GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS: THE GROWTH OF THE WELSH Nation1 Introduction THE period conventionally called the High Middle Ages saw the final decisive encounter between the universal Empire and the universal Church which ended with the victory of the Church, although this victory was short-lived. For, to this day Europe has been divided into smaller political units which can be called national states. Constitutional historiography has inquired widely into the emergence of the separate states.2 What is lacking, however, is an unbiased analysis of the function of those ethnical elements involved in the emergence of the states, which already in medieval times were given the ambiguous term 'nation'. The present study attempts such an inquiry confined, as it may be, to a small subject. It deals with twelfth-century Wales as it appears in the writings of the most outspoken and controversial son of that country, Giraldus Cambrensis. If the choice of sources may appear to be arbitrary,3 the subject itself imposes welcome limitations. Britain being an island, the emergence of states was somewhat simplified, for the lack of possibilities of expansion directed state-building forces towards the island itself. The Norman invasion, however, retarded the emergence of one single state, for this was not achieved in the political field until 1603 (or 1707) and is yet to be achieved culturally. The arrival of the Normans in 1066 provided a new impulse to the creation of the state. This simplification of the issue cleared other aspects as well. In the twelfth century, Scotland, finally emerged as one separate kingdom. If Wales did not witness a similarly straight-forward development, the thirteenth century brought at least the unrivalled leadership of Gwynedd. The Norman conquest of England was sweeping and lasting; the resistance in Wales took two centuries to be broken. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, with which our study ends, the result of the Norman encroachment in Wales was undetermined and unpredictable. A history of medieval Europe which does not take account of the impact of the Church cannot be imagined. This institution gave an impulse for the emergence of states from outside. Rome, after the Gregorian reform movement of the eleventh century, seized her chance to influence the establishment of greater ecclesiastical units by granting archbishoprics, thus opening the path, if unwanted at times, towards analogous well-defined political units. Rarely, if ever, was a combination of the powers of crown and pallium more effective than in medieval England.4 In Wales, from the beginning of the twelfth century, attempts