Wales   By: (1146-1223)

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The Description of Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis is a fascinating and insightful account of Medieval Wales. In this remarkable piece of literature, Cambrensis offers a vivid and comprehensive exploration of the landscape, people, customs, and history of Wales during the 12th century.

From the very beginning, it becomes evident that Cambrensis possesses an incredible wealth of knowledge about his subject matter. His meticulous observations and thorough research are evident in every page of the book. Through his descriptive prose, the Welsh landscape comes to life, allowing readers to visualize the rolling hills, majestic mountains, and enchanting valleys of this beautiful country. Whether it is his description of the rugged coastlines or the lush countryside, Cambrensis transports readers to the heart of Wales, providing a genuine sense of the land's timeless beauty.

Moreover, Cambrensis delves into the rich history of Wales, taking readers on a captivating journey through its past. His accounts of the wars, invasions, and political struggles of the Welsh people are not merely factual, but also imbued with his own personal insights and experiences. Whether he is recounting historical battles or recounting legends and folklore, Cambrensis ensures that readers gain a deep understanding of the complexity and resilience of the Welsh identity.

One of the most remarkable aspects of The Description of Wales is Cambrensis's keen eye for the unique customs and traditions of the Welsh people. With great sensitivity and curiosity, he documents their language, dress, social practices, and religious beliefs. By doing so, he provides readers with a precious glimpse into the lives of the Welsh people, offering a rare insight into their cultural heritage.

However, it is important to note that Cambrensis's writing is not without its biases. As a Medieval scholar and clergyman, he often views the Welsh people through the lens of his own cultural background. His accounts sometimes reflect a certain condescension towards the Welsh customs and practices, which can be off-putting to a modern reader seeking an objective perspective. Nevertheless, this should not undermine the overall value and significance of his work.

In conclusion, Giraldus Cambrensis's The Description of Wales is an invaluable source for anyone interested in the history and culture of Wales. His meticulous observations and rich descriptions bring the Welsh landscape and its people to life, making this book a captivating read for history enthusiasts and lovers of geography alike. Despite some biases, Cambrensis's contribution to the understanding of Wales is immeasurable, and his work remains an essential reference for those seeking to unravel the secrets of this ancient land.

First Page:

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, dscwl11.txt. VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, dscwl10a.txt.

This etext was prepared by David Price from the 1912 J. M. Dent edition, email

The Description of Wales

FIRST PREFACE to Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury

I, who, at the expense of three years' labour, arranged, a short time ago, in three parts, the Topography of Ireland, with a description of its natural curiosities, and who afterwards, by two years' study, completed in two parts the Vaticinal History of its Conquest; and who, by publishing the Itinerary of the Holy Man (Baldwin) through Cambria, prevented his laborious mission from perishing in obscurity, do now propose, in the present little work, to give some account of this my native country, and to describe the genius of its inhabitants, so entirely distinct from that of other nations. And this production of my industry I have determined to dedicate to you, illustrious Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, as I before ascribed to you my Itinerary; considering you as a man no less distinguished by your piety, than conspicuous for your learning; though so humble an offering may possibly be unworthy the acceptance of a personage who, from his eminence, deserves to be presented with works of the greatest merit... Continue reading book >>

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