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Wales was divided into Pura Wallia , the areas ruled by the Welsh princes, and Marchia Wallia , ruled by the Anglo-Norman barons. Since the death of Owain Gwynedd in 1170, Rhys ap Gruffydd had made the southern kingdom of Deheubarth the strongest of the Welsh kingdoms, and had established himself as the leader of Pura Wallia . After Rhys died in 1197, fighting between his sons led to the splitting of Deheubarth between warring factions. Gwenwynwyn ab Owain , prince of Powys Wenwynwyn , tried to take over as leader of the Welsh princes, and in 1198, raised a great army to besiege Painscastle , which was held by the troops of William de Braose, Lord of Bramber . Llywelyn sent troops to help Gwenwynwyn, but in August Gwenwynwyn's force was attacked by an army led by the Justiciar , Geoffrey Fitz Peter , and heavily defeated. [11] Gwenwynwyn's defeat gave Llywelyn the opportunity to establish himself as the leader of the Welsh. In 1199, he captured the important castle of Mold and was apparently using the title "prince of the whole of North Wales" ( Latin : tocius norwallie princeps ). [12] Llywelyn was probably not in fact master of all Gwynedd at this time since it was his cousin Gruffudd ap Cynan who promised homage to King John for Gwynedd in 1199. [13]

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