Rhodri ap Merfyn, known as Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri the Great), was the most notable Welsh ruler prior to the Norman Conquest.
He was the first High King of all Wales. By the time of his death, his power and influence extended over much of Wales.
Rhodri’s rise to prominence came from his success as a warrior. His victory in 856 at Anglesey over Horn, the leader of the Danes, won him widespread acclaim.
In addition to an increase in attacks on Wales by the Danes, Rhodri’s reign also coincided with renewed threats from the kingdom of Mercia in the east.
After becoming ruler of Powys – his mother’s homeland – in 855, Rhodri led the kingdom against attacks by his Anglian enemies.
Rhodri and his son, Gwriad, were killed in battle against the English in 878.