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7 - ‘Imbrued in their owne bloud’: Castration in Early Welsh and Irish Sources

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2013

Charlene M. Eska
Affiliation:
Virginia Tech
Larissa Tracy
Affiliation:
Longwood University
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Summary

In his 1587 Chronicles, Raphael Holinshed describes the following events surrounding the aftermath of the Battle of Bryn Glas in June of 1402:

[Y]et neither the crueltie of Tomyris nor yet of Fuluia is comparable to this of the Welshwomen; which is worthie to be recorded to the shame of a sex pretending to the title of weake vessels, and yet raging with such force of fiercenesse and barbarisme. For the dead bodies of the Englishmen, being aboue a thousand lieng vpun the ground imbrued in their owne bloud, was a sight [a man would thinke] greeuous to looke vpon, and so farre from exciting and stirring vp affections of crueltie; that it should rather haue mooued the beholders to commiseration and mercie: yet did the women of Wales cut off their priuities, and put one part thereof into the mouthes of euerie dead man, in such sort that the cullions hoong downe to their chins; and not so contented, they did cut off their noses and thrust them into their tailes as they laie on the ground mangled and defaced.

The author assures his readers that these deeds were done in open sight and recorded in history, thus justifying his need to relate the events in his mother tongue so that all his countrymen will know (Holinshed 2:528).

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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