Scottish Independence and the Idea of Britain: From the Picts to Alexander III

Scottish Independence and the Idea of Britain: From the Picts to Alexander III

Scottish Independence and the Idea of Britain: From the Picts to Alexander III

Scottish Independence and the Idea of Britain: From the Picts to Alexander III

Synopsis

This book challenges the belief that the Scots were an ancient nation whose British identity only emerged in the early modern era. In fact, the idea of Scotland as an independent kingdom was older than the age of Wallace and Bruce. Dauvit Broun radically reassesses a range of fundamental issues: the fate of Pictish identity and the origins of Alba, the status of Scottish kingship vis-a-vis England, the papacy's recognition of the independence of the Scottish Church, and the idea of Scottish freedom. He also sheds new light on the authorship of John of Fordun's chronicle, the first full-scale history of the Scots, and offers an historical explanation of the inability to distinguish between England and Britain. Broun situates his history in the wider context of ideas of ultimate secular power in Britain and Ireland and the construction of national histories in this period.

Excerpt

Most books by academics these days owe at least their date of publication to the Research Assessment Exercise. This one, however, would not have existed without it. Since the last RAE I have pursued the theme of this book in a number of articles, but without giving any thought to bringing them together. They could not easily be made into a collection of essays because there is too much overlap between a few of them and in others only some parts were relevant to this particular theme. The RAE requires each member of staff to submit four pieces of work, and it dawned on me that this would allow little scope to indicate that I have been working on the subject of this book, especially if berths were to be found for the fruits of other projects. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of a successful outcome in the RAE for our institutions and for the continuing viability of our disciplines, so there was nothing else for it but to draw the material together so they could find a home together when it came to identifying four items for assessment. In the end, about half of the book consists of repeats of material that has been published since the last RAE. The opportunity has been taken to expand or contract some sections, correct errors, update references and reduce the number of collateral footnotes, so there is no item that has been reproduced exactly as it first appeared. That is not to say that what follows supersedes the originals. In all but two cases (chapters 4 and 7) the original articles have sections on matters beyond the scope of this book: if you want to find out why I have argued that Cinaed mac Ailpín was a Pict, for example, you will need to look up the article from which most of chapter 3 has been derived; or if you wish to read about the kingdom of Strathclyde, you will need to look at the article from which much of chapter 5 has been extracted. I am very grateful to the editors and publishers of the articles reproduced in chapters 3, 4, 5 and 7 for their very ready cooperation in this, particularly Professor Thomas Owen Clancy, Professor John Gillingham, Professor James Kirk, Dr Pamela O'Neill, Caroline Palmer and Professor David Wright. I am particularly grateful to John Davey of EUP for his encouragement of this project from the outset.

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