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Chapter Summary

The surviving manuscripts of medieval Welsh law are an important part of the history of the language and culture of medieval Wales; around forty manuscripts are extant, dating from the mid-thirteenth to the early fifteenth century, with the laws presented in complex, technical medieval Welsh prose. The law texts are attributed to Hywel Dda, a king from the tenth century The Welsh law manuscripts are divided into redactions or groups, each group formed by manuscripts showing similarities in order and type. Welsh law was a compensation-based law. In a hierarchical society, each person had a life value, galanas, which was to be paid to the family if the person was killed; it was calculated on a sliding scale according to status.

Keywords: galanas; Hywel Dda; medieval Wales; medieval Welsh law



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